News from Sierra Nevada Guides

Latest news from the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern Spain

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Galayos de Dilar

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

Laguna de Carnero

The Sierra Nevada in summer is arid and dry it’s a special event then when a new there is chance to walk to a laguna or tarn. Laguna de Carnero lies just below the 2,700m contour north of Pico de Cartujo and is not easy to find even when following a GPS route and studying what maps are available. The path we followed breaks off the west ridge of Cero de Caballo about 45 minutes and 450m of ascent after leaving the Mirador at Rincon de Niguelas. A cairn marks a feint path traversing the hillside for some way before finally petering out on the slopes of Cuerda de la Dehesa. From here we followed our noses contouring into an open bowl on the mountainside. The laguna was not obvious, though what was was a couple of large dogs which seemed to have been left to look after the cattle grazing on the lush grass of the area. After a few false starts climbing up to what appeared to be obvious sites for the laguna we finally decided to do the obvious and follow the stream which lead us directly to a small area of water perched below an open boulder field. The return route followed an acequia running from the stream across toward Fuenta Fria. The walk by the acequias is an easy enough route luckily cooled somewhat by the water running along side. A final descent by a waterfall leads to broad track leading back toward the car. A final 250m ascent in the afternoon heat got us back to the car at the mirador. A great walk across much underused mountain side and well worth the trip.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tajos de la Virgen ridge, Sierra Nevada.

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.