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A Charity Challenge from the Mediterranean Sea to the summit of Mulhacen in under 24 hours on 21st April 2018 by Nick Cranham of Spanish Highs Now, Nick Cranham is a pretty tough guy and is used to difficult and arduous challenges. But on 21st April 2018 he will attempt possibly his greatest challenge yet. A walk from the Mediterranean Sea at La Rábita northwards to Albuñol, over the Sierra de Contraviesa to Lobras and Juviles in La Alpujarra, before climbing up to the summit of Mulhacén, at 3482m the highest point in mainland Spain via Siete Lagunas.
Join us on one of our winter skills mountaineering courses in the high, snow sure Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain Learn basic use of ice axe and crampons, simple winter belaying and alpine skills to give you the necessary confidence to go off and enjoy the winters mountains.
We have been running these winter skills mountaineering courses here in Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains successfully since 2003. In that time we have helped hundreds of hill walkers and scramblers to take their first steps in becoming winter mountaineers and budding alpinists.
Spanish Highs have teamed up with writer Chris Stewart & delightful accommodation at Casa Ana to bring guided walking holidays in the Alpujarras The holiday The Alpujarra is one of Spain’s most spectacular and unspoilt walking areas, with hikes in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and rambles through the meadows, orchards and white villages.
The holiday is based at CASA ANA, a gem of a guest house on the edge of Ferreirola, with magnificent views of the Trevelez river gorge.
Spanish Highs guide Jens Foell recently fulfilled a dream, that of climbing the incredible “Half Dome” in Yosemite National Park Our guides here in the Sierra Nevada are always looking to increase experience and expertise. Thanks to Spanish Highs guide Jens Foell for this report about his recent fulfilling of a dream, that of climbing the incredible “Half Dome” in Yosemite National Park
‘A dramatic setting with clean and exposed climbing qualifies Snake Dike as one of the most glorious moderate climbs on the planet.
Here are the steps I took to reduce my normal 23kg mountain expedition backpack weight pack down to under 18kg This post has been brought on by necessity. An ageing body means less ability to cope with the increasing rigours of the trail. Therefore reducing rucksack weight for multi day backpacking trips seems a logical step to take. It isn’t as if I have neglected weight over the past 40 years of my mountain life.
Chris Stewart will undertake the mammoth task of walking the Sierra Nevada “Integral de los Tres Miles” in June to raise much needed funding for Acompalia Vice President of the charity Acompalia, Chris Stewart, alongside Contraviesa farmer, Nick Cranham and London based Physiotherapist, Glenn, will undertake the mammoth task of walking the Sierra Nevada “Integral de los Tres Miles” in June to raise much needed funding. Spanish Highs are supporting this project and they ask you to sponsor the charity generously.
In August 2011 we followed a call via Facebook to come to the Refugio Caballo at 3000m in the Sierra Nevada. The aim was to clean the refuge and repair the door and window. There were three of us. We met the mules at the Ventura trailhead at first light. Loaded down with a few bags of cement, an old chestnut wood window and various tools we made the ascent to the refuge.
After 5 long multi-day trekking tours in the Sierra Nevada in the past 2 months we have had plenty of time to test our Foxwatch Anti Fox Deterrent. But how did it perform? Background Foxes are becoming more and more of a nuisance here. Increased incidence of tents being ripped and food being stolen. For background to some of the problems read our previous reports over the past few years
The legend of Moorish Sultan, Moulay Abu al-Hasan who was buried at the highest point in his empire Guest writer Alison Edwards relates the legend of Moorish Sultan, Moulay Abu al-Hasan who was buried at the highest point in his empire. Hence Mulhacén (3481m) bears his name and it’s said hold his guiding spirit.
About 60 years ago a bunch of guys were here for a week of snowshoeing and climbing.
In May we entertained best selling UK outdoor magazine, Trail. They had never visited the Sierra Nevada. Guess what? They loved it What could we show them in just 2.5 days in the Sierra Nevada though? We didn’t want to show them the usual busy slopes of Mulhacén or Veleta. Wild and remote, with plenty of variety seemed to fit the bill. We decided and completed the following itinerary.
Describes a 3 day trek between Bayárcal and Trevelez on the long distance path, the “Sulayr”, around Spain’s Sierra Nevada National Park Thanks to Ian Tupman (and Meg of course!) for the following report detailing their experiences._
N.B Spanish Highs support sections of this route either guided or self guided.
