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Spanish Highs Mountain Guides - Trip Reports

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Offline Clive

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« on: May 11, 2015, 10:27 AM »
Trip reports from Spanish Highs--- Mountain guides based in Lanjaron. Check out the links in this topic to see latest trip reports and lots of useful information.
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Offline Maria

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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2015, 10:35 AM »
“No dramas nor fancy music”, just a normal day’s ski touring in the Sierra Nevada


“No dramas nor fancy music”, just a normal day’s 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. We access the conditions for the way down and try to judge when best to time the descent. When it comes, the descent is without drama, just the exhilarating movement of skis across snow. This is my kind of backcountry ski touring!



We had one such day here in the Sierra Nevada a few days ago. It was a beautiful and cloudless day as we drove up from Nigüelas to the Cortijos Echeverria and made the left turn towards Fuente Fria (a note about this route …..… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2015, 08:08 AM »
Spring Ski Touring conditions on the Cerro de Caballo, Sierra Nevada, Spain


Spring Ski Touring conditions on the Cerro de Caballo, Sierra Nevada, Spain

This has been a generally poor ski touring year in the Sierra Nevada but yesterday we did the west flank of Cerro de Caballo, above Nigüelas. A superb ski day!


Winter 2014 has been beset by a lack of snowfall and high winds. The snow level has been higher than normal and the constant scouring of the slopes by the winds has led to huge great tracts of ice, particularly on west facing slopes. Ski touring has been, in a word, tough! With the onset of spring the conditions have relaxed and the skiing is more amenable.


For day trips the most accessible area is at Pradollano where good tours can be done to the Tozal de Cartujo or Veleta. At the moment skiing from the car is possible.… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2015, 11:38 AM »
These look great thanks Clive  :clapping:

Offline Clive

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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2015, 11:51 AM »
You are welcome Maria... I hope this new part of the forum will send our members to yours and other interesting subjects... I know that I enjoy reading your articles and observations...
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Offline Maria

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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2015, 19:18 PM »
Spanish Highs guide, Jens Foell, climbs Half-Dome in Yosemite


Spanish Highs guide, Jens Foell, climbs Half-Dome in Yosemite

Our guides here in the Sierra Nevada are always looking to increase experience and expertise. Thanks to Spanish Highs guide Jens Foell for this report about his recent fulfilling of a dream, that of climbing the incredible “Half Dome” in Yosemite National Park


‘A dramatic setting with clean and exposed climbing qualifies Snake Dike as one of the most glorious moderate climbs on the planet.’ (Supertopo: Yosemite Valley Free climbs)



Most people who are serious about rock climbing probably share the dream of going to Yosemite Valley. For me this dream became reality this spring. It almost happened by accident. I’d decided to book my return flight at the end of a surf trip in Central America out of San Francisco, with the vague idea of at least finally seeing Yosemite.… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2015, 10:16 AM »
Trek over Alcazaba and the NE ridge of Mulhacén


Trek over Alcazaba and the NE ridge of Mulhacén

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. To achieve this often means “going against the grain”.


A recent 2 day trek with 5 clients illustrates the theory. We started early and made our way to Siete Lagunas. Whilst hikers made their way up the somewhat boring south ridge of Mulhacén we traversed east towards Siete Lagunas.… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2015, 08:24 AM »
Sierra Nevada Scrambling – the ridge of Puntal de la Caldera


Sierra Nevada Scrambling – the ridge of Puntal de la Caldera

The west to east traverse of the Puntal de la Caldera gives fine high altitude Sierra Nevada Scrambling opportunities. Here is a route description of how to do it.


N.B This route description applies to summer only. Please wear a helmet as there is plenty of loose rock! No need for a rope unless you have beginners or want to push the grades.


We caught the first chairlift access from Pradollano, ski centre in the Sierra Nevada. Arriving at 2900m at 10:30 we made swift progress on the old road over the Col de Carihuela.


