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Ascent of Pico de las Nieves on 2009-11-29

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Bob Kerr
Date:Sunday, November 29, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pico de las Nieves
    Location:Spain
    Elevation:1951 m / 6401 ft

Ascent Trip Report

Spanish IGN mapping has the summit at 1956m and the trig pillar at 1951m. GPSr at summit: N27 57 39, W15 34 16, elevation readings 1968 and 1966.

Bob Kerr suggested a long weekend trip with this peak on the agenda. We met at Las Palmas airport on Saturday evening and drove down to Playa del Ingles where he and Ania had an apartment for a couple of days. We left early on Sunday morning and by 0830, after an impressive drive through rugged scenery, were at the trailhead, N27 57 47, W15 34 09, 300m to NE of the summit which looked forbidding, with its clean rock picked out in the early morning sunshine.

We followed a path past the old snow pit "Pozo de las Nieves" then when it ran out, scrambled up steep ground, loose in parts, to reach the rocky "bridge" above the prominent window, with the summit towering 20m or so vertically above us. All pretty daunting. There was a level ledge crossing the west face, but the info from Jose Martinez (see my earlier non-summit log) said the route was via the east face. We crossed above the window and made the short downclimb (Diff?). Ania stayed behind, as she was nursing a recentish injury.

I saw a ramp heading down the E side, quickly descended this then scrambled up a little pitch (grade Diff) and could now see the route above.

Bob arrived, set up the rope and quickly got us up the next 2m pitch (slightly overhanging, V Diff). Then up easy angled slabs to the foot of a rather untidy chimney. A painted red arrow here confirms there is no point looking further - this is the way. 5-6m with a chockstone and a slightly overhanging exit. Holds are pretty good but protection's not brilliant. Take plenty of Friends (as in spring loaded camming devices). The odd Rock and Hex also came in handy. After a determined assault by Bob he was up. I followed, removing (with some difficulty!) the protection.

We found ourselves on an airy platform with a vertical drop to the Bridge, where Ania was patiently (or not so patiently) waiting. But we weren't finished yet: one more pitch, 4m and interesting looking. It yielded easily; there was Bob, at the summit, arms aloft in triumph. I quickly joined him and we enjoyed ourselves in the sunshine admiring the superb situation, and the views which took in the distinctive pinnacle of Roque Nublo, and beyond it above the clouds was Teide, the Tenerife and Spanish HP, 100km to the WNW.

The descent was straightforward, involving 2 abseils. It would be possible to abseil directly down the vertical N face above the crux, but we weren't convinced the doubled 50m rope would reach, so went back the way we came. Ania meanwhile had got some good photos and plenty of sun, but I think she'd have rather been climbing.

We visited the trig pillar (easily accessible as it's outside the new military fence) then scrambled down beside the fence (a route which Ania had already reccied), enjoyed the "normal tourist views" from the main car park then walked a few hundred metres back down the road to the car.

I planned to spend the next day on Fuerteventura and flew across later that afternoon, ascending the Fuerteventura HP Pico de la Zarza (superb) just after dawn on Monday and Pico de la Atalaya (less interesting) around midday before flying back to Gran Canaria for the flight back to London Stansted that evening. All in all a successful and very enjoyable weekend.

Pico de las Nieves photos

Pico de la Zarza ascent report

Pico de la Atalaya ascent report

Spanish IGN mapping
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:63 m / 210 ft
    Extra Gain:14 m / 49 ft
    Distance:1 km / 0.6 mi
    Route:West face
    Trailhead:E of military base  1916 m / 6289 ft
    Grade/Class:YDS 5.5, Severe, V-
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Rope
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:3 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 



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