Death Defying SOTA Activation of Guajara (EA8/TF-002)

Me at the summit cairn "window" framing El Teide in the background

Me at the summit cairn “window” framing El Teide in the background

On the 18th of January I activated Tenerife’s second SOTA summit of Guajara (EA8/TF-002, 10 points + 3 winter bonus points) which is 2,715m above sea level.

This is quite a height difference when you start from sea level! The drive up, from my hotel near Los Cristianos, was beautiful and obviously all up hill. The drive takes you through some mountain villages and roads which match! Eventually you end up entering the El Teide National Park which Guajara is within. Both of the Tenerife’s SOTA summits are right next to each other and Guajara offers unparallelled views onto its bigger brother El Teide, which is 1km taller at 3,715m!

The 3 Hour Walk

I started from the car park at the base of Guajara which has a nice cafe. My honest mistake here was lack of proper planning, I did the walk based on the marked path on my GPS and not in conjunction with walking maps, which I had used on the other Canary Islands. I followed the Sendaro 31 path up, which in my experience was not for the fainthearted and seemed to have had a recent landslide, I would strongly recommend you don’t take this path and instead follow Sendaro 4 (yellow path marker), which will take you around the other side of the mountain and then a short final ascent up to the summit.

I took this path on the way back down and on my second activation 2 days later. The differences between Sendaro 31 and Sendaro 4 are like night and day. Sendaro 4 is slightly longer but much easier going and as long as you’re in good shape won’t present any problems. Sendaro 31 on the other hand was dangerous and to be honest scary in places where the path disappears and you find yourself initially rock climbing and then hugging a small ledge along the cliff face, while trying not to look down and remind yourself just how dangerous the location is…

Tough going on Sendaro 31 That narrow ledge is where I'm headed!

My activation video will give you an idea of what the path was like:

The scenery here is something else, completely beautiful and alien. In places it reminded me of the Grand Canyon and does have a wild west theme, in fact a German walker told me they have previously used the location for making such films. Here’s a taster of the views:

Once I finally reached the summit you are met by a summit cairn which has a book you can sign. You are also met with a fair amount of other walkers, which after taking an isolated path for 3 hours was a surprise and looking around I quickly realised I had taken a much harder path then the others here!

The QSO’s

I setup about 20m away from the busy Cairn, on the relatively flat summit, so that I wouldn’t annoy the many walkers admiring the grand views of El Teide opposite and vice versa! I found a rock to hunker down behind to get out of the worst of the wind.

I got the Vertical and radials setup and proceeded to setup the Elecraft KX3 as well:

I started the activation on the 10m band which had been consistently good throughout my time in the Canary Islands. I spotted myself using the SMS spot service and the chasers quickly came flooding in. Mike (G6TUH) is pretty good at being the first in my log and he did it again on this one! I worked many G and EU stations with VE1WT calling in for good measure.

After the pile up died down on 10m I moved down to 15m, which brought a few more EU & NA stations, but to be honest considering it was a Saturday and I was on a 10 point summit I was surprised by the lack of callers. I suspect the very nearby El Teide mountain, which was another 1 km taller than Guajara, prevented the Vertical antenna from having the best low angle takeoff possible, blocking takeoff into certain parts of Europe.

Here are the 35 QSO’s I had:

Time Call Band Mode
13:05z G6TUH 28MHz SSB
13:07z M0MDA 28MHz SSB
13:08z DL3VTA 28MHz SSB
13:09z GI4ONL 28MHz SSB
13:10z VE1WT 28MHz SSB
13:11z EA8CCQ 28MHz SSB
13:12z ON4FI 28MHz SSB
13:14z G3RMD 28MHz SSB
13:15z G3SVD 28MHz SSB
13:18z G4CFS 28MHz SSB
13:18z ON5SWA 28MHz SSB
13:19z OK2PDT 28MHz SSB
13:23z OM5DP 28MHz SSB
13:24z EA8/PA7ZEE 28MHz SSB
13:26z DL3JPN 28MHz SSB
13:27z OK1KT 28MHz SSB
13:28z G0RQL 28MHz SSB
13:28z DO2JX 28MHz SSB
13:29z G4BLH 28MHz SSB
13:31z OM1AX 28MHz SSB
13:32z G1SRD 28MHz SSB
13:34z M0IBC 28MHz SSB
13:36z M0NTC 28MHz SSB
13:38z HB9MKV 28MHz SSB
13:39z DL3HXX 28MHz SSB
13:55z EA2DT 21MHz SSB
13:57z EA2BD 21MHz SSB
13:58z G0RQL 21MHz SSB
13:59z EA1HMT 21MHz SSB
14:00z OK1SDA 21MHz SSB
14:00z DL8MLD 21MHz SSB
14:02z EA1LQ 21MHz SSB
14:04z NE4TN 21MHz SSB
14:05z K2JB 21MHz SSB
14:05z EA1NW 21MHz SSB

 

Conclusion

This is one activation that will remain in my memory for a long time, mostly for the wrong reasons, but also because of the stunning scenery encountered when I wasn’t worried about falling off the mountain! I descended using the Sendaro 4 (yellow) path and this was much, much easier than Sendaro 31 and to be honest is more scenic.

I did redo this activation two days later and the amount of QSO’s was about the same, although I dabbled in a bit of 10m AM and FM operation as well as the usual SSB.

I highly recommend this summit, just take my word for it and follow the Sendaro 4 path up!

Leave a Reply