Shangri-La..is on the other side of Siete Picos

View from high on the other side of Siete Picos

View from high on the other side of Siete Picos

What we see from Cercedilla when we look towards Siete Picos is the impressive South Face of the mountain. As beautiful as any mountain anywhere.

South Face of Siete Picos

South Face of Siete Picos

At the moment it presents a snowy aspect with lines of white crisscrossing among the steep crags. In recent times it is increasingly rare to get more than minimal amounts of snow on this face and it is usually a matter of days before it disappears. Sad. Even i can recall a time when the snows lasted for several weeks, even months.

However Siete Picos also has a Northern aspect..maybe not so impressive visually if you are looking at it from the distance, from Segovia for instance, less steep and more heavily treed than the rocky South Face, but well-known to many people from close up due to the Camino Schmid which traverses the Northern slopes. And this year this North facing aspect has steadily accumulated snow since mid-January..there’s presently over a meter at about 1800-1900m altitude.

Meadow with deep snow under the Northern slopes of Siete Picos

Meadow with deep snow under the Northern slopes of Siete Picos

And it’s not just any old snow..late February precipitation has deposited up to half a meter of cold dry snow – powder – on top of a considerable base of old snow. You could hardly ask for better conditions for skiing.

Starting from deep down in the valley..

Starting from deep down in the valley..

Last Friday the 1st of March was quite a day. Quite a day indeed.

..hiking up the mountain, thru the Winter Wonderland..

..hiking up the mountain, thru the Winter Wonderland.

It was overcast and grey for most of the day, and visibility was minimal on the higher parts of the mountain, close to the peaks..but the skiing was phenomenal, among the Valsaín pines.

Felix on the down

Felix on the down

On days such as these everything seems magical, the sacredness of pristine Nature is revealed everywhere you look.. in the trees shrouded in the white of cold life..

Pine coated in rime

Pine coated in rime

..in the water flowing..in the water frozen into ice..in the water transformed into snow crystals..

While the water tends down, we struggle back up..one more time

While the water tends down, we struggle back up..one more time

..and not only was the day profuse in natural phenomena, it was also prodigious, once more, in solitude..mere kilometers from Puerto de Navacerrada.

The following day, Saturday 2nd of March, was not less wonderful. If anything, though the snow may have been a tad more humid, the light made the day more brilliant.

The scene repeats..but with the addition of light

The scene repeats..but with the addition of light

The sun shone from early Saturday morning, bathing the Winter-bound landscape in luminesence..adding new magic to the magic of old.

Up..up into the light

Up..up into the light

On reaching the upper part of the mountain, where the previous day you could barely see a few meters, the Sierra was  spectacularly visible.

Montón de Trigo, near neighbour of Siete Picos, looking West

Montón de Trigo, near neighbour of Siete Picos, looking West..

Every way you looked it was wondrous..the scintillating snow under your feet, the trees and crags coated in rime, the sunlight adding contour, depth and drama, the all round magnificence of the high Sierra under snow.

..to the East, Peñalara, majestic, seen from the summit crags of Siete Picos

..to the East, Peñalara, majestic, seen from the summit crags of Siete Picos

On such a day it might seem a little superfluous but..we got to ski superb powder as well, on practically untracked slopes. I almost want to apologise..

Angel on the down

Angel on the down

..but i won’t! I’ll just give thanks to the kosmos for letting me be..and thanks too to my ski buddies Felix, Juanjo and Angel for sharing these days with me..in this ephemeral Shangri-La of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Go maire muid na laethanta seo arís!

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About coldspringdays

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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3 Responses to Shangri-La..is on the other side of Siete Picos

  1. marcos says:

    There aren’t second chances in Guadarrama Range. I wouldn’t like to see what the rain is doing with all that snow now.

  2. Pingback: Siete Picos South – steep ski! | coldspringdays

  3. Pingback: Powder frenzy..North of Siete Picos! | coldspringdays

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