Ascending Mulhacen from the Hoya del Portillo and Alta de Chorrillo

Report sent in from Pepe Badaje of his first ascent of Mulhacen in July 2011. Done in a long day from the Hoya del Portillo to the south above Capileira.

We leave Lanjarón at seven in the morning from the petrol station, arriving at the Hoya del Portillo above Capileira, where no vehicles can  continue at 8am. From this point begins a trek of more than four hours to the summit of Mulhacen, the highest point in mainland Spain.

Continuing along the trail we reached the Mirador de Trevélez, indicated by a sign. We can peek down to see these alpujarreño people at our feet. After the Mirador, we reached the Alta de Chorrillo, from where leaves a track to the left to the Refugio Poqueira. We follow the main track, a little further and take a track on the right, the remains of the old track up to Mulhacén

We take various shortcuts up the trail. To the left of it the marvellous vista of the Caldera, Mulhacén River Valley, Loma Pelada, Rio Seco, Cerro de los Machos, Veleta and Tajo de los Machos .

Once on top we see a vast panorama, including the coast of Africa, much of the Andalusian mountains. At our feet to the north and under the impressive face the Mulhacén , you see the pass of the Mosca and the entire upper basin of the Genil. To the east we see the valley of  Siete Lagunas, of which Laguna Hondera is the only one to be seen. The Alcazaba and the entire eastern Sierra Nevada chain to it’s end in Almeria. For the west and in the foreground we see the Laguna de Caldera, and after this the Cerro de los Machos and Veleta. Also, along the top, we can see the remains of the buildings that were used to perform geodetic link between Spain and Morocco in the last century.

The way return is back down the steep west face of Mulhacén looking for Hoya de La Caldera, to cross before getting there with the old road coming from the ski resort from the Carihuela, to turn left, direction back up to the Alto del Chorrillo.

Read more from Pepe Badaje at his blog (in spanish). Also videos and more photos from the trip.



Loma Pelada provides a great viewpoint for the winter Sierra Nevada

Loma Pelada is often traversed, especially in the summer months as a way to get from Veleta to Mulhacen. Yet the path passes between the two summit peaks and consequently they are rarely visited. This is a shame, as the more northerly summit provides outstanding views of the majestic northern faces of the Sierra Nevada.

Climbing the final slopes to the summit. Raspones behind

Climbing the final slopes to the summit. Raspones behind

The mountain is perched on the main ridge just to the west of the dramatic Laguna de la Caldera. The higher southerly summit of the mountain rises to 3181 metres and tops the northern peak by a mere 3 metres. Make the 5 minute walk to the north though because the view and situation is well worth it and deserved.

The jagged Raspones and Veleta from the summit

The jagged Raspones and Veleta from the summit

In winter the snow and ice lines drop abruptly towards the Laguna la Larga, a delightful spot for a summer camp, but rather unforgiving in the winter time. Cerro de los Machos and the giants of Mulhacen and Alcazaba look spectacular. The loose summer ridge to Puntal de la Caldera is arguably more enjoyable in the winter, when the frosts hold the rocks in place.

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To the south west the long line of the Raspones holds the eye. What a place for winter gully exploration, as you tell from the accompanying photograph. Funny how a modest climb to an much by-passed and neglected peak can be so much fun!

The chaotic mass south of Raspones

The chaotic mass south of Raspones

Loma Pelada's 2 summits with Cerro de los Machos and Veleta behind

Loma Pelada’s 2 summits with Cerro de los Machos and Veleta behind

This winter Spanish Highs Mountain Guides will again be offering a wide range of winter mountain sports holidays for the seasoned mountaineer and for the Family Holiday. Mountaineering courses, ski touring and snowshoeing in forests from January until May.