The marker post that would be our 'wayside companion' for three days Our border collie, Meg, is now fourteen months old.
The Sierra Nevada can be used by trekkers and mountaineers training for high mountain challenges such as Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc or Aconcagua. Sports professionals have long used the Sierra Nevada in Spain for altitude training. However it is also used by trekkers and mountaineers training for high mountain challenges such as Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc or Aconcagua.
As there are some 27 points above the magical 3000m level there is plenty of opportunity to gain acclimatisation in preparation for your trip.
In April 2013 we join a team led by British snowboarder Julia Pickering to climb and snowboard the largest active volcano in Kamchatka and the Northern Hemisphere In April 2013, Richard Hartley and Kiersten Rowland of Spanish Highs Mountain Guides are to join a team led by British snowboarder/mountaineer Julia Pickering attempting to become the first people to climb and snowboard down the largest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere, Kamchatka in far eastern Russia.
Twice I have been privileged to stand in awe, beneath one of the most natural cathedrals our mountain environments can provide. This is the Cirque de las Altares in southern Patagonia The Cirque is to be found on the western side of the Cerro Torre massif, at the eastern edge of the great southern icecap which stretches 300 miles long and 50 miles wide between Argentina and Chile. In fact this is the largest piece of ice outside the polar regions.
Want a good, quick access route to the northern Sierra Nevada mountains? Suggest you try out the Loma de Papeles route to the superbly situated Refugio Peña Partida We recently revisited this old favorite as part of a search to see the rare Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture). It is a simple, pleasant walk along a gentle ridgeline with superlative views towards the northern faces of the Sierra Nevada including the big 3, namely Mulhacén, Veleta and Alcazaba.
Images of Spain’s Sierra Nevada as seen from space, stitched together with landmarks and mountains identified. I quite often browse my favourite places on earth using that wonderful online resource Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. “The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.” Recently I came across 3 photos of the mountains of the Sierra Nevada that I hadn’t seen before. I decided to download, stitch together and try to identify known landmarks and mountains.
Update on the state of the refuges, huts and shelters in the Sierra Nevada, Spain. This post was first published in March 2009. It has now been updated to give the definitive state of the mountain huts and shelters.
Please note the ongoing work of Acción Sierra Nevada who have created a platform to restore and rejuvenate the refugios. Spanish Highs, Sierra Nevada have been working very closely with the initiative.
Until the end of April be careful with the processionary caterpillar when in areas of pine forest in the Sierra Nevada. Can be a danger to you and your pets These pests are cyclical and every three or four years, reach a maximum. Processionary caterpillars eat the leaves of the pines. These parasites leave the pine caterpillars just before end it. Although affected trees may seem dry, they are in fact dying.
An open letter to the mindless, thoughtless, “people” who litter, defacate and ultimately ruin our glorious mountain refuge heritages here in Spain’s Sierra Nevada To all you mountaingoers out there who read this. A plea from the heart! When you stay at any unguarded refuge in the Sierra Nevada would you kindly:
Leave no trace Please take all your litter away with you. This is simple. Easy.
As the dawn on a new year breaks it’s a good time to reflect on the past 12 months. 2011 has been unforgettable in so many ways There were ups and downs, of course (it is the mountains after all…..ha ha!), but experiences in the Sierra Nevada and Patagonia have shown me some insights I thought I’d share with you.
1. You can make a difference to your world no matter how small it seems!
Acción Sierra Nevada has emerged as a credible independent platform for improving and conserving the Sierra Nevada mountain environment. The latest venture saw 26 people taking part in completing phase 2 of the restoration work on the Refugio de Caballo with the installation of a new door.
Teams carry materials w flank Cerro de Caballo It’s funny how things develop. In the summer Pepe Badaje, Jesús Labajo Yuste of Campo Base, myself, together with muleteers, Toni and Jonni (not forgetting Pepito the mule!
Becoming snowblind is one of the most debilitating hazards of being in the high mountains. This article relates my own personal experience on the Patagonian Icecap with this painful condition. I am not a medical expert and haven’t read up on all the facts, so if you want the medical stuff then do a Google Search. I relate below only my own experience.
Snowblind. Not a pretty sight! I guess after spending over 40 years walking in the mountains I’ve been lucky not to have contracted snowblindness before.
