"Inspiring the Adventure" in the Sierra Nevada and Patagonia!
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. We might be "old foggies" but we still always have ambitious plans. This 3 day trip was planned to have a base camp at Siete Lagunas followed by ascents of Alcazaba and Mulhacén.
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.
Words and photos courtesy of Jennifer Stott
Overnight in incredibly wild and natural mountain lakeside locations. Ideal trek for hikers and trekkers wanting to "get away from it all"!
The majority of the classic routes on these faces are of AD standard. Sure there are a few harder climbs and also some for the climber who searches for routes of PD standard. As you can see from this collection of photos there is plenty to go at! In particular the north faces of Alcazaba, Mulhacen, Puntal de la Caldera, Juego de Bolos, Cerro de los Machos and Veleta provide good sport.
This is quite a remarkable plant, unique but endangered. We found growing a few days ago on a windswept ridge of Mulhacén at 3300m. In almost 100 ascents of Mulhacén, mainland Spain's highest mountain, I had never come across this pretty flower and yet there it was flourishing between the rock slabs.
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. To achieve this often means "going against the grain".
‘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.
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.
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. The plan began to form.
Throw in a six hour ascent with a heavy pack, the possibility of altitude sickness and your evening meal out of a packet and it seems even less attractive. For me though, a bivouac on the summit of Mulhacén had been on my ‘to do’ list for quite a while.
An overnight camp on the summit of Spain's highest mountain, Mulhacén (3482m), in which the most spectacular sunset and sunrise were observed.
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 fact that is the highest mountain in mainland Spain provides a big attraction. There have been accidents though especially in the changeable seasons of spring and autumn. If in doubt a mountain guide should always be taken, especially when the mountain is in winter condition.
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.
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.
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". This road is concreted but narrow. After 2km take a rough road right (marked with a No Entry sign!). Take this and drop down to a crossing of the Rio Maitena. Follow this concreted road as it winds upwards.
Ian Tupman describes a challenging walk from the coast at Salobrena to the lofty summit of Mulhacen, highest summit in Spain
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?
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. We were at the highest point in mainland Spain, Mulhacen, 3482m.
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
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. Some you win, some you lose! James takes up the story.............
The following article was originally posted by David on his interesting site at http://spreadys.wordpress.com/. Thanks to him for allowing us to reproduce below. The article gives important hints and information to consider when planning a winter trip here. Also links to resources used. You will also find a great video of the trip below
Beth and Stephen from Leeds came to the Sierra Nevada with a clear idea of what they wanted to do: winter climbing and mountaineering. However, just after they arrived we met for a drink in Lanjaron: the sun was shining and it was 26C. Up in the mountains that meant the snow was melting fast, whilst the more sheltered North faces were still inaccessible to the high avalanche risk. So our first day climbing was spent in T-shirts rather than belay jackets as we went rock climbing instead.
Report and photos from our guide, Jens Foell and clients, who found out recently after a frustrating few days weather led eventually to a marvelous descent in perfect powder snow conditions.
The Sierra Nevada makes a wonderful winter holiday destination. Most people though are only aware of the downhill skiing opportunities, based at Pradollano on the northern slopes of the range above Granada. However, during the winter months from December to May when snow is in abundance there are many more ways for you to enjoy this winter wonderland.
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.
Sometimes chance plays a part in opening up a new mountain experience. A fully booked Poqueira hut gave our party the chance of an alpine start followed by a glorious sunrise as they summited Mulhacen, at 3482m, the highest mountain in the Sierra Nevada, Spain.
We have just had a week long visit by members of the Eagle Ski Club to Spain's Sierra Nevada. A good weeks ski touring was had, despite some adverse weather affecting some of the itinerary. During the week the party skied Mulhacen, the highest peak in mainland Spain.
Mulhacen is a magnificent ski touring peak. What ski descents are available for backcountry skiing enthusiasts? As can be seen from our trail map below, there are options for all grades of skier. Easier ways for the beginner or for marginal snow conditions, and tougher runs for the more experienced on good days.
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.
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.