News from Sierra Nevada Guides

Latest news from the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern Spain

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Training Mountain Leaders in Spain’s Sierra Nevada Mountains

Training Mountain Leaders in Spain’s Sierra Nevada Mountains

Jane scrambling on Veleta 3396m 2nd highest peak in the Sierra Nevada
All International Mountain leaders have to complete a minimum of 2 cpd training days a year, and we are privileged here in the Sierra Nevada to be a provider of such training. Though the course is primarily aimed at qualified International Mountain leaders, it is also suitable for Aspirant IML’s already undertaking training to qualify or qualified British Mountain Leaders considering applying to be accepted on the IML training courses.

Sierra Nevada CPD Event - 3rd to 8th July, 2016

Climb Mainland Spain’s Highest Mountain whilst exploring the Flora and Fauna of the Sierra Nevada National Park.

Mulhacen 3482m from the Caldera Bivi Refuge 3080m
Mulhacen at 3482m is the highest mountain in mainland Spain. Situated in Spain’s largest national park, The Sierra Nevada is surrounded by a natural park. Together they have some wonderful scenery, early summer flowers and fascinating geology. It was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1986, in recognition of its exceptionally diverse plant, bird and animal species. There are over 100 endemic species recorded including 63 different endemic plants.

Alpine Accentor
In addition to the natural history of the area we will be aiming to ascend the four highest mountains in the Sierra Nevada: Mulhacen 3482m, Pico del Veleta 3394m, Alcazaba 3371m and Cerro de Los Machos 3329m. The day we ascend Mulhacen will be enroute to overnight in the Refugio Poqueira. The ascent on this day will be approx 1500m and taking around 4.5 hours.  This will be a good opportunity for aspirants to experience a “fitness test.”

The itinerary will include some easy scrambling and crossing a short exposed section of chain and probably patches of snow. Participants will need to bring suitable slings to safeguard themselves. Aspirants will be equipped and coached by the three qualified IML’s from Sierra Nevada Guides who will be leading this event.

Whilst this event is designed to provide CPD for IML’s it would also provide good experience for Aspirant IML’s and Mountain Leaders considering becoming an IML.

Papaver lapeyrousianum an endemic species

Jane negotiating a section of "fixed gear"
Learning Outcomes
To see how plants adapt to the varying climatic zones as we ascend into the mountains.

To observe the uniqueness of the flora and fauna of the area.

To observe the impact man has made through the ages within the National and Natural Park.

To learn how the National Park Authorities have acted to lessen the impact of man on the environment.

Understand the range of maps available for this area and the difficulties of navigation with maps of less reliability than O.S. maps.

Crossing exposed fixed equipment.

Crossing snow patches (probably).

The ''pitfalls'' of running a guiding company either from the UK or from abroad. Martin Riley of Sierra Nevada Guides is the first British member of the Spanish Mountain Guides Association (AEGM).

Estrella de las Nieves (Star of the Snows) an endemic species with Trumpet Gentians.

The Caldera from Mulhacen
Day 1
Make own way either to Capileira or to Lanjaron (see note on travel or accommodation options).

Day 2
Breakfast in Capileira. We depart the mountain village of Capileira at around 8.30am, driving up to a high road head at Hoya del Portillo 2100m, where we commence our walk up Mulhacen 3482m. Our descent to the Refugio Poqueira 2500m is via the Caldera and the Rio Mulhacen.  Spend night at the Refugio Poqueira.

Day 3
An ascent of Alcazaba 3371m the most remote of the “big 4” is via Siete Lagunas, returning to the Refugio Poqueira.

Day 4
Departing the Refugio, we ascend Pico de los Machos 3329m and down to the University Albergue at Hoya de la Mora 2500m via an interesting easy scramble into the San Juan valley.

Day 5
Taking the National Park bus back up to 3000m we a scramble up Pico del Veleta 3394m and return back to the Refugio Poqueira via a section of fixed chain and back to our starting point at Hoya del Portillo for around 5pm. Spend night in either Capileira or Lanjaron (see accommodation options as before).

Day 6

The Iberian Ibex, common throughout the Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada Guides are not charging for their time running this event.  All the costs below are options and reflect prices locally. The charge we are making for this CPD event covers our travel expenses and hut fees.
£200 per person towards Sierra Nevada Guides.

You pay your own accommodation fees locally.

You will need your own travel, medical and rescue insurance.

"Blue Deeams" Chaenorrhinum glareosum an endemic species
Accommodation Options
For those wanting to keep costs down there is an option of camping at Jane and Mike’s mountain farm situated at 1305m above the spa town of Lanjaron. This is a bit remote and not the sort of place where you can just nip out for a beer! Jane and Mike will provide a BBQ evening meal with plenty of beer and wine along with breakfast on the day of departure. 20 Euro’s per night

For those wanting superior accommodation we recommend a hotel in Capileira (where we will meet for breakfast before heading into the high mountains) or Lanjaron a spa town with plenty of hotels close to our base. You will need to book your own hotel but we can help with this. Allow 50 to 70 Euro’s per night for this option.

Whilst in the mountains we will spend 2 nights at the Refugio Poqueira and 1 night at the University Albergue. Bed, breakfast, evening meal and a packed lunch costs about 55 Euro’s per night. Drinks are extra! Costs at the Refugio Poqueira are approx 10 Euro’s per night lower if you have a UIAA membership (Austrian Alpine Club, etc).

Looking at the north faces of Alcazaba and Mulhacen from near Veleta

The easiest option is flying into Malaga as there are cheap flights there from most U.K. regional airports. 

Car hire is cheap and could be the cheapest option if there was a group of 3 or 4 sharing. From Malaga Airport there is a direct bus to Granada where you can change for Lanjaron and Capileira.

If you choose to stay / camp with us we will meet you / pick you up from Lanjaron.

We are prepared to do airport pick ups for 100 Euro’s per trip but this would need a group of 3 or 4 splitting the cost to be worth while.

You will need adequate medical and rescue insurance.

Contact details:
Michael Hunt and Jane Livingstone


tel:  01433  639  368

This training event is only open to BAIML members and to MTA members who hold ML (Summer) who are considering enrolling to become International Mountain Leaders.

Book a place on this event.