Welcome to SP!  -
Pico do Cristal
Mountain/Rock

Pico do Cristal

 
Pico do Cristal

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Caparaó National Park, Brazil, South America

Lat/Lon: 20.4437°S / 41.8112°W

Object Title: Pico do Cristal

Elevation: 9179 ft / 2798 m

 

Page By: Mountainfriend

Created/Edited: Nov 14, 2005 / May 24, 2006

Object ID: 154991

Hits: 2200 

Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

Pico do Cristal is the 5th highest mountain in Brazil, look like a pyramid, depending from the mountain is viewed, without forest on the way, the rocks dominates the trail, turning steep the hike. Cristal as viewed from many places surrounding Caparaó National Park, being the most impressive mountain all over Caparaó range. The mountain can be reached by two sides of Caparaó National Park (CNP), Minas Gerais State ( from Alto Caparaó town ) and Espírito Santo State ( from Pedra Menina town ). I suggest to climb Pico do Cristal from Espirito Santo side, because the trail is much beautiful and as possible to see the great mountains of Caparaó all over the way. Minas Gerais has the classical route to the mountain but, just after Terreirão campsite as possible to see the summit. From the top of Cristal, as possible to see the road to Pedra Menina’s entrance, the South Caparaó Range, Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais backcountry and at clear days, Atlantic Ocean ( far around 220 km ).

Getting There

There are two options to climb Pico do Cristal, From west ( MG side ) or south ( ES side ).
The west option:
How to Arrive:
From Belo Horizonte - The Caparaó National Park is 330 km from Belo Horizonte (MG). The access from Belo Horizonte (MG) to Alto Caparaó (MG) is done integrally in asphalted highways. Leave Belo Horizonte (MG), by the highway BR-262, towards Vitória (ES), until the city of Manhuaçu (MG) (280 km from Belo Horizonte). After the entrance of Manhuaçu (MG), in BR-262, take, to the right, the highway for Manhumirim (MG) and Presidente Soares (MG). In Presidente Soares (MG), take, to the left, the highway for Alto Caparaó (MG).
From Rio de Janeiro - The Caparão National Park is 430 km from Rio de Janeiro (RJ). The access from Rio de Janeiro (RJ) to Alto Caparaó (MG) is done integrally in asphalted highways. Leave Rio de Janeiro (RJ), by the highway BR-040, towards Belo Horizonte (MG), until the city of Três Rios (RJ) (123 km from Rio de Janeiro). Take, to the right, the highway BR-116, towards Salvador (BA), until the city of Fervedouro (MG). In Fervedouro (MG), take, to the right, the highway for Carangola (MG). In Carangola (MG), take, to the left, the highway for Presidente Soares (MG). In Presidente Soares (MG), take, to the right, the highway for Alto Caparaó (MG).
From São Paulo - The Caparaó National Park is 910 km from São Paulo (SP). The access from São Paulo (SP) to Alto Caparaó (MG) is done integrally in asphalted highways. Leave São Paulo (SP), by the highway BR-381, until Belo Horizonte (MG) (586 km from São Paulo). Take, to the right, the highway BR-262, towards Vitória (ES), until the city of Manhuaçu (MG) (280 km from Belo Horizonte). After the entrance of Manhuaçu (MG), in BR-262, take, to the right, the highway for Manhumirim (MG) and Presidente Soares (MG). In Presidente Soares (MG), take, to the left, the highway to Alto Caparaó (MG).
From Vitória - The Caparaó National Park is 255 km from Vitória (ES). The access from Vitória (ES) to Alto Caparaó (MG) is done integrally in asphalted highways. Leave Vitória (ES), byr the highway BR-262, towards Belo Horizonte (MG). 15 km after the boundary of Espírito Santo and of Minas Gerais states, in BR-262, take, to the left, the highway to Manhumirim (MG) and Presidente Soares (MG). In Presidente Soares (MG), take, to the left, the highway to Alto Caparaó (MG).
From the entrance of Caparaó National Park to Tronqueira ( The first campsite and the last parking car,6 km of highway in renovation), you can do with your own car or a rented jeep (rented in the city).
To get the trail to Pico do Cristal, follow the way to Pico da Bandeira, and at the last col, turn to the right to Espírito Santo trail and, walk by the crest of the mountains to reach the top.
MSN MapPoint – Caparaó National Park

