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Ascent of Pico de Teide on 1998-12-01

Climber: Peter Stone

Others in Party:Derek Stone
Date:Tuesday, December 1, 1998
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pico de Teide
    Location:Spain
    Elevation:3717 m / 12198 ft

Ascent Trip Report

On a family holiday to Tenerife with my wife and 2 very small children, and my brother with his wife and their baby; we planned days on the beach, sun-bathing and swimming, visiting playparks and botanic gardens, and much eating and drinking; but we also wanted to climb the highest mountain in Spain.

We didn't know about the permit system until we got to the Teleferico; no mention was made of needing a permit in the brand new Lonely Planet guidebook that we had with us. Despite our limited Spanish we soon understood that we couldn't acquire a permit there and then, so my brother and I decided to make an unauthorised ascent. We took the cable car up, then left the top station in the opposite direction from the normal path to the summit, walking in a clockwise/westerly direction on a contouring path that took us well out of sight and sound of all authorities. Once we'd completed a quarter circumnavigation of the upper volcano we turned sharply up and east and made a direct ascent to the summit scrambling over the bare rocks. A remarkably small crater compared to other volcanoes of similar prominence I've visited but sulphurous fumes and colourful hot rocks. Fantastic views over Tenerife and the neighbouring Canary Islands in all directions.

We descended on the official stepped pathway and let ourselves out past the chain at the bottom. No rangers were seen so we took the cable car back down and encouraged our wives to replicate our ascent while we looked after the children. However, on their climb they tried to take the more direct route up the steps and were challenged and made to turn back by a pair of burly officials!

Somewhat frustrated we managed to get full information about the permit system from a local tourist office the next day and after a visit to the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente in the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife we acquired permits for the last day of our holiday. Unfortunately the spouses were once again thwarted, this time by the weather which was too cold and windy for the teleferico to run and we didn't have time to hike all the way up from the base because our flight time was mid-afternoon.

Postscript: The permits are now issued online. No doubt the details will change over time, but at least it is much easier to check this out on the internet before your trip than it was when guidebooks were the only source of information.
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