Analysing terrain data
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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
The hike to the summit of Caldera Blanca is a truly brilliant route! However, it is tougher than the statistics might suggest because conditions underfoot are quite poor.
As such, take plenty of water and don't underestimate this one. Start at the car park at the end of Camino al Cráter street, west of Mancha Blanca village.
Hike west along the clear path through spectacular lava fields, heading directly towards Caldera Blanca itself, and its neighbouring crater Montaña Caldereta.
The path through the lava fields is easy to follow but tough to walk on, because (despite the best efforts of those who created it) it is loose, rocky, and energy sapping.
Along the route is a series of information boards with some interesting facts about volcanoes and lava fields. Having passed north of Montaña Caldereta, keep going all the way to the foot of Caldera Blanca itself and then head south along the foot of the caldera before turning west and climbing up to the crater rim.
The view across the 1.5 kilometre wide crater is incredible so before continuing, sit down and soak it in. Turn south and head up the rim of the crater.
There isn't a clear path and some micro navigation is required to find the line of least resistance, but you won't go far wrong if you stick to the ridge crest all the way.
Eventually, the ridge leads all the way to the summit of Caldera Blanca itself, which is marked by a somewhat unspectacular metal post.
Luckily the staggering 360-degree panorama more than compensates for the lack of a decent summit marker! Carry on around the rim of the crater and descend down some rocky terrain, heading for a broad col at the western edge of the rim.
From here, climb up the hump to your north and then swing around east to where you first reached the rim.
(Don't be tempted by the traverse path from the broad col, which looks like it leads you easily back to where you first reached the rim.
The traverse turns out not to be a path but a series of awkward rock slabs). Reverse your steps back to the carpark and then grab a cold beer at the Las Malvas bar in Mancha Blanca.