Ascent of Pico Viejo on 2021-03-21

Climber: Dhruv Garg

Date:Sunday, March 21, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pico Viejo
    Elevation:10285 ft / 3134 m

Ascent Trip Report

It was a day of missteps and wrong turns!!

With Covid-19 not doing any favors for tourism, we were lucky enough to make our way to Tenerife to get some hiking in. Since we hadn't climbed anything in some time, we decided to go for Pico Viejo first. Pico Viejo, part of the Teide volcanic complex, is the second highest peak of the Canary Islands and a huge crater about 720 meters in diameter.

The weather was ideal for a long day on a mountain - breezy and pleasant. We grabbed breakfast and made our way to the trailhead around 11 AM. There were quite a few cars in the parking lot but we were able to find a spot. Considering these are Covid-19 times, I presume folks have to come pretty early in the morning to get a parking spot.

Caked up with sunscreen, we were on our way by 11.30 AM. The initial mile and a half is a rather flat walk through light vegetation. Past that, we took our first misstep missing the trail that goes to the left and instead climbing towards the cliffs (2277 meters). Thankfully, a couple who had committed the same mistake and were making its way down informed us and all of us retraced our steps to find the trail. From then on, we followed the marked trail until our 2nd misstep when we mistakenly threaded a fork in the road (2740 meters). There was some scrambling involved to get back on trail but looking at the loose scree that the actual trail goes over, we considered ourselves partially lucky. Immediately after, we went offroading again but quickly made it back to the trail eventually grabbing our first view of the crater at 3.20 PM (3069 meters). The whole way up is above the clouds and the panoramic views are breathtaking. After grabbing a sip of water, we finally made it to the summit at 3.40 PM. That's one expansive crater. You almost feel like you'll be sucked into it. It was time to grab some 'nourriture' and look at Teide's perfect volcanic cone like a big brother.

Once we had photographed every possible frame in front of us, we started making our way down a little after 4 PM. The parking lot, as it came into view, didn't do much for our spirits as it felt unreachable. The first 30-40 mins were the slowest as you've to watch every step over the hard ground. Later, we picked up the pace despite our jelly legs protesting in pain. The last misstep occurred as we ran into the impenetrable wall of lava about a kilometer from the parking lot. Apparently the marked trail goes over the lava flow but we completely missed it. As best as we could, we stayed on the vegetation to the right of the flow and then some ways down, traversed the flow. Our tiny rental car had never looked more beautiful. Time to get some grub!

As tourism still isn't close to full peak, it was a nice secluded climb with less than 20 people encountered along the way.

On to the next mountain on our trip...
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3645 ft / 1110 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3645 ft / 1110 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.2 mi / 13.2 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3645 ft / 1110 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3448 ft / 1051 m; Extra: 197 ft / 60m
    Loss on way in:197 ft / 60 m
    Distance:4.7 mi / 7.5 km
    Route:TF38-Pico Viejo (trail 9)
    Start Trailhead:Mirador de las Narices del Teide  6837 ft / 2083 m
    Time:4 Hours 10 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3448 ft / 1050 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.7 km
    Route:Pico Viejo-TF38 (trail 9)
    End Trailhead:Mirador de las Narices del Teide  6837 ft / 2083 m
    Time:2 Hours 20 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Dhruv Garg
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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