Fuerteventura, Dec 28 2016

Gran Montana, Pico de Betancuria

Peaks visited:

Peak Height PF Location GPX
Gran Montana 713m 238m Fuerteventura GPX
Filo de Fenduca 614m 131m Fuerteventura
Pico Lima 629m 51m Fuerteventura
Pico de Betancuria 724m 668m Fuerteventura GPX
Morro de la Cruz 678m 126m Fuerteventura
Convento 675m 92m Fuerteventura
Pico de Betancuria seen from Gran Montana

Filo de Fenduca & Gran Montana, Dec 28 2016

Our vacation on Fuerteventura got off to a good start when Anne and I visited Pico de la Zarza – the island high point – the day before.

On our 2nd day on the island, we sat course for the Betancuria massif and central highlands. The first goal for the day was Gran Montana – 708m or 713m – depending on which map you look at. This is the 2nd highest peak in the Betancuria region, after Pico de Betancuria (Montaña Atalaya) .

Gran Montana

We drove to the small town Toto northwest of Tuineje. After a little while we found the trailhead, parked the car and headed out into the valley Barranco de Teguereyde.

Our round trip tracks

After only a few minutes, we noticed that there were goats in the valley, and we expected that they were guarded by dogs. They were indeed, and suddenly a big, unchained, ugly dog stood yards away from us, barking like crazy. Fortunately, that was all the dog did. Even though I am quite familiar with dogs, I find these situations creepy. There and then, I decided that I would NOT run into more dogs on this island.

Heading up the valley

The marked trail took us up to the pass Degollada los Granadillos, between Filo de Fenduca and Gran Montana‘s west ridge. I had already informed Anne that I wanted to visit Fenduca, and because of her bad knee, she decided to wait for me in the pass.

The shelter in the pass

The wind was really fierce in the pass, but fortunately, there was a small shelter where she could wait for me. It was only 1km+ to the top, so this wouldn’t take too long. I went up to the top, took a round of pictures and hurried back down.

Gran Montana (right) seen from Fenduca

On the way down, I slipped and had to arrest a potential bad fall using my left arm. The pain was terrible and I thought something was broken. But after the initial nausea had passed, it felt like one or more pulled muscles. 25 minutes after leaving, I returned to the pass and we could proceed towards Gran Montana.

Heading up from the pass. Fenduca in the background.

From the pass, we continued off-trail up to Risco Blanco, where we had to bypass the 618m top. My right arm was in a bad shape before this trip, and now my left arm was dysfunctional. It would NOT be a good idea to go scrambling!

Looking back on the peak on Risco Blanco. Looks like an easy ascent from this side.

Once back on the ridge, we proceeded across Pico Lima (629m) before taking on the last hill to Gran Montana.

Gran Montana summit ahead

Gran Montana is an impressive name, and I presume that the gran(d)ness relates to the area the mountain covers. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the peak connects to a higher peak (Pico de Betancuria) through a long ridge, it would have stood out as a very independent mountain.

Summit view from Gran Montana

After a round of pictures, it was time to head back down. Our planned route down was through Valle de Ezquén, but when we noticed a goat farm down in the valley, and we agreed that we should follow the ridge above the valley instead.

We did not fancy going past here. We saw dogs running around.

The ridge (Lomo Blanco?) was easy enough to descend, and we stayed out of sight from the dogs down by the goat farm. We descended into Barranco del Cortijo near Toto and had to walk through the town streets for approx. 1km before we could return to our rental car.

Returning to Toto

Pico de Betancuria (Montaña Atalaya), Dec 28 2016

I was not totally satisfied with only having been to the second highest peak in the Betancuria region, so I told Anne that I wanted to pay Pico de Betancuria a visit. As Anne’s knee was aching more and more, we agreed that she could go into the town Betancuia for lunch. She dropped me off along FV-30, just south of the town and I aimed for the ridge Morro de Agua Salada, after checking that the area was free of goats and dogs. The only wildlife I could see, didn’t look very initimidating…

Is it friendly or not?
My route up and down Pico de Betancuria

The ridge was easy to follow, although the terrain leading up to point 698m east of the summit was severely eroded.  It took me approx. half an hour to ascend the 360 vertical metes and 2,4km.

Morro de la Cruz and Convento (center) seen from Pico de Betancuria

The plan for my descent was along the flats leading straight into town. Because of the eroded terrain, I had to descend carefully – especially to avoid further injuries to my left arm.

Across the flats to the town Betancuria

After a 3km descent, I entered the town streets, and ran immediately into Anne, who was on a “tour of the town”. Quite a coincident!

Running into Anne in Betancuria

I didn’t want to sit down for lunch and proposed that we should move on. So much more to see!

Morro de la Cruz and Convento, Dec 28 2016

We continued north, and the road took us up to the watershed ridge where there were several points of “interests”. First, we stopped in a pass where there were some statues (Morro Velosa) caught our attention. From the information boards, you will get a good insight into part of the island’s history.

The Morro Veloso statues

I decided to do the short (0,5km) hike up to Morro de la Cruz – just in case this was a peak with a primary factor >= 100m.

But when I reached the top, the Mirador de Morro Veloso viewpoint looked higher. The map heights, whether it was my GPS map, the GPS reading, the Kompass map – were inconclusive. What I normally do, when I get back to Norway – is to use the map on peakbook.org as “master”. The detail level on this map is quite good.

Convento seen from Morro de la Cruz

Next, we drove up to Mirador de Morro Veloso and walked the few meters up to the summit – Convento. According to my GPS – this peak seemed to be a couple of meters higher than Morro de la Cruz. But on the peakbook.org map, Morro de la Cruz is 678m and Conventor is 675m, which means that – if we trust this map – Morro de la Cruz is the “main” peak up here – with a primary factor of 126m. The saddle (Degollada Pechillera – 552m) that defines the primary factor is actually very close to Gran Montana.

Anne on Convento. It was only 150 meters to the summit 😉

After leaving Convento and the Mirador, we decided to call it a day and return to our hotel in Las Playitas.

Pictures from the Gran Montana hike:

Pictures from the Pico de Betancuria hike:

Pictures from Morro de la Cruz and Convento:



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