The Canary Islands 3 Peaks International
Think Canary Islands and many might picture fleshpots of sun, sea and excess; tacky resorts with cheap booze and English food. No place for the ultra-distance enthusiast then! Well, yes. Look inland and you will find primitive volcanic landscapes with just the right ingredients for an inspiring mountain challenge combined with an island-hopping holiday.
The Canary Islands 3 Peaks Challenge is a sea-to-summit, coast-to-coast traverse of the three western islands of La Gomera, La Palma and Tenerife by foot. Their contrasting peaks of Garonjay (4872'), Roque de los Munchos (7959') and El Teide (12198') are all set within outstanding wilderness areas protected as national parks. La Palma is, perhaps, the jewel in the crown. Reputedly the steepest island in the world it rises to 7959' at Roque de los Munchos where it looks into the deepest volcanic crater on the planet. The overall distance is in the region of 120 miles with a formidable 35000 feet of ascent.
The idea was conceived by Tony Wimbush as a multi-day mountain marathon type challenge and was first completed during April 2007 by Colin Brooke, Peter Jagan, Pete Simpson and Tony Wimbush.
The start and finish for the entire island circuit is the ferry port at Los Cristionos on Tenerife. Each island traverse must begin and end by the traditional dipping of a toe in the sea – so cliff tops do not count! For time recording purposes, the start time is when the ferry for Gomera departs and the finish time is your arrival time back at the ferry port (whether by foot, taxi or bus) on or after completing the traverse of Tenerife. The island routes are outlined below.
La Gomera (19 miles and 6248’): Valle Gran Rey – Garonjay – El Cedro - Hermigua
La Palma (41 miles and 13422’): Puerto de Tazacorte – Roque de los Munchos – Refugio del Pilar - Faro Fuencaliente. The GR 131 must be followed throughout.
Tenerife (60 miles and 15280’): Porto Cruz de la Tenerife – El Teide – La Playa/Los Cristionos.
Notes on traversing Tenerife
There is no direct or obvious scenic route all the way from Porto to Los Cristionos. The lower southern part of the island is a dreary contrast to the national park that crowns El Teide. There is a good indirect route to Vilaflor via Montana de las Lajas. After that it is, perhaps, best just to grit your teeth, think of a cold beer and make a beeline for the sea! You may finish at any point on the south-west coast and then go by taxi, bus or foot to Los Cristionos. The adventurous might like to explore possibilities of a route from Montana de las Lajas to Adeje and on to the coast at La Caleta - then travel to the finish at the ferry port in Los Cristionos. Gary Rosson has also suggested there is good walking between Viilaflor and Arona which are both on the new GR131 route.
Mountain Class – 7 days
A demanding challenge requiring a focused mountain marathon type approach but with scope for a little holiday indulgence! There is an additional requirement to go from sea-level to each of the island summits in a continuous day’s climb! To achieve 7 days you will probably need to bivvy on La Palma and Tenerife or use the El Teide refuge, if open. Note that if your ferry departs on the evening of day 1 then your 7 days is up on the evening of day 8!
Holiday Class - over 7 days
An island-hopping holiday but with scope for ensuring you can go home with the satisfaction of having achieved something you will never forget! A generous time limit offers adequate time to stay in comfortable hotels and organise public transport or taxis for each day’s start and finish point.
2007 Mountain Class Schedule - click to view/print pdf file
2011 Mountain Class Schedule - click to view/print pdf file
The Canary Islands 3 Peaks was originally part the Over the Hill Series (see below). The series has been discontinued but this route remains as an independent, formal challenge open to all age groups. Completions can be registered. Email: email@example.com
Name/club/age at completion of challenge.
Coastal start and finish points.
Dates and times at those points and each island summit.
For a list of current registrations (updated each year-end) click here.
Links and Further Information
Recommended Guide: Walking in the Canary Islands: 1 - West by Paddy Dillon (Cicerone Press)
Ferries: Fred Olsen operates regular services with early morning and evening sailings
El Teide permits: can be obtained free in Santa Cruz de Tenerife – Parque National del Teide, 4th Floor, Calle Emilio Calzadilla. Unless you start exceptionally early it will be evening before you arrive on the summit when it is not manned.
Hotels: The H10 chain of hotels provides excellent rooms and buffet meals at very reasonable prices offering better value than B&Bs.
Transport: Taxis can be hired on all the islands. Bus services are available.
Season: Spring is the best time for ascending the mountains.
Over The Hill Series - An archive of registrations (2002 to 2012) plus some background to the series.
Where there is a recorder please contact them to log your completion. In addition, or if there isn't a recorder, you are invited to share your experience on the gofar facebook page to encourage and inspire other runners to have a go!
All the routes on this site require proven mountain running experience. You undertake them entirely at your own risk. Please take full mountain safety precautions at all times. Always ensure you carry sufficient clothing, food and equipment to cope with dramatic changes in the weather conditions! Appropriate insurance cover is recommended.
HAVE A GO!
The object of this website is to provide a single, ready source of information on the ultra-distance mountain challenges which have been developed over the past three or more decades. It now offers a diverse range of long and "short", old and recent, formal and informal routes from around the UK to encourage runners of all ages and abilities to have a go, subject to proven mountain experience in all conditions.
FRA LONG DISTANCE
RECORDS and NEWS
Please send details of any record-breaking runs and the like to Martin Stone who maintains records on behalf of the Fell Runners Association. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also refer to the guidelines and definitions in the FRA Handbook.
Updates are generally made each winter and announced on gofar facebook. If you are not on facebook, to subscribe to future updates email Tony Wimbush: email@example.com . Put "subscribe" in the subject line, or "delete" if you wish to unsubscribe.
If you can improve on the accuracy of this resource, offer details of other routes (old and new), spot any errors in grid references, names, heights, spelling or punctuation, or find a link which does not work please email Tony Wimbush: firstname.lastname@example.org