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Tips on how to reduce the backpack weight for likely summer trekking conditions in Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains Article written by Richard Hartley, founder of Spanish Highs, Sierra Nevada and author of the Cicerone Guidebook Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada
As the years have passed and the legs and body feel the pace of romping up and down hills, I have been travelling down the road to the elusive “Lightweight Backpack” system.
Describes a superb 2 or 3 day quiet and unknown trekking route up the eastern side of Mulhacen mountain from Trevelez village in the Alpujarras Background and Summary We were a group of 3. Myself (Richard Hartley of Spanish Highs with two often returning clients, Laurie and Dexter. They are both experienced mountaineers but, like myself, are getting on in years. Laurie the eldest is nearing 70 but bad health has meant his recent mountain trips have had to be curtailed somewhat.
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.
Trip report in the Sierra Nevada from 2nd to 7th August 2017 Words and photos courtesy of Jennifer Stott
Day 1 – Day of most ascent (1,730 metres) I set off from LOMA DE LOS CUARTOS. Immediately I was feeling the heat and altitude, which was making my 12Kg bag feel a lot heavier! I headed East (away from my final destination), to extend the suggested route. I walked off the path, and down into 3x valleys, where I stopped to dip my already hot feet in a stream.
Trekkers and Scramblers! ….. escape the heat this summer and head for the hills of the high Sierra Nevada mountains With the onset of June winter relents, snow melts and the high Sierra Nevada mountains cease to be the domain of winter mountaineers. Now trekkers and scramblers can escape the heat of the baking Granada plains and costas and head for the fresh cool air of the mountains!
This is a magic place for Trekking and Scrambling with lot’s of great mountains adventures for the experienced through to the beginner.
Report and photos from a visit to a relatively unknown but wild and remote area of the Sierra Nevada Many thanks to guest writer Ian Tupman for this report and photos from a visit to a relatively unknown but wild and remote area of the Sierra Nevada
In September 2013 I paid my first visit to the Refugio Horcajo with the purpose of firstly locating it, and secondly to check its condition for possible future use.
Report of a day walk in the Sierra Nevada peaks encircling the Rio Chico above Lanjarón, including Cerrillo Redondo and Tajos de los Machos Thanks to guest writer, Ian Tupman for this report of his day walk in the Sierra Nevada peaks encircling the Rio Chico above Lanjarón, including Cerrillo Redondo and Tajos de los Machos.
The 5th to the 8th of December this year has been a “puente”, a Spanish holiday celebrating both the new constitution in 1978 and the immaculate conception, several years earlier.
The Sierra Nevada in summer can provide high quality trekking for self guided groups Here’s a few tips sent in by John Halstead who’s group attempted the “Tres Miles Integral” last summer. _
The Plan: Our party of four (average age 60) planned to do the whole route from the Loma de los Cuartos travelleing SW. At the last minute we decided to reverse our route on advice from Richard as there was a car rally taking place in the area which closed the roads leading N out of Lanjaron.
We recently supported 201 Field Hospital on “Sierra Nevada Tres Miles Integral” 201 Field Hospital on Twitter
“On 05 September 2015 a team from 201 Field Hospital embarked on Exercise Northern Brighella. Adventurous Training (AT) is an integral part of Military Training and greatly valued at 201 Field Hospital. The definition of AT is ‘Challenging outdoor training for Service Personnel in specified adventurous activities that incorporates controlled exposure to risk, in order to develop: leadership, teamwork, physical fitness, moral and physical courage; as well as other personal attributes and skills that are vital to the delivery of Operational Capability’ www.
A linear walk in the Sierra Nevada alongside the Rio Trevélez to the junction with the Rio Juntillas and then a steep climb up to the delightful Refugio Horcajo set in a stunning location amid high peaks. Although I had walked down the Rio Trevelez from the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada on numerous occasions, I had never visited the Refugio Horcajo, which sits on a little plateau next to a small river at approx 2220m.
A superb trekking challenge! 36km high mountain terrain, 2275m ascent over 3 days, 3 highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada, wild camping Overnight in incredibly wild and natural mountain lakeside locations. Ideal trek for hikers and trekkers wanting to “get away from it all”!
Our spanish 3 peak “wild camping” challenge will consist of summiting Alcazaba 3,371m, Veleta 3,394m and finally Spain’s highest - Mulhacén 3,482m. The mountain range is the second highest in Europe after the Alps and includes 15 peaks higher than 3,000m.
If you only have a couple of days to spend in the Sierra Nevada and you enjoy wild camping, then this may be the trip for you. A good walk in wild and dramatic scenery where few others will be seen! Also includes the park rules and regulations regarding a wild camp.