From there we took the short “via ferrata” at Paso de las Guias to save 15 minutes and regain the old road near Paso de los Machos.… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2015, 10:55 AM »
Combining trekking on the Sulayr and Sierra Nevada


Combining trekking on the Sulayr and Sierra Nevada

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. Also some parts of the route included pretty challenging uphill sections and notably the stage to Trevelez is quite long (18km). We camped at Puente Palo and took hotels in Capileira and Trevelez (where we watched our national soccer team lose the semi final of the world cup).… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2015, 10:55 AM »
Wild Camping In The Sierra Nevada


Wild Camping In The Sierra Nevada

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?

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. The well-trodden path up the Poquiera valley crosses the river several times and passes through mixed woodland which provides welcome shade in hot weather. It eventually emerges onto the open mountainside below cortijo Las Tomas with its rather bizarre scarecrow.… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2015, 10:55 AM »
Don’t Climb the Yellow Ice


Don’t Climb the Yellow Ice

Report and some photos from a couple of days ago at 2500m in the Sierra Nevada. With the cold temperatures of recent weeks the “Cascadas de Los Militares” has come into condition. We just had to go and have a look!


It’s unusual as water ice climbing is rare here. It takes a substantial and prolonged freeze of slow, seeping water to come into climbing condition. This particular ice cliff results from the overflow from the military bunkhouse at the Hoya de la Mora above the ski area (yuk). Keeping to the cleaner ice is preferred!


It goes without saying that the avalanche risks are extremely high at the moment. If you are downhill skiing don’t leave the pistes and ski tourers should maybe wait around for a few days for things to begin to settle down.… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2015, 10:55 AM »
Scrambling & Soaring with the Eagles in the Sierra de Huetor, Granada


Scrambling & Soaring with the Eagles in the Sierra de Huetor, Granada

A birdwatching day searching for eagles & elusive Ring Ouzel, that turned into a superb mountain scrambling day in the mountains north of Granada, Andalucia


16504975657_e071ae34e7_k


It all began when Kiersten Rowland, our resident Spanish Highs expert twitcher, decided she wanted to tick off the Ring Ouzel. This bird seems to have a liking for hawthorn bushes and tough craggy hillsides. We thought we knew just the spot that might attract these elusive birds in an area of mountains north of Granada in the Sierra de Huetor.


N.B The ring ouzel (Turdus torquatus) is a European member of the thrush family Turdidae. It is the mountain equivalent of the closely related common blackbird, and breeds in gullies, rocky areas or scree slopes (Source Wikipedia).Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2015, 10:55 AM »
“Living on the Edge” – winter ascent of Tozal del Cartujo NW ridge, Sierra Nevada


“Living on the Edge” – winter ascent of Tozal del Cartujo NW ridge, Sierra Nevada

A report from Ian Tupman who made his first winter ascent of the NW ridge of the Tozal del Cartujo in Spain’s Sierra Nevada in late April 2015 with Spanish Highs guide, Felipe Nieto.


P1050497 Stitch


In October 2013 I joined up with Spanish Highs for a ‘dry’ traverse of the Arista del Cartujo (see earlier report). Having completed it, I wanted to go back and do it in winter conditions but the weather and other commitments conspired to delay my return until now.



I picked up Felipe in Lanjarón and we drove to Hoya de la Mora, arriving at 4.30 in the afternoon. The plan was to walk in to the base of the ridge, bivouac and get an early start in the morning.… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2015, 10:55 AM »
Walking from Trevélez to Refugio Horcajo, Sierra Nevada


Late afternoon clouds gather above Alcazaba

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.


We had a group doing the fantastic 3 day trek “3 day trek crossing the Northern Sierra Nevada” from the Vereda de Estrella (Güejar Sierra) over the 3000m peaks of Picon de Jerez, Puntal de los Cuartos, Atalaya and Pico Cuervo before descending to the Refugio Horcajo, and coming out to the village of Trevélez in the Alpujarras.… Read the rest


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Source: Walking from Trevélez to Refugio Horcajo, Sierra Nevada

Offline Maria

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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2015, 10:55 AM »
Ascent of the Espolón de la Caldera, Sierra Nevada


Ascent of the Espolón de la Caldera, Sierra Nevada

Describes an ascent of the Espolón de la Caldera, an alpine type climb and scramble in Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountain range in July 2015 by Richard Hartley (Spanish Highs) and Andrew Phillips.


