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Is it possible to climb Mount Teide from sea-level in 2 days for a reasonably fit person? Essentially, I was thinking of walking up to the Altavista mountain refuge on the first day (can that be done in about 10 hours walking?) and then up to the summit (and back) on the second day (but probably take a bus back down to sea-level).

PS: I originally asked it on the travel site (http://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/21799/climbing-mount-teide-from-sea-level), but was referred to this site as being more appropriate.

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One thing, I've heard and learnt in high altitude mountaineering: Its not only about climb to the summit. Its also about getting down! –  WedaPashi Nov 18 '13 at 8:16
    
@WedaPashi losing height rapidly can never cause any issue. The oxygen level only increases with the decrease in altitude. Hence it shouldn't be a worry. –  Unsung Nov 18 '13 at 15:23
    
@Unsung: true, But i didn't mean to say what you interpreted. I meant, a lot of people, really so many of them have died while coming down from a peak after a successful summit attempt, just out of over-confidence, excitement and Needless Hurry –  WedaPashi Nov 18 '13 at 15:26
    
@WedaPashi Oh like that. Don't worry, Mount Teide is non technical. I'd been there some 3 years back. You have cable car facility to get down. –  Unsung Nov 18 '13 at 15:27
    
@Unsung: :) For that matter, how much did the expedition cost? (I know this will be tagged as a "Too Chatty" comment. #wink) –  WedaPashi Nov 18 '13 at 15:31
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2 Answers

I did Teide last year aged 60; I'm fit, but not a climber as such - I occasionally do a few of the Scottish Munros and run 5 - 10k twice a week only. 20 years ago I did Mont Blanc in the Alps, which I found desperately hard, and didn't acclimatise at all well despite 3 days altitude preparation.

Getting up and down Teide was easy in comparison. I left Puerto de la Cruz about 7.30 in the morning, drove to the little Montana Blanca car park (there is a small notice board to confirm where you are), did the climb of 4,500' or so up past the Altavista quite straightforwardly, back down the same way and was back in Puerto de la Cruz by about 7.00 in the evening. Above the Altavista I took it at more of a plod, and stopped for a wee breather every 5 - 10 minutes; breathing is definitely affected up here, but I didn't have any of the severe headaches, sickness and disorientation I had on Mt Blanc.

Back at the hotel, I felt great, had a shower, then started a beer; I couldn't finish it; went straight to bed, had a poor nights sleep, didn't feel at all well the next day, couldn't eat, and only started getting back to normal the day after that - all absolutely classic altitude after-effect symptoms.

One other minor complication doing it this way is getting the right permit time slot for the summit; I actually arrived at the checkpoint about 1/2 hour before the start of my slot, but the guard let me through after my best pleading look. I have looked at doing Teide in a day from sea level but don't think there's enough daylight - for me anyway; I don't fancy the prospect of stumbling around in a remote, exposed, high altitude volcanic landscape in the dark!

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I wouldn't recommend gaining 3700+ meters in 2 days. It's not about fitness. It's just about how well your body adapts to altitude. I agree that 3700 meters is not too high to get severely sick due to AMS, but then, it's not recommended to gain more than 1000 meters of vertical distance per day.

Also, I know friends who have suffered from altitude sickness at as low as 8000 feet (2500m approx).

Things to keep in mind:

  • AMS can hit even a very healthy and fit person. Don't overestimate. Be practical.
  • Read about AMS before heading out. Make sure you know when/where to head back in case you observe some AMS symptoms.
  • What altitude do you live at? Someone who lives at a higher altitude has a higher probability of adjusting to the altitude gain than someone who has lived his life at sea level.

Cheers!

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But wouldn't that also apply when starting from the car park (after getting there by car/bus from the coast)? What options are there to not do the whole height difference in 2 days? –  cluons Nov 17 '13 at 17:00
    
@cluons If you travel by car(which many recommend), your acclimatization would be even less. In case of Mt Teide, there are very few options. When I did Mt Teide 3 years back, there were no camping options(not sure how things are now) and we stayed at Altavista for the first night (We had no option to stay more than a night, due to which one of my friends had to return due to AMS). We could go only upto 3400 due to ice. Having said that, the rest of us had already been above 3500m more than once. –  Unsung Nov 18 '13 at 15:56
    
I recommend to do it in 3 days. Stay the first night in the hotel Parador at 2000m and explore the Canadas on the first day if you have energy left. On the second day hike to the Rifugio Altavista. Don't start too early, the hut opens late at 17:00. On the next morning get up early to see the sunrise. This will give you enough time to adjust to the hight. –  Kai K. Dec 3 '13 at 7:03
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