Climbing in Tenerife

El Rio

While UKClimbing Logbook Crag Finder has served me well for locating climbing opportunities on a number of occasions, it is still a limited service (as are many online climbing resources, ClimbinBaška and SLOUPPI the very welcome exceptions to the rule). So I hope what you find below will be of some use to anyone who decides to go on vacation or a business trip to Tenerife, but also do some climbing when the opportunity presents itself.

Martianez, Puerto de la Cruz

When researching what to do on the island on the off days, I managed to discover there’s also a lot of climbing potential so we decided to take some gear with us. Might as well make the most of the opportunity. But however minimal the gear might be, it is still never lightweight, so we rationalized to include the following:

  • 60m rope + bag
  • 10 quick-draws
  • 1 ATC
  • 2 dyneema slings
  • 3 carabiners
  • 2 harnesses (used by 4 people)
  • 3 pairs of shoes (again, used by all 4)
  • chalk bag
  • some tape

That in itself will fill a decent sized backpack and make the Ryanair gate agents happy to charge for extra weight so we divvied up and it worked. But that rope was still a pain to stuff…

back cleaning a 5b, 28m route in Villa de Arico canyon (10 quickdraws were not enough)

Without any doubt UKClimbing is my favorite crag finder whenever venturing into the unknown. I love the geolocation based service but crag descriptions leave a lot to imagination. However, in some places just knowing the location might be good enough if you combine it with another location based service… Google Street View! It has helped me in Corsica and it worked in Tenerife. Well, at least partially. Park at a switchback 2.2km out of Cruz de Tea suddenly sounds much better if you can preview the description in Street View… when you have that much information available. If not then the only way is to find some road that gets you nearby the marked location and go from there. You can always ask… (not that it helped much as the grandpas we met couldn’t understand us and I barely understood them) :)

San Marcos/Icod de los Vinos, ©Jonna

I was never hung up on route topos, grades, beta etc. so the location and the approximate number of routes available is really the only information I want to have. I climb whatever looks nice from below and that’s good enough. At least on vacation or a first visit. Obviously access notes and the aforementioned information is always welcome but not crucial for my choice. It’s fun to explore! :)

Arico Viejo canyon, a lesson in making a 4c look hard ©Jonna

UKClimbing and Rockfax mention several times that the place to get climbing information is Tenerife Outdoor in Granadilla (and now also in La Laguna). As it turned out their opening times didn’t coincide with out timeline so we only managed to visit them on one of our final days on the island. But the visit was nevertheless very helpful as they let us take some photos of the guidebook and we were able to find and climb some previously unknown crags.

La Martella canyon

The best surprise was that the lovely La Martella canyon, one we somehow managed to find just by following parking information, isn’t mentioned in any of the guidebooks. The guys at TO will be more than happy to provide the unpublished topo of this secret gem.

Without venturing too much into guidebook publishing territory I thought I’d assemble some basic information for the areas visited (and some that we didn’t). It has to be said though that it’s probably best if you purchase or borrow a guidebook. It will save you some time and potential problems. But as we were just as happy to explore the canyons for several hours and finding just about nothing climbable with minimal gear it wasn’t a problem for us. It just added an element of surprise and pleasure of exploration. So for those like us, here’s a map to get you started:

And to end this, a slideshow…

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