An ambitious winter traverse of the Sierra Nevada, the Los Tres Miles, 3000m peaks challenge, ran into difficulties last week when a series of fox related incidents left the group with little food and ripped tents.
All had started well. First night spent at the refugio de Caballo, followed by a traverse of Tajos Altos and the Pico del Cartujo to spend the second night at the Elorietta hut. Day three went well as well, albeit a long day in, at times, soft snow conditions over Veleta and Mulhacen. Camp on night three was at the delightful campsite location at Siete Lagunas.
However with only two more nights to go it was here that the trip was ruined by a series of fox related attacks. Karyn Bowden had the worst experience. She was in a small 1 person tent. Mindful of previous problems with foxes her rucksack was alongside her. In the early hours she woke to find a large fox next to her. It had opened her rucksack and had taken food. The fox was persistent very persistent but eventually left. Karyn didnt manage to sleep that night as foxes came every hour to disturb her sleep. In another attack the tent was ripped. A somewhat frightening experience.
With little food left and a ripped tent the team abandoned the trek by traversing the eastern flank of Mulhacen before dropping down past the Poqueira hut into the Poqueira Gorge and returning to Capileira for pickup. An unsatisfactory end to an otherwise excellent trip.
This is not the first instance of fox problems we have been reporting over the years. The incidence and ferocity is growing. The foxes are hungry, especially at this time of year and the high snow level has kept some of them from dropping lower to hunt. What can we do? We have a 3 point plan to combat this in future
A battery operated fox deterrent effective within 40ft radius
A powder to spread around the tent, and....
possibly the most effective, a dog!