Mo and I recently stayed at The Hard Rock Hotel, Playa Paraiso on the south coast of the island of Tenerife. We were there for ten days. I took the radio, thinking I’d maybe manage two or three summits. A few folk on here and elsewhere have asked about the hills we climbed, so I’ve tried to include as much detail as possible.
19th January 2023
Roque del Conde EA8/TF-010 1001 m
We could see this striking looking mountain from our 15th floor balcony. It was first on the list because it looked to have a decent path and the ascent from the village of Vento didn’t seem to bad, given the altitude of the place.
Roque del Conde in the evening light
We managed to park right at the start of the walk, in a small bay which led from a narrow street. There’s only room for a couple of cars. Initially the path descended a small gorge and then a much deeper one, so we had been walking a fair bit before we regained our starting altitude.
The mountain looked inpenetrable, however a decent path led up to the col and then took a rising traverse along the steeper west face. Soon, it turned directly up towards rows of broken crags and weaved a steep and at times loose route towards the plateau. The ascent took around 1 hour 20 mins.
heading for the col
The summit area showed signs of previous agricultural usage, with old stone terraces across the surprisingly grassy slopes. Once we had our summit selfie, and I set up on a flat spot, well away from the trig, as there were a few other walkers milling about.
the summit of EA8/TF-010
I set up my 1/4 wave vertical for 10 m, hooked it up to the KX2 via 5 m of RG174 and called CQ, soon qualifying the summit on 10 m, with the first contact being @W4JKC. I then took this down and put up my 15 m delta loop, working a further 15 European stations.
EA8/M0EFI/P on 10 m SSB
10 m log
A paraglider landed nearby and came over for a chat. He thought (hoped) I was erecting a windsock on my mast! That’s a new one. Later, Mo and a couple of others helped him inflate his wing and off he went.
We descended by the same route.
20th January 2023
Cruz De Gala EA8/TF-007 1343 m
Mo had enjoyed that last hike and had said, “Where next”? I picked this one due to the likelihood of a decent track, not much ascent and possibly even a road to the top, as it has communications masts.
Taking the main road through Santiago del Teide took us up a winding mountain road, but with plenty of room. At the top, I stopped at the entrance to the tar road that goes all the way to the summit (shown white on the map below). There were various signs (in Spanish, German and English) warning that this route was off limits due to works. Oh well…
route to Cruz de Gala
We drove on a little bit and stopped at a restaurant (closed), ignoring the “Parking for customers only” signs. If it was open, we’d be customers on our return. We walked up the road another 50 m and then took a grassy and earthy track that descended into a green valley, before heading up to a col between our target and another lump to its north. From here the path took the ridge direct, through some lovely bits of forest, before joining the tarred road that zig-zagged to the summit.
another hill that began with a descent
ascending the ridge into cloud
From time to time the cloud looked like it may blow through. It never did, although it did reveal partial views at times. To be fair, the summit was a grim place in this weather - towers rearing into the cloud. Concrete walls and buildings - oh and another “No Entry - works” sign - this time along the road that led past the communications compound. There were signs of work taking place and a couple of vehicles had passed us, so we obeyed.
This left me with a narrow strip of land the other side of the compound, bewtween the concrete wall and a steep slope. I had no choice but to string the EFHW up along the line of the wall, with the pole velcroed to a stout shrub. It was running south to north, hardly ideal. Everywhere else was heavily vegetated.
the summit area. works to the far side of the picture. I operated from the right side of the wall
This would be a quick activation, mainly because I was pissed off! I went straight onto 15 m SSB and had a nice pile up, which surprised me. What surprised me even more was getting @ZL1TM Andrei in my log (again!) and also W1OW Bill. Final station was M3ZXX, a great contact, with 10 w and simple wires each end. Ok, now I was happier. Twenty eight in the log and time to go.
happy face after the job was done, Mo sitting further along the slope, there was literally no room!
We took no time in descending, finding the restaurant open on our return. We’d taking a soaking in a heavy shower, so felt like we’d earned coffee and cake, which must have been the cheapest on the island.
22nd January 2023 El Sombrero EA8/TF-004 2532 m
I knew this one would be tough. It had only been activated half a dozen times - all the others had been done much more. The day started with a lovely drive, climbing through incredible scenery and ending up among the lava flows from the 1798 eruption of Pico Viejo. Our target was visible from the car park at Boca Tauce. What was less visible was the path, and that would be the theme for the day.
We set off east up the main road for a couple of hundred metres and then turned right across some flat scrubland. The terrain was rough from the off. Occasional small piles of stones marked the way. Twin ridged lay ahead. One of those would lead up to a wooded col, but which one? It turned out to be the right one, which was steep and incredibly loose in places. It was slow going.
When the ridge narrowed, it looked like we’d need to scramble up a chimmney to the right. However, a blade of rock barred the way to the left. On climbing and peering over this, I could see that a small descent led to a wide gully. We took this option. the gully was steep and very loose, but we soon gained the col. A relative oasis, wooded with the incredible Canary Islands Pine, with its fire resistant trunk.
Mo climbing out of the gully
Ahead lay three buttresses. By carefully following the cairns, we turned the first one on the left, the second one on the right, eventually ending up at the foot of the huge summit buttress. Steep, loose ground all the way. At this point Mo decided to wait for me. The climb had taken a lot out of her and she didn’t fancy the look of the ground ahead.
turning the second buttress, the road far beneath us
Mo beneath the summit buttress
I followed the cairns around the left (north) side of the buttress. Half way along, I spotted a weakness, with two grooves leading to the top. I picked the right hand one, scrambling half way up, at which point the left one looked more appealing. One slightly airy move and I was established in the left groove and easily followed this to the plateau. Probably a Moderate climb by UK standards.
edging along the side of the buttress, looking back
my route to the summit
I nipped over to the end of the buttress to shout to Mo - my she was a long way down! There’s no way the surrounding ground is in the AZ on this one! For speed, I decided to use the EFHW again - I didn’t want to be up here too long and I still had to reverse that climb. There was a bit of QSB on 15 m, however I still managed 14 contacts, with ODX being @KD1CT Robert, although @SA4BLM Lars was almost as far!
El Teide EA8/TF-001 from the summit of El Sombrero
I was soon packed up and started to make my way back across the summit, when I noticed a cairn at the far end. On investigation, this led to a shallow gully and a couple of small rock steps. These in turn led onto the path that I’d followed on the ascent, pretty simple really.
I took some snow back for Mo, as a peace offering. She’d been happy sitting in the sun reading a book, so all good. Neither of us was looking forward to the descent, particularly the horrible loose ridge which led to the valley floor. When we’d first arrived at the wooded col, we were surprised to see a main road at much higher altitude down the other side. On my Garmin topo map, a path was shown leading from this road to the col. We decided to use that on the way back and walk 2 km on the road to get to the car park.
clouds moving over the SOTA peaks EA8/TF-005 and EA8/TF-006
The path down from the col was still just a line of small cairns, but much less steep and way shorter. Also, a nice chance to examine the scorched pines, with fresh growth springing from their charred bark.
Canary Islands Pine
At the road, we made good pace - until we were stopped by a roadblack. Actually the cars were stopped, we kept going. Soon a chap drove up to us and told us there was filming going on ahead and if we could wait 5 minutes, he’d give us a lift past the filming. A TV commercial for tyres he told me. A likely story! Five minutes later, we were in his car and as we passed the film crew, a new super car sat at the side of the road, covered in a close fitting sheet. Some very expensive wheels, big rubber and even bigger brakes was all that could be seen. Anyway, he dropped us back at the car, so a Win - we’d avoided the horror slope and didn’t have to walk any further!
ascent in blue, descent red until we hitched a lift
There is little in the way of parking on the main road to the south of the mountain, just one lay-by maybe 500 m west along the main road. If I was climbing El Sombrero again, I’d try and park there and go up through the woods. It’s much nicer.
El Sombrero from the car park in the late afternoon
23rd January 2023
Roque de Jama EA8/TF-014 762 m
This started off as an alert for Baracán EA8/TF-009. We left quite early, heading for Santiago del Teide once again. Only, this time we took quite the most incredible and insane road I have ever driven on (and I have driven in the Alps, Kenya, Libya & Atlas Mountains to name a few places that have some dubious roads). Single track throughout, with a rock face on one side and concrete blocks on the other side the only thing preventing a tumble down the cliff. Hairpin after hairpin, winding up to a col, down to a steep valley, then up to another col before finally leading to the car park for Baracán. I envied the drivers we passed who were in fiat 500’s!
On arrival, the wind was so strong that it shook the car. Continually. A small bus arrived and nearly had its door ripped off. Mo advised me that she wasn’t getting out of the car. I agreed. The climb up Baracán is an exposed ridge. It could wait another day. We headed back over the crazy road, which was much busier now, it being mid-morning - and everything was coming towards us!
We parked up at Santiago del Teide and decided to go for something smaller and nearer our part of the coast, which seemed to have less wind that morning when we’d left. Roque de Jama EA8/TF-014 would do the job nicely.
Forty minutes later, we found parking on waste ground to the north of a little narrow back road that led west out of the village of El Roque. On foot, we headed a few metres further west, before heading down a lane which led directly to the ascent. I’ve helpfully written the house number on the photo below.
the route up Roque de Jama
A decent path wound up through old terraces and eventually onto the upper slopes. Here, a maze of paths weaved through the cactii. We took the one near the edge and were rewarded with the best views.
approaching the final slopes
As it levelled, the top of the mountain came into view. A narrow ridge of sloping slabs led to the dramatic looking summit block. No rock climbing skills needed here - a path leads round the left side and climbs up from the other end. It was still pretty windy, so I decided to set up along the slabby ridge, still well within the AZ. Again, due to the nature of the terrain, the EFHW was the only antenna I could reasonably use. This time it ran north to south.
The summit of Roque de Jama
fighting with the antenna in the wind
10 m first again, working into Europe exclusively, with the exception of LW2DO. Not a bad haul for an antenna that is at it’s limits on this band, as was the co-ax.
10 m log
15 m proved to be the DX band, although I did experience QSB from time to time. It was great to get GM stations in the log, as well as Canada and the USA.
15 m log
We attempted the same route on descent, but didn’t quite find it. All good though and we were back at the car in a little over 30 minutes. A nice quick hike and a great session on the radio. Saved the day!
Time for one more? Mo said Yes. I think she had the bug. Steep and rough climbs in Tenerife, however mainly short and generally very rewarding…
25th January 2023
Montaña del Cedro EA8/TF-005 2265 m
Back up to the high mounatins. This one was a cracker! Cloud hugged the hills above our hotel that morning. However, it wasn’t long until we were above it, climbing high on the TF-38 road along the south side of El Teide and stopping at a large car park below Pico Viejo. Across the road, our path initially took us away from the mountain across lava flows, but soon turned and headed along the foot of some cliffs, then onto a wider track, before turning up hill just past a huge boulder. The boulder does have a small cairn on top, but this only seen on the way back.
The path through the valley was incredible. It followed the boundary of the 1798 eruption. On one side of the path was lava, on the other, sandy soils, rocks and vegetation.
the 1798 eruption
The hill path contoured up below some cliffs and popped out at a wooded col. From here we took a direct line towards the summit, there being no marked path that we could see. The ground was steep, loose and three buttresses barred the way to the top.
The first of those had a weakness up the middle. Mo decided that was the way up, and so she scrambled up.
on the first buttress
The second buttress also had a weakness in the middle and looked horrible further right. I suggested a peek around its left side, but there was no stopping Mo, and she took the direct route. Ahead of this, steep and loose ground led up to the left hand edge of the summit buttress, where I’d spotted a cairn. From this extreme left edge, a path led right along the base of the buttress, climbing as it went until finally the buttress petered out and the summit was easily gained.
And what a summit! A small table top of rough volcanic rocks. Incredible views all round. I didn’t think it would be big enough for a long wire, so up went the 10 m vertical.
above the clouds on Montaña del Cedro
I think she was rather pleased with herself
10 m vertical
Another one qualified on 10 m, with 14 stations logged and a nice surprise - @G4OBK Phil was first in the log. We had time for a quick chat, the band conditions were so good at that point.
10 m log
Mo was happy drawing, so permission was granted to re-rig. There was just enough room for the EFHW! It was strung corner to corner, with the feed point on a walking pole jammed into lava. I used 15 m exclusively and added another 34 stations to my log, making 48 in all.
Pice Viejo and El Teide
summit cairn - still well above the clouds
We could have stayed up there all day, it was such a special place. As we’d witnessed on our ascent of el Sombrero, in the afternoon the cloud starts to creep up the valley and envelop the hills, so we reluctantly headed back. I was determined to find some sort of path, so when we made it to the cairn at the foot of the upper buttress, I carefully scanned around and found some leading across the slope and we followed them down to the col without any trouble. Still steep, loose and rocky, however no climbing involved.
So, the correct way to approach from the col is to turn the first buttress on the right, climbing a short gully, then follow the line of cairns diagonally up to the extreme left hand end of the second buttress. Go round the back of this and make one move up a short groove. Then climb directly up to the left hand end of the summit buttress, following the path along its base (to the right) and up to the top.
descending, with the three outcrops above
I carried identical kit on all of the hikes:
Radio - Elecraft KX2, with internal tuner, internal battery and spare battery
7 m Spiderbeams pole
10 m vertical with sloping radials
15 m delta loop
40/20/15/10 m EFHW , 49:1
5 m RG-174
guys and pegs
I’m glad I did carry a few choices, as the summits varied in size and vegetation, so it was nice to have a few options.
The band conditions were so good, that I could have qualified all of the summits on 10 m. I worked Canada, USA, or South America on every activation apart from one. ZL on 15 m in the middle of the day was a highlight! I only used 10 m and 15 m SSB.
As for Tenreife - first visit and shall be back. The hotel was amazing and well located for the mountains. We could see most of them from the balcony. Some of the hills aren’t for the faint-hearted. There is some rough and steep ground. Very rewarding though. And there’s still the un-resolved matter of Baracán EA8/TF-009, the one that got away.