Monday, 29 March 2010

Snow Shoeing Puerta la Ragua

Last month I went on a quick trip around the north of the range to Puerta la Ragua.
This is the only road that runs across the Sierra Nevada from La Calahorra on the north to Laroles on the south reaching a height of of 2,000m at Puerta la Ragua itself. The area has an established X country ski network but is in sharp contrast to the ski village above Granada.

With good weather the snow shoeing was excellent, fairly deep soft snow within the forest either side of the pass meant that the snow shoes where essentila as soon as we steped off the x country pistes. The route we took followed a line west slowly climbing to 2,375m at a minor peak , Morron de Hornillo, much of the ascent was along a ridge line so the snow had thinned a bit however as ever deep patches meant that the snow shoes where still essential even here.
As the cloud dropped for the return we took a more direct line back east to the pass passing through forest and decending deep and steep snow, great fun.

A well earned coffe at the pass's so;e cafe rounded off the day nicely.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


For most walkers getting to a summit is the main aim of their trip. At 2083m Travenque is big by UK standards but dwarfed by others in the range. It is however a fine mountain standing alone, it looks as if its been designed by a young child , steep cliffs leading to a rocky point of a summit which once you arrive you will realise is surrounded on all sides by steep drops.

I hope I haven’t made it sound to intimidating, it is a moderately difficult ascent with a steep path section below the top however if you have sure footing and don’t mind using hands on rock occasionally you will have no problems.

To start head to La Zubia about 5km South West of Granada, go through the village and then follow signs for Cumbra Verdes a further 2km south, from the end of the tarmac follow a dirt track for 2km to a car park and at Cerro de Sevilla. A number of walks and trails start from here so it’s well worth a visit.

From the car park ascend east to reach a broad track and follow this crossing through a strange lunar landscape of white shales. There are fine views south across the Rio Dilar toward the ridge line of the Alayas de Dilar, which looks more like the Black Cullin of Skye than a Spanish ridge.

After about 2km the track reaches a broad sandy col, here the final summit can easily be seen together with the grassy gully that the final section of the route follows. Drop east off the col on a path before turning left up a dry river bed. After 2km you reach a sign directing walkers around the back of the main summit via a gap in the ridge to your right however this is the point we begin our ascent so head left toward the summit on a narrow path which begins from this point. After passing the end of a track which marks our return route continue steeply to reach a magnificent view point on the ridge leading to the summit. Hands on rock from here as we follow the zig zags up through the grassy gully to a small rock step bout 10m below the summit. Cross the step, turn left and then follow a path around a rock outcrop to a final short easy scramble to the summit itself.

The views from the rocky summit are stunning. Looking east are some of Sierra Nevadas 3,000m + summits such as Valeta (3299m) and Cero de Caballo (3011m), west is Granada and the Alhambra whilst all around your feet is open space as you look down onto pine forest and dry desert valleys.

To return head back to the rock step and follow the ascent back down until you reach the end of the track we passed on the way up. Follow this as is slowly descends to the col From here you can either follow our ascent route all the way or take a smaller way marked path that heading west from the col.

Route details
Length 10km, ascent 700m, no water enroute, approximate time 5 hours.