First foray into the hills: Sat, Jan 25, 2003

Rocky and I had our first trip up the hills yesterday. Objective was to suss out the way off the western end of the Sierra Nevada ridge line. This entails dropping down from the last 3,000m peak (Cerro de Caballo) and landing hopefully at the villa in Lanjarón. As we would be above the snow line I took full winter gear. We started out early and made good progress, but the altitude and deep snow stopped up at about 2,300m. Not a bad effort considering Lanjarón is at 650m! This is big country. Reminds me of Canada. Lots of space and forest. Hard to believe it’s southern Spain. Problems started on the way down as the signposting and marking of paths is non-existent.

We dropped into the gorge of the River Lanjarón and had to cross the river. Retreat back uphill wasn’t an option, so we had to get across. Combined Tarzan tactics were employed utilising slippery rocks, overhanging trees etc. At one point, balanced on a slippery rock, whilst hanging onto a tree with one hand and Rocky by the other I felt like “Milk Tray Man”. Anyway we made it in a few adreneline-busting lunges and collapsed on the opposite bank. The way down was long and tiring in the hot sun but we reached the villa by mid-afternoon. Rocky and I were both exhausted.

The temperature on arrival on the terrace of the villa was 34 degrees in the sun! This partly explained why I had got some funny looks from the locals when I got back to Lanjarón ………..I’d forgotten I was dressed in full winter kit with ice axe and crampons strapped to my rucksack, insulated water carriers, and dragging a black floor mop, sorry Rocky. I must have looked like “Dodo the Space Kid” just landed from the planet Zog! Bet the’ve got a new name for me now.

Written by:
Richard Hartley

Richard is an avid blogger and the founder of Spanish Highs Sierra Nevada. He is author of the Cicerone Guidebook Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada