Monday, 4 July 2016

Climbing El Sombrero

El Sombrero from the start of the walk

Since living in Tenerife, I have long had an ambition to climb El Sombrero, a very distinctive mountain in the National Park. The mountain is instantly identifiable because of the rocky, 'turret' on the top but until recently, I have never found a route to the summit. 

El Sombrero

Most visitors familiar with the approach to the the National Park from the south will recognise the peak as the road passes below it as you enter the park and with it's very distinctive summit, it's difficult to miss. I set off yesterday in stunning, clear skies, although below, on the coast, it was fairly cloudy and I began my walk near the National Park sign at the side of the road. 

Teide & Pico Viejo

The initial climb was fairly steady but across rough, pathless ground and I had to keep checking my direction to make sure I wasn't straying too low. Eventually, I found a path of sorts that contoured the steep ground below the peak and followed it through the Teide Broom, which proved a bit of a problem because the paths were draped in cobwebs and spiders and being something of an arachnophobe, I spent quite a while clearing them with my walking poles. 

Summit cairn on El Sombrero

With the combination of rough ground and unwelcome wildlife, progress was quite slow but eventually I reached the edge of the crater rim and began the start of the steep climb to the summit. This first section wasn't too bad as it climbed fairly steeply through rocky terrain but soon, I reached the start of the climb onto the rocky, 'turret' of the summit cliffs. This was fairly vertical in places and required hands as well as feet to pull myself up.

Panorama from the summit

After what seemed a surprisingly short time, I found myself crossing the summit plateau to the summit cairn where I took an extended break to enjoy the simply amazing scenery. The views of the National Park were extensive with Teide, Pico Viejo and Montana Guajara dominating the view. After a long rest break on the summit taking numerous photographs, I began my descent and was soon back at my car after a challenging but exhilarating walk. Click on the 'Wikiloc' symbol in the top right hand corner of the map if you want to download a copy of the GPS track for the walk.

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