15.4.2014 - Mountain walk o the Pico Viejo (3.135 m)
This day, the girls want to spend in the hotel. We planned this in advance, so I get the earliest possible breakfast at 7:30 and start driving at 8 a.m. (only shortly after sunrise because the sun is two hours late here, the time however only one hour) for my drive to the Teide national park. You´d need a permit for the Pico del Teide, and there is only a limited number of permits, they are booked out for whole April. So I decide for the Pico Viejo.
The clouds over Gran Canaria from the viewpoint above Vilaflor.
From a bit further (no traffic at this time of the day meant I can afford stopping directly on the road - as there are no side strips over here)
Nearly reached the Boca Tauce
The snow from the day before yesterday has thawed a bit. Down here in the plain there are rests of last night´s hoarfrost.
Back to the Roques de Garcia.
Here I start my walk at about 9 a.m.
View from the Roques de Garcia over the western Caldera of the Las Canadas. Click here or into the picture for a larger version.
In the morning light ...
... and without the crouds at this time of the day...
... the rock towers ...
... are even more impressive.
A good path marked by stones at both sides and dozens of small cairns - nearly up to the summit!
Panoramic picture of some of the Roques de Garcia with the Pico del Teide. Click here or into the picture for a larger version.
View back to Guajara
I now enter an old lava stream of rather hot and fluid lava which has solidified rather steadily resulting in a rather smooth surface. It is called Pahoehoe - lava and its shpe reminds you on ropes that depict cross to the main flow direction.
The pahoehoe- lava field an the Pico del Teide.
Rather flat ascent over this lava.
About every 100 m the route is marked by this kind of tag.
I have to cross several lava streams of different age and appearance.
Bizarre lava rocks
View to the west ...
... over the western Caldera. First thermic clouds are building up far down.
Some lava formations are especially bizarre. In between lots of Teide gorse - not yet flowering up here.
A deep cloud blanket the southeast with the mountains of the island of Gran Canaria above - about 100 km air line.
Panoramic picture as seen on the ascent to Pico Viejo. Behind the ridge and the Caldera Las Canadas thermic clouds can be seen, in the far distance to the left is Gran Canaria. Click here or into the picture for a larger version.
Increasing thermic clouds to the southeast. You´d never believe that my girls are bathing in sunshine at the hotel pool (which is this direction) just right now.
View to the east to Gran Canaria ...
... and seen in maximal zoom. Above the clouds, the air seems to be extremely clear.
View to the south over bizarre lava rocks and teide gorse. Behind the clouds and 10.000 km air line is the Antarktic continent. Can´t be seen today, sorry! :-)
Guajara to the southeast
Reached the ridge at last, the summit region of the Viejo, above 3.000 m. Pico del Teide is still rather far.
To the west, behind the clouds in the dust is La Gomera
At the crossing a big information plate, describing my ascent route as extremely difficult. I did not mention any difficulty, except some rather uneven passages and high steps and except the fact that you´s never estimate the distance correctly. It took me 4 hours up to here (not rushing however).
You have to stand on the crater rim to recognize that the Pico Viejo only is the highest spot of a huge volcanic crater, much larger than the Vesuvius crater. This is a panoramic picture of this crater as seen from one of the minor peaks, depicted in the map as Pico Sur (3.106 m) (which I regarded as Pico Viejo for the first). Click here or into the picture for a larger version.
View from Pico Sur over the slopes of Pico del Teide down to the Roques de Garcia and to Guajara. Gran Canaria in the distance to the left.
Panoramic picture from the summit of Pico Sur (3.106 m). Pico Viejo and Pico del Teide, view down to the Las Canadas with themic clouds in behind. Far left (and far right) the crater of Pico Viejo. Click here or into the picture for a larger version.
The summit rocks of the Pico Viejo.
New snow on the crater rim
The summit book, where I make my entry.
Panoramic picture from the summit of Pico Vieje (3.135 m). Far left the clouds covering Teneriffa´s North, then Pico del Teide (3.707 m), to the right the crater of the Pico Viejo. Click here or into the picture for a larger version.
Nearly 600 m ascent to the summit. No permit, and it´s enough anyway. Pico del Teide next time.
The cloud blanket covering the island´s North.
The summit cairn of Pico Viejo with the tin can containing the summit book.
Large spots of snow down the slope to the saddle between Pico Viejo and Pico del Teide.
Must have been nearly horizontal snowing. This side is inclined to the south, but the sun has not that strength. At a latitude of only 28 dgree North (only 4,5 degree north from the tropic of cancer) the sun stands extremely high. On June 21st it will stand at noon at 85,5 degree, nearly in the zenithe.
I have to cross the same huge lava streams at my descent, wwhich takes me another 3 hours..
Nearly down now (in the double sense of the word!) ...
...at the Pahoehoe lava.
Like a splashed and dried out pudding ...
The lava stream has stopped in front of the rocks.
I drive now back the road, but I don´t turn to the left to Vilaflor at the Boca Tauce, but turn right. The road goes through incredibly huge lava streams- this time solidified from much more vicous lava.
At the western end of the Las Canadas ist you find yourself at "the end of the world" - the terrain here descends - first a smooth descent more and more increasing culminating in the huge cliffs of the Los Gigantes. The thermic clouds are approaching here more and more.
A bizarre situation to see the pine trees seemingly growing directly from the lava - with nearly nothing else growing. On the left side there has been a woodfire however. Click here or into the picture for a larger version.
Closer to the mist
At a parking place you get a wonderful view to Pico del Teide. The western crater rim of Pico Viejo, which I have seen before from the summit as a foreground to the mist, from this point appears as the summit of Pico Viejo.
The clouds are now going to swallow me.
Back at the hotel. The thermic clouds are restricted to the mountains, with sunshine along the coast.