Gran Canaria is the third largest of the Canarian Islands. As all the others it was created by volcanic activity. In contrast to neighbouring Tenerife however the volcanos are not actice anymore. The most recent outbreak dates back 2000 - 3000 years. The island is still shaped as a volcanic cone. It rises about 4000m out of the seaboard with it's highest peak, Pico de las Nieves, 1949m high.
Roque Nublo (cloudy rock or misty rock) itself thus is not the highest peak of Gran Canaria but certainly the most prominent. It rises out of the Caldera de Tejeda, a giant volcanic crater with approx. 20km (13miles) of diameter. It is located roughly at the center of the island and due to its exposed situation can be seen from almost everywhere in the western part of the island.
The rock is the remainder of the funnel of the main volcano on the island. Everything else (with the exception of some other famous rocks (e.g. Roque Bentayga and Roque Palmès) has been washed down by erosion or - as the caldera de Tejeda - collapsed over time. Roque Nublo rises out of the surrounding Tablon del Nublo (1740m) by about 65m (200feet) of altitude and the summit reaches 1803m.
It can be reached very easily by a nearby parking lot by a hike of some 30min. Thus, especially in summer you'll encounter quite a lot of tourists up there, many of them belonging to the bikini_and_slippers variety. But you'll also find a lot of hikers and quite some climbers and the tableau del Nublo is an interesting location if you want to watch the climbers in their 1h ascent.
Getting ThereAs one of the major european vacation getaways Gran Canaria can be reached from all major European airports. There are almost no regular flights but lots of charter flights. The airport of Gran Canaria is in the western part of the island.
From the airport take freeway GC 1 northward to the exit Telde, turn westward onto GC 10 and then in Telde take GC 130 in the direction of Pico de las Nieves. Some 2 km after the intersection with side road to Pico de las Nieves take GC 600 in the direction of Ayacata. Roque Nublo can't be missed: there are lots of signs.
The direct ascent is pretty short but there are quite a number of tours that can be done and that all touch Roque Nublo or the Tablon del Nublo.
Do 'em All: Roundtrip Degollada de Becerra - Roque Nublo - Degollada del Asserador - Cruz de Timigada - La Culata - Degollada de BecerraAll the routes that have been described on this page can be combined into a long round tour of 6 - 8h. Start at Degollada de Becerra and take the long way to La Goleta, then ascend to Roque Nublo. Take the round tour and carry on to Degollada del Asserador. From here you must follow GC60 down to Cruz de Timigada for about 1km. Take the trail to La Culata. Here follow the road up to its very end from where a broad trail leaves on the left hand side which leads you back to Degollada de Becerra.
Red TapeNo red tape to be found. There are no permits for either climbing or parking required. The process for the (free) campground is cumbersome but you can read this in the Accomodation section.
When To ClimbRoque Nublo can be climbed all year round. There are rumours that once or twice a year there can be snow. So you might want to try on any other of the remaining 363 days of the year.
AccomodationOf course you can find a lot of hotels, fincas and casas on the island which you can book from any travel office. Those of you who prefer to camp are in for a pretty cumbersome process. There are two official campsites, both at sea level in the south of the island.
There are quite a number of camping zones in the central part of the island (the one nearest Roque Nublo is at Lllano de la Pez some 2km to the east). You can camp for free in these camping zones, there are rarely any restrooms or showers, sometimes a fireplace. And you need a permit!
You have to apply for the permit in Las Palmas (don't forget your ID), you will obtain it three days later! The adresses are:
Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria
Pérez Galdós 53
35003 Las Palmas
Gobierno de Canarias
Viceconsejería de Media Ambiente
Juan XXIII 2
35004 Las Palmas
Unfortunately both offices manage different campgrounds and I have no idea which manages Llanos de la Pez.
Weather ConditionsThere are several sites on the web which give you information on the weather on Gran Canaria. However, they all show the weather for the coastal regions (Playa dos Ingles or Las Palmas) which significantly differs from the weather in the mountains. Moreover weather conditions along the weather divide of Gran Canaria cannot be predicted accurately. The following table shows data for Las Palmas on the coast.
|Avg. day temp.[°C / °F]||21 / 70||21 / 70||22 / 72||22 / 72||22 / 72||23 / 73||24 / 75||25 / 77||25 / 77||25 / 77||24 / 75||22 / 72|
|Avg. night temp.[°C / °F]||16 / 61||16 / 61||16 / 61||17 / 63||16 / 61||17 / 63||18 / 64||20 / 68||20 / 68||18 / 64||18 / 64||17 / 63|
|Water temp.[°C / °F]||19 / 66||18 / 64||19 / 66||19 / 66||19 / 66||20 / 68||22 / 72||23 / 73||23 / 73||23 / 73||21 / 70||20 / 68|
The Canarian Islands (as well as Madeira) are located in the trade wind zone. You almost always encounter northeastern winds which carry a lot of humid air. Being forced to climb to higher altitudes this moisture condenses into clouds. This in return means that most of the time the northeastern part of the islands is covered in clouds from altitudes of 1000m through 2000m.
The mountains themselves - being of the same altitude -finally stop the clouds so that on their southeastern slopes the clouds "run out". Look at the pictures - it looks like the clouds creeping over the weather divide.
Unfortunately all of the major peaks of Gran Canaria - and with them Roque Nublo (cloudy rock!!) - lie around the weather divide. Sometimes within, sometimes just out of the clouds.
We decided early on to drive to Roque Nublo in the morning - have a look at the weather and the patches of the island lying in the sunshine - and just went there! This worked out pretty fine since wind direction and strengths change from day to day so that different parts of the island are covered in fog.
And let me tell you: this fog is WET!
Climbing in Gran CanariaThere are a lot of routes in the vicinity of Roque Nublo, most of them starting from Ayacata. Other worthwhile locations are Tamabada in the northwest and Mogan in the southwest of the island. Most documented routes are at Ayacata and Tamabada.
To get information on routes, trailheads, difficulties, gear you can use the following addresses:
Canary Climbing Delegation:
18 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Tel: 928 29 06 52
Fax: 928 46 00 45
Federación Canaria de Montanismo
La Naval 32
NatureI had to include this section because I'm fascinated by the different Taginaste bushes in the Canarias and on Madeira. The ones in Gran Canaria - though only white - with their sweet smell attract lots of bees and butterflies. They are very similar to the blue Madeira variation but VERY different from the red Tenerife variation, the Taginaste del Teide.
And being German I can only wonder at the almond blossom in late December!