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