In the far west of the island of La Gomera you can find one of the wildest mountain ranges on earth. Compared to other ranges it is little - in area as well as in height - but in its compactness it offers a lot of very different impressions. The range is the Tejeleche Range, named after its highest summit, Tejeleche, which rises to 618m. It is the product of volcanic activity on the island and is among the youngest parts of La Gomeara. Even today, 2 million years after the last eruption, you can beautifully see the origin of the range in the many long lava walls which cut through it.
Like in most other parts of the island volcanism in the Tejeleche range occurred along long fissures in the ground. Cinder and lava got thrown out of the earth and quickly piled up in huge heaps. The fissures grew in size and elevation together with the surrounding lava hills, following the newly created relief. When the activity subsided and the fissures cooled down the molten lava hardened and slowly turned into solid basalt. Erosion by wind and rain took over, washing away much of the soft cinder and lava while leaving the solid basalt almost untouched. Thus the fissures turned into lava walls, which run through the range at various angles.
And those lava walls together with the rocks and towers which were left standing give the range its wild aspect. This and maybe the palm tree covered slopes beneath and beyond which serve as a peacefully contrasting backdrop. The range is cut into two parts by Barranco de Guarañe. The main bulk of the range with Tejeleche, Galión and Punta de Tejeleche lies to the north of the little canyon while Roque de Mona and Roque del Viento are located to its south. The north faces are almost vertical and the west faces drop into the sea at Punta del Viento, Punta del Abrigo and Punta Talisca Negra, three of the westernmost capes of the island.
The rock of the range - with exception to the lava walls - is very brittle, making a summit bid for Tejeleche all but impossible. As you push your way up the flanks of the mountain the rock often breaks and crumbles forming projectiles which head for your climbing partners below. Thus only Punta de Tejeleche to the far east of the range can be climbed. the route to this summit of 589m is marked but not easy, again thanks to the poor quality of the rock. To reach and climb Galion to the far west of the group - which also is possible - you have to cross the gorge of a steep barranco, which is why most climbers turn around close to the Tejeleche summit in the centre of the range.
In contrast to the large Canarian Islands, La Gomera and El Hierro don't have international airports. Reaching the islands therefore means switching to a local carrier at Tenerife (or any of the other Canarian islands) or use a ferry. Since weather is known to be unstable at the La Gomeran airport near Playa de Santiago, most travel offices will offer the ferry option.
Usually you will be able to book a flight to Tenerife South together with a bus transfer to the harbour at Los Christianos and the ferry to San Sebastian de La Gomera (bus transfer to your hotel on La Gomera is also included).If you want to travel on your own you can use ferries from either La Palma or Los Christianos and Santa Cruz on Tenerife.
There are several trailheads for the climb in the Tejeleche Range. The closest one is at Taguluche to the south of the range, another one at Ajolera to its north. One of the most interesting routes, however, is the descent from Arure through the west face of Lomo de Carreton.
You reach the trailheads from San Sebastian de La Gomera via TF713, the Carretera del Centro, which connects San Sebastian with Valle Gran Rey. After passing the island's highpoint, Garajonay, you reach a three way intersection: the left road runs down to Valle Gran Rey, the right one leads to Vallehermoso. For the Arure trailhead take the Valle Gran Rey road. After 4km it leads you through the village of Arure. At a sharp left turn a side road turns off to the Mirador Ermita del Santo, the trailhead for the decsent through the Lomo de Carreton face.
For the Taguluche and Ajolera trailheads follow the Vallehermoso road for a couple of turns. At a panoramic intersection (restaurant Chorros de Epinos to the left) a road turns off to Ajolera, Tazo and Taguluche. The road leads into Ajolera but before a side road heads off to the left for Taguluche. The Taguluche trailhead is at Ermita de San Sealvador to the north-west of the village.
The Tejeleche Range belongs to one of the few parts of the island of La Gomera where no national, regional or local park has been established. Thus there are no limitations when climbing in the range.
AccommodationOf course you can find a lot of hotels, fincas and casas on the island which you can book from any travel office. At Taguluche, Ajolera and Arure you may find an inn or two for overnight accommodation, down in Valle Gran Rey you can have everything. As far as I know there are no campgrounds and camping on the beaches is not allowed.
There are few sites on the web, which deal with the weather for La Gomera. The island just is not very popular with the tourist crowd. The ones you can find are for San Sebastian, which is located on the other side of the island. The west of the island, like the south, often has much better weather than the north and east. Therefore the area around Taguluche and Ajolera is pretty weatherproof.
The following table gives a rough general overview over the weather on La Gomera, at sea level.
|Avg. day temp.[°C / °F]||20 / 68||20 / 68||21 / 70||22 / 72||23 / 73||25 / 77||27 / 81||29 / 84||27 / 81||25 / 77||23 / 73||21 / 70|
|Avg. night temp.[°C / °F]||15 / 59||15 / 59||15 / 59||16 / 61||16 / 61||18 / 64||20 / 68||22 / 72||21 / 70||20 / 68||17 / 63||17 / 63|
|Water temp.[°C / °F]||19 / 66||19 / 66||19 / 66||19 / 66||20 / 68||21 / 70||22 / 72||23 / 73||23 / 73||22 / 72||22 / 72||21 / 70|
The Canarian Islands (as well as Madeira) are located in the trade wind zone. You almost always encounter north-eastern 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 north-eastern part of the islands is covered in clouds from altitudes of 1000m through 1500m.
The mountainous region in the centre of the island is of the same alltitude and thus stops the clouds. While the northern parts of the islands can be foggy and rainy the southern parts most often are sunny and hot. On La Gomera the centre of the island collects almost all moisture in a big cloud forest, the laurisilva. It is the largest consecutive cloud forest on any of the Canarian islands and has been declared world heritage site.
Maps & BooksOut of the multitude of maps and books I have been using the following. However, so far I have not found a good hiking map of the island. The one posted here is ok but shows only a fraction of the marked hiking trails.
- La Gomera
Kompass Map WK231
- La Gomera
Klaus Wolfsperger / Annette Miehle-Wolfsperger
ISBN 3-7633-4007-6 (German)
ISBN 3-7633-4823-9 (English)