Ascent of Pico de Teide on 2007-03-10

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Brent Lynam
Bob Packard
Date:Saturday, March 10, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pico de Teide
    Elevation:12198 ft / 3717 m

Ascent Trip Report

Pico de Teide, 3718m, P3718m

Map: 1:25,000 Sheet 1092-IV La Montaneta

Stats: 1318mH (+c 100m), 6+5km

Time: 08:30 start, 11:30 Refugio de Altavista, 12:30 viewpoint below summit cone, 14:30 summit, 15:30 commence descent, 18:20 back at car. Ascent 6h, descent 3h

Start: from SE, gated-off jeep track just E of teleferico station, Elev 2400m,

Route: wide jeep track, fork L then soon take path on L which traverses rubbly slopes of Montaña Blanca (pumice scree). This path levels off then rejoins the jeep track just before the M. Blanca saddle (an easier but longer alternative is to ignore the rubbly path and stay on jeep track at 2nd fork). A good zig-zag path continues up a wide gully, between bushes of Teide Broom, Retama. Just above the gully, the Refugio de Altavista is reached. The path continues above the refuge, crossing very rough slopes, at an easy gradient. Soon the summit cone of Teide comes into view, then a T-junction is reached, with a signboard. Right is a viewpoint, beyond which a path can be seen zig-zagging up the E slope to the summit. However this direct path is out of bounds (at least between 0900 and 1700 when the rangers are on duty). The official path goes left, towards the top station of the teleferico, then forks right for the summit. There is a large rock just L of this T-junction, with a commanding view of the summit cone, where a ranger may be looking out for people sneaking up to the summit.
Having no permit, we descended a short way back towards the Refuge, then descended rough slopes, crossed a low ridge then traversed rough slopes NW, keeping mostly out of sight, finally ascending the NE slope of the cone to the summit, on a mixture of loose rubble and good easy angled rock.
We descended via the official path. Just before the teleferico top station, the rangers wait to collect names / check permits. Knowing this in advance, it would be possible to avoid this by traversing left, leaving the path just before reaching a rock wall which hems in the path on its left side.

Difficulties: The shortcut path is well defined but crosses loose pumice scree on the flanks Montaña Blanca. The path beyond is excellent throughout, provided a permit is obtained.

Can now be obtained by email: need to provide:
"A scanned copy of your passport.
The names, surnames and passport numbers of all the group (maximum party size, 10 people)
The exact day of your visit (only one day at week).
You must specify a summit slot of two hours, one of the timetables as follow to stay on the very top of Teide, 9:00 to 11:00 hours, 11:00 to 13.00, 13:00 to 15:00 or 15:00 to 17:00. During this time you can stay on the tip of Teide, before you need to take the cable car (and pay tickets) or walk by foot to the upper cable car station (5 hours going up and 3 going down)."

Summiting without a permit while rangers are in attendance involves rough ground and is not recommended. We were caught on the descent and “a present” was needed to smooth the way.
During cold and/or snowy weather ice axe and crampons may be useful; in such conditions the rangers are perhaps less likely to be on duty.
An alternative is to stay at the Refugio de Altavista overnight (was closed in March: bivvy may be needed), leaving early a.m. to ensure the descent from the summit cone is completed before the first cable car of the day, when the rangers arrive (believed to be 09:00)

At the time, permits could only be obtained weekday mornings (0900 to 1400), in person from the ICONA office in Santa Cruz, on presentation of a passport photocopy. For details see, also, Package flights from the UK arrive on Fridays, hence the earliest a permit could be obtained is Monday morning for a Tuesday ascent.

Triangulation point: concrete slab on lower NW summit, with three locating grooves and a standard Instituto Geografico plaque (no pillar).

Weather: Warm and sunny, initially clear but becoming hazy, with clouds obscuring lower levels (the very top of the island of La Palma was just visible: Gran Canaria was completely obscured). There were a few small snow patches but nothing which caused any problems: we were fine in lightweight / 3 season boots. We had taken ice axe and crampons as a precaution, but did not take them on the hike. However, snow is sometimes encountered in March (see indeed, when we returned to Tenerife five days later, the island was covered with fresh snow above about 1500m.
Useful webcams can be found at (view from south) and (view from east, i.e. the hiking route – this is a good way of checking for snow conditions before leaving home; the same site has temperature profiles. Site can be temperamental)

Notes: Country highpoint of Spain; island highpoint of Tenerife. Teide was busy, with a large party ascending via the jeep track, and many more having taken the teleferico to the summit area, a few continuing to the summit itself. Several Berthelot’s Pipits seen among the Retama bushes below the Refugio. The steep pumice scree descent off Montaña Blanca was entertaining – and quite photogenic.

Climbed during a 1 week package holiday from the UK, during which we also visited the HPs of El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4652 ft / 1417 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4652 ft / 1416 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.8 mi / 11 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4652 ft / 1417 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4324 ft / 1318 m; Extra: 328 ft / 99m
    Loss on way in:328 ft / 99 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:Montana Blanca trail
    Start Trailhead:Montana Blanca trailhead  7874 ft / 2399 m
    Time:6 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4324 ft / 1317 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Route:Montana Blanca trail
    End Trailhead:Montana Blanca trailhead  7874 ft / 2399 m
    Time:3 Hours 

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