Climbing Teide by foot with Volcano Teide Experience

It might sound impossible - because not only am I from Tenerife, but from La Orotava - but I'd never got to the top of the Teide. Yes, nearly 40 years old and that experience was still pending but, after a cancellation on 23rd February because of the wind, 9th March looked like the appointed day for climbing Teide by foot with Volcano Teide Experience.

When I was 8 years old, my parents took me and my little brother along the trail from the road up Montaña Blanca. We spent the night at the refuge point and then in the morning we tried to see the sunrise from the highest point in Spain. We had to leave it for another occasion though (in my case, more than 30 years later) because of the strong wind on that September morning in 1985.

You can do the tour with any of a number of companies or on your own, but we chose to do it with Volcano Teide Experience as they are specialists in the activities at the national park. We met at 9am at the cable car base station, next to the counter. I was there at 8:55am, with doubts over whether to wear some unworn flimsy boots or the trainers I always wear ...

Tenerife Travel Secret

It's not the first time we've said it, but when you do a tour which involves several hours of walking (especially up a mountain), wear boots which are your own and which suit your feet, to avoid rubbing and soreness. Also check the weather forecast and always, always use sun cream.

Our experience of climbing Teide by foot with Volcano Teide Experience

When Andrés (a Peruvian guide who has been working in the Teide area for more than twelve years) arrived, he told me that both options were fine. He recommended the boots to avoid strains as much as possible (which wasn't a bad idea, after nearly a dozen sprains to my left ankle ), especially if we were to do the descent on foot.

Tenerife Travel Secret

Apparently in the event that your climb is delayed (not everyone climbs at the same pace at 3,000 metres above sea level ...) it may not be possible to go down in the cable car, so you'd have to descend on foot.

When everyone had arrived (mostly Germans and a really lovely Danish couple called Stewart and Ruth), we went to Montaña Blanca and, after a few instructions from our guide, we set off along the trail. We edged around Montaña Blanca and passed the Huevos del Teide, and when we looked back we could already start to see some spectacular views of Las Cañadas and its reddish colours.

...and climbing "El Teide" was not as easy as it looked

Getting to the base of the Teide was relatively easy. Andrés gave out some cereal bars to help us keep our energy levels up and ten minutes later we were back en route again. Now one of the hardest parts of the "walk" started ... Andrés told us that he'd go at a slow but steady pace, so we should try to follow him. It was then that we learned we would lose one of the members of our tour group.

Tenerife Travel Secret

You do need to be in relatively good shape to climb the Teide ... The climb takes more than three hours from the base (for non-professionals) and the ground has a fairly constant gradient. Some people might be taken ill with altitude sickness after climbing 1,350 metres and reaching the peak at 3,718 metres above sea level. If you feel bad (including if you’re sick), descend a bit in order to recover.

To be honest there were times when I didn't think I'd be able to keep up with the pace, but I didn't let my mind influence what my body was capable of. I continued on and only arrived three minutes after everyone else at the Altavista Refuge.

The guide offered us some snacks (bread, cheese, cold meats) and we enjoyed the views.

When we were ready to continue, he said it would take us about an hour to reach the cable car area so I decided to change my socks, put my jacket on (because although it was warm, up there the wind made us feel like it was winter) and I caught up with the group when they were at the ice cave.

Tenerife Travel Secret

The ice cave is closed to the public (you can only see it from above) because a visitor had an accident there in 2016.

Finally at the peak of Teide

We arrived at the cable car station and passed through the checkpoint to go up to the summit. The staff were extremely friendly and pleasant to all the members of the group. Two of our companions didn't have permission and couldn't go up, although they went for a stroll through the surroundings and admired the views from there.

Tenerife Travel Secret

Don't forget that you have to request permission in advance to climb to the summit (although if you go as part of an organised group like with Volcano Teide Experience then they'll take care of the permit) and you have to show your ID or passport. Don't forget this, because they won't grant you access without identification.

So there I was, facing the peak which for more than 30 years nature hadn't allowed me to conquer ... It was exciting to see the sulphur vapours (which smelled awful ...) and unforgettable to see the La Orotava valley and its surroundings from up above. I felt my own insignificance, but was also happy that I hadn't given up and that my legs and head helped me to reach the top of the third-highest volcano in the world.

When we left the peak (climbing down about 50 metres) we saw our companion - the one we'd had to leave at the base of the Teide. He hadn't given up on the challenge of climbing to the highest point in Spain. He understood that he wouldn't get the full experience from the trip, but he told me that he would prepare better after his return to Germany and that next time it wouldn't defeat him. Of that I'm sure ...

We went down in the cable car (not included in the price of the tour) and once everyone had met at the bus we separated. I stayed for a few minutes, saying goodbye to Andrés, and then headed straight for La Orotava.

Final Comments by the Authors about climbing Teide by foot with Volcano Teide Experience

Climbing Teide by foot with Volcano Teide Experience was fantastic, with a unique landscape, spectacular views and a very nice, professional team. Andrés helped everyone of the team in their particular necessities. From my personal perspective, I feel very proud. I think 5 hours was a long time to be walking, considering I'm not in particularly great shape and today (the day after) I'm not in pain ... Without a doubt this is a really highly recommended experience. When can we do it again as a family??  And when will you give it a go?