Many thanks to Ian Tupman for this guest post
Pretty scary eh? Our starting point is the Central Eléctrica (power station) at La Cebadilla which is at 1,600m and is reached by a driveable track from above the village of Capileira.
Combining the Sulayr GR240 trek with the higher regions of the Sierra Nevada can provide for a interesting walking and hiking holiday. Here is a report sent in about one such self guided trek.
The first three days of our trip we took the sulayr route (roughly stages 4 – 6). That was generally relatively easy walking, although the climb from Lanjaron to the Sulayr trail (well marked and clear trail) didn’t really allow for an easy start.
A two day trek for the adventurous hiker over some of the roughest and highest parts of Spain’s Sierra Nevada, including Mulhacén and Alcazaba. Spanish Highs’ self stated mission to “Inspire The Adventure” means that we are really at our happiest when we are taking clients to new areas and trekking different routes, far away from the masses on the summer trade routes. Whilst others prefer to slog away on the regular routes accompanied by fellow bus passengers we prefer the solitude of the “real” Sierra Nevada.
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.
A multi day trek over the high Sierra Nevada from Lanjarón to Trevélez taking in the main peaks and some surprisingly interesting diversions en route The trek started as normal from the south near the Ventura trailhead above the spa town of Lanjarón in the Alpujarras (4WD required). First night was camp was by the superbly situated Refugio de Caballo alongside the laguna of the same name. A spectacular sunrise was followed by a short ascent to the summit of the Cerro de Caballo (3009m), the Sierra Nevada’s most southerly 3000m peak.
A report sent in by Dominic Durose who did a solo traverse of “Los Tres Miles” ridge in the Sierra Nevada at the beginning of October After an inauspicious start due to bad weather, leaky refuges and foxes the remainder of the trip was completed in glorious mountain weather.
Summit of Veleta Had a brilliant time completing Los Tres Miles. I got a little behind schedule on the first day due to a late start and the altitude making the uphill pull slow going.
A traverse of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains taking in as many as possible of the 3,000+ metre peaks (Tres Miles) that I hadn’t already climbed ‘Inspiring The Adventure’, proclaims Spanish Highs’ blog. And it was reading some of their recent trip reports and looking at photographs on their website that inspired MY latest adventure: a traverse of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains taking in as many as possible of the 3,000+ metre peaks (Tres Miles) that I hadn’t already climbed.
A little known, but spectacular track the hugs the northern slopes of Spain’s Sierra Nevada between the main peaks of Veleta and Mulhacén The start of the track is on the northern flanks of Veleta above the Sierra Nevada ski station, at “Los Posiciones del Veleta”. This can be reached by short walk from the Veleta Chairlift (July and August only) or by autobus from Hoya de la Mora (Albergue de Granada).
An itinerary for a group mountain walking holiday in the cool and pleasant air of Spain’s Sierra Nevada We had a request for a Group Walking Holiday itinerary. In Spain? In summer? This took some working out as the only place to enjoy the hiking would be in the cool and pleasant air above 2000m. This in turn meant that the Sierra Nevada in Andalucia would be the only realistic location, with over 20 peaks topping 3000m in height.
William and Jolanda wanted to escape civilisation, people, phones and busy jobs. With plenty of snow still remaining an 8 day trek in the Sierra Nevada seemed as good a way as any. To avoid the busy (relatively speaking) areas around Mulhacén and Veleta we split the 8 days into 2 treks of 4 days each.
The first 4 days would be spent exploring the remote and quiet northerly 3000m mountains.
Describes an overnight camp on the summit of Spain’s highest mountain, Mulhacén, with a spectacular sunset and sunrise An overnight camp on the summit of Spain’s highest mountain, Mulhacén (3482m), in which the most spectacular sunset and sunrise were observed.
A report from Richard Hartley of Spanish Highs, Sierra Nevada
I quite like going “against the grain”. Ascending a mountain when everybody else is coming down (or descending a mountain before anybody else is going up for that matter!
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.
Ryan and Emma did a self guided 5 day trip in the Sierra Nevada, starting at Guejar Sierra, crossing Mulhacén and dropping down to the Alpujarras Although this is southern Spain the Sierra Nevada should never be underestimated. We supported . They sent us in this interesting report of their experiences. As Ryan states …
The experience was big, but the mountain was bigger! Start point at Guejar Sierra “I hadn’t really left after a sixteen hour day-walk around Guejar Sierra’s (GS) extended into darkness of the short autumn days.
