Pico Queimado

  • Pico Queimado
  • 376 m
  • Primary factor 109 m
  • Sao Miguel, Azores
  • Location: North 37.78500, West 25.54233 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 3
  • Climbed: August 1. 2014


Here is a quick summary of my climbs in the Azores islands.
How to get there:
This interesting hill is located north-east of Ponta Delgada and slightly west of a line going south from Ribeira Grande (a town on the north coast). You should locate and find the paved road that runs through the key saddle right next to the hill, on its south-east side. About 50 meter after this col (which is in a deep cut), a small farmers road forks left. One may park a car here without blocking the farmer. This location is N37.78202, W25.54166, elevation about 260 meter.
Route description:
First, follow the farmers road as it zig-zags uphill. Continue straight ahead (uphill direction) where the road forks. You will reach the upper area with good grass for cows. The bad news is that the summit itself is in a bush area with dense vegetation. Go about as high as you can get on the grass (slightly right when facing uphill), then cross some low vegetation with scattered thorns (no big problems here). Next is some belt of dense (small) trees. Force your way into this, fortunately, it is easy to continue as soon as you cross the first 2 meter. Pick your way and enter the rim of a small depression.
Here, you will notice that a trail follows the rim going left and some kind of natural access to the bottom of the pit is also clear. Many trees have been cut and branches are piled up in the bottom of the pit.
If you follow the rim trail clockwise, you will easily arrive at a summit marker. However, it seems that the highest point is further along, essentially opposite of the entrance to the pit.
One may possibly continue from the summit marker to the highest point along the rim. I have not tried this, but it will be a YDS class 2 bush-walk.
I descended into the pit, then climbed more steeply up directly to the summit point. This was a YDS class 3 route.
I drove from Ponta Delgada and located the trailhead without difficulties. The hike up to the top of the grass was easy. I looked around for a possible path into/through the bush, but found none. Next, I just pushed into the dense, small trees and was rewarded, since progress quickly became easier. To my surprise, I found a pit/crater and a trail going left. It looked good for my return hike, the way I understood things (wrong as it turned out!), this trail was made to serve whoever had been cutting trees in the pit.
I proceeded to walk/climb down into the pit, since it seemed clear that the highest point was exactly on the opposite side. Next, followed a steepish climb up on slightly crumbled rock, but at least the vegetation did not pose any serious problem. I soon reached what looked like the highest point. There was no marker, sort of surprising for such a prominent hill. I proceeded to take a couple of pictures to prove that I could indeed see the sea surface beyond other parts of this top, i.e. that I was indeed on the highest point.
Next, I reversed my route back to the rim trail, then decided to follow it back to the grass. To my big surprise, the trail did not lead back, but rather directly to a summit marker! Now, by looking more closely at the pictures I took from what I perceived to be the summit, it is actually possible to identify this summit marker. The picture clearly supports the claim that this summit marker is indeed not at the highest point. The summit marker has an assigned elevation of 374 meter on the map. I have assigned the value of 376 meter to the actual highest point.