Ian Tupman describes a challenging walk from the coast at Salobrena to the lofty summit of Mulhacen, highest summit in Spain. He has also supplied a great slideshow illustrating his walk. Background The Sierra Nevada as seen from the beaches of the Costa Tropical On two occasions I had driven from Salobreña on the coast to Trevélez at 1,500m in the hope of summiting Mulhacén in a one day trip.
In the past week we have been helping to restore the Refugio de Caballo, at nearly 3000m in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, Spain. It’s been very hard work, but it has allowed us to give something back to the mountains that have given us so much over the years.
Magical! The refuge and lake in winter The refuge is in a superb situation below the 3009m summit of the Cerro de Caballo, above the Alpujarras town of Lanjarón, and adjacent to the lake of the same name.
Came across the Silver Studded Blue Butterfly on the slopes of Mulhacen at 2600m this week This beautiful butterfly rests on the branches at dusk and makes for a perfect photo opportunity against the fading light.
Latin name: Plebejus argus subsp hypochiona
Distribution is throughout the whole of Spain. You can see in the Sierra Nevada during the months of June, July and August.
Habitat: Prefers grassland or forest edge.
Tajos Altos is a somewhat reclusive mountain in the Sierra Nevada but it is in fact a superb mountain in it’s own right From the west of the Sierras and the Vega of Granada Tajos Altos is just a small lump on a long, seemingly flat ridge. From the north and south it is prominent, but often mistaken for Veleta, the Pico del Cartujo or some other more well known peak.
The unguarded Villavientos refuge is situated at 3040m on the southern slopes of Loma Pelada in the Sierra Nevada It lies between the jagged ridge of the Raspones del Rio Seco and Mulhacen. Useful as a base for mountaineering, trekking or when the Caldera hut is full.
It is a small refuge shelter but sleeps 10-12 persons and is in a great condition (see photos). Owned by the former Reserva Nacional de Caza it is of brick construction with a flat roof.
Report from Trevor Hartley detailing encounters with our Sierra Nevada foxes over a four night period and suggests how you should deal with the problem of fox related attacks Trevor writes………………..
Spanish foxes – at least in the Sierra Nevada – are not like English foxes. If you are camping out, they will come at night to take your food. They put their heads under the side of your tent and grab anything they can find.
Don’t head into the mountains of the Sierra Nevada thinking that you will always be able to rely on mobile cell phone coverage for messages, help There are only certain areas that will receive a signal. We tend to use and rely on sat phones or Spot Messengers for communication during our 5 day trek covering the main ridge of the Sierra Nevada.
I have made some notes intended to help walkers, trekkers and mountaineers heading into the mountains.
In 1866, an English explorer, member of the Alpine Club of London, John Ormsby, came to visit the Sierra Nevada, the Alpujarra and my home town of Lanjarón In March 1867 he read his report before the Alpine Club and its magazine, The Alpine Journal, was then published in full. This included a basic map, which just marked the most important peaks, rivers and major towns of La Alpujarra.
Windchill is a factor we take into account when we visit the high Sierra Nevada. We ignore it at our peril. A 32km hour wind at 0 degrees centigrade gives an effective -12.5 degree “feel” to the temperature. The chart below will help in ascertaining the dangers.
Most likely from December to February each year, we can get -10 degree temperatures at 3000m on Mulhacen with winds of 56km per hour.
Report from Martin Kuster who had his mountaineering trip ruined not only by the poor weather, but also by a series of fox attacks We have been reporting an increasing number of fox related attacks on campsites in the Sierra Nevada for some years. The incidence usually decreases in the middle of winter when the pesky critters drop below the snowline in search of food. This year however they are remaining on the high ground and becoming braver in their approaches.
Our own personal recommendations and help for mountaineers, trekkers and travellers visiting the town of El Chalten in southern Patagonia The town of El Chalten comes as a pleasant surprise. It is tucked away between some rock walls north west of the magnificent Lago Viedma in the Santa Cruz province of Argentina. It has a clean and frontier feel to it and the people are genuinely warm, friendly and helpful.
Here in southern Spain’s Alpujarras we have been enjoying the relatively unknown delights of an fascinating little peak called Giralda. The highest mountains sometimes fail to live up to their status, whilst some relatively unknown peaks turn out to be lesser in height only. Here in southern Spain’s Alpujarras, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, we have for some years now been enjoying the delights of an fascinating little peak called Giralda.
