Ascent of Monte Graciosa on 2013-04-03

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Adrian Rayner
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Bus
Peak:Monte Graciosa
    Location:Cape Verde
    Elevation:644 m / 2113 ft

Ascent Trip Report

Tue 2 April
After our early morning ascent of Pico de Cano on Fogo we take the (pre booked) flight back to Praia on Santiago. After lunch in town (Cyber Cafe but wifi no longer working) we walk down to the minibus terminal. We are mobbed by drivers offering "Tarrafal direct" although most of the buses seem to be heading that way and "direct" is a bit of a misnomer as they all seem to spend time driving around looking for the last few passengers to make up the numbers - and sometimes transit passengers onto a connecting bus to complete the journey! We choose a minibus near the front of the queue which looks reasonably full and ripe for departure.

The drive north through the interior is very scenic: after an hour we have fine views of Sunday's Pico da Antonia then crossing a high pass we descend to the large town of Assomada then after a few pickup/dropoffs we climb again to cross the ridge of Serra Malagueta (one of tomorrow's target hills) before descending to Tarrafal, where we're dropped off at a square (N15.27993 W23.75292) by the beach, outside the Hotel Sol Marina, the cheapest place in town but the gringos seem to like it and we are happy with it too.

Tarrafal is dominated by Monte Graciosa which we plan to climb tomorrow early morning, so we spent the last hour of the day checking out the first (vague) part of the hike then enjoy a leisurely meal then an early night - making up for the 2 hours sleep we had this morning.

Wed 3 Ascent of Monte Graciosa
Starting at 5.15 am we cross the square (N15.27993 W23.75292) then from its N edge take the fenced path to the Baia Verde entrance then follow the back edge of the beach north to the start of the coast path (N15.28220 W23.75231) which we follow a short distance to where the Baia Verde fence runs out. From here the route is poorly defined but basically heads slightly west of north crossing old terraces below a steep slope.

At N15.28592 W23.75319 a good path is followed as it bends R and crosses a dry stream bed. It then climbs, keeping the stream bed on the right. The route is often vague and ambiguous as it passes through acacia scrub grazed by cattle, but we make a rising traverse, aimimg for a notch in the skyline just L of the summit direction, eventually reaching a more open area heralding the start of the reentrant which is the key to the ascent. A useful spot to aim for is N15.29284 W23.75045, 250m. From here there is a clear trail zig zagging up as far as N15.29374 W23.75183 where there are a few choices (best to keep L on main trail).

At N15.29324 W23.75300, 450m, just off the main trail is a cairn which we understand is a popular hike from the town (viewpoint). From here the main work is done and there's a good trail to the summit, climbing to pass the middle summit (a detour we don't bother to make), and then a ruined structure (N15.29686 W23.75249). The trail then follows the steep narrow SW ridge (some YDS 3 scrambling on nice sound rock) to the 644m summit (GPS N15.29885 W23.74924, 652m, outcrop next to triangulation point). There is a colony of tall agave plants which can be seen from some distance; paths lead through bushes to the slabby north part of the summit which has nice views.

We summit at 7 am in 1h 45 and head down after 15 minutes. We're back at the hotel by 8.30 in good time for breakfast which is taken on the rooftop terrace enjoying nice views of our hill.

During the afternoon we ascend Monte Malagueta on our way back to Praia.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:681 m / 2237 ft
    Extra Gain:29 m / 98 ft
    Distance:7.6 km / 4.7 mi
    Route:from south
    Trailhead:Tarrafal  21 m / 72 ft
    Grade/Class:YDS 3
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 15 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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