A usual day hiking up to the ICO- Station on the Pico Mountain


Looking up to the top
Every time it starts with checking the forecasts as well as the webcams in the evening the day before the next hike to figure out how the weather situation is or will be on top of Pico. Once again we do this in the morning and so the hiking procedure is started. Together we have a short breakfast and prepare the food for the day always with regard to the total weight of the backpack in the end when we gathered everything else we need up at the station that day (sometimes for example we have to bring some tools).
With our car we drive up to the Casa da Montanha, filling the documents for hiking up and get our GPS-tracker.
ICO-Station
Then the hardest part starts: the hiking root definitely needs some experience because of its steep parts, the sharp rocks and also the loose stones (my advice: it is always better to trust the rocks because you have more grip). Another thing is that the weather can change fast and at anytime.
Normally it takes 3 hours to go up and 4 hours to go down - with the exercising of the last weeks it takes around 1,5 to 2 hours for the ascent and the same for descending.
When we are up we cross the crater until we reach the station.
View up there around the station
We unlock the station door and have a first look on the instruments. We shortly rest for a little food to refresh ourselfs and then we go on with all the things we have to do up there.
This means several instrumentation-checks for me and for the colleagues from Michigan Tech too. Also they take samples and sometimes we have to repair something or the guys from the Casa da Montanha ask us to service for example their devices up there.
With the right weather you can see the whole island, some nice clouds and Faial too
Almost every stay up there means that time runs fast what leads to that we leave the station in the later afternoon. One old rule is also valid at Pico Mountain – the descent in the end can be quite harder then going up the mountain. But after doing it several times it became kind of a challenge to do it fast to be back at the house soon and enjoy a dinner together accompanied by a nice discussion for example about the evaluation of the days work.
 
TROPOS Instruments

The day when the helicopter brought us the instruments



Who's up for a hike to the station?


The Team: Simeon, Oliver and Claudio
Finally I want to say thank you again to Claudio and Simeon from Michigan Tech for making it possible to measure up there at the ICO-Station.

It was an interesting time learning a lot about the station and how it works - especially working together with them was a pleasure! Also their help and experience was very important and essential for the part of the Azores campaign that took place on mount Pico.





Text and pictures by Oliver

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