Summit view. Couto Peak and at the foreground Serra Fina range.
Me and the peak, 2009.
Altar Mirim (little Altar) is a twin peak of Altar Peak
. It is a big mountain right beside Agulhas Negras
Peak, inside Itatiaia National Park, Brazil. Most of the brazilian mountaineers don't even know this mountain because they're going up Asa de Hermes or Pedra do Sino, or maybe the Agulhas Negras traverse, Altar Peak itself, and just don't try this one so they can save energy, or maybe because they really never heard of it. Or they just don't go, simple as that.
As almost nobody goes there, there's no trail once you get out of Altar Peak trail. After the rain season the woods grow up pretty good and hide possible paths. And again, as nobody goes there, nature takes care of itself.
The park itself really is something. It has something around 35 summits, most of them, higher then 2.400 m above sea level. Loads of rock climbing routes, a rock climbing school and training walls at the walls of Morro do Couto, another big brazilian mountain of 2.680 m.
Bridge to cross a flooded area full of snakes.
From Minais Gerais/ São Paulo/ Rio de Janeiro, you have to take a bus to a little city called Itanhandú. Several bus companies can take you there. Once you get to Itanhandú, take a nother bus from the same bus station to Itamonte, a smaller town at the bottom of the Sierra.
There is the point: Once you get to Itamonte, it is hard to find transport to the park entrance. But there's some taxi drivers that know the park and can take you up to the park, and that's gonna cost you around R$ 100,00 (about US$ 55.00).
From the main entrance, you have to register at the military office, than you're free to get into the park from 8am to 5pm. It is important to get out at the right time to avoid problems (unless you will sleep at the hut, than it's okay).
Not a problem at all. From the hut just follow the path as it is marked on this image. It should take between 1 and 2 hours, depends on the hiker. Be advised, encounters with snakes are very regular on this area, so be careful. After you make the curve surrounding the mountain, you'll be at a green field with a very eroaded trail going farther away. Just look at your left side and go up, from this point to the summit, no more than ten minutes.
The Peak from Rebouças Hut. At the right side of the photo, Agulhas Negras (Black Needles) visible.
Red TapeThe 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 electric power inside the hut and that's all. Therefore, take the whole equipment that is needed, like flashlights, headlamps, stoves, food and proper clothing.
The trails are relatively easy, but for the unexperienced mountaineer it can become tricky, mainly if you get lost.
Taxes to visit and to climb inside the park:
US$ 2 person per day to sleep at the hut and US$ 6 for entry (once);
There is a parking lot by the park entrance.
Be careful not to step over one of these:
The Maldonada Redbelly Toad (Melanophryniscus moreirae) is a species of toad in the Bufonidae family. It is endemic to Brazil. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, swamps, and intermittent freshwater marshes. His name here at Brazil is "Sapo Flamenguinho". It takes that name because of the brazilian football team Flamengo (it has the same colors: black and red.
He was chosen to be symbol of the park. This frog lives only in this area. That´s why they don´t allow cars inside the Itatiaia National Park during the breeding season (between december and february).
Page about the little frog: IUCN RED LIST
CampingNot many options for this. Since the great fire happened back some ten years ago caused by two lost boys on the woods of Itatiaia National Park, wild camping is forbidden, and strongly watched by military people.
The best option is to book Rebouças hut for the weekend and summit the mountain in the same day, or maybe along with Altar Peak the next morning, or even maybe along with Black Needles itself.
Page for Rebouças Hut on SP: http://www.summitpost.org/rebou-as-hut/648410
PS: The weather forecast on this link is not for this mountain but it will do just fine since the mountain from the forcast (Black Needles) is just a few kms away from it.
To hike/ climb is a dangerous activity and requires proper equipment and clothing, the owner of this page cannot be blamed by injuries caused to anyone who read this page for its info about the mountain, and eventually got hurt by doing so with reckless behaviour or bad weather conditions.
Paulo Roberto Felipe Schmidt – AKA: PAROFES
External LinksMy youtube channel: www.youtube.com/parofes - Now with 270+ videos online!
The biggest brazilian website about climbing and mountaineering, for which I'm a columnist: