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North-East Buttress

 
North-East Buttress

Page Type: Route

Location: La Gomera, Spain, Africa/Europe

Lat/Lon: 28.10030°N / 17.27643°W

Object Title: North-East Buttress

Route Type: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Less than two hours

Rock Difficulty: Class 4

Difficulty: Hike and scramble

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: Gangolf Haub

Created/Edited: Mar 9, 2008 / Mar 9, 2008

Object ID: 386677

Hits: 1324 

Page Score: 74.01%  - 4 Votes 

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Overview

 
On the north-east buttress
On the north-east buttress

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 There

The 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.

Route Description

La Fortaleza
La Fortaleza with the prominent north-east buttress

  • General data
      - Start altitude: 1000m
      - Summit altitude: 1241m
      - Prevailing exposure: N
      - Type: Steep scramble through two couloirs, than ridge traverse
      - Protection: None
  • Effort: 200m elevation gain
  • Power: 1 - Short (UIAA I in some places)
  • Psyche: 2 - A bit exposedon the ridge of the nnorth-east buttress
  • Orientation: 1+ - Marked and easy, a bit tricky to find the correct exit from the plateau when descending

    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.
    La Fortaleza
    La Fortaleza above the saddle where the ascent starts

    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).
    Garajonay
    Looking across the north pillar towards Garajonay

    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.
     
    Descending the couloir
    Second Couloir
     
    In the Fortaleza north face
    In the Fortaleza north face

    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.

    Essential Gear

    Hiking gear is sufficient. Maybe you'll need a windstopper since the plateau is easily swept by winds.

    Images

    GarajonayLa FortalezaOn the north-east buttressDescending the couloirIn the Fortaleza north face