Ascent of Cerro de Punta on 2010-12-06

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Solo
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, December 6, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Cerro de Punta
    Location:Puerto Rico
    Elevation:4390 ft / 1338 m

Ascent Trip Report

Began by waking up at 4:15 AM and driving to range from my hotel in Carolina (near San Juan). After shower and packing and setting the GPS, pulled out around 4:45. Hard Core. Lesson numero uno in driving in PR. Tolls everywhere. Have you money (quarters and dollars) at ready. I got stuck in a lane that the gate would not lift up and then backed up..into next lane where the guy frowned hollered at me in rapid Spanish so i backed