Ascent of Montanha do Pico on 2011-06-02

Climber: Nick Down

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, June 2, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Montanha do Pico
    Elevation:7713 ft / 2350 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Big Volcano towers in irresistible symmetry over the island of Pico, or at least it does on the minority of days when its summit isn't shrouded in cloud. This promised to be one such day. The staff at the Cabeco das Cabras kit you out with a GPS, but there is no need for a guide on the well waymarked trail past subsidiary cones, through sometimes quite steep angled lava flows and up to the crater rim. The main hazard is the quantity of lava granules spread over the underlying rocks. Step unwarily on these, and you will recreate the silent movie routine in which someone pours ball-bearings across the floor! Beyond the crater rim lies the summit cone of Piquinho, a pleasantly exhilarating and straightforward scramble (or an ungainly scrabble with the ball-bearings at a 60 degree angle, if you must). Until joined by a Belgian climber on the summit, I was alone above an unbroken layer of cloud over the Atlantic and under bright sun. The clouds broke open after a while to reveal eastern Pico and neighbouring Faial, while the Belgian and I attempted to capture the moment on film.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3 ft / 0 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Trailhead:7710 ft / 2350 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble

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