Red Tape

The Caparaó National Park has hard rules.
Don't bring drinks; Inflamable fuel; Knives, Fire arms and if you do not have apropriates equipments to camp, the guards advise you of some danger.
There is no electric power nor snack bars inside of the park. Therefore, take the whole equipment that is needed, like flashlights, lanterns, stoves and food.
Only do the longest trails (mainly the one Bandeira) with an experienced guide. The trails are relatively easy, but for the unexperienced mountaineer it can become tricky, mainly after Terreirão ( 2400m ) and Casa Queimada ( 2160m ).
Taxes to visit and to climb Caparaó mountains
US$ 3 per day;

There is a parking car at the trailheads: Tronqueira (West) and Macieira(South).



When To Climb

The best month in year to visit the Caparaó National Park and hike on the high trails is in September. This is the month most dry. But at Spring is good, Winter excellent and Fall, I don't recommend.

Camping

Minas Gerais side :

Tronqueira – 2000m

The first campsite by Minas Gerais side on the route to the summit is called Tronqueira, and is 8km from the park entrance – uphill all the way, a hike that takes about three hours, or two if you’re a seasoned walker. You’re rewarded by stunning views, as the road winds its way out of forest into the alpine zone, with panoramic views of the Caparaó valley below. The trail culminates at Tronqueira itself, where a viewing platform has been built to allow you to appreciate one of the finest views in the country, as the hills far below recede to the jagged horizon. Just before you get to Tronqueira, a fork to the left takes you to Cachoeira Bonita, where the José Pedro stream, which forms the state border between Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, plunges eighty metres down a rockface into a thickly forested gorge; another viewing platform allows full appreciation of the Nature’s spectacle. The campsite area accepts around 50 tents.

Terreirão – 2400m

Halfway to the summit you come to Terreirão – 2400m, the second official campsite and a good spot for lunch. A path to the right leads to a point overlooking a valley dominated by two mountains, the rocky crags of Pico do Calçado – 2821m to the left, and Pico do Cristal – 2766m to the right, both only a few metres shorter than Pico da Bandeira, and with trails leading up them if you felt so inclined – though only to be attempted if you are camping at Terreirão, or you will find yourself still on the mountain at nightfall. Fill your water bottle at Terreirão, as there is no drinking water between here and the summit. This is the best campsite on the trail by this side, wild views, security, protected by the National Park guards. 5 hours from Pico do Cristal

Espírito Santo side

Macieira campsite – 1800m

After 3km of Pedra Menina entrance, beside of São Domingos river, has a plain and big area for many tents, hot showers, sanitary and bathrooms. The acces is by asphalted road. From this camp as possible to see Pico do Cristal and another great mountains of Caparaó.

Casa Queimada – 2160m

8 km after Pedra Menina’s entrance. The access is by land road. A good choice to camp to climb Cristal by night. There are drinking water, bathrooms and hot shower with solar heating. 3 hours from Pico do Cristal.

If you are an expert mountaineer, you can bivouac at the top of the range, choosing a protected place to sleep. If the weather is rainy, stay on the oficial campsites.
Example of a windy day on the top of Pico do Calçado.

Mountain Conditions

Current conditions for Pico da Bandeira and Pico do Cristal.
Pico da Bandeira and Pico do Cristal forecast.
When to climb and hike
The best season of the year to visit the park is in the winter. The clear and cloudless days and the cold climate contribute to the walk.

Credits

Thanks to Hugo Pereira to contribute with shots on this page.
Thanks a lot Hugo!

Images

Summit of Cristal Peak.