Mountain Journeys

Via Ferrata Ponoch – An Inspiring Big Wall

#via-ferrata-ponoch

The massive wall of Ponoch

Via Ferrata Ponoch

When wintering in Costa Blanca, which has become pretty standard for us over the last 10 years. We usually manage a few trips up the Ponoch via ferrata as it's a really good workout. A few times over recent years, I've extended this with a scramble all the way up onto the summit plateau, this is 100's of metres higher and adds so much to the day.

A couple of days ago some friends were heading to do the via ferrata and they hadn't experienced the continuation scramble. Kate was still to do this too. So we had a proper mountain day with a mix of steep via ferrata, ridge scrambling, and plateau navigating to reach the summit of Ponoch /Ponotx.

The main face of Ponoch is around 500m high and steep all the way. The via ferrata follows a fine arete for about 250m to finish at a lower plateau. From here a ridge can be joined, initially this overlooks the massive south wall, so exposure is pretty biblical.
With some weaving around, an amenable way can be navigated all the way to the edge of the upper plateau. This is mountaineering terrain though, so care is required as loose rock is in abundance and straying off route would be serious.

From here a couple of choices of descent await. Firstly there's an abseil station about 10 minutes walk/scramble away. This is good if wanting a shorter walk and more technical rope-work. That wasn't on the menu today though, it was high and wild mountain terrain that was needed and this place delivers.
Just keep walking uphill, across rough limestone pavement, occasional cairns aid navigation, slightly! Enjoy the peace and serenity of this wild landscape, don't rush, stay quiet and look out for the Goats and maybe even Ibex.

Eventually the summit is reached and the views open up even more. Puig Campana; Aitana; Xanchet; Bernia; even Ibiza if the air is super clear. Good paths lead back to base from here.

About 10km of ground covered with around 600m of steep, technical terrain mixed in. Along with harness and helmet, we used via ferrata lanyards, 30m of single rope, and a couple of 120cm slings on HMS screwgates. This is a minimum requirement for a roped party. A 60m rope would give the option of taking the abseil descent, or simply making retreat easier.

This route along with many others will feature in our forthcoming book 'Costa Blanca Mountain Adventures' (Cicerone) and this will be available from September 2022 🙂

Thanks for reading
​Mark

#mountain-skills-days-ponoch-costa-blanca

Kate nearing the top of the scrambling terrain

#ponoch-summit-mountain-skills-costa-blanca

The vast plateau of Ponoch with the summit in the distance

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