Mountain Journeys

The mountains of Costa Blanca. Walk of the week – Monte Ponoig

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Monte Ponoig - view from the start of the walk.

Distance: 12km   Ascent: 795m  Time: 5 - 6 hours.

Monte Ponoig is often referred to as The Sleeping Lion.  There is some resemblance of a lion lying down with it's big mane of hair but even if you can't work it out there is no doubt that this is a huge beast of a mountain.  It towers above the pretty town of Polop, the huge orange limestone crags reaching upwards; a popular venue for rock climbers with it's many rock routes and via ferrata. 

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The path traversing below Monte Ponoig after the Coll de Cigarri, looking towards the Puig Campana.

Earlier this week I guided Gareth and Steph from Brighton, up this wild and beautiful mountain.  We started from the eastern end, high up above Polop and completed a full circuit of the mountain as well as getting to the summit.

The walk starts steeply on a path winding up through pine woods on the left bank of the Barranc de la Canal, the shade from the trees bringing welcome protection from the warm sun.  All the time ones eyes are drawn across to the big rock faces on the opposite side of the barranc - often  busy with climbers during the winter months.  

On reaching the Coll de Cigarri a spectacular view of the Puig Campana greets you. This is the bigger neighbour of Monte Ponoig and the second highest peak in the area.  From here the path traverses along the southern slopes of Monte Ponoig towards a huge rock tower. 

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Gareth and Steph on the summit of Monte Ponoig with Puig Campana behind.

 On reaching the huge rock tower the path turns sharply right winding it's way up steeply to another col.  From here the path heads up to the summit and the signpost at the col reminds one that this is still 1.8km away.  From here onwards the path becomes narrower, less defined and crosses over some sections of scree and a couple of rock steps which involve some easy scrambling.  This section of path is on the northern side of the mountain so provides delightfully cool walking for a while.

The summit is eventually reached and the views are stunning - the Puig Campana just across the way; Aintana, the highest mountain in the region, is to the north west; the Bernia ridge is to the east (Mark and his two clients were scrambling here on the same day but even with binoculors we'd have had trouble seeing them!);  the coast was in view - the prominant mountain of Montgo far to the north, Calpe and El Penon d'Ifach straight ahead at the end of Ponoig's long, broad ridge and over our shoulder the busy skyline of Benidorm beyond the Puig Campana. 

We spent some time taking in the view and the peacefulness of the summit whilst having an early lunch, then headed back along the mountain path to the col.  From here a right turn, and fifteen minutes later we reach the Coll del Llamp where we met a group of walkers, the first we'd seen since setting off.

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View from the summit of Monte Ponoig looking over to the Bernia ridge with El Penon d'Ifach in the distance.

The route then follows the Barranc del Gulabadar through pine trees, then across terraces of Olive, Carob and Fig trees, all the time beneath yet more huge limestone crags.  Some of the lower crags were busy with a group of climbers enjoying the warm rock. 

Further on the path widens and eventually one is on a made up road zig zagging steeply down to the valley below. Then a section of quiet tarmac through pine woods and the finish point is reached and a full circuit of the mountain has been made.  A five hour round trip and a very enjoyable day out!

A very enjoyable day out! 

Kate

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