Roque de los Muchachos

  • Roque de los Muchachos
  • 2426 m
  • Primary factor 2426 m
  • Palma, Canary Islands.
  • Location: North 28.75420, West 017.88491 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1 (Pinnacle, class 3)
  • Climbed March 15. 2019.


How to get there:
This is the highest point on the Canary Island of Palma, the island located to the north-west in the group. The main city is Santa Cruz de La Palma, on the east coast, this is also the location of the airport with several connections to other islands as well as direct international flights.
From Santa Cruz de La Palma, drive north and locate Hwy. LP-4 that climbs the mountain going north-west. Follow this road to kilometer marker 36, then shortly locate the road fork (left) signed for the observatories. Well before this, you have kept right at a fork where the road going left is signed for Nieves.
The observatory access road is open from 0700 until 1700. Outside of these hours one may find parking (off the road) near this road fork and walk from here. The road fork is located at N28.76484, W017.89353, elevation about 2160 meter.
Route description:
Continue up the observatory road. There are several side roads serving various installations, but they are all well signed and it is pretty obvious which road climbs to the very top. On top, there is a medium sized parking lot with a concrete summit marker. At the opposite end (from the marker), a well made trail follows a low, wooden fence and encircles the summit rocks. The summit rocks are a small number of rock pinnacles, the highest one is pretty slender and stands next to a very similar, but slightly lower one.
The summit pinnacle is (YDS) class 3. There are good, dependable holds, but the pinnacle is narrow and one should most likely be content with touching its top.
I left our hotel before 0500. With a choice of visiting early morning or early evening, I prefered the former since evening time would conflict with having dinner with Heidi. The drive took about one hour and I was ready to leave my car and walk up observatory road at 0550. The sky was full of stars and it was not hard to follow the road uphill without using my torch light. I arrived at 0630. It was still dark, but not difficult to identify the highest rock pinnacle. It seemed a bit steeper than what I had guessed from reading trip reports, but with plenty of good holds, it was easy to get up at the same level as its top. Happy with touching the top and making a GPS reading, I next returned to the nicely made walk-way nearby.
I decided to hang around and wait for the sunrise. It was a beautiful morning and nice to observe how the stars were fading from view as the eastern sky turned yellow. Around 0645, a car arrived at the small parking. The driver (a local guard/ranger?) left the headlights on, beaming up to the summit rocks, but I was standing behind the rocks remaining in the shadow. Shortly before sunrise, a few minutes past 0700, the man walked the lower part of the path and when seeing me higher up, asked some questions in Spanish. I replied that I did not speak Spanish and he seemed fairly happy, after a sequence of 5-6 additional questions (from 30 meter away), that I left unanswered.
The sunrise was quite nice, and I got a couple of additional pictures of the summit and the summit pinnacle with early rays of sunshine. The time was now 0730 and I walked/jogged back down to my car, reaching it at 0800. The drive back down to Santa Cruz went smoothly and I was back at the hotel at 0900. Time to alert Heidi and go to breakfast!