Wednesday, 30 July 2014
The ridge line that runs along the south side of the Rio Dilar has been on my tick list for many years. I’ve often viewed it during ascents of Travenque when the ridge line takes on a rugged and mountainous appearance, hence the nick name of the ‘’Cullin of the Sierra Nevada’’. We used 4X4 to access tracks on the south side of the ridge and then ascended an open gully before heading up a narrow sandy ridge onto the main ridge itself . We reached the ridge just east of the rocky summit of Carazon de Sandia where there is a fantastic view north through a cleft in the ridge line toward Travenque. The path along the ridge itself runs some way below the crest and whilst it was sometimes a bit vague on the ground provided an easy enough line traversing the eastwards below El Castillejo to reach easier ground at Collado del Pino. To the south the short rocky ridge line of Los Gallos looked inviting and was added to the long list of routes to be done at some point in the future. From the collado it was an easy enough though hot return along sandy tracks to the car.
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Sunday, 20 July 2014
In order to avoid the summer heat in July we decided to take advantage of the cable car that runs from the Sierra Nevada ski village up to about 2,800m on the slopes of Veleta. During the summer months this is a great way to get up into the cooler air of the mountains without to much effort , though it does dent the wallet a bit. What’s new this year is that the gondola and chair lifts are now very popular with mountain bikers who can get a day pass which allows them to take advantage of a new network of down hill mountain bike routes created on the slopes of the mountain. We headed from the top of the chair lift and crossed steep scree toward the Carahuela refuge perched at 3,000m to the south of the Veleta summit. The refuge sits in a col with magnificent views east to Mulhacen and Alcazaba and marks the point where the old road from Granada to Capileira crosses into the high mountains. We headed south from the refuge onto the Tajos de La Virgen ridge. This is perhaps one of the best ridge walk in the area and at the north end even includes a short ‘scramble’ up on to its crest. Whilst easy enough this section is quite exposed and needs a steady head. Once on the ridge it is slightly easier walking until you reach a rock needle known at la Fraile (the friar). Heading south from this pinnacle the route crosses an area of large blocks which whilst solid enough are perhaps the trickiest section of the route. The ridge eventually reaches the Eliorreta refuge built into the ridge itself and once used isolating TB patients. On the slopes below the refuge is an obvious square area cleared of some of the larger rocks. As there where two park rangers at the refuge I was finally able to confirm with them that the area was cleared to create a helicopter landing zone on the mountain side. The return from the refuge follows a well constructed path which was once used to transport patients up on mule back to start their recovery. This mountain path is a delight as it passing below dramatic cliffs and crossing through an area of small lagunas. Rather than re ascend to the top of the chair lift we decided to head down to pick up the gondola back down to the village and a bar.