Spain's highest mountain is a volcano on Tenerife (Canary Islands). The last eruption occurred in 1909. The mountain is protected as the Parque nacional del Teide. The huge extinct crater has a diameter of ca. 10 kilometers, is filled with lava at an altitude of ca. 2000 - 2300 m a.s.l. This flat region looks like a scenery on the moon, although some flowers bloom there and make the foot of the rising cone a place of extraordinary beauty. This flat part is called Las Cañadas and can be reached by car. In order to study that region and prepare the climb we took the mountain-bike from sea level.
Las Cañadas does not have any shops, but a hotel (Parador), an information center, an astronomical and meteorological observatory, a cable car to the Teide.
The next shops are at the town of Vilaflor 1460 m. We liked the very nice rooms at the Parador, but the food was better on the coast. The cable car starts at an altitude of 2350 m and reaches 3550 m. It runs between 9 and 16 hours.
The climb from the Cañadas is an easy hike of ca. 5 hours. There is absolutely no water to be found! The weather is not extreme, although snow is common in winter and makes a climb probably awkward.
Getting To The Top
We rented a car and stayed at the Parador hotel. Early in the morning we drove past the cable car station. 3 km east of it we
parked the car. Maps and signs show you the way to the top. We followed a bad mountain road and went around a hill (Montaña Blanca). Soon the road disappeared and we followed a path that cannot be missed. At 3300 m we came across the Altavista hut, not inhabited.
At 3550 m we went past the cable car station. From there the climb is restricted to persons with a permit. A comfortable garden path leads to the top at 3718 m. Some sulphurous gases could be seen and smelled, but they were not nauseating.
The view is extraordinary, we could see most of the Canary Islands.
We used gym boots. They were OK for the climb, but for gliding down on the stone avalanches, we would have preferred
mountain boots. It may be pleasant to take the cable car for going down, but the 3 km walk on the hot pavement back to the
car must also be considered.
Since there goes a cable car (3550 m) almost to the top of the Teide (3718 m) it is inviting for a huge mass of people to climb
the summit. The park authority wants to prevent that and the all climbers need a permit, which you can get at no cost at the Park Office at:
Ministerio del Medio Ambiente
Calle Emilio Calzadilla 5,
Sante Cruz de Tenerife
Phone: ++34 922 290 129
You need to go there personally with your passport (also needed on the mountain!). We found that awkward and intended to leave the path below the station and leave the control at our left. Fortunately this was not necessary since we read in the local newspaper that the cable car did not operate beginning of May due to maintenance work. We took the chance and were all by our own on the summit.
When To Climb
From spring to autumn. If you rise early in the morning, the heat should not be a problem. The starting point is rather high and there is much wind. I would not recommend winter time, when the Teide is covered with snow. Too little for skiing, too much for hiking.
Info by Henning Lege:
Winter has the advantage, that the cable car does not go for sure.
Thus, no crowds, no rangers, no one preventing you from climbing the very top, and no reason not do do, because you cause zero erosion and your footsteps will vanish when the snow melts.
Because of the wind, the snow typically is hard pressed (icy). So you don't sink to your knees. To the contrary, even crampons can be of use, although it is more funny without.
Very windy, indeed. Gloves recommended, warm clothing and windprotection are essential.
None. National Park. Forbidden. Instead of staying at the Parador, you can leave your home at the coast after midnight. But I prefer to get accustomed to the height. By the way Parador: if you are over 60 you get a rebate!
H.L.:When the refuge is closed, the annexe apparently is always open. There are 8 beds, a few blankets (bringing a sleeping bag is recommended) and even an electric light (I checked it). There is no water (either carry water or melt snow) and no stove.
Info by Henning Lege:
Bus No. 348 leaves Puerto de la Cruz at 9:15 am every day, arriving at the parador around 11:00 am. 'Montana Blanca', where the trail starts, is an official bus stop.
The return trip leaves the parador at 16:00 in the afternoon.
Although it is possible to climb the summit between 11:00 and 6:00, obviously it would be more convenient to either sleep in the refuge or hitchhike back later in the evening (there are many cars).