Ascent of Marão on 2014-02-16

Climber: Rod Munro

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, February 16, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:4642 ft / 1414 m

Ascent Trip Report

From the railway station my route took me along quiet, narrow roads, through the village of Banduja and into Mesão Frio, the largest town in the immediate area. I then headed up to another village called Rojão do Meio and beyond this climbed out of the dense valley mist and into bright sunshine before continuing northwards on tracks, onto a ridge with large wind turbines. The first summit of the day was Seixinhos and the final part of the ascent was trackless and the terrain was stony with fairly short vegetation. The trig pillar (1278m) on this mountain is damaged, with only the lower half and the base remaining, although the highest point at 1280m is actually another rocky area on the summit ridge, 250m to the north. For the next section, I followed a track once again, either on or just below the crest of the ridge, which is the spine of the Serra do Marão and the boundary between Porto and Vila Real districts. The walking was pleasant and scenery became wilder and more rugged, as I approached the finest peak of the day, Fraga da Ermida. Again the track disappeared on this ascent, although by now I was walking on snow. It is quite a rocky mountain, but the ascent was straightforward and I soon arrived at the trig pillar on it’s summit. Despite it’s low (59m) prominence, Fraga da Ermida has a steep east flank and is a great viewpoint. Marão, with an array of summit masts was now very close and I followed another vehicle track, which held occasional deep snow drifts. On the final section of the ascent, the ridge and mountain road turned from north to west at a gentle angle and some wintry looking larch and pine trees enhanced the scenery. I soon arrived at the numerous buildings and masts built upon the summit of Marão. Fortunately, despite various fenced-off enclosures, there were no access issues regarding the highest point. The actual summit is marked by a giant trig pillar, a typical Portuguese (round) trig pillar, plus a square pillar. As well as the modern structures, there are a couple of older buildings nearby: a stone built hut and the Capela da Sehora da Serra, an attractive little mountain chapel.

I spent 20 minutes around the summit before beginning the long walk back to Rede and during the descent I encountered an unexpected hazard. Although the weather had remained fine, there was now a light wind and one by one the wind turbines were being turned on. Every time one began to move, large amounts of ice would fall from the blades. There were sizeable chunks of ice in the debris and I had to keep listening and looking above me to make sure I was not in the line of fire. Once I was back amongst the villages and vineyards the morning mist had long gone and I enjoyed the last of the afternoon sunshine. The narrow roads had more traffic than in the morning and with few verges or pavements to walk on I had to be a little more careful. I made it back to Rede with over an hour to spare before the last train back, just enough time for a drink at the bar beside the railway station before catching my train back to Porto.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Summit structures on Marão (2014-02-16). Photo by Rod Munro.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4412 ft / 1344 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4412 ft / 1344 m
    Round-Trip Distance:23 mi / 37 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4412 ft / 1344 m
    Distance:11.5 mi / 18.5 km
    Start Trailhead:Rede Railway Station   230 ft / 70 m
    Time:4 Hours 55 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4412 ft / 1344 m
    Distance:11.5 mi / 18.5 km
    End Trailhead:Rede Railway Station  230 ft / 70 m
    Time:3 Hours 50 Minutes

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