There have been a number of significant avalanches in the Peñalara area this Winter. In one incident in early March a climber suffered a broken hip on the East face of Hermana Mayor. There was also a major slab avalanche from below the cornice which hangs over the Laguna de Peñalara in the third week of March. But now in mid-April, with the enormous accumulations of snow and the sudden rise in temperatures since last weekend, the situation has really gotten dangerous.
The above slide occurred last Friday, the fracture line under the cornice is clearly visible as a white curve in the shadowed area. It looks like this slide was triggered by a skier. Fortunately there were no consequences.
The cornice zone known as “La Ceja” above the Laguna de Peñalara has produced several avalanches, some big and some small, but at least one ran all the way down to the Laguna.
The above foto was taken from below the summit of Hermana Mayor. Here’s another view of the same area..looking back towards where the previous shot was taken.
Another fracture line is clearly visible, as well as the enormous cornice itself. The avalanches which occur in this area are generally triggered by large chunks of the cornice which break away as the temperatures rise. We were able to witness one such slide last Saturday morning, quite small but i wouldn’t have liked to be under it!
Mother Nature sometimes shows us a less friendly face..and we would do well to respect her moods and keep our distance when this is the case.
More on the exceptionally dangerous state of Peñalara‘s cornices.