Canary Islands, La Palma
Pico de la Nieve (2238m)
This was our final day of hiking on the beautiful island of La Palma and the plan had been set for days; the southeast part of the Caldera de Taburiente crater rim - part of Ruta de la Cresteria. This route would take us across Punta de los Roques - a beautiful peak that I had looked forward to visit. The big question was however if the peak accepted visitors not carrying a rope. From a distance, it was difficult to tell..
Our "regular" driver Carlos picked us up at our hotel (Las Olas) just after breakfast and drove us up the volcano. We got off where the forest road towards Pico de las Nieve began but took the forest path instead of the road. I think Carlos found Anne and me to be "very good customers", and for us, not getting a rental car had actually been a blessing.
Pico de la Nieve
The path up to Pico de la Nieve was 2,6km and the elevation gain was 360 meters. On our way up, we saw joggers along the crater rim and I wondered how they had organized this logistically. No obvious options for round trip hikes up here...
It took us 55 minutes to reach the 2239m signpost. But on my map, the name Pico de la Nieve was put on a slightly higher top 0,25km to the north. So while Anne started walking to the south, I ran up to the north top and caught up with her down by the viewpoint where our path met the crater rim.
Pico de la Sabina
The next target was two neighbour tops where the map said that the first top was Pico de la Veta de la Arena and the second top Pico de la Sabina. But the first top was signposted Pico de la Sabina so I can only assume the map had got the tops mixed up. We saw signs towards Petroglyphs but we did not go looking for them...
Punta de los Roques
Ahead of us was the primary goal for the trip - Punta de los Roques. We were still clueless about the difficulty awaiting - if any at all. Time would tell...
From a distance, the north face of the peak looked a bit scary and I wondered where the path went. As we got closer, we could see the path had been "carved" out of the mountain side. At the Degollada del Rio pass, I tried to climb a rock feature but turned around just before the final push because of incredibly bad rock quality.
The path which - seemingly - had been carved out from the north face was indeed spectacular...
The ascent up to the ridge crest was exciting. We would soon find out how difficult the summit point was. It turned out not to be difficult at all, which I found somewhat disappointing. As strange as it may seem...
On the summit, I felt that the northernmost point was slightly higher than where the "Parque Nacional" signpost was. So we had to climb out to the rock and were "happy" that there was some exposure involved...
The fog didn't seem to let go so we continued after a little while. First, we stopped by Refugio Punta de los Roques shelter. This could perhaps be a natural place to spend the night if one were to hike from Roque de los Muchachos to Fuencalente - via La Ruta de los Volcanes.
When we passed point 2056m, I wanted to go up there. Anne didn't feel the same way and waited for me by the path. The summit point looked massive when I first saw it through the fog, and I had to use my hands to get up there.
A little further down the ridge, we walked up to Pico Corralejo - the last top we would visit on our La Palma trip. This top marked the end to the fun part of the route. We anticipated that the rest would be a less eventful transport leg...
One of the highlights of the trip was the Canary pine; the mist from the trade winds condenses on the long needles and falls down as rain. This "local rain" helps the pine growing in areas with little rainfall. The long needles also help protect the tree from fires by burning fast before the heat damages the growing buds.
After a while we got below the mist and got the LP-3 road in view. Just before we reached the junction where we got off the ridge, we had taken a short-cut and discovered a small cave - Cueva de los Cochinos. This cave used to provide shelter for those who crossed or traveled on the Cumbre Nueva ridge.
Next, we got to the GR-131/LP-1 junction where we turned right left Cumbre Nueva. Soon we followed a very distinct ridge down to the church Ermita de la Virgen del Pino. The pine forest down by the church was just amazing...
At the church, Anne didn't fancy 2km on a paved road and so we hitch hiked with some Germans who - actually - had got hold of a rental car. Back at the National Park Visitor Centre, we waited for the bus to take us back to Santa Cruz. We had to wait almost an hour for this bus, and almost an hour in Santa Cruz for the bus to Los Cancajos. But that didn't matter at all. We had a wonderful week in La Palma. I absolutely recommend this island!
The trip was 16,9km in length. Vertical gain approx. 800m and total hiking time was 6 hours.
The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 60D + Canon EF-S 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 IS
(Full size images)
(Images scaled down.
Routes & To the trailhead
Leg 1 - Pico de la Nieve
Pico de la Nieve panoramas
Leg 2 - Pico de la Sabina
Pico de la Sabina panorama
Leg 3 - Punta de Los Roques & Refugio
Leg 4 - Point 2056m & Pico Corralejo
Leg 5 - Ermita Virgen del Pino
Bus back to Santa Cruz
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|Dec 30 2014||Pico Bejenado|
|Dec 31 2014||Roque de los Muchachos, Roque Palmero|
|Jan 1 2015||La Ruta de los Volcanes|
|Jan 2 2015||Monta˝a de la Bre˝a|
|Jan 3 2015||Pico de la Nieve, Punta de Los Roques|