Pico da Antonio
When in Rui Vaz, continue along the main cobblestone road to the upper part of Rui Vaz, there is a single
road fork (with various signs) where one should continue straight (the right fork). The road
now leaves Rui Vaz behind and starts to climb, first gradually, then more pronounced.
This road ends at the antenna installation, behind a wall and guarded by military personel. This location is
at N15.03654, W023.62275, elevation about 1070 meter.
Turn left and pick up a trail that follows the wall on its outside. You will arrive at a small ridge with a trail running along it. This is WRONG, turn right and follow the wall a bit further. The trail will then turn a bit left and descend in two sections with a flat stretch in between. Descend to location N15.03777, W023.63032, elevation about 910 meter where you hit a pretty big trail. Turn right and follow this trail, keeping right at two places where the trail forks. The trail runs pretty much along the hillside with a few local ups and downs, more up than down. After the second trailfork, where the left fork heads downhill, the trail gains more elevation as it climbs onto the main, broad ridge comming down from the mountain.
At location N15.04511, W023.63974, elevation about 1030 meter, the trail turns right and follows the ridge all the way to a subsidiary top. The main peak is connected to this top via a shallow saddle. The final ridge to the summit looks a bit intimidating from here. There is a shear vertical drop on your right and the summit itself looks like a sharp, pointed spire.
However, things are not as bad as it looked. There is a pretty clear trail. First, it runs near the cliff, some care should be exercised due to the nearness of nothing. Next, the route stays a bit more left, you pass a pretty impressive pinnacle, then approach the final stretch. There are two ways that both work fine. Perhaps the finest route is to scramble up the rock on the right hand side of the summit. You will gain a nice (exposed) shelf that brings you around to a surprisingly easy last few meter to the summit itself.
Alternatively, locate what looks like a pretty nice ramp going left of the summit and gaining access to the more gentle slope above. This is the easiest, but perhaps less interesting route.
The summit actually consists of two rock humps of nearly the same elevation, the one to the right being a notch higher.
I did this climb the day after my successful trip to Fogo and climb of Pico do Fogo at 2829 meter, the highest point for more than 1600 kilometer in all directions (to Teide on Tenerife).
A taxi was booked at 0800, the driver was actually born in Rui Vaz, so no problems with the navigation. He was more than happy to drive me all the way to the end of the road. I started walking at 0850, initially in fog, but soon in sunshine. After descending back to about 900 meter, I got the first view of the peak, looks steep. The very nice trail contoured around to the broad and easy ridge connecting to the subsidiary top. As I ascended this ridge, the main summit was clearly visible up on my left. Two people were descending, they turned out to be locals that had been higher up collecting grass. From here, things do look more challenging, but the route was easy until I arrived only a few meter below the summit. Which way to take here? I had no clue, but decided that the ramp up to the right looked most interesting. Always a chance that it could dead-end, but worth a try. This route turned out to be near perfect and surprisingly, the summit point itself was easily accessed from the back side.
I was up at 1040, so 1:50 without any rush. The weather was gorgeous and I stayed around for the next 20 minutes. Very good views all around. The ridges going north are quite sharp in places. It is clear that this is the highest point on the island. Leaving at 1100, I was back at my starting point at 1240, then another 20 minutes along the road to Rui Vaz. I continued walking to the lower end of the village where I hitched a ride with a young boy driving some sort of van. In the village of Sao Domingos, I caught a mini-bus that drove back to Praia, extremely overloded, but it worked. A final walk back through town and I was at our hotel before 1500.