Montaña Pedro Barba as seen across the desert from Caleta del Sebo
Of the two routes which lead to Montaña Pedro Barba
's main summit, Agujas Grandes
, the direct one, through the saddle between the two summits, is by far the more popular one. Now, you should never climb a volcano cone directly but rather along the crater rims but here this rule regularly is ignored. You can reach Agujas Grandes in about 90 minutes but have to pay for it by a steep scramble through a gully filled with volcanic cinder. It turns out that many of the unexperienced tourists, who attempt the route, have to return here. However, it is not experience you need, rather stamina and fitness.
With an overall height of 266m, the scramble takes up only about 45 minutes of the climb, the remainder is a hike on La Graciosa's desert dirt roads. Orientation, like everywhere on the island, is rather tricky and starts with choosing the right dirt track to leave Caleta del Sebo
, La Graciosa
's harbour. Also, the start of the route is unmarked and can easily bee overlooked and the gully itself offers several tracks, most of which are dead ends. Only the last few metres from the saddle to the summit are not ambiguous.
Starting point for the route is Caleta del Sebo
, the harbour of La Graciosa. The Montaña Pedro Barba main page details the long itinerary to the village.
Montaña Pedro Barba seen from the ferry to Caleta del Sebo
Tuff caves beside the ascent route through the gully
- Start altitude: 0m
- Summit altitude: 266m
- Prevailing exposure: East
- Type: Hike and Scramble
- Protection: None
Power: 2 - Strenuous
Psyche: 1 - Easy
Difficulty: 2 - Need Hands
Orientation: 2 - Tricky in several spots
As said in the overview the first challenge of this route is to get out of Caleta del Sebo, La Graciosa's harbour village. While it is a loose settlements, roads and alleys often stop in dead ends. In general, try to head for the north-western part of the village, where a road heads for the saddle between Agujas Grandes and Montaña del Mojon. Either take this road or turn a bit to the right, where a scarcely visible path heads for Montaña Pedro Barba directly.
Assuming you take the road, head towards the saddle. A little before you finally reach it a multiple intersection requires further decision. To the right, three tracks lead towards the east slopes of Montaña Pedro Barba. Take the middle one, which turns out to be the road to the summer settelment Pedro Barba. After passing several privately owned patches to the right, the road ascends slightly to follow the slopes of the volcano. Look out for the saddle between the two summits, Agujas Grandes and Agujas Chicas. From it, a steep gully runs down to the desert road you're on - the ascent route.
Where it hits the road turn off to the left and follow your own judgement. The first stretch is rather easy but soon you wind up at the base of the gully proper. The first part of the scramble follows the left bank but don't miss the point where it switches side. Otherwise you end up among caves in the tuff slopes - very fragile and slippery ground. Instead stay on the right side of the gully for the remainder of the scramble. With a bit of imagination you might even see a winding path, which finally takes you to the top of the gully, the saddle between the two craters.
Turn left for Agujas Grandes. By hiking on the inside of the crater you avoid a few other steep sections and finally wind up at the summit pillar. Head out a bit more towards the south-east, where you will find the best lookout spot for the south of the island. The bowl of Montaña del Mojon lies at your feet, Montaña Amarilla further off in the distance at the southern tip of La Graciosa.
Essential GearGood hiking boots which cover the ankle are a must. Also, have enough water with you, especially in the summer months. If you don't plan any further activities except the climb to the summit you might return to Caleta del Sebo in time. For a descent along the north route or a combination with either the northern or southern island loop never set out without lots of the wet stuff.