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Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

Burnley
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Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

Has anyone climbed Pico Ruivo from Pico do Areeiro? I believe it's a strenuous hike, but I'm quite experienced and confident of my abilities.

Is it ok to go it alone, or is it advisable to take a guide?

The Hague, The...
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1. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

You can do it alone without any trouble, but with a group is easy for transportation. Or arrange a taxi to bring you there from Funchal and back from Achada da Teixeira (should cost 100-110 Euro), or walk 7 km from the bus stop at Poiso.

I am extremely slow nowadays but managed this group walk ,although people complained about my slowness, having to wait 15 minutes for my arrival in Achada da Teixeira.

So if I can still do it, everyone can.

A walking stick was VERY handy. It is not really strenuous.

It is down a series of steps first, then through 6 tunnels and then up but not very steep. Then reaching the hut under Pico Ruivo, then up steps but chances are that you have no visibility like I did not so do it on a cloudless day, or you will have some regrets.

Alternatively you can go over Pico das Torres from the first tunnel, going straight on up instead of to the left through the tunnels. An hour longer.

group walks with www.madeira-levada-walks.com

Edited: 07 June 2012, 12:53
Madeira, Portugal
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for Funchal, Madeira, Madeira Islands
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2. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

You are correct to say it is a strenuous walk, very challenging. My advice, as all who know me on this forum, is use guides, some walks are steep and can be dangerous, but you can draw on your experiences. I would reccommend asking one of the walking Companies what they think about doing it without a guide. If you do it alone try and let your accommodation know that you are going and have a cellphone with you for unexpected emergencies.

These Companies are the best on the Island and Explorers have an office in Monumental Lido shopping centre.

www.madeira-levada-walks.com

www.madeira-levadas.info

If you 'google' madeira levada walks, there are pictures and information on there

Durham
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3. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

My view of the walk is similar to dutchguy. You can easily do it on your own if you are reasonably fit. It is important to choose a day with good weather otherwise you will be in the clouds and won't see the spectacular views.

The Hague, The...
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4. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

The walking companies are of course not going to recommend doing it alone.

In this case their big advantage is the transportation. But for 3 people it is just as expensive to rent a taxi and have all the time to yourselves instead of having to follow the group.

A group means having only the chance for a long rest at the hut under Pico Ruivo (most people in my group did not do the final ascent as there was no view on top but I did it as I wanted to prove myself I could still do it).

This walk is described as "difficult" but it really is NOT.

Anyone with some fitness can do it and you can't get lost and there are railings at all slightly dangerous parts.

It has to be said, someone DID die on this walk (alone). This was in 1999 after a landslide had made the tunnel route dangerous. Then the tunnel route was closed for some years and one had to do the Pico das Torres route (which IS more strenuous). Now I saw that at the point where that very unfortunate man fell, it is very easy and very safe to pass.

Generally I agree with Flowercity that walking a first ime is best done with a group. But in this walk there are no dangers now for experienced mountain walkers. The final ascent to the top is steep but not dangerous (no steep drops right beside the path). I did fall there, down one step but there was no danger and I did not get hurt. In fact I would not have fallen if there had not been such a time pressure and I would not have had to hear the hurtful remarks of people who thought I should not have been on this walk.

They stop for a drink on the way back and want people to be back in their hotels at 5 or 5.30 so that means having (for me) too little time for a rest or making pictures. All that is avoided by taking a taxi and doing it alone as I wish I had done.

I did this walk 3 times in a group. The first time the Madeiran lady guide (now still working after 16 years) said on the way that the rating "difficult" is exaggerated.

If you can get her, Dorinda, as your guide (Madeira Explorers) it will be very interesting, if you opt for the ease of the transportation, but her colleagues are great too of course.

The Hague, The...
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5. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

A further testimony to the safeness of this walk is that www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/upmd.htm have removed all warnings for this walk (and many others) after (nearly) all walks are again in the shape they were in before the devastating fires and landslides of 2010

Burnley
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6. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

Thanks for the replies.

I'm torn really.

I like the idea of going alone and being all intrepid, but then I figure if I get a guide at least I'll have someone to talk to other than my hubby!

Somerset, UK
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7. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

If you have a hire car, an alternative is to drive to Achada do Teixeira and walk to Pico Ruivo and back from there. Again not particularly strenuous or precipitous and you pass the hut (last time I did it, the source of the most awful coffee I have ever had in Madeira).

Lisbon, Portugal
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8. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

I've did it last May, if you are "quite experienced and confident" it's by no means a strenuous walk. The advantage of doing it by yourself is that you can try to choose a day without clouds and do it on your own pace, take a flashlight to cross the tunnels (they are not very long but you'll need it), I used my mobile phone flashlight. Departing from Pico do Areeiro you'll have lots of steps, the path it's very well marked and all the way you'll have a kind of side "fence" whenever it's a little bit narrower, we've had cell phone signal and we used our phones to communicate in most of the path. We were a group of 9 friends and did on our own, we just had transportation to Pico do Areeiro and then from Achada do Teixeira back to Funchal. When we encountered the signs where you have to choose left (tunnels) or right (Pico das Torres) the group divided in 2. The group that did the Pico das Torres climb said that it was the most difficult part, it was sunny and hot and in that climb you don't have any shadow. I did the tunnels and it's mainly in the shadow and very easy. Both paths meet at the exit of the last tunnel. Here we started to have some clouds and they remained for the most of the rest of the path. From here it's always up (but not particullarly difficult) until the signs Pico Ruivo or Achada do Teixeira. Continue to climb to Pico Ruivo, you'll have the hut (eat or drink there only in last resource, it's sooo expensive) then the Pico. Return the same path back to the signs Achada do Teixeira, the path to Achada it's an "highway".

The Hague, The...
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9. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

stumblebee,

going with a group you will get interesting information, that is an advantage.

Personally I think this walk is so GREAT that one should take more time to enjoy the views than a group walk will ever offer. But the groups stop twice for drinks. I only ever did it in a group, because of the transportation convenience and very nice guides. But when being slow, it is not so nice in a group.

One can do indeed the walk from Achada da Teixeira and then go as far towards Pico do Arieiro as one wants and back, and even towards Encumeada pass and back. For completeness sake, there is also a descent to the Caldeirao Verde levada, Queimadas, and Ilha do Sao Jorge, from the middle of the path between the hut and Acgada da Teixeira.

Brighton
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10. Re: Pico Ruivo - with or without a guide?

We went on this walk last week (mid January) and it is the most spectacular I have ever done. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The best reason for using a guide is that you are taken to the start and collected from the finish. We paid €33 each with Madeira Happy Tours, which is substantially less than taxis would have cost us.

The main disadvantage of a pre-booked guided tour is that the walk is affected by the weather. The previous Saturday it was impossible because of high winds. The day after, we believe there was snow. In thick cloud you would lose a lot of the spectacle. If you could wait for your day and book taxis, it might be worth it.

I am 72, not especially fit, and completed the walk without undue difficulty. I was slow, but if anyone complained it would have been in German and I am fairly deaf.

It would be effectively impossible to get lost. There are only about three junctions and they are signed. The path is well made with, I heard, 1000 steps. There are wire railings on all the exposed sections. It would certainly be slippery in snow or ice, and possibly in rain. You could slip and hurt yourself, but there would be no need to fall to your doom.

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