A insight into why the high mountain shelters of the upper Rio Lanjaron valley of the Sierra Nevada were originally constructed. Construction of mountain shelters on the slopes of Sierra Nevada was begun in the sixteenth century after a slow but progressive deforestation, which lasted until the early twentieth century. This situation was regrettable.
The Elorrieta hut June 2010 In 1916 Fernando Baró was informed of the situation: “In the Sierra Nevada the forests provide a framework for the alpine meadow, take away the naked landscape and prevent rain waters deepening precipitous ravines and carrying stones and gravel to Padul and Dúrcal.
Report of scrambling and climbing along the wonderful Cavall Bernat ridge in Mallorca, probably the best high class ridge scramble in the med! sunrise-cavell-bernat-ridge-mallorca The heat of the day necessitated a pre dawn start from Cala San Vicente. We made our way up to the first peak heading north west from the Siller Pass. The cloud cover and light showers began to disperse and the rising sun gave the sky marvellous warm tinges.
A first experience of being in a pistebasher when I joined my friends night shift in the Sierra Nevada During the long hot summer one yearns for the cooler temperatures of winter. I came across some photos today reminding me of the night I spent on a pistebasher at the Sierra Nevada ski station.
Veleta from the high road Jose, my mate from Lanjarón, collected me at 4pm.
In Mallorca combine some amazing mountain and gorge scrambling with opportunities for great walking, scrambling and birdwatching. Combined with the mountain and sea backdrops it is a potent mix. The mountains of Mallorca are beckoning and we are set to visit again in September. The week long trip will combine some amazing mountain and gorge scrambling with opportunities to see the black vultures and eleonoras falcons, rare on mainland Spain.
Advice regarding appropriate insurance for mountain rescue services in the Sierra Nevada The recent statement from the spanish government that they intend to charge for rescue services, if it is found that the rescued were “negligent” (whatever that means?), brings into question the increased need for insurance cover. See https://www.spanishhighs.co.uk/articles/post/paying-rescue-sierra-nevada-negligence/ for further details.
If coming out to visit the Sierra Nevada as part of our mountaineering, trekking, skiing or walking activity holidays, relevant insurances should be obtained.
Chiz Dakin gives advice about high level trekking Los Tres Miles, Sierra Nevada, Spain The following detailed report is by Chiz Dakin of Peak Images. She joined us on one of our 5 day Los Tres Miles, 3000m peak traverses, in the Sierra Nevada. It provided interesting reading and a good summary of this adventurous trek for those interested in following in her footsteps.
Chiz Dakin is an award-winning professional photographer and guidebook writer, who specialises in landscape, outdoors adventure and travel photography
Some of the movies and film locations in the desert scenery around Tabernas in Almeria “Walking in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood”
There is no doubt that the scenery around Tabernas in Almeria is dramatic. We have been running Walking Tours in the Tabernas Desert for many years now and the views never fail to inspire.
Sergio Leone and the Spaghetti Western crews realised this too, and from the 1960’s onwards, the deserts have been used for such film materpieces as “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, “Fistful of Dollars”, “For a Few Dollars More” and “Shalako” amongst others.
More fox related incidents bothering trekkers in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, Spain A year ago we wrote an article about fox related incidents involving clients in the Sierra Nevada. The situation has worsened in the past year. They have spread outwards and now occur further afield from the normal Veleta/Mulhacen tourist tracks. Indeed they are getting braver and becoming more and more of a nuisance.
Here is what Leigh Richie had to say in April 2009 …………….
Report from Jane Fields on her experiences on the Patagonian Icefield Expedition in 2010 Patagonia Icefield Expeditions
Day 1 Rolling across the Patagonian Steppe on un-surfaced roads on a crowded bus was how this journey began. Nothing for miles but open grassland and hills on the horizon. My daydreams were interrupted by a stop at an Inn in the middle of nowhere where we were treated to coffee and delicious home-made cakes.
Robert Sharp describes his experiences on Los Tres Miles Integral trek in the Sierra Nevada, Spain So there we were, loaded up with 5 days of equipment and food. Richard, of Spanish Highs Mountain Guides, dropped us off at the trailhead near the Ventura Hut at 2250m above the town of Lanjaron in the Alpujarra region of Andalucia, Spain.
The skies were blue and clear as we made our way onwards.