Guadarrama, river of sands..and sadness

The three Kings from the East have come and gone..and it looks like skiers, boarders and peeps in general who love snow haven’t been very good this year..once more. The several Atlantic storms that washed over the peninsula during Xmas and New Year brought little but rain below 2000m and a misery of snow above 2100m.

East Face of La Hermana Menor, not exactly an abundance of snow..but tubos filled in

East Face of La Hermana Menor, not exactly an abundance of snow..but tubos filled in, more or less..

The minimal accumulations of snow below 2100m were washed away, leaving the Sierra looking pretty sad..as is repeatedly the case in December-January in recent years. Only above 2100-2150m is there any evidence of Winter, particularly in the Peñalara area. I was a little surprised the other day to find some tubos (the short couloirs typical of Guadarrama) on the East faces more or less filled in..and skiable! Well, it would make for serious steep technical skiing..as the snow is very hard-frozen and remains so all thru the short Winter day.

View from the top of the Big Sister looking SW towards the Little Sister

View from the top of the Big Sister looking SW towards the Little Sister

Fortunately i didn’t have skis with me so i wasn’t “tempted”.. However if you look to the South, towards Valdemartín and Cabezas de Hierro the true snowless desolation of the Sierra is brutally evident..

The North faces of Cabezas and Valdemartín..really shouldn't look this way in January

The North faces of Cabezas and Cerradillas..really shouldn’t look this way in January

Lower down, in the valleys, there is lots of water flowing in the streams and rivers of course..which is a good thing though it hardly compensates for the lack of snow. So our curiously named Sierra – the Arabic Guadarrama/Uad-ar-rámel means “river of sands” – really is more waterway than mountain range. Welcome to global warming.

After a few days of mild weather things will change again next week, and the forecast suggests colder fronts and snowfall. Let’s hope so.. praying for snow in Guadarrama – yet again.

 

Update Jan 15: the misery of Guadarrama continues..no prayers answered so far, after several more days of successive Atlantic fronts practically nothing but rain, drizzle, and pissing mist..at least up to 2100-2200m. The Aemet guys are telling us that it has been snowing down to 1500m – what a bunch of tossers!

 

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Éireannach is ea mé, i mo chonaí insan Spáinn. Rugadh mé i lár na tuaithe, ar feadh blianta bhí mé ag teitheadh uaithi, i bhfad as an tuath, ach sa deireadh d'fhill mé, ar ais go dtí an tuath.. An Irishman am I, settled in Spain. Born was I in the middle of the country, for years I ran from it, far from the country, but in the end I returned, back to the country..
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