Ascent of Pico de Teide on 1998-12-01

Climber: Peter Stone

Others in Party:Derek Stone
Date:Tuesday, December 1, 1998
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pico de Teide
    Elevation:12198 ft / 3717 m

Ascent Trip Report

On a joint family holiday to Tenerife we planned days on the beach, sun-bathing and swimming, visiting playparks and botanic gardens, and much eating and drinking; but we also wanted to climb the highest mountain in the Canaries and the whole of Spain.

We didn't know about the permit system until we got to the Teleferico; no mention was made of needing a permit in the brand new Lonely Planet guidebook that we had with us. Despite our limited Spanish we soon understood that we couldn't acquire a permit there and then, so my brother and I decided that a stealth ascent might be the only option in these circumstances. Now of course being illegal we wouldn’t do that, condone it, or describe it on Peakbagger, but if we had I imagine it might have gone something like this:

Perhaps one could take the cable car up, then leave the top station in the opposite direction from the normal path to the summit, walking in a clockwise direction on a contouring path that would take you well out of sight and sound of all authorities. Once one had completed a quarter circumnavigation of the upper volcano you could turn sharply up and north-east and make a direct ascent to the summit scrambling over bare rocks. One might find a remarkably small crater compared to other volcanoes of similar prominence but with sulphurous fumes and colourful hot rocks. Fantastic views over Tenerife and the neighbouring Canary Islands in all directions would be expected.

One could then descend on the official stepped pathway and let oneself out past the chain at the bottom. If you were lucky there would be no rangers to be seen so one could take the cable car back down unhindered.

We encouraged our wives to try such an ascent while we looked after the children at the base. However, on their climb they took the more direct route on the main path up the steps and were challenged and made to turn back by a pair of burly officials!

Somewhat frustrated we managed to get full information about the permit system from a local tourist office the next day and after a visit to the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente in the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife with passports, photos, etc, we acquired permits for an ascent on the last day of our holiday. Unfortunately the spouses were once again thwarted, this time by the weather which was too cold and windy for the teleferico to run and we didn't have time to drive around and hike all the way up from the Montaña Blanca trailhead because our flight time was mid-afternoon.

Postscript: My permit information is now all out of date. The permits are now issued online. No doubt the details will change over time, so please check some weeks or months before you need them.
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