La catedral, the climbers temple
There are few places in Tenerife more popular for climbers than La Catedral. This geological formation is known by volcanologists as a ‘volcanic plug’ (pitón, in Spanish). Normally associated with acidic magmas, these formations are the remains of solidified lava in cracks in the terrain. The magma ascends through cracks in the volcano and then cool off. Since they are more resistant to erosion than the material surrounding them, as the water and rain dismantle the rest of the edifice these spectacular formations are revealed.
This happened long ago, around 180,000 years. This phenomenon of construction and destruction can give us an idea of how these ‘roques’ and ‘pitones’ have changed. If they continue to erode what will they be like in 1,000 years?
La Catedral is one of the most famous places in the vertical world of Tenerife. Its varying levels of difficulty and beautiful landscape have made it so popular for climbing that since 1975 almost fifty routes have been traced on its north face.
According to the specialized climbing journal Tenerife Vertical, ‘the first route that was traced on its north face (the most complex) was La Cruz Ángel, opened in 1975 by Antonio R. Villar, Alberto Alom, Oscar Subirana and Espila Noya, always in search of the easiest parts of the wall.
‘Originally, it started through what is now the first length of Victimas del Desamor to the first reu of the Directisima and from there the upper part of El Pilar Adosado, from there it continues going up, and at the end it moves left to meet and follow the easiest path to the Summit.’
Although it might seem that everything was said and done in this area of Teide National Park, recently new paths have been implemented and others in poor conditions have been restored so that the walls of this natural formation continue surprising us and providing new challenges.
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