Skip to content
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.
Video from Ian Tupman of an ascent of the Espolón de Alcazaba in Spain’s Sierra Nevada A great scrambling route for the experienced mountaineer.
Sierra Nevada infographic on the high peaks which includes the top ten ascents by height Sierra Nevada infographic on the high peaks which includes the top ten ascents by height.
Added are “normal year” snow seasons and how to deal with altitude sickness whilst visiting the Sierra Nevada national park. Our most popular mountain activities and a few facts thrown in.
Sierra Nevada High Peaks Infographic
An exhilarating 2 minute ride down Europe’s most southerly 3000m mountain, the Cerro de Caballo (3009m) in Spain’s Sierra Nevada More info about the ski touring potential here at http://spanishhighs.co.uk/ski-touring-sierra-nevada.php
Filmed by Jens Foell of Spanish Highs
Prefer the wide open, quiet and remote mountains? This is my kind of backcountry ski touring in the Sierra Nevada! Let’s face it, most of us are not daredevil skiers. We don’t really want to be hurtling down some ridiculously steep slope chased by an avalanche! Yes we want to be tested, be prefer the wide open, quiet and remote mountains where the only noise is the sound of skins gliding across the snows as we ascend to our peak.
Report and video of climbing the Canuto Norte de Veleta, one of the classic mountaineering routes (AD) in the Sierra Nevada. Grade - Winter – AD (50º) (AD- in good conditions with footsteps to follow!)
Approach Access for the next few routes all leave the Hoya de la Mora and ascend the broad NNW slopes of Veleta. Pass either side of the statue, “Virgen de las Nieves” and L of the chairlift station “Telesilla de la Virgin”.
After fresh snows the Snowshoeing in the Alpujarras region of Andalucia is a superb experience With the first major snows of the year falling over Christmas it gave Ian Tupman chance to get his snowshoes out of the cupboard and enjoy the delights of a section of the GR240 Sulayr long distance path above Capileira.
Easy access in four wheel drive vehicle to the Hoya del Portillo, above the Alpujarras village of Capileira.
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.
I had stood on the Tozal del Cartujo admiring its impressive ridge stretching away to the north-west. A few months later I knew it just had to be done. Back in May 2012 I walked the ridge from Cerro del Caballo to Tozal del Cartujo, crossed over to the Refugio Elorrieta for the night and then returned to the Ventura trailhead the next day via the Río Lanjarón valley. I had stood on the Tozal del Cartujo admiring its impressive ridge stretching away to the north-west.
“You are joking. Skiing in June, southern Spain, 2 hours from Marbella. Never”, they said disbelievingly when I outlined my cunning plan. I like a challenge so set out to prove them wrong. A report from Richard Hartley of Spanish Highs
Well, we have had a superb snow year in the Sierra Nevada and at the beginning of June the snow on some faces still lay deep and consolidated. To be honest I had hung up my skis for the summer, but a chance encounter with a photo from a blog post by Ian Tupman showed the east face of Mulhacen to be laden with the white stuff.
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!
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.
Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains offer many opportunities for backcountry skiing with or without our four legged friends Nothing beats ski touring up and down a mountain (skijoring) with man’s best friend, in my case our husky, named “Khumbu”! Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains offer many opportunities for backcountry skiing with or without our four legged friends.
The mountain side above Puente Palo looked bare. The thaw had devastated the snowpack. But we know a small valley (barrancillo) that holds snow well so set off to find it hoping for some good skijoring with Khumbu.
Only a thin ribbon of snow in the gully remained but it turned out to be a superb ski tour in a little known area of the Sierra Nevada Snow affected access tracks meant we only had a thin ribbon of snow in the gully to ascend and descend the mountain but it turned out to be a superb ski tour in wild and quiet surroundings in a little known area of the Sierra Nevada.
Approach using skis, climb some simple gullies and then ski out again but additional weight gave a very long day in the Sierra Nevada It sounded good on paper. Approach using skis, climb some simple gullies and then ski out again. But a blocked road meant a longer ski in. Combined with the additional weight for mountaineering kit gave a very long hard day in the Sierra Nevada.
Heading up some steepening snow slopes We are always on the look out to do something different.
An unexpected overnight dump of snow meant we had to change plans for our two day mountaineering skills trip into Spain’s Sierra Nevada. All our snowshoes were out with another group having, as it turned out, a fantastic snowshoeing day. We didn’t think we needed them. The overnight snow changed all that. For our 2 day winter alpine skills mountaineering course we were left with having to cope with the mental effort required to wade through knee and at times thigh deep snow.
A collection of some of our favorite images from last years expedition to the Southern Patagonian Icefield. Last years trip to the Southern Patagonian Icefield was of of the most memorable expeditions we have ever been on. The contrast from the previous battering that the weather elements gave us in 2010 was marked. Unfortunately we are not going back in 2012 as we originally intended. Hopefully November/December 2013?
I recently came across the new Snapseed application from Nik Software and ran it through some of our photos from 2011.
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.
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.
Above Guejar Sierra in Granada, Andalucia, lies an incredible vantage point with superb views south to the snow clad north faces of the Sierra Nevada Alcazaba and Mulhacen N faces From Granada, head east on good roads and pass by the town of Pinos Genil and on through the town of Guejar Sierra. On the eastern outskirts of Guejar Sierra take a left turn signposted “Camping Cortijo Balderas”.
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.
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 favourite walk in the Alpujarras is from Capileira to Lanjaron along the GR7. Passes through spectacular scenery and white villages and is mostly downhill! Villages on the GR7 long distance path through the Alpujarras are conveniently placed about 2 hours apart. These provide welcome rest halts or overnight stops as one passes through the area. Our personal favourite is back from Capileira via Bubion, Pampaneira, Soportujar and Cañar to Lanjaron.
A marvellous day’s ski touring on the south side of the Sierra Nevada. Good weather, great snow conditions and best of all, no other people! We set off from the recreation centre at Puente Palo in the Alpujarras. I was disappointed to find that the high temperatures of the previous week had affected the snow pack and we had to walk up through the forest track carrying the skis and boots.