European mountains
La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain

Garajonay (1489m), Fortaleza de Chipude (1240m)
Mirador El Santo & waves, Dec 29 2009


To the main Garajonay/Fortaleza page (maps, route descriptions, other trip reports, etc.)

To the La Gomera introduction page.

 

Garajonay, 1489m

 

 

The route - as seen in Google Earth

The route - as seen in Google Earth
(Click for larger image)

This was our (Anne Rudsengen and me) second day on the island of La Gomera, and our first with a rental car available to us. The day before, we had a very enjoyable traverse across La Merica, and the plan for the second day was to visit Garajonay - the island high point, as well as Fortaleza de Chipude - a very characteristic mountain that I noticed early on during my pre-trip Google Earth studies.

On the way from our hotel in Valle Gran Rey, we could see that the higher mountains were fogged in. But it wasn't raining, and besides, it could be fun to see the humid subtropical national park forest in the fog that it's famous for. The trailhead wasn't difficult to find, and by 11:45am, we were on our way to Garajonay.

After following a paved (brick) road for a little while, we turned onto a forest path that run across Pajarito - a minor top 400m northeast of Garajonay. We reached Garajonay 12:02pm, and although we didn't see anything of the island, it felt good to have the island high point in the bag. First things first, so to speak...

 

On Garajonay

On Garajonay
(Click for larger image)

It was already apparent to me that my GPS consistently reported elevations 10-13m higher than the hiking maps, and I was curious about the elevation of the mountain. The Garmin map height was 1489m, and as such, would the GPS elevation exceed 1500m? Not that this was very important, but at least I could discuss with Petter Bj°rstad whether the mountain should appear on one of his Prominent peaks lists (on some which 1500m is a key elevation). Bu the GPS measured only 1496m, and I also had to subtract 2m for the manmade brick wall.

A group of hikers arrived on the summit, and we found it best to move on. We stopped by a cool tree (a water fountain) that was producing raindrops. We then followed the normal route (along the paved brick road) and were back at the trailhead 12:30pm - 45 minutes after heading out.

 

Fortaleza de Chipude, 1240m

 

The route - as seen in Google Earth

The route - as seen in Google Earth
(Click for larger image)

Next stop was Fortaleza de Chipude. We located the Pavˇn trailhead easily, even though the mountain was completely fogged in. We left the trailhead 12:58pm, and 10 minutes later we got confirmation (thanks to a signpost) that we were on the right way. After a few minutes along the mountain trail, a mountain from Doom rose in front of us. What on earth was awaiting up there?

 

The route runs up here .. somewhere

The route runs up here .. somewhere
(Click for larger image)

The mountain trail up the cliffs turned out to be easy enough, although caution was required in places. In not too long, we arrived on the summit plateau and located the high point, marked by a pile of rocks. The time was now 1:26pm, less than 30 minutes after leaving the trailhead. 2 days and 3 tops was an excellent start of our Canary vacation, and I decided to celebrate with my interpretation of the Uga Chaka dance. Because of the fog, there was no reason to linger around on the mountain, and we were back at the trailhead 2:20pm.

 

Uga Chaka

Uga Chaka
(Click for larger image)

 

Mirador El Santo +++

The route - as seen in Google Earth

The route - as seen in Google Earth
(Click for larger image)

On our way back to Valle Gran Rey, we decided to stop at Arure and walk the 600m of the Arure - La Merica - Valle Gran Rey trail that we skipped the day before. But just after heading out, we discovered a vague path that we just had to follow. This path took us along a steep face and towards a spectacular building (mostly because of its location). If I am not mistaken, the chapel Ermita de Santo is found inside this building - also known as Mirador (view) El Santo.

 

Mirador El Santo

Mirador El Santo
(Click for larger image)

After scrambling onto the Mirador (we were obviously not following the public route), we noticed that access to the upper level was blocked, and we had to scramble to get to the Mirador road. We were now on the public route from Arure and below an arch. We hiked (off-trail) upwards to a point where we could see directly down on the Mirador, the Taguluche valley and the Tejeleche mountain range further north (visited two days later).

Parallel to the trail towards La Merica and Valle Gran Rey was a rugged ridge that seemed far more interesting than the trail...

 

Rugged ridge

Rugged ridge
(Click for larger image)

After a fun traverse across the (above) ridge, we (eventually) reached the trail towards La Merica and Valle Gran Rey. We followed until we (almost) reached the point we turned around the day before. We were now directly below a pointy rock feature that we named "El Dedo" (The Finger) - climbed the day before. From here, we tried to get to another (adjacent) rock feature but had to give up on due to serious fencing. Along the way, we scared the living daylights out of "Jack Rabbit" which got caught between us and cliffs. We named this rock "El Privado" - sensing the true meaning of the word trespassing.

 

El Privado (left) and El Dedo

"El Privado" (left) and "El Dedo"
(Click for larger image)

Waves

Back at our hotel in La Puntilla, Valle Gran Rey, we took a walk to enjoy the magnificent waves that continuously hit the shore. I've seen cool waves before, but none as beautiful as these..

 

Waves

Waves
(Click for larger image)

 

Next day: Los Roques

Pictures

The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 450D + Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6

 
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Garajonay

1. Garajonay trailhead 2. Garajonay trailhead 3. Trail fork 4. On the forest trail 5. On Garajonay high point 6. On Garajonay high point 7. Garajonay seal 8. Garajonay info 9. Garajonay info 10. Garajonay info 11. Water fountain 12. Water fountain 13. Water fountain info 14. Descent along the paved road

Fortaleza de Chipude (ascent)

15. Fortaleza trailhead at Pavon 16. Through Pavon 17. The Fortaleza trail 18. View up the mountain 19. Dew 20. Up the rocky section 21. Up the rocky section 22. Through an airy crack 23. Across a hump 24. On top of Fortaleza 25. On top of Fortaleza 26. On top of Fortaleza 27. Cross on the summit plateau 28. Pidgeons

Fortaleza de Chipude (descent)

29. Descending Fortaleza 30. Descending Fortaleza 31. Fog is lifting 32. View up the mountain 33. Aloe vera? 34. Dew 35. The fog has lifted 36. The route runs up here, somewhere 37. Fortaleza info 38. Cactus fruits 39. La Merica 40. La Merica, zoomed in 41. El Cercado 42. Unknown fruits

Mirador El Santo

43. Cool rock near Arure 44. Mirador El Santo 45. Tejeleche and Roque de Mona 46. Taguluche 47. On the way to Mirador El Santo 48. On the way to Mirador El Santo 49. Mirador El Santo 50. Mirador El Santo 51. Cool rocks 52. Arch above Mirador El Santo 53. Mirador El Santo 54. The arch above Mirador El Santo 55. Above Mirador El Santo 56. El Privado and El Dedo 57. El Privado and El Dedo 58. Coastal view 59. Taguluche

Cool ridge + attempt on "El Privado"

60. The Girl on the Bridge 61. Rugged terrain ahead 62. Mirador El Santo 63. Untrustworthy rock quality 64. Minding my steps 65. Mirador El Santo 66. On the trail to La Merica - Valle Gran Rey 67. Roque de Los Marroyos 68. A cool rock 69. Coastal goat 70. A scared hare 71. Coastal terrain 72. Roque de Los Marroyos 73. Giving up on El Privado 74. El Dedo - climbed the day before 75. La Merica 76. Cool rock. Looks difficult 77. The ridge we scrambled earlier on 78. Mirador El Santo 79. Our rental car and our hotel

Waves

80. Waves 81. Waves 82. Waves 83. Waves 84. Waves 85. Waves 86. Waves 87. Waves 88. Waves 89. Waves 90. Waves 91. Waves 92. Waves 93. Waves 94. Waves 95. Waves 96. Waves 97. Nice flower

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