The Espolón de la Caldera is in fact the NW ridge of the Puntal de la Caldera, found just to the west of Mulhacén’s, Collado de Ciervo, in Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It gives a rough and sometimes loose scramble with many possibilities for making the ascent easier or tougher to suit. At it’s easiest it’s a Grade 2 scramble, and I guess about VD (4/4+) if the steps and pinnacles are taken direct. Difficult and dangerous to descend or escape due to the loose nature of many areas.… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2015, 10:56 AM »
Scrambling & Soaring with the Eagles in the Sierra de Huetor, Granada


Scrambling & Soaring with the Eagles in the Sierra de Huetor, Granada

A birdwatching day searching for eagles & elusive Ring Ouzel, that turned into a superb mountain scrambling day in the mountains north of Granada, Andalucia


16504975657_e071ae34e7_k


It all began when Kiersten Rowland, our resident Spanish Highs expert twitcher, decided she wanted to tick off the Ring Ouzel. This bird seems to have a liking for hawthorn bushes and tough craggy hillsides. We thought we knew just the spot that might attract these elusive birds in an area of mountains north of Granada in the Sierra de Huetor.


N.B The ring ouzel (Turdus torquatus) is a European member of the thrush family Turdidae. It is the mountain equivalent of the closely related common blackbird, and breeds in gullies, rocky areas or scree slopes (Source Wikipedia).Read the rest


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Source: Scrambling & Soaring with the Eagles in the Sierra de Huetor, Granada

Offline Maria

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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2015, 10:55 AM »
Ascent of the NW Espolón de Alcazaba, Sierra Nevada


Ascent of the NW Espolón de Alcazaba, Sierra Nevada

The steep NW face of Alcazaba in Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains has long been a target for us. The Espolón is the classic route. We decided to go and climb it!


Access to the Espolón


Access to the face is most easily made from the Collado de Ciervo, near the Laguna de la Cadera and west of Mulhacén summit. A zig zag path leads down into the northern corrie of Mulhacén where sits the delightful Laguna de la Mosca. Just a short distance north of the lake a faint track trends right and then gains a sloping shelf the crosses the face of Alcazaba. This is called the Grand Vasar de Alcazaba.


On the Grand Vasar de Alcazaba. The Collado de Ciervo to the far right

On the Grand Vasar de Alcazaba. The Collado de Ciervo to the far right



The next problem is to identify the start of the Espolón as steep rock and crags abound everywhere.… Read the rest


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Offline Clive

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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2015, 21:02 PM »
Wow! what a fantastic hike... Thanks Maria... I like the way you express your experiences in the written word :)
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Offline Maria

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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2015, 10:56 AM »
Ascents, Lagunas & Sunrise in the Sierra Nevada


Ascents, Lagunas & Sunrise in the Sierra Nevada

We recently supported the 201 Field Hospital on a “Sierra Nevada Tres Miles Integral“. 7 days of high 3000m mountains, superb mountain lakes and stunning landscapes. Thanks to leader Captain Kate Hannaford for this report from their trip.


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.army.mod.uk.… Read the rest


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Offline Maria

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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2015, 10:55 AM »
Ascent of the NW Espolón de Alcazaba, Sierra Nevada


Ascent of the NW Espolón de Alcazaba, Sierra Nevada

The steep NW face of Alcazaba in Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains has long been a target for us. The Espolón is the classic route. We decided to go and climb it!


Access to the Espolón


Access to the face is most easily made from the Collado de Ciervo, near the Laguna de la Cadera and west of Mulhacén summit. A zig zag path leads down into the northern corrie of Mulhacén where sits the delightful Laguna de la Mosca. Just a short distance north of the lake a faint track trends right and then gains a sloping shelf the crosses the face of Alcazaba. This is called the Grand Vasar de Alcazaba.


On the Grand Vasar de Alcazaba. The Collado de Ciervo to the far right

On the Grand Vasar de Alcazaba. The Collado de Ciervo to the far right



P1050507


The next problem is to identify the start of the Espolón as steep rock and crags abound everywhere.… Read the rest


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Source: Ascent of the NW Espolón de Alcazaba, Sierra Nevada