Take a remote refuge with superlative mountain views, a few good friends, tasty food, a wee dram (or two) and a reason to celebrate and you have the makings of a birthday to remember Last week we tried it out in the Sierra Nevada mountains of southern Spain. Our friend David Thomas wanted a 50th birthday party with a difference so we headed up to a high trailhead above the town of Güéjar Sierra, just east of Granada.
Guide, Jens Foell ascends the highest mountain in mainland Spain in poor weather conditions The weather forecast was looking pretty bad. Rain, rain, and yet more rain for the whole week. But Xavier Wang had come all the way from Singapore to climb Mulhacen, at 3482m the highest peak in mainland Spain. So we set off regardless, knowing we were in for a battle with the elements, and walked up to the Refugio Poqueira along the Acequia Alta.
Our day trek in the Tabernas desert badlands of Almeria turned into a very hot walk indeed Sometimes you can get caught out by the weather, normally bad weather. But this time the weather was good, too good! Our day trek in the Tabernas desert badlands of Almeria turned into a very hot walk indeed.
Spectacular desert badlands scenery, Tabernas Due to the heat we don’t normally visit the deserts from mid-June to mid-September.
The Paso de los Guias is a spectacular shortcut path cutting through a rockface in the Sierra Nevada and requiring a good steady head for heights Links the Refugio Cariguela south of Veleta to the Paso de los Machos. It provides a quick by pass of the main track, cutting off a substantial zig zag in the old track, saving 15 minutes walking. Starts at a cairn at the first right bend below the Refugio de Cariguela if going west to east.
A quality day trek to the summit of Alcazaba for those with a spirit of adventure and a head for heights As Alcazaba (the “Fortress”) is nearly surrounded by cliffs most trekkers take the simplest route from the South East. For those with a spirit of adventure and a head for heights there are better routes. We revisited a route last week that makes a quality day’s trekking to the summit of this fine peak.
Report of May 2012 trek in the Sierra Nevada covering all the major peaks including the rarely climbed Juego de Bolos and Puntal de la Caldera Full and interesting report from guest writer, Yvonne Holland, who returned to the Sierra Nevada in May 2012 to do a trek from Trevélez to Lanjarón, covering all the major peaks of the Sierra Nevada between the two villages, including the rarely climbed Juego de Bolos and Puntal de la Caldera.
A report from guest writer Ian Tupman about a first time visit to the Refugio Elorrieta in Spains Sierra Nevada mountains. “This summer, Acción Sierra Nevada intends to undertake significant repairs to the Elorrieta refuge to render parts of it secure and weathertight so that it can be used more by the mountain community here. Having read and heard so much about this place over recent months, I thought it was about time I went to see why it has been singled out for attention.
Caught by a blizzard our group took shelter in the Refugio de Caballo for 2 extra nights. The lack of mobile phone signal showing the importance of satellite communication alternatives to keep contact. The Plan On Friday the Sierra Nevada looked stunning. Javier and Jim set out from the Ventura trailhead above Lanjarón to ascend to the Refugio de Caballo.
From there they would make for the Refugio Elorrieta for the second night, before dropping down the Rio Lanjarón valley and a return on the Sunday evening.
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.
The ascent of Mulhacen, highest peak in mainland Spain can be done in a long day in the summer. But how can you make the round trip more interesting by traversing the mountain and not covering the same ground twice? From the Alpujarras to the south the ascent of Mulhacen, highest peak in mainland Spain can be done in a long day in the summer. But how can you make the round trip more interesting by traversing the mountain and not covering the same ground twice?
It’s always great when your mountain adventures can be accompanied by a four legged friend. I took my husky, Khumbu on a trek into the Sierra Nevada We camped in the upper Lanjaron valley by streams and under a spectacular night sky. This was to be his first overnight trip. My lightweight summer backpack felt strangely heavy, weighed down by the additional items such as dog food, extra water and a various assortment of chains, leads, slings and karabiners, in a vain attempt to control a huskies instincts for freedom.
When we approached Mulhacen summit, the sun broke through the horizon. All the hard effort and discomfort seemed worthwhile. We were at the highest point in mainland Spain A one am start from Lanjaron, an hours drive to the trailhead, followed by 5 hours trudge uphill through the night might not seem the best way to climb a mountain. But when we approached the summit and the sun broke through the horizon, all the hard effort and discomfort seemed well worthwhile.
A two day high level July trek in Spain’s Sierra Nevada, from the ski centre in the north to Lanjaron in the south camping by a high mountain lake overnight Max and the Cerro de Caballo The high (2500m) access point at the Hoya de la Mora makes a convenient starting point for this two day trek. Unfortunately one has to spend the first hour passing through the summer debris of the ski resort pistes, but thereafter this is a wonderful high level trek.
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.
Kiersten Rowland describes a 2 day trek camping by high mountain lakes and enjoying some of the wildest scenery and nature that the Sierra Nevada National Park has to offer Bivouac site at Siete Lagunas Our plan was to be in the mountains for 3 days and walk from the rangers station at Hoya de Portillo above Capileira to Jerez de Marsquesado, a crossing of an area of the Sierra Nevada that Jane and I had not been to before.
The following report has been sent in by guest writer, Muhz Ham, after sampling a June day in the high Sierra Nevada snows In Fred Zinneman’s 1984 film “5 days one Summer”, Sean Connery plays the part of a pre-war climber in the Alps. Driven by a burning desire to conquer peaks (and, it must be said, to pursue his affair with his niece) he pushes onwards and upwards, as it were, regardless of the dangers.
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.
James Jackson took Spanish Highs faithful hound, Max, on a night ascent of Mulhacen, the highest mountain in Spain. Normally this is a glorious trip seeing in the new day. But, rather than seeing the spectacular morning sunrise they had hoped for, they were met with a full on snow blizzard above 3000m. Nothing like we reported in our article “Brilliant sunrise following night ascent of Mulhacen” some time ago.
We spent a cold night in the ruins of the relatively unknown Cebollar Refugio 2500m in the heart of the Sierra Nevada The Cebollar hut with Cerrillo Redondo behind High in the Rio Chico valley above Orgiva in the Alpujarras lies the ruins of the Refugio Cebollar. Access is normally via either the forest area at Puente Palo (1700m) or via the high track to La Pluca above the western side of Capileira.
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.
There are some ingenious ways across the steep north west flank of Alcazaba in Spain’s Sierra Nevada Rough and narrow tracks cross steep ground but provide rapid ways between the north side of Alcazaba and Laguna de la Mosca at the foot of Mulhacens north face. This saves the long detour east round the eastern buttresses of Alcazaba and Mulhacen via Siete Lagunas.
The photo below is taken in winter but the snow outlines better the summer routes to follow from the Puntal de Goteron across the face.
Describes a multi day trek over the highest parts of Spain taking in the highest peak, Mulhacen and the remote and quiet fortress of Alcazaba The route up the south ridge of Mulhacen from the Hoya del Portillo may not be the most exciting in the world but at least it gives a high start point. An early start meant the 8 of us avoided the searing heat of the lower Alpujarras and we had the cool of the morning for the ascent.
Water sources in the Sierra Nevada from where can you obtain reliable drinking water when trekking this summer Describes the sources from where can you obtain reliable water when walking in the high peaks this summer or when trying to complete “Los Tres Miles” 5 day traverse of the main ridge.
Laguna Cuadrada Water shouldn’t really be a problem after the wet winter just past, but the following should be a reliable guide even in the driest years.
Clive Fenn embarks on a 14 hour mega day walking around the head of the Lanjaron valley with 2000m ascent and 3000m descent! When we dropped Clive Fenn, off at a high trailhead at 9 in the morning we didn’t expect him back for 2 or 3 days. Certainly didn’t expect him to stagger, totally spent, into our house at 11pm that same night, after a mega tough 14 hour walking day in the Sierras, including about 2000m of ascent and 3000m of descent!
The Cumbres Verdes just SE of Granada offers so much good walking especially for those with an exploratory and adventurous nature Since we started visiting this fascinating walking and trekking location near Granada in 1998, we have seen a rise in the popularity of peaks such as the magnificent Trevenque (2079m). However, there is so much more than the normal routes of ascent to offer for those with an exploratory and adventurous nature.
Scrambling ridge traverse in the Sierra Nevada of Puntal de la Caldera from west to east The attractive peak of the Puntal de la Caldera (3223m) with the Laguna de la Caldera nestling at it’s feet makes a spectacular setting. Many times in winter during Alpine Winter Skills Training courses we have sat atop it’s narrow summit after ascended via it’s east ridge from the Collado del Ciervo. A fine route, much better and more interesting, in my opinion, than the higher, bulky form of Mulhacen (3482m) to it’s immediate east.
Volker Krenz reports on his experiences on a 4 day high level trek climbing peaks in the Sierra Nevada The following trip report was sent in by Volker Krenz after a 4 day trek in the Sierra Nevada covering “Los Tres Miles”. This is a wonderful high altitude trek covering the major 3000m peaks in the range. We supported him in his self guided trek by dropping him off at high trailheads above Lanjaron.
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
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 …………….
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.