The sudden shock of winter, with oppressive, rain-filled skies and plummeting temperatures, may have born down heavily upon me last week but then, on Thursday, the sun came out. The skies opened out into a blaze of blue and the light was crisp and clear. All the better to see what had been going on in the high mountains while here in the foothills we had been battling rain storms.
And even though it felt like it had been raining forever, when we dashed out climbing at the first hint of a dry day, we found a crag full of perfectly dry limestone on which to unfurl ourselves in the welcome warmth of the sun. We were not the only ones. The crag was crawling with delighted climbers.
The talk, however, was mainly of the snow itself and of plans to get out in it that weekend. Now, if you’re a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know that the thought of the local ski stations opening up for the season is more likely to make me shudder than cheer for joy. (Long story. Read it here.) But their excitement was contagious and even I caught myself wondering if maybe I oughtn’t to try getting out for a day’s snowshoeing in the mountains. I couldn’t come to much harm doing that, could I? Certainly, being far from the crowds (and kamikaze snowboarders) made the prospect more appealing.
Then when I saw these photos of the weekend taken by our friends from the mountain refuge at Quirós (Refugio del Llano Quirós) I was *almost* all for buying myself some cross-country skis. Here they are in the peaks of the Parque Natural de las Ubiñas, under an hour from their refuge, making ski mountaineering look appealing to even the most prejudiced of eyes.
In reality this is as close as I’ll be getting to a pair of skis this winter, beautiful and all as it is. I’m sticking to seeking out the sun and dry rock whilst admiring the snowy peaks from a distance. But that’s the beauty of social media – you get to see stuff like this without all the hard work and risk! Big thanks to the guys from the refuge for letting me share their photos on here.