Big weekend – skiing the Sisters, Peñalara and Claveles

This weird and wonderful Winter season i haven’t been able to get away to ski anywhere else..but i’m not complaining. I haven’t been able to ski everything i would have liked to in Guadarrama either, but i’ve done a bit of catching up in recent days..

East face of Hermana Menor..my dear Little Sister!

East face of Hermana Menor..my dear Little Sister!

The big East faces (big in Guadarrama at least!) of the Peñalara area can usually be skied in even January or February let alone March or April, but this year, due to avalanche danger or week after week of “bad weather” or simply lack of visibility, i hadn’t skied a single line in this zone until a week ago. Last week i skied roughly the same line off the Little Sister as seen in the above shot with four turns to the bottom (that’s what i like to call letting the horses run!) but the other day the snow was a little firmer and i had to make ten swings..

Little Sister East again, this time further North

Little Sister East again, this time further North

Then it was the turn of Big Sister, but as the super steep East was still looking a little iffy i decided to play it safe and go for the South Face, only 35-40º..

Big Sister South, you have to look a bit harder to see ski tracks but they're there!

Big Sister South, you have to look a bit harder to see ski tracks but they’re there!

The good thing about this descent is that it’s a bit longer and finishes beside the still frozen Laguna de Peñalara.

Looking up from the Laguna, avalanche debris and where it comes from..the terrible "Eyebrow" (La Ceja)

Looking up from the Laguna, avalanche debris and where it comes from..the terrible “Eyebrow” (La Ceja)

 

 

The following day i set off to visit Peñalara herself, climbing up the couloir of La Pared Negra de Claveles – skis on my back – and then the snow spur direct to the summit. There followed a magnificent descent of the East direct..

The East direct descent from Peñalara, probably the big line of Guadarrama.

The East direct descent from Peñalara, probably the big line of Guadarrama.

It was a great ski – it always is – though a little more powerful and less relaxed than i had expected due to the snow once more being relatively firm and the several crevasses opening up in the snowpack (some can be seen in the fotos).. The tracks in the above shot are not mine but in the lower one yes.

Lower end of Tubo de la Pared Negra de Claveles

Lower end of Tubo de la Pared Negra de Claveles

I had one more objective for the day, a line i had never skied before (which is saying something after seven or eight seasons of “getting after it” consistently in Guadarrama!)..but yes, despite skiing other lines close by, i had never managed to ski the direct SouthEast of Pico de Claveles.

El Risco de Claveles, the second highest peak of Guadarrama, and it's beautiful SE spur.

El Risco de Claveles, the second highest peak of Guadarrama, and it’s beautiful SE spur.

It’s not every year you can ski this line directly from the summit, but this year.. this year so many things have been possible.. a year to remember..

Looking back towards Peñalara from summit arête of Claveles

Looking back towards Peñalara from summit arête of Claveles

A memorable ski on soft and wonderful humid snow, steep below the summit then suave then steep again, from 2387m down, down..and down to 1830m, below La Hoya de Pepe Hernando. Pretty damn good for the end of April!

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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