Tag Archives: Tenerife

TENERIFE GR131. La Laguna – Santa Cruz.

The final chapter, another easy day that wasn’t.


The tram took us back up to La Laguna and that was the easy bit. We walked up the nearest hill, good view back to La Laguna, but our way from there looked awkward so we dropped down to the road again and picked up the ‘correct’ lane further on.  Higher up we met a Dutch couple who seemed to be in completely the wrong place, they were using an alternative Kompass map which didn’t seem much better than ours. As we climbed the lane numerous runners in various states of exhaustion were pounding down. Obviously some sort of training run was in progress and the only person to stop and chat said they had already done 20k on a circuit from La Laguna. Higher up a farmer tending his frisky cattle gave us some indication of a route through to Santa Cruz.  At the highest point we rested whilst more runners came through. A track led off in the right direction through cacti and other prickly shrubs. All was going well and we met up with a  ‘Camino Lecheras’ which promised a continuing way. Research later has shown this was the route for transporting dairy products from La Laguna to Santa Cruz.                                                                                                                                                 This was quoted on one site – La vegetación predominante en esta zona es una variedad del cardonal tabaibal, abundando bejeques, balos, cornicales, faro, incienso, verode, cerrillo, mato risco, tederas, tasaigo, magarza, pitera, gomereta, jediondo, culantrillo y otras.                                                I think we must be missing something.                                                                                                        Anyhow we managed to loose that camino and took our own way down to the road at Valle Jimenez where we thought we had found our route. Crashing through undergrowth brought us onto a lane heading in the right direction. Then it was hopefully  back up a cleared path, Lamesa, seemed to be going somewhere but ran out at the upper road near some transmission stations. We were challenged by security as to what we doing but when we said walking to Santa Cruz our obvious stupidity allowed us through. The embarrassing thing was that we could soon be retracing our steps. At a view point we could see Santa Cruz and decided to make a break for it down ancient terracing. All went well and soon we were on a road which zigzagged all the way into town. We celebrated our completion, almost, with a beer in a cafe near the port.

Next morning we relaxed over breakfast and repacking. A stroll through town to the market and then the emblematic Auditorium, an arching concrete structure. Past the inviting ‘lido’ was the Palmetum where we spent  an hour marveling at the diversity of botany. Back to the bus station for lunch and the transfer to the airport.

Ficus sycomorus.

Ficus sycomorus.

Crinum Asiaticus.

Crinum Asiaticus.





Life is not always a bowl of cherries – the morning after at the bus station.

Snow on our local fell has not melted since our return.

So we walked almost coast to coast across Tenerife. The GR131 only existed between Arona and La Esperanza and was excellently waymarked. The bits we did at either end linking to the ports, surely the original idea of a route through the Canaries, were virtually nonexistent. With a little more research we could have found a better way through what is good walking territory, it was good fun trying. Can’t imagine the local authorities will get round to completing the route.

On to the next Island….


TENERIFE GR131. Agua Garcia – La Laguna.

We knew it wouldn’t be easy, the dogs made it worse.

We are now off the official GR131 and trying to cobble together a port to port route which my map shows. At this stage I feel the need to name and shame – Freytag & Berndt 1:50000. From the first day the depicted red line for the 131 has not matched up to what is on the ground but in the middle section we could rely on the official waymarks. We were now on our own at the mercy of said map and Spanish paths. I wonder if there is a better map available.

A bus took us back to last night’s point and we walked along the road for awhile. Turning down the lane of the red line all seemed simple, we were on our way. Every dwelling had some variety of vicious dog barking at us from behind bars, this turned out to be the pattern for the day whenever we passed a dwelling – is the crime rate so high that they need so many barking dogs.  The flowers and fruits by the wayside were a distraction until we were stopped dead by a house built across the lane. Back up and then down the next which thankfully gave us a way out onto other lanes which dodged under the motorway.

dsc04460 We found ourselves in a leafy suburb with  smart mansions. A footpath at the edge of a barranca was picked up and this took us through cork oak and eucalyptus woodlands on a ridge in the right direction. Then it stopped and perhaps we chose the wrong option down through streets to the very edge of the motorway. We figured we were on a slip road so carried on in dangerous proximity to fast moving traffic. With relief we escaped onto a winding road back into the hills. We relocated ourselves on the map and climbed out of the urban streets, as soon as we saw a hill we set off up it on a scrambly path – probably our next mistake. Emerging through dense under growth  onto the top with a trig point, possibly El Pulpito 710m, we reassessed and were nowhere near where we thought. Below us was the runway of Tenerife Airport North which we had at least circumvented. It was fun to watch the planes landing and taking off.

dsc04477A new course was set with more confidence across wide muddy tracks and up into another range of volcanic hills, Montana de la Atalaya. Ridge walking was a joy and we strode out with more ranges of hills on the horizon. Coming back down to housing we lost the plot. We hoped to reach Ermita de San Diego but never got near it and eventually just took the easiest option into La Laguna. On the outskirts dogs were ever present noisily stalking their premises. It was good to be back in the friendly central streets, we picked up our excess luggage at Hotel Aguere and enjoyed a beer in their spacious atrium. We may have walked 20k.Because we were behind schedule tonight’s accommodation was booked in nearby Santa Cruz so we took the modern tram, again so cheap, down to the coast. Our Hotel Pelinor was only a few hundred metres from the tram stop and again fortunately in the old town. The recommended restaurant, La Hierbita, proved a great success.


TENERIFE GR131. Siete Fuentes – Agua Garcia.

Luck strikes again and we find the path.

La Laguna cafe society.

                                                           La Laguna cafe society.

Over beers last night we had several options to talk through, today’s problem was to get back to yesterday’s final point in the woods and we didn’t really know where that was. Unsurprisingly we woke with no clear plan. Breakfast at the bus station and a unanimous decision taken , not difficult with two,  to try a taxi into La Victoria and then as high as he would go. Our willing driver with the help of my GPS took us 600m up narrow lanes before he blanched at the sight of a 1in3 concrete track. Dumped on the pavement our efforts to ask the way encountered the whole of the area’s intellectually challenged.  The next kilometre was some of the steepest roads I’ve ever walked. The whole hillside was given over to viticulture and men were walking up and down effortlessly between plots. We just staggered and perspired under our loads. A game of who could roll a chestnut furthest down the hill was invented to distract us. The ripe chestnuts were falling all around us and several parties were collecting them for the local markets.  At the end of the tarmac we followed a track forever upwards, just when we thought we had gone too high, 1300m, we suddenly emerged at the shelter of Siete Fuentes which we instantly recognised from last night.

Escobon for animal fodder.

                                        Escobon for animal fodder.

Time for a rest and snack. We noticed a functioning tap at the site and this would have been a godsend for a bivvy – please note if that is your intention. Now back on the GR131 and our red wriggly map line all was plane sailing. There was another path marked with ?angel heads wandering into the forest but we never discovered its origin. Council workers were out pruning the laurisilva for environmental reasons thus giving the locals free firewood. We enjoyed the warm sunny weather at this height and thought of England freezing away. Buzzards soared overhead whilst we ate lunch. The official 131 was left in favour of our coast to coast, port to port, quest and at a roadside end the Titsa bus arrived and took us to La Laguna. What a fascinating old town it proved to be and our 18th century Hotel  Aguere was right in the middle of the action. The town had become rich from trading between Europe and the Caribbean when it was safer to live inland than on the piratical coast. This is another of those Canarian towns where all the doors are oversized.Needless to say we made the most of our clement evening wandering the streets and sampling the bars and restaurants, this could be habit forming.


Starting small.

                              Starting small.


TENERIFE GR131. La Caldera – Siete Fuentes.

Lost in the forests.

We were up there somewhere.

We were up there somewhere.

On paper today looked straightforward, a red wriggly line marked on my map. The distance was 30k and the book said 10 hours. Unfortunately the first bus back up through Oratava to La Caldera didn’t leave till nearly nine so we had no chance of an early start. Our plan was to get as far as we could and then get off the mountain somehow. The caldera is now used as a natural amphitheatre and recreational area. When we arrived there were only a few people about and the cafe wasn’t open for coffee.  After a couple of kilometers on a good track the GR131 was signed unexpectedly up a narrow path and it continued climbing for another 500m. Obviously not what our map showed but once committed we had no other choice. The scenery was dramatic on the edge of a barranco with views back to Teide. We traversed above Roque de Topo and then spent hours somewhere on Montana de Joco up and down wooden steps, every time we thought we must be at the highest point the path descended and then climbed again. We clocked 1200m in the day and we thought it was going to be level. Some, most, of the barrancas crossed were steep and rocky and the path had been hewn out of the rock faces. The day was as usual hot and sunny and walking on a bed of pine needles was a delight, the warm smell of resin intoxicating.

Smell that pine.

Smell that pine.

Lunch, the usual tuna roll, was taken on a log which immediately snapped. We discussed our options – the map was of no use at all but the waymarking was good and we just had to follow it as our whereabouts were a mystery. We might have to do the full 30k and calculated finishing in the dark god knows where at about 7.30. I had very little spare clothing with me and we only had one headtorch, this was supposed to be yet another easy day.                                                     I spotted a sign to El Rincon marked on the map and thought this may offer us an escape route in the light, I voted for that although I think JD would have continued to the bitter end . We, perhaps recklessly, abandoned the 131 and wound down the forest road to a junction with confusing signs. A shelter and signs at Siete Fuentes was soon reached, amazingly back on the GR131.  We thought by now we were on our map’s red wriggly line. Several people were out in the forest collecting firewood but none seemed of any help in directing us off the hillside. We plodded on and asked another couple just finishing loading there truck, the conversation was a bit of a blur but before we knew it we were bouncing down the tracks in the back of their van. They took us to La Esperanza and dropped us off at a lonely stop assuring us there would be a bus along at 5.30. It came, we arrived in La Laguna bus station and next we were on a bus back to Puerto de la Cruz by 7.  Sometimes it just happens like that. So instead of walking in the dark, or if tired and lost bivvying unequipped in the forest, we were having a shower and going round the corner for a beer and another superb Canarian meal. Tomorrow would take care of itself.

Siete fuentes.

Siete fuentes.

Our saviours disappearing.


Our route maybe.

TENERIFE GR131. El Portillo – La Caldera, Aguamansa.

A downhill forest trail.

The only bus back up to El Portillo departs the bus station at 9.15 and when we arrive there is quite a queue of walkers and mountain bikers, the Teide National Park is popular. The island’s buses are run by TITSA, an unfortunate name. They proved reliable, comfortable and user friendly with screens updating stops. We never payed more than a few euros for quite long distances, this morning’s journey was an hour long and rapidly ascended hairpins for 2000m. Coffee was soon being enjoyed in the sun at the cafe we had visited yesterday afternoon.

Crossing the road the GR131, still the Anaga-Chasna way, was picked up as a little track heading down rocky ground into the pine forest. The day was warm and sunny and it was a delight to be walking downhill on good tracks. The forest was varied with pines, tree heathers and strawberry trees. Occasional views down to the north coast appeared. We couldn’t find water at the  whiteshrine near Barranco Siete Ojos, Cruz del Dornajito. The day drifted on as we followed the ample 131 signs. At times when we were on a good forest road our track seemed to disappear into the trees only to reach the track further on. It felt we were being kept off the easy trail, used by mountain bikers, in favour of smaller tracks. Towards the end we just followed the forest road to avoid unnecessary ups and downs.

Strawberry Tree.

Strawberry Tree.

We emerged onto the main road next to the entrance to the ‘Caldera’ a tourist hot spot and a few hundred metres of climbing through the trees brought us out at a bus stop for our return to Puerto de la Cruz. Easiest day yet and we would leave the Caldera till tomorrow.  Within an hour we were back in the now familiar back streets and enjoying dinner and an early night.


TENERIFE GR131. Parador – El Portillo.

Across the caldera.

Teide Volcano and Cañadas caldera. Image courtesy NASA

Teide Volcano and the Cañadas caldera.
Image courtesy NASA

The above image gives a superb view of the Caldera, our walk was from middle left to lower central [where the trees start] and was an easy 17k with only 350m of ascent.

We took advantage of a good breakfast in the Parador and retraced our steps round to our path from Guaraja from the other day. There now stretched before us a flat track below cliffs to the SE with Mount Teide towering above us to the NW. If all had gone to plan we would have been descending from up there this morning. We walked through several flat Canadas, which apparently hold water after heavy rain or snow. There was evidence of old huts used by goat herders in the past. This area is also a good environment for Tajinastie, an Echium called Mt. Teide Bugloss, its red flowers were fading when we walked past. The other common plant in this barren landscape is White Broom.  Onwards in the heat with no shade.



At the end on the road a visitor centre  was busy and we had time to look around the ‘volcano exhibition’ including a video explaining how the Canary Island aboriginals (guanches) believed Guayota, the devil, lived inside Teide. Outside was a ‘botanical garden’ which I was looking forward to visiting to identify the volcanic plants we were seeing. What a disappointment, a scruffy lava hillside with few plants and even fewer labels, Our boots were completely covered in volcanic dust by the end of the day. Down the road was a welcome café where we passed the time waiting for the only bus of the day to take us down to Puerto de la Cruz, the nearest accommodation.

The bus station happened to be a few hundred metres from our good budget hotel, Puerto Azul. Due to a mix up with my booking we were upgraded to a balcony room with clear views up to Teide. I just had a feeling he was mocking us for our failed ascent. Throughout our stay the summit was clear, even at night with the full moon, we got to calling it Mount Tidy. Puerto de la Cruz turned out to be a pleasant place to stay, our humble hotel being right in the middle of the old town with lots of little alley ways and good restaurants. We had to try the local wine but were not impressed – tajinasty.

TENERIFE GR131. The Parador.

A day of rest.

That should really read  “an expensive day of rest

Last night was not good, I was up and down with abdo. pains. It is almost a year to the day since my last episode cramped our progress in Gran Canaria and I can’t believe it’s happened again. Is there something about the Canary Islands?  I skip breakfast and go back to sleep. JD wanders off into the caldera but is soon back because its raining and miserable. We manage to book another expensive night here, there is not much other choice. I resign myself to not going up to the Altavista hut on Mt. Teide tonight and we only had the one reservation. As it happens the afternoon is foul with wind and rain, probably snow higher, so we console ourselves with a coffee in the cafe filled with hapless tourists. The young English couple return from an early morning [pre-permit] ascent of Teide and are in ebullient mood – congratulations. We are treated to a spectacular rainbow behind the hotel towards sunset. The Parador is the only hotel in the Teide Park and seeks to recreate the ambience of a mountain lodge, especially in the public roomsThe evening is made pleasurable by an excellent meal with good wine in the restaurant, I could happily slip into this luxury life, I didn’t say that – back to tomato sandwiches tomorrow. We replan our onward journey on the GR131, scaling Mount Teide will have to wait for another day.

TENERIFE GR131. Vilaflor – Parador Teide.

Ash and lava.

Breakfast was spent with the young English couple, both active fell runners from the Peak District, who were on a tighter more ambitious schedule than us oldies.  Good to see their enthusiasm, we were away before them but soon overtaken!

From the village, the ancient way climbed steadily on a well defined paved path through terracing of vines and into woods. Steady progress was the order of the day as we had 1400m to climb in the hot sun. There were no fuentes  so all liquid had to be carried and frequent refreshment stops made. As it was a Sunday there were more people out walking, running and mountain biking this popular trail.

Distant Guajara mountain.

Distant Guajara mountain.

We were heading for Guajara, 2715m, which we would circle to a col before dropping into the caldera. Highlights today were first all the volcanic ash we walked through and then the amazing lava fields and formations higher on the mountain. The compressed ash was metres thick and all colours, reminders of distant eruptions. Out of interest whilst we were here new low-level seismic activity was reported. Mount Teide  erupted in 1909 and the previous last reported increase in seismic activity dates back to 2003 when a rift opened on the north-east of the volcano. Needless to say the ground didn’t tremble below our feet. A section of eroded white ash was followed by a whole field of black ash up which climbed an endless avenue of a path. The authorities don’t want people wandering everywhere. From the top of the ash field a tortuous rocky path eventually landed us at Degollada de Guajara, 2373m. Gran Canaria was seen to the east. We stopped for lunch whilst walkers were appearing from all directions, this area around the Parador is easily accessible. Also spotted was a Great Grey Shrike. Dropping into the caldera a wide track was followed past weird lava shapes. I realised that I had previously climbed in this area and I recognised some of the routes, some climbers were busy today enjoying the warmth at this height. Mount Teide loomed above.

Degollada de Guajara.

Degollada de Guajara.

Climber in lefthand crack.

Arrival at the Parador was a bit of a shock, cars everywhere and the cafe and terrace packed with people. We booked into our room and sat in the hotel lounge to avoid the melee.

TENERIFE GR131. Arona/Ifonche – Vilaflor.

 A shortened day.

We were a little chastened after yesterday and neither of us feeling ready for a long day with 1400m of ascent, I know I’m getting soft. Walking to the bus station at 7am we suddenly decided to shorten the day by going directly to Ifonche by taxi, saving 7k. This leaves me with another little section to finish some other time but there looks to be a pleasant circular walk from Arona. We were dropped off at a bar, unfortunately closed, and wandered off for a view down the dramatically named Barranco Infierno and distant La Gomera. Once back on the Gr131 waymarks were plentiful as we climbed a ridge between two deep barrancas. Tagaste [white broom], prickly pear cacti and Cistus [rock rose] give way to pine forest. There have been forest fires here but the Canarian Pine is able to regenerate low down from the charred bark. We drop into the Barranco del Rey and then through old terraced plots and the occasional ‘era’ threshing circle. In the next barranco there is a fine old bridge, a good spot for lunch. Going up Montana de la Vica, high point of the day 1600m, there are many paths in the red ash and lots of people heading in the opposite direction. Water pipes are everywhere and down the otherside fields full of potato plants, papas arrugadas is the commonest dish in Canary cafes. Vilafor is a small town with an attractive church square where outside cafes serve beer and coffee. We chat to a young English couple who had passed us earlier in the day.  Our hotel, Rural Vilaflor, is an old house in a quiet side street strangely run by a friendly Russian couple. Tourists disappear in the evening and most cafés close, but we find one open for an average dinner.

TENERIFE GR131. Los Cristianos – Arona.

Escaping the suburbs.

This should have been an easy stroll but we arrived in Arona hot and sweaty after a frustrating morning and a climb of 900m. We had underestimated the climb and distance and come to realise our map is poor. The GR131 didn’t exist on this section. Not a good start and in the evening we need a good meal and wine to lift our spirits.

Playa de la Americas and distant Mount Teide.

Playa de la Americas and distant Mount Teide.

From our airbnb we headed down to the harbour and began a coastal walk – the well known Los Cristianos, Playa de las Vistas and Playa de las Americas. It is already above 20°, people are heading for the beach, joggers are sweating past and the hint of full English breakfasts wafts out of the cafes. In fact we stop off for an orange juice and scrambled egg.        There has been no sign of any waymarks for the GR131 but we follow the red line depicted on my map and head inland. Busy roads are negotiated and the motorway crossed. We are feeling pleased with ourselves until we become trapped in a new housing  maze not shown on the map.  The hills can be seen across vast banana plantations, but there is no way out and we turn tail and head down again, always a humiliating experience. The locals can’t help and thoughts of giving up cross our minds as we traipse the pavements and overheat.  By chance, we meet a Dutch couple doing a circular walk, their GPS points us onto a scruffy lane marked private. At last we are heading into the hills up this narrow road which leads to a water pumping station. A fortunate small arrow points our way and silver paint marks help keep us on a small track up to an aqueduct crossing the now rough hillside towards Roque del Conde.  However familiar plants appear, deep gorges drop away and we feel  in the wilds at last. Steep climbing brings us to a col with views back down to the holiday sprawl. In complete contrast, an isolated pig and goat farm is passed which looks to be in another century. Steep lanes lead into the small town of Arona where lots of walkers seem to be congregating, no doubt having enjoyed pleasanter paths than ours. There is no accommodation here so we hop on a bus, full of walkers, back down to Los Cristianos.



JD and myself are back on Tenerife and staying once again in a fabulous airbnb next to the church, Nuestra Señora del Carmen in Los Cristianos. All is peace and tranquility with this family. We go round the corner to the busy locals’ Restaurant Raymond  and enjoy a typical supper, salad and then Merluza with Papas Arrugadas. The house Tenerife wine is good but the large serving of post dinner fire water Orujo  [ a transparent spirit from the distillation of the remains left after pressing the grapes with an alcohol content often over 50%] could mean trouble. Their paella apparently is superb – next time.

The GR131 through Tenerife follows in the main part El Camino Natural de Anaga-Chasna an ancient route crossing the island used when most people lived away from the piratical coast. My map shows the route from the harbour in Los Christianos to the harbour in Santa Cruz, 125k, thus linking with ferries to the other Canary Islands, the original idea of a continuous route through all seven. The Cicerone guide only details it between Arona and La Esperanza, 85.5k, as does the signing on the island, we were to find out later why.

We also intended to visit the summit of Mt. Teide on the way which involved pre-booking the Altavista Refuge on the mountain to avoid the restricted permit system.



Leaving Tenerife.


Mt. Teide in the distance.


San Sebastian de La Gomera.

Well only one hop from Tenerife to La Gomera. We had braved the stormy weather flying from Manchester to a sunny Tenerife, slight panic when our bags didn’t appear on the designated carousel (mysteriously sat forlorn on another) and a taxi dash to the ferry. Fred (Olsen) was waiting for us for the hour across the ocean to San Sebastian de la Gomera. The sea was calm and the views clear and with the temperature about 20 a perfect start to a preXmas walking holiday on the volcanic island of La Gomera.

A welcome hot tub on the hotel roof banished the travelling weariness …..tmp_SAM_5940-1170740692…. and soon we were eating some freshly caught Atlantic fish, don’t ask me its name but it was delicious. Apparently the cuisine on the island is acclaimed.





Tenerife – Climbing under Mt. Teide.

It’s the weekend and we want to avoid the crowds. The forecast is still a bit mixed with cloud and possible showers so we are putting off our trip to climb high. Our last visit to the gorge of EL MARTELA was cut short so we decide to give it another go. On the way in we have a look at a smaller crag on the rim – but decide it wasn’t worth climbing. So down into the gorge with the sun still on the left hand routes. This warmed the rock and made the place feel a lot more friendly.

Rod started up a 20m buttress which gave continuously absorbing climbing at 5+  Likewise a similar rounded route on the other side. Two other climbers appeared and guess what – they were from Manchester! Finished the day with a couple of awkward 6a s led by Dave. The climbing here reminded us of Borrowdale with the volcanic rock and vegetation.

Mencey de chasna V+

Well satisfied with the days climbing.

Sunday was a fantastic day, hot and sunny from the start. We therefore motored up the mountain to the climbing area  below Mt. Teide at 2000 metres. The scenery was spectacular with every form of volcanic feature and Mt. Teide [3,718m] brooding above us. On arrival we popped into The Parador hotel to enjoy a coffee on the sunny balcony. The white stuff on Teide is a pale ash  – not snow. Various map boards  showed long distance paths across and over the island – gave me some ideas for next year!!

Mt Teide

The climbing  of CANADA DEL CAPRICHO was the first area developed for sport climbing on the island. The rocks are a labyrinth of weird shaped towers behind the Parador. The pyroclastic rock is much rougher than the other areas we had climbed on. Well made paths lead one up to the rocks and boulders.

Canada del Capricho

Little paths wind in between the formations and we took some time to orientate ourselves. We were attracted to an obvious layback corner which we identified as  El Diedro del Clavo Rojo,  5+. This gave steep climbing up large flakes – classic easy laybacking.

The wall to the right gave a much harder 6a+ up  very steep hold-less rock – thank heavens for bolts. You can see it on the above photo if you click to zoom. This area was quite shady and cool in the morning and attracted other climbers, including our Canadian friend. Moving out onto the south facing rocks we had difficulty locating  our next route in the maze. By now it was surprisingly hot considering the altitude and I was able to top up my Vitamin D levels whilst having lunch. Not a cloud in the sky.

We eventually decided on the last climb, a 30m 5+ Placa Kantosa. This went up rather broken rock to start with spaced bolts but finished on a white slab/block in a terrific position. All the while Mt. Teide acting as a backdrop.

Placa Kantosa 5+

Ropes down and a pleasant walk back to the car in still warm conditions. On the drive down across the floor of the volcano and on twisty roads through the forests we had glimpses across the sea of La Gomera and Gran Canaria with their wreathes of white cloud.

The next day we fly home, but not till the evening so another short day’s climbing is possible. Because of it’s ease of access we chose Arico again, as do lots of others! It’s a very warm sunny day when we arrive. We had spotted a good line on the right on our last visit and walk straight to it. Unfortunately it is occupied by a group of 5 Spaniards who are top roping everyone up and down accompanied by much loud banter – they stay on it for hours – we retreat.

Climb a steep, pocked, sweaty wall typical of this gorge and find it hard work in the hot sun. Bypassing the happy Spaniards we discover a good looking line further up the gorge. This turns out to be one of the better routes we have done in the holidays. A steep groove leading to an awkward move round an overhang to land on the top slab – all great fun.

Monkey 5+

Crossing over into the shade we climb a rather poor route and decide to pack up for the day and enjoy the sunshine in the gorge with hawks flying overhead. Meet up with the Mancunians again, they seem to be enjoying themselves and have another week on the island.

We drive back to the hotel for a last swim before packing to leave. Have thoroughly enjoyed our stay on Tenerife – the climbing has been varied and relaxing. We have only really scratched the surface of what’s on offer, there are lots more crags to discover. Certainly would return for the settled weather of mid-winter.

Guess what – it was raining in Manchester when we arrived home!


Tenerife climbs part 2.

The next day looked a little dull as we walked into the restaurant for breakfast. So we were happy to prolong the morning’s repast. After muesli, fruit, nuts and yoghurt there is a lady who cooks the loveliest of omelettes.  Dallied over croissant and coffee. Pocketed a roll and banana for lunch!


After yesterday’s dampness we decided on going back to Arico for some more open gorge climbing. Now we know the area we were able to make straight for a decent sector on the right in the morning sun – Sus Villa. Climbed a couple of straight forward V’s to begin the day. Both were fairly steep but on good positive pockets in lovely volcanic rock.

No hay colega sin taco. V

  • By now Dave was wanting something harder so we crossed to the other side of the gorge to Sector Vivac. To start we climbed a lovely slabby piece of rock  at about 5+  –  this was a combination using the easiest parts of two 6b routes up a steep buttress and gave a  very satisfying route.

  • We followed this with a couple of excellent 6a’s – one was curiously called ‘Sick English’

Sick English 6a

The day had changed and there was rain in the air – so back down to the sunny coast for a swim before dinner.

Friday promised better weather and we headed up to a new area, EL RIO, another gorge but more open. The walk in was short and soon we were looking down at the rocks. The reservoir below was empty.

El Rio Gorge

As we walked in the cliffs to our right looked very impressive and frightening, giving mainly high 6’s and 7 climbs. But the volcanic rock looked superbly sculptured.

El Rio

Bypassing this desperate area we made our way on the path up the gorge to sector El Acebuche  and climbed three pleasant Vs on a quarried like wall. Another pair of climbers arrived – a Dutch lady and her Swiss partner. Then a Canadian girl whom we had met yesterday turned up alone. This was typical of the  multinational ambience of the climbing in Tenerife.

Rod on Las Cazoletas V

Held the rope for Terrie, the Canadian girl, as she cruised a couple of 6a+s.  She was escaping the Canadian winter  by travelling in southern Europe and climbing where ever she found herself. Good for her!

Found the guide book a bit difficult to follow as it kept changing the orientation of the route numbers as shown on the topo. This was a criticism of all the areas in the book, probably needed better editing. But the guide always got us to the crag and the numbered photos were good, so no big problem.

Finished the day on a good 6a, La encrucjada. A new route downloaded from the web before we arrived.

La encrucijada 6a

Walked out quite satisfied with the day’s climbing just as showers blew in.

No problem at the coast, the sun was shining for the usual refreshing swim back at the hotel pool. Realised how close the planes are when coming into land above the hotel.

Enjoyed a local Tenerife wine with our evening meal. Perfect end to the day.

First days’ climbing in Tenerife.

  • Wake up, wander down for breakfast and walk out to a beautiful clear sunny morning with the temperature already 20degrees. Must be dreaming!  Then I remember the the four and a half hour flight to get us here. Getting immediately lost in our hire car, in the dark, on the the strange road layouts from the airport.There was a quick rush for a bite to eat and then sleep.
  • The apart-hotel we have booked into proves every bit as good as the brochure said. The three of us have a two room apartment with kitchen and bathroom. There is a large restaurant providing us with buffet breakfasts and dinners, why cook when on holiday? Our terrace leads straight onto the pool area and catches the sun. We are situated in the middle of some golf complexes on the SE corner of Tenerife –  never expected to be here.Instead of a pre Xmas climbing trip to southern Spain, the weather can be dodgy in Dec, and encouraged by a newish guidebook we have opted for a look at the climbing on the Island of Tenerife.
  • http://www.roxtar.es/topoindex.htm

The first morning we headed out to an area that promised easy access, good climbing at all grades with sun or shade all day. Parking up we realised from the number of cars that everyone thought the same. ARICO was a rocky gorge composed of volcanic rock. A short descent into the gorge and climbing was possible on both sides.

Arico upper gorge.

Reading the guide book there were some low grade climbs on sector Los Quintos, a buttress on the right a short distance up the gorge.  Quickly identified and with the sun shining my enthusiasm was high for the start of our climbing.  OK they did look a bit steep and polished.

I chose a IV+ [La Guarra] and immediately found the climbing hard. The wall was vertical and one relied on small pockets to make or not make progress.

La Guarra

The adjacent V- was no better and we ended up top roping the next V!  Not a good start.  Made the usual excuses of jet lag, under grading  and polished popularity. Then moved quickly up the gorge to some easier angled V grade climbs which restored our confidence in the grading system. When it was too hot on the right side we moved over to the shady Pena del Lunes sector where a  longer V+ pocked wall completed the day.

A quick drive down the motorway brought us back to the hotel just as the sun loungers were being vacated. The outdoor pool turned out to be heated so the evening swim was refreshing and became part of the holiday routine.

Evening swim.

Having a kitchen was ideal for brewing cups of tea whilst we relaxed before dinner — must keep up the British tradition. The restaurant was quiet, most people seemed to be speaking with an eastern European accent. We have become experts over the years at an evening grazing hotel buffet suppers. Start with a bowl of gazpacho soup, a plate of salad before a little fish or shellfish course, a selection from the main meals and to finish some fruit or flan. This hotel produced a better than average selection and had a chef cooking meat and fish every night. Not sure all this is good for the climbing.

Expectations were high the next morning when the day dawned sunny and warm. After a good breakfast we headed up into the hills to the village of Granadilla where there is a climbing shop, Tenerife Outdoor, which promised topos of new areas. We eventually found the shop which turned out to have an amazing stock of climbing and walking gear. Who buys all this stuff? The pleasant lady provided us with a printed download to the new crag and information on others. We felt obliged to make some purchases. http://www.tenerifeoutdoor.com

Armed with the ‘guide’ to LA MARTELA  gorge we drove further up the mountain to a parking spot. Small cairned tracks, through wild scenery, led us to the lip of the gorge and we dropped into its depths. This area is much more enclosed and composed of a more compact, smooth, basalt type rock. We left the sun behind and it was quite cool down here.

Somewhat chastened from yesterday’s warm up climbs we started on an easy IV+ [Carnaval Amargo] and all went well. Next up was the adjacent V+ which proved a bit trickier but excellent climbing on the smooth, hold-less rock.

The day had moved on and we had not noticed the dark clouds above [It’s always sunny here!] so when we felt the first few drops of rain we settled under an overhang and ate lunch. No one else appeared. Expecting things to improve, weather wise,  we sat on and gradually everything around us became wet with no hope of drying out. Admitting defeat we packed up and climbed out of the gorge, contemplating on the seriousness of being down here in a real deluge.

When we arrived back at the road we could see we were under a nasty little black cloud producing the rain. Making the most of the afternoon we motored to another crag not in the guide book, Jama, near the village of El Roque. When we found the rocks they turned out to offer short routes in the the lower grades. For another day maybe.