Ascent of Calderia de Santa Bárbara on 2014-04-20

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Adrian Rayner
Bob Packard
Date:Sunday, April 20, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Car
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Calderia de Santa Bárbara
    Elevation:3356 ft / 1022 m

Ascent Trip Report

The morning after our Pico ascent, we take the morning flight to Terceira, pick up a rental car and spend a pleasant day exploring the island. Our first stop is the island highpoint, Serra de Santa Barbara. There is public access with a paved road signposted from the main highway N38.71149 W27.32592 (480m), leading to the summit which has a number of comms masts. The highest point is at N38.72985 W27.31856, 1020m (GPS) inside one of the compounds, with a derelict fence and no gate, so no access problems. There is also a trig pillar, a little lower, further down the road N38.72979 W27.31961.

The cloud is down, so no view across the caldera. Later in the day however we see the summit clear of cloud and drive back up. We can see a few summits on the far side of the caldera but it's not at all dramatic from this vantage point. However the views south to the coast are very nice, a patchwork of green fields separated by lava built dry stone walls, very characteristic of these islands.

During the course of the day we also visit Monte Brasil, 205m according to the 1: 50,000 map; P169m based on GPS at col (N38.65295 W27.22415) and summit. We follow the paved road then a good dirt road to a small parking area at N38.64225 W27.22140, whence a very short trail leads to the summit, an old gun emplacement N38.64299 W27.22129 with a small building nearby containing a display relating to the site's history as a signal station: its name is Pico do Fecho. We drive back down to the saddle separating it from its western summit Pico do Zimbrero and drive a short unpaved road to another trailhead, whence another short trail to another gun emplacement (the apparently-natural summit is a knoll at S edge of platform, at N38.64256 W27.23092). Visual observation relative to the sea level horizon indicates that the map is correct in locating the summit spot height at the east summit, although the difference seems to be only 2m or thereabouts. There are lesser black backed gulls breeding nearby. Based on GPS at summit and saddle (N38.65295 W27.22415) the prominence is 94m.

After revisiting the Santa Barbara summit we drive the north coast road, then visit Serra do Cume. There is a trig pillar at N38.71247 W27.11427 inside a locked comms compound, also a quite elaborate cantilevered viewpoint further south, but it seems clear to us and to Bob's hand level that the highest point is just east of the viewpoint, by a comms mast at N38.70991 W27.11199 (562m on GPS), with no access issues.

We make the short drive into Praia, drop Bob at his hotel then have a quick meal before leaving him to continue his trip via Madeira while Adrian and I fly home via Lisbon, planning a few more Portugal District highpoints en route, starting with Formosinho.

Terceira photo album
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3 ft / 0 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3 ft / 0 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Breezy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3 ft / 0 m
    Start Trailhead:3353 ft / 1021 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3 ft / 0 m
    End Trailhead:3353 ft / 1021 m

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