in Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 3 Oct 2020
Ice climbing is not for the faint hearted. You need the same head for heights as a rock climber, combined with the endurance and stamina of a mountain goat, probably the only other living thing you will see whilst ice climbing in the Sierra Nevada.
Only experienced ice climbers should attempt these routes. Proper maps and descriptions of the routes are needed to calculate the gear required for each one. Two of the routes have been described more fully to give a flavour of what you might expect.
Cerro de los Machos por corredor Norte – 9 kms
This is a wonderful winter route, one of the classics of Sierra Nevada. Depart from the Hoya de la Mora, in the direction of Posiciones del Veleta. Once in the Posiciones, abseil 60 meters into the Veredón to the middle of the Veleta gully. Head to the base of Cerro de los Machos, from where you can clearly see the corridor, next to a rocky buttress that is to the right. The corridor rises parallel to this buttress. It narrows in the middle part and the slope ranges between 40-50 degrees. When leaving the corridor climb a few metres until you reach the top of Cerro de los Machos. The summit is an exceptional viewpoint of the peaks of Sierra Nevada. To return, go SW towards Carihuela, first going down a large snow shovel and then going up to the hill. From the refuge we follow the classic path that, passing through Posiciones, takes you back to the Hoya de la Mora.
Canuto del Veleta – 12 kms
Extraordinary alpine ascent to Pico del Veleta through its ravine. Start from the Hoya de la Mora and head towards the Posiciones del Veleta, there abseil into the Corral del Veleta. Once down, continue to the middle of the slope then climb steep slopes until you reach the north wall of Veleta. The traverse is carried out, which depending on the state of the snow may vary in difficulty, to enter a ravine. Ascend to arrive at a short traverse to the Fidel Fierro. Ascend until you reach the top. The views from the top are impressive; the descent is made by the normal track off the mountain. Essential winter mountain and climbing equipment is required. In some areas it is necessary to safety line to secure the route according to the snow conditions.
Picón de Jérez por corredor Alhorí y sendero del Avión – 17 kms
Nice route that combines a more technical activity (the climb up the central corridor of Alhorí) with a relaxed descent along the beautiful Avión and Sulayr path starting from the Postero Alto refuge.
Sierra Nevada. Corredor Diagonal o Izquierdo del Barranco del Alhorí – 7.5 kms
The "left" or "diagonal" corridor of the Barranco del Alhorí, as oppossed to the "central" or "right" corridor, is one of the more classic alpine challenges and also more technical and exposed than those that can be done on the northeastern slope of Sierra Nevada.
Puntal de Covatillas, Espolón Norte por diagonal – 23 kms
A magnificent route that starts at the Postero Alto Refuge.
Corredor del Alhorí y Cerro Pelado – 15 kms
A challenging route
Corredor de Siete Lagunas y Este del Mulhacén – 19 kms
Spectacular little-travelled route route that goes up to Mulhacén starting at the Hoya del Portillo in the direction of the Poqueira refuge.
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About the Author
Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.