Sub-Zero Mountain Rescue

Snow Groomer

Snow Groomer

The Guardia Civil received an alert at 00.30h on Monday morning, which triggered a mountain-rescue operation that only concluded at 07.00h with temperatures down to -10C.

The team had to work their way around a frozen rock face with temperatures at ten-below zero, dodging rock falls, to reach the victims.

An injured climber accompanied by three fellow climbers had come unstuck on the south-west face of the Veleta Peak. On of them had fallen 15 metres and fractured his ribs, leg and skull – never a good idea.

The climbers had been attempting a route called the Canuto del Veleta but owing to the snowfall and having to remain roped together for safety they had been taking too long, so that it was already 22.30h by the time that they had finished this first ascent route. But even so, they then began the Fidel Fierro route.

However, soon they were all exhausted, which was when one of them lost his grip with his crampons and fell.

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So, the mountain-rescue team set off in early hours of Monday for Pradollano, where they were picked up by a snow tractor (snow-groomer) belonging to the ski station, which carried them up the north face of the said peak.

From there they worked their way across and down, using the abseiling technique, all the time suffering cascades of stones and ice loosened by their ropes.

Once they linked up with the climbers it was a case of getting them up to the peak to the awaiting snow groomer, achieving this around 07.00h in the morning. The snow groomer took them down to the Hoya de la Mora, where a vehicle was waiting to transfer the injured man to the main hospital in Granada.

(News: Sierra Nevada, Granada, Andalucia)

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