Young Alpinist in action

Early December, at 2250m on La Solana de Peñalara..apparently abundant snow?!

Early December, at 2250m on La Solana de Peñalara..apparently abundant snow?!

Yes, we don’t have a lot of snow locally, looking up at the mountains from the South side you might even be forgiven for thinking that we have none at all..however that’s not the case. On Northern and Eastern aspects above 2100m there is a certain amount of snow, even a generous ration above 2200m in some spots – though granted that above 2200m there’s not much mountain left in the Sierra de Guadarrama (!..where we max out at 2430m) – so yes, there’s snow, though not a lot of it, and we have been taking advantage of what there is as best we can.

A week later, near the top of Hermana Mayor, 2285m..and there’s snow everywhere??!

Well, what does ‘as best we can’ mean, exactly? The snow that we have is certainly not sufficient or suitable for little guys to ski..long hikes carrying skis to get to it, generally bullet-proof snow surface, generally steep slopes, thin snowpack with rocks poking thru everywhere. No, not recommendable for kids. But skiing, fortunately, is not the only thing you can do on snow..

At 2230m in Little Sister's Gully, climbing 45º hard-frozen snow.

At 2230m in Little Sister’s Gully, Hermana Menor, climbing 45º hard-frozen snow. (Don’t look in the background!)

Conditions for snow climbing are relatively good..short gullies and the top sections of longer couloirs have filled in ok, and the firm consistency of the snow is perfect for climbing.

Topping out in Lil' Sister's Gully after a short 50º section..down below in the distance is dry and desolate.

Topping out in Lil’ Sister’s Gully after a short 50º section..down below in the distance is dry and desolate.

So we’ve been snow climbing whenever possible this December, taking all precautions – even though, as i already said, conditions have been pretty good – generally roped up and even belaying steeper or icy sections.

The other day on the East face of Peñalara, at 2370m, longer 45º section.

The other day on the East face of Peñalara, at 2370m, longer 45º section.

It probably wouldn’t be every nine-year-old’s cup of tea, and obviously having considerable preparation in a wide range of mountain disciplines makes all the difference..to the extent of taking to it, in the case of my little treasure, like a fish to water!

Topping out at 2415m close to the summit of Peñalara.

Topping out at 2415m close to the summit of Peñalara.

A  little snow goes a long way..and yes, fun can be had in Winter’s mountains even without long boards strapped to your feet!

 

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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..
This entry was posted in children in Nature, Climate change, Mountain, Nature, snow and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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