The highest neolithic cave art in Spain has been found in the the Ordesa National Park. Paintings have been discovered in two caves at 2200 metres altitude, near Regufio Goriz at the base of Monte Perdido. The paintings depict human and four legged animal figures.
A four legged animal on an image enhanced by infrared
At around 7000 years old the paintings were created between 4000 – 5000 BC. Archaeologists think they were probably painted by shepherds who, even that long ago, would take their flocks to the high pastures in summer.
The two caves where the paintings were found
Last week we ran our first snowshoeing holiday and it was a brilliant week with excellent routes, fantastic views and sunshine every day! We did five routes during the week – three in the Valle de Tena, one from Somport and one in the Ordesa Valley.
On the summit of Pico Canal Roya
There were five intrepid guests with varying level of snowshoe experience, but all did brilliantly so we got to do some great days and reached a couple of high summits.
Snowshoeing out from Portalet
The weather couldn’t have been better – clear blue skies all week, not a breath of wind and perfect temperatures. The snow line is quite high this year so all of our routes started from quite high altitude. The Portalet pass on the French/Spanish border in the Valle de Tena is perfect for this as it has an altitude of nearly 1800 metres and always good snow conditions.
Last weekend was again sunny here in the Pyrenees so I set out on another hike. My intention was to head to Aso de Sobremente which lies in a wonderful hanging valley, hidden above Biescas. You can do a big horseshoe route along the ridge and you have great views of the cliffs of La Partacua.
The hanging valley of Sobremonte and the ridge I was hoping to walk along
We hike here with groups from time to time and they’ve been doing some path re-routing/maintenance on the GR15 which passes through Yosa, so I wanted to check out if the route had changed much.
They’ve actually done a fantastic job at path clearance on the GR15 and re-signed and marked the route making it much clearer. Before the path was inpassable and we had to divert across fields for a few kilometres in a rather random manner before rejoining the path further up. Now you can hike on the GR15 directly from the village which is much better (and my groups won’t think I’m lost!).
The village of Yosa de Sobremonte
Spain is Europe’s second most mountainous country with an average altitude of 660 metres. It has a high central meseta with lots of fantastic and diverse mountain ranges to hike and explore. But which are Spain’s highest mountains and where are they?
1. Teide – 3715 metres – Tenerife
2. Mulhacén – 3479 metres – Sierra Nevada
3. Aneto – 3404 metres – Pyrenees
4. Veleta – 3396 metres – Sierra Nevada
5. Posets – 3369 metres – Pyrenees
6. La Alcazaba – 3369 metres – Sierra Nevada
7. Monte Perdido – 3355 metres – Pyrenees
8. Cilindro de Marboré – 3325 metres – Pyrenees
9. Perdguero – 3321 metres – Pyrenees
10. Maladeta – 3312 metres – Pyrenees
A surprise to most people – the highest mountain in Spain is the volcano of Teide (3715m) on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
The highest mountain on the Iberian Peninsula is Mulhacén (3479m) in the Sierra Nevada east of Granada. This range has three of the highest peaks. It’s close to the coast and here you can ski in the morning and swim in the sea in the afternoon!
Six of Spain’s ten highest peaks are in the Pyrenees – the 435 km wide range that separates Spain and France. Spain’s largest range has over two hundred peaks of 3000 metres or more with it’s highest being Aneto at 3404m
Now you know which are the ten highest mountains in Spain make it your challenge to climb them all!
At the weekend Ruby and I headed out for my first hike of the New Year from the border at Portalet. The weather was beautiful – cold but with clear blue skies and sunshine.
The peak of El Forato with the Sierra de Partacua in the background
As long as you don’t want to ski we’ve had brilliant weather over Christmas with three weeks of sunshine and warm temperatures – we even had a barbeque on the 28 December!