25 June 2013
Reading time: 5 mins
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. The second 4 days would be a circuit of the mountains to the south west finishing in our home town of Lanjarón in the Alpujarras.
William and Jolanda were in no rush. The requirement was for peace and quiet, spending time out relaxing in superb mountain scenery. We weren’t out to break records! We had no fixed agenda and no pre planned camping places.
We utilised the high trailhead and the Loma de los Cuartos to access the Peña Partida. As it was a weekend the refuge had a few people around so we continued into the valley of Lavaderos de la Reina. Solitude! The valley ran with countless streams and it was easy to find a suitable camping spot for the night.
We set off to ascend the Picon de Jerez via the rough pathless western flanks. Utilising a steep snowfield we made easy access uphill in crampons over hard snow. A short ascent remained to the summit. Then onto Puntal de Juntillas before enjoying the snowy ridge to it’s western neighbour, the Puntal de los Cuartos. Just beyond the Puntal a shallow valley called the “Cuñeta” gave a superb eerie and we decided to camp here. We watched an amazing sunset followed by an equally magnificent sunrise
After a late breakfast we crossed the Atalaya and El Ciervo before dropping down to the Collado de Vacares. We had thought about going over the Puntal de Vacares but soft snow with obvious signs of subsidence persuaded us that discretion was the better part of valour. We opted for the easier descent of the valley to the junction of the Rio Juntillas. here we found a prominent “perch” high above the raging rivers. A superb camp!
After following the acequia we dropped down to El Horcajo before entering the long valley of the Rio Trevelez. It was very hot as we entered the town. The explosion of people and tourists hit the senses after 4 days of being virtually alone but the beers were nevertheless very welcome.
A lunchtime start and an hours 4wd journey brought us to Puente Palo. Here we walked up to the Refugio Cebollar at 2500m. A lovely place to spend the night. The refuge is situated on a grassy meadow and even has it’s own natural spring.
Today we walk over Cerrillo Redondo and Tajos de los Machos to the Refugio Elorrieta. This is a superb mirador with distant views to most of the higher Sierra Nevada peaks but the refuge itself is in a poor state.
A tricky ascent of Pico de Cartujo due to hard snow led along the ridge, passing over Tajos Altos to the Cerro de Caballo. This is the ultimate 3000m in the range. Dropping down from the col brought us to the Refugio del Caballo
Traversing the snow slopes SE of the peak we dropped down to the Refugio Ventura. Then via the ruins at Casa Forestal de Tello a very hot and tiring descent in increasing heat down the “Verada de Estrella” to the town of Lanjarón.
Spanish Highs are the most experienced, active and knowledgeable mix of foreign and spanish guides operating in the Sierra Nevada and the only ones fully insured and licensed for both guiding activities and for operating as a travel agency.