Sunday, 5 April 2015

Climbing the caldera

Teide & Mt.Guajara from the caldera rim

One of the advantages of living in Tenerife is that it is possible to decide what type of walk you want to do, pick an area and within a short space of time, find yourself enjoying exactly the type of walking you want, such is the diversity of the terrain. This happened to me recently when I decided on a fairly strenuous high altitude mountain hike, so I drove for around three quarters of an hour to the Las Lajas campsite and recreation zone above Vilaflor for a hike onto the caldera rim.

Climbing through the pines to the caldera rim

The walk initially followed a path that was new to me, which ran below the TF21 Teide road before passing underneath it via a tunnel to the small parking area by the ruins of Casas de Fuentes Frias. From here, there are a couple of paths leading above the pines to the the caldera rim path and the dome-like Sombrero de Chasna outcrop.

Looking towards the south coast

I was fortunate to have picked a fantastic clear day with blue skies and little wind and I enjoyed the ever expanding views as I climbed quickly to the open ground above the trees. Being familiar with the path from the National Parador in the National Park, which runs along the caldera rim to Sombrero de Chasna before descending to Las Lajas, I have always wondered if it was possible to continue along the rim of the caldera in a westerly direction.

Sombrero de Chasna

Having reached almost 8,000ft, Teide made a dramatic appearance over the edge of the caldera and I stopped for a while to enjoy the views into the National Park far below.  Turning left along the edge, I continued to enjoy the stunning scenery as I followed a narrow but mostly clear path heading towards El Sombrerito, a prominent mountain above the Boca de Tauce road junction at the southern entrance to the park.

Teide appears above the caldera rim

After around half an hour along this path, I suddenly came to an abrupt halt as the ridge I was on ended at a series of serious looking crags and the ground dropped away steeply on both sides. It was clear that I wouldn't be going any further in this direction so I had a short break before turning round and heading back the way I had come. Having returned, I descended slightly before climbing onto Sombrero De Chasna. The view from the summit is somewhat disappointing as the top is a large plateau, which obscures all but the more distant views.

The view from the caldera rim

Leaving the summit, I descended into a valley and once again entered the pine forest for further fantastic views to the south coast as I made my way back to the Casas de Fuente Frias. Eventually, I arrived back at the Las Lajas campsite where I was alerted to the presence of a Great Spotted Woodpecker in a pine tree above. I stopped to watch for a while as the hollow 'rattle' of it's pecking echoed around before returning to my car after a wonderful five hour walk in spectacular mountain scenery. To download a GPS track of the walk, click on the 'Wikiloc' symbol below

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