It seems to me that the amount of fox related incidents is increasing in these mountains. I remember when I first came out here some 10 years ago that they were shy, retiring creatures, that you sometimes caught a glimpse of early in the mornings, or late at night. Not any more! Some high level traverses of “Los Tres Miles Integral” some 4 years ago suggested problems were mounting. We had breakfasts stolen overnight and were disturbed by noisy packs.
It’s that time of year again. The waters from the snowmelt of the high Sierra Nevada are flowing strongly. Soon this will end, and from mid-June to October or November we can expect little irrigation water. So the time is ripe for all good “camposinos” (country workers) to water their lands before the summer droughts Now this may seem a great idea at first glance, but putting it into practice is not as easy as it would seem.
The best climber in the world is the one who’s having the most fun. (Alex Lowe) To qualify for mountain rescue work, you have to pass our test. The doctor holds a flashlight to your ear. If he can see light coming out the other one, you qualify. (Willy Pfisterer) The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too. (Hervey Voge) Together we knew toil, joy and pain.
The mad leonberger in question was my dog Bruno, of course. He loves the snow and tends to get “carried away” by it all. Trouble is that the origins of a “Leonberger” are a mix of Newfoundland, Pyrennean Mountain and …. St Bernard. This makes him believe that his sole role in life is to save peoples lives, especially when he is out in the snows. When some clients tried sliding down a snowslope today he ran to their rescue.
Unbelievable but true. About a foot of new snow overnight down to 2400m and its 19th May! We started off from a snowy Hoya de la Mora at 9am and headed south for Veleta before donning snowshoes and dropping down leftwards into the San Juan bowl. Good job we had the snowshoes on as the snowdepth was thigh deep in places. We had a minor problem when a snowbridge failed and I went for a swim in a river.
Ok, it was just an idea. Sounded great. Get a husky and train it to pull us uphill on skis. It’s a large and growing sport evidently in North America and Scandanavia. Well we may live in the driest part of Europe, but if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us. Right? Couldn’t be too hard to train a husky because that’s what they do isnt it?
So there we were. A nice warm day, no clouds. What to do? So why not try that flat topped mountain that we can just see from our house that’s in an unknown and remote location? We’ve named it “Flat Top” just to be original! So I looked on the internet to find out information re approach, access etc. It turns out that a Spanish forum was the only site to mention the peak that is in fact called….
Yesterday went to the “Bar Flower” in Lanjarón. I had been rock climbing with 2 clients and had told them I’d take them to an really authentic Spanish working mens’ bar with flamenco/tapas etc. On approaching the bar’s entrance the drunken sounds of a man singing a strangely familar song split the air……………….. “We walked him to the station in the rain We kissed him as we put him on the train And we sang him a song of times long gone Though we knew that we’d be seeing him again (Far away) sad to say I must be on my way So buy me beer and whiskey ‘cause I’m going far away (far away) I’d like to think of me returning when I can To the greatest little boozer and to Sally MacLennane”
Just had some exciting news! I’ve had a meeting today with some producers of a travel programme who work for Sky TV. They want me to do a couple of days shooting with them. The star of the show, apart from me of course, is " Curly Watts” (of Coronation Street fame). During the shoot I’ve got to teach him ice axe and crampon techniques then falling down an ice slope and hoping he brakes and doesn’t keep on going, abseiling off frozen waterfalls, snowshoeing, snow climbing and some rock climbing up a mountain summit to finish!
“Antonio the Muleman”, we call him. Why is it everybody round here is called Antonio? Anyway, this Antonio is in his late sixties I would guess. His prize possession is his mule, although I can’t tell you what he/she is called, I suspect its called “Burro”, the Spanish for “Donkey”. Antonio also (unbeknown to him) acts as a morning alarm call. At precisely 8.23am each morning the sounds of hoofbeats are heard from the bedroom, followed by the dogs barking, announcing the imminent arrival of Antonio the Muleman.