Overview‘Tajos del Nevero’ translates as ‘Cliffs of the ice field’, and this ridge has certainly felt the effect of ice and weathering. This is a route across the 3200m ridge from Veleta to Pico del Cartujo. From here there is access to Pico del Tajo de los Machos (3088m) and the peaks leading to Cerro de Caballo (3011m).
Getting ThereThe route begins by following the normal route from the Prado Llano ski resort to the summit of Veleta. From this point head down to the Veleta refuge. It is possible to skip Veleta’s summit by following the road around to the refuge.
Route DescriptionCross the col where the refuge is situated onto a clear path leading the opposite ridge from Veleta. This is the beginning of the Tajos del Nevero. A narrow path heads down slightly and traverses the southern side of the ridge. From a spur obscuring the rest of the ridge from view, the path heads between two layers of cliff. Follow the cairns round onto the scree fields which mark a route to a visible col.
From the col the path switches back onto the northern side. Cairns mark a route below the ridgeline across rock. This section requires scrambling and some climbing moves, although nothing sustained. There is also some exposure. The cairns will lead onto the crest of the ridge.
A path follows the easy ridgeline for some distance until it passes below a giant rock finger (see photo). From this point the ridge is broken and rocky, making the cairns difficult to identify. A set of cairns leads down a boulder field, which requires sure footing and good balance to weave between the rocks. This turns into a loose and steep scree field. Traverse this keeping below the cliff until it’s possible to regain the ridge. This will be just above a sizeable but largely derelict refuge.
Alternatively the route should continue on the ridge on the northern side of the ridge.
From the end of the Tajos del Nevero the summit of Pico del Cartujo comes into view. Head down to the col between the Tajos del Nevero and Pico de Cartujo. Follow the ridge to the summit, a good path that avoids forms to the side of the ridge.
As an alternative to doing the traverse of the ridge there is a path which goes down from the Veleta Refuge to a lake and then back up on the other side.
Essential GearIn the summer bring plenty of water and sun protection. Be prepared that the winds from the north can be strong.
In the winter the route will be much more demanding. The rock sections of the route will be icy, be prepared for the need to rope up.