I looked at the daily schedule to see that my name was on the list along with 5 boys who had committed to completing the Teide challenge the following night. I was hesitant to commit, unsure if I wanted to be the only girl on an overnight trek up the 3rd highest volcano on the planet. At the very last minute, however, I decided to take the plunge and join the group.
We left the house at 10 p.m. to start the hour-long drive to Montaña Blanca, the starting point of the trek. Around 11 p.m. we began the walk. It was rather easy at first, and the moon was shining so bright we didn’t need to use our flashlights for a majority of the way, and the incline was minimal. After about an hour an a half of walking, the climb became more intense, but nothing unmanageable.
We arrived to the refuge shelter around 4 in the morning. Because the remainder of the hike would only take just over an hour to complete, but the sun wasn’t set to rise until 7:30, we had a bit of time to kill. The refuge was locked for the night, so we rolled out our sleeping bags in the front entryway and tried our best to get some rest before making the rest of the trek.
The way back down can be completed by walking, but I was far too exhausted and close to my knees completely giving out to hobble all the way back down. I paid the 13 euro for the cable car, which brought us down to the pick up point. It was a smooth and very easy ride. Some visitors who may not be as active nor want to commit to a full day of climbing can opt to do the full cable car tour, up and down the volcano.
It is super important to be well prepared in order to have a successful climb up Teide. Warm clothes are essential, even in the middle of summer it is very cold and windy at the top. Gloves, sweaters, hats and extra layers all come in handy once you’ve made it up high enough. I brought 3 liters of water for myself, and that was just enough to keep me hydrated all the way through the climb. Pack snacks and sports drinks and eat a big meal before starting the climb for energy. This is super important, as you burn a crazy amount of calories climbing upward for so long.
Hiking boots are recommended but not totally necessary, I didn’t have any problems in my sturdy tennis shoes.
If you have space in a backpack, bring a small sleeping bag. These are nice to wrap up into when waiting at the refuge or at the top when enjoying the views. Sunglasses are essential to avoid any damage to the eyes, and a bit of sunscreen for the exposed face once at the top is also a good idea.
Taking breaks on the climb up is very important, no one should push themselves to run up the volcano faster than they are comfortable, as this is a recipe for altitude sickness.
Overall, it was an incredibly rewarding experience once all said and done. It wasn’t easy, but I am glad I pushed myself to complete the challenge. Next stop: Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in Hawaii, the 2nd and 1st highest volcanos in the world!