Strictly speaking, there is no easy route up to La Fortaleza. The normal route up and accross the north-east buttress is difficult only by higing standards, especially since most of it has been "tamed" by steps, which lead up to the north face of the mountain. Also, the route is very short. If you start at the closest parking lot you can be on the Fortaleza plateau within 30 minutes. As this parking lot is small and often overcrowded, you will take about between one hour and one hour and a half.
The main character of the route is chimney and couloir climbing. One couloir leads up to a col from which a narrow path leads to the second couloir, the crux of the route. Once on top a lofty traverse leads across the butress to the Fortaleza plateau.
Getting ThereThe main page describes, how you can get to the village of Chipude, where the climb to La Fortaleza starts. There are two tiny parking lots close-by but they are quite often overcrowded.
- Start altitude: 1000m
- Summit altitude: 1241m
- Prevailing exposure: N
- Type: Steep scramble through two couloirs, than ridge traverse
- Protection: None
From Chipude (church) follow the road for 150m before a marked path (GR131) turns off to the left. It passes a part of the village on the outside before descending back to the road again. Here you can cross the road, then a Barranco but I would suggest to follow the u-turn of the road for some 500m instead of using the very overgrown shortcut. Where the shortcut meets the road a cobblestone road heads east and up to a saddle right underneath the Fortaleza north face.
In and above the saddle you find two stone cabins, one of which is used to accommodate hikers in the summer months. Pass these huts and head for the prominent north-east buttress of La Fortaleza. The path is marked (still red GR131 signs) and keeps on to of the ridge which connects the saddle with the buttress. As you reach the northernmost pillar the path turns right to head for a chimney like couloir in the west-face of the buttress. Steps have been laid or hewn out of the rock so that you easily reach a col behind the north pillar (great views towards Garajonay during this ascent).
A steep path leads from this col to the Fortaleza north face proper. Again you pass several pillars until you reach another couloir. Head up here - the right hand side is easiest but with all the hiking traffic going on you might be forced to switch sides. After some 20m the couloir turns right sharply (90°) and you quickly head out onto one of the towers on the ridge of the north-east buttress.
Descend into a col, head up to the next tower, then traverse onto the plateau. All these moves are rather exposed and it pays to keep them in mind for the descent. On the buttress there are only few marks which indicate the route. Once on top of the plateau you find the highpoint to the west of the mountain, where you have great views down towards Chipude and acrosss Valle Gran Rey to La Merica in the far west of the island. Be sure to explore the plateau and head out towards the south-east buttress, which offers gorgeaous views into the Fortaleza east face high above Barranco del Erque.