Canary islands

Ascent to Refugio de Altavista

Ascent below the highest mountain in Spain

Petr Liška
Wrote 2117 articles and follows him / her 176 travelers
Ascent to Refugio de Altavista
Inserted: 27.11.2015
© gigaplaces.com
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The ascent to the highest mountain in Spain – Pico de Teide (3,718 m above sea level) is undoubtedly one of the most classic hikes you can take in Tenerife. Surprisingly, this hike is not overcrowded, as most visitors to the mountain use a cable car, which will take them to a height of 3,550 m above sea level. However, you do not have to worry that at the top it will be like a market place. Most of these visitors who take the cable car do not know that the final ascent to the summit needs to be registered in advance and will only remain on the sightseeing circuit below the summit. The hike itself will take you through a bizarre volcanic landscape with amazing views across the island. This first stage of the ascent leads from the car park to the Refugio de Altavista cottage.

Prospect at the beginning of the ascent

The starting point for the ascent to the Pico de Teide volcano is a car park (2,350 m above sea level) on a 40 km Canadian road, just 2.5 km from the cable car station. From there, climb slowly along the carriageway. After a while you will have a view where you can see everything important from this tour: the top of Teide – Pan de Azucar „Sugar Loaf“, the top station of the cable car, the cottage Refugio de Altavista, where you can sleep if you do not feel that you could handle this tour in one day, or wanted to be on the top of Teide at sunrise and finally the rounded hills of Montana Blanca (2,750m)

Prospect at the beginning of the ascent
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Volcanic wasteland

The landscape around you is a typical volcanic color wasteland playing from white to orange shades. After about ten minutes you will come to a crossroads, keep to the left, closer to the volcano.

Volcanic wasteland
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Landscape like on Mars

The carriageway climbs in curves, which can often be shortened by well-trodden paths. After more than half an hour of exiting the parking lot, there is a very nice view of the landscape, which would not be a disgrace to Mars. Directly below you is a footpath on a steep rubble slope, perpendicular to the contour. This is definitely not good for climbing, but if you have experience with such terrain and you return the same way, ideal for descent – you will run down the slope in a few minutes – good shoes, of course, a condition.

Landscape like on Mars
Author: © gigaplaces.com

View of the beginning of the tour

The car park or the starting point of the tour is not visible, it is hidden behind a massive volcanic mound. On the horizon you can see the remains of a former cone, which are significantly older than the volcanic material around you.

View of the beginning of the tour
Author: © gigaplaces.com

In Huevos del Teide

Finally, you are approaching a shallow saddle between Pico de Teide and Montana Blanca. It is a very interesting area where a lot of gigantic stones are called „rolling“, which are called Huevos „eggs“ or bombas „bombs“. Above you is also a massive lava flow, which literally halved the „red hill“

In Huevos del Teide
Author: © gigaplaces.com

View of the Risco de la Fortaleza

The view to the north is not so dramatic, there is not much left of the former giant crater. There is only the top of the Risco de la Fortaleza (2,159 m above sea level) „Fortress“ mostly still towering over the trade winds.

View of the Risco de la Fortaleza
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Devil's eggs

The local volcanic eggs are really interesting and some of them really monumental – the biggest attraction of the first part of the ascent.

Devil's eggs
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Views of Montana Blanca

In the saddle (2 725 m above sea level), ie. after ascending 375 meters, you will leave the carriageway leading to the very top of Montana Blanca. If you have the taste and time, you can climb this peak as well. It is only 600 meters one way and 25 meters high. However, our path climbs steeply upwards from here along a massive lava flow. After a while, you will have the whole of Montana Blanca in the palm of your hand.

Views of Montana Blanca
Author: © gigaplaces.com

The Englishman's respite

After a half-hour steeper ascent, you ascend to a small plateau full of gigantic volcanic rocks – the Englishman's r­espite, lying almost three thousand meters above sea level. An ideal place for exhalation and snacks.

The Englishman's respite
Author: © gigaplaces.com

An oasis of greenery

Above the Englishman's r­espite, you go to the part where even sparse vegetation thrives. The view of the region is getting wider and only from here it is beautiful to see that the caldera is really a remnant of a giant cone.

An oasis of greenery
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Refugio de Altavista

After endless winding, you finally ascend to the Refugio de Altavista (3,260 m above sea level). For those who set out on an afternoon hike or want to split the ascent, this is the final one for today. For others who have a day out just a place for refreshments.

Refugio de Altavista
Author: © gigaplaces.com
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