Primož Jakopin, photo diary

To Pico Viejo from Roques de Garcia
February 3, 2015, 26 pictures

Pictures are 533 by 800 pixels in size, numbers in front of the photo descriptions are serial numbers of the original images.
Photo and copyright (c) Primož Jakopin 2015. Some of the pictures were taken on February 2 and 7.


Pico Viejo / Old Peak / Stari vrh

24186. View of Pico Viejo, 3,135 m, center and right, with Pico del Teide, 3,718 m, left, from the area of Samara caves, about 1,720 m a. s. l.

          Pico Viejo is the younger of the two high volcano peaks on Tenerife, probably got its name because it is wider, with broad shoulders, is also darker and even has an own caldera which Pico del Teide lacks. Viejo is also out of the limelight, taken by its famous and all-important sibling. There is a cable car (Teleférico) which brings the tourists, in busloads, from the parking lot in the Las Cañadas caldera to 3.555 meters, just below the Pico del Teide peak. But here they can enjoy only the view, the ascent to the top is for the vast majority of them out of reach. To get a Pico del Teide Access Permit one has to apply at the latest a day before, in person in the Administrative Office of the Teide National Park (Oficina administrativa del Parque Nacional del Teide) in La Orotava, about 50 km away, or over the Internet. But even that will not really help to those who do not plan everything in detail for months ahead as there are daily quotas, even in the winter filled for many weeks in advance. There is of course other possibility to access the Pico del Teide without the permit, very promising at first sight. It is to walk from the parking lot at 2,350 meters to Refugio Altavista, alpine hut at 3,268 metres of altitude. Here you can spend the night, and walk to the peak of Pico del Teide next morning (till 9 a.m., not any later). But here is another catch - the overnight stay in Altavista must be booked well in advance and it can be one night only.
          But the fact that Pico del Teide is effectively out of reach for all but for the most persistent few is actually a bonus. For much of the year, most notably in the winter months, from November to the spring, the island is anyhow engulfed in a belt of clouds with upper border at about 2.000 m. So from Pico del Teide you see just a sea of clouds all around, what you can also see from Pico Viejo. And if the peak of Pico del Teide is a small and cramped place, the top of Pico Viejo, the caldera rim, is a kingdom of its own, a vast area of open leveled spaces, like spaceship launching pads. And on top Pico del Teide is a nice northern backdrop. All in all, it is a good 4 hours walk from the Los Roques de Garcia parking lot (at 2,170 m), but is is nice, never too steep, with delightful views all the time, and many interesting spots on the way. You only meet a few people on the way, just to make sure that you are, by any chance, not lost.
          Highly recommended.


Access from Roques de Garcia, start at 11.10


24211. To get to Pico Viejo the easiest way is to follow the trail 3 which surrounds the Roques de Garcia some less than halfways, where the trail 23 (to Viejo) branches to the right. In the picture: Roque Cinchado is the most famous of the Garcia pinnacles and a short walk in the plain below it is suitable for the past-prime-time visitors, too.




24212. A female Tenerife lizard, Gallotia gallotia - males are more colourful, mainly blue.




24216. At the altitude of 2,420 m the first volcanic bomb can be found, upwards but close to trail 23.




24221. Telephoto view of the clouds which started to creep in the Las Cañadas caldera from the southwest.




24222. The trail is crossing a 'A'a-type lava ridge from time to time and between the two such ridges a little plain formed, here it is crossed by the trail. Viejo is in the distance.




24223. Two German she-mountain goers who slept in the Refugio Altavista, left at 6.30 in the morning, descended from Pico del Teide to the saddle at Pico Viejo (it takes another 4 hours) and are now on the way to Roques de Garcia.




24371. At the altitude of 2,500 a picturesque lava pinnacle pops up just above the trail.




24228. It has a secret, a nice little cave.




24264. Above the cave the trail crosses another lava ridge and follows, for 20 minutes or so, a long shallow valley, dotted with volcanic bombs, the biggest, depicted here, has a diameter of over 4 meters.




24229. The valley of the volcanic bombs from above; the bomb from the previous picture is third from the right. The valley is a little too seductive on the way back - the trail turns left before the end of the valley and it is easy to pass the turning point what results in passing the ridge in a place, more jaggy than one would like.




24231. A little snak at about 2,800 meters, some time past one o'clock p.m. - bread, tuna, cheese, garlic, tomatos, carrots, water




24233. View of Pico del Teide from the saddle just north of Pico Viejo




24260. Top end of the trail 23 (Los Regatones Negros - Black Chain Links) - here it joins the trail 9, which ascends Pico Viejo from the west.




24239, 240 and 241. Panoramic view of the Pico Viejo caldera, from the east




24242. View of Pico del Teide from the slope of the southeastern Pico Viejo peak




24244. View south from the rim of the peak; Sombrero de Chasna, 2,411 m, is to the left (the centermost of the two flat tops).




24254. Most part of the southeastern peak of the Viejo is a vast sand plain, dotted with head-sized rocks




24252. The rim of the Viejo peak is here a bit lifted, and some snow remained in the northern pockets.




24253. Telephoto view of Pico del Teide from the southeastern plain of Viejo's peak




24255, 256, 257 and 258. Panoramic view of the Las Cañadas caldera, with Alto de Guajara, 2,718 m, center, and Sombrero de Chasna, 2,411, right. Picture was taken from the slope of the eastern Pico Viejo peak.




24261. Below the peak the snow is quickly getting scarcer and scarcer.




24270. Alto de Guajara mountain and Roques de Garcia from the slope, maybe two hours to go




24271. The northwestern group of Garcia pinnacles, "cramped faces" in the last sun rays




24272. The moon started to rise above the eastern rim of the caldera soon after the sunset.




24273. All the colours from the rainbow, just lighter, in the western sky above the rim of the caldera




  Tenerife Caves and Tenerife, February 2015     Caves on the Plateau below the Montaña de los Guirres, February 8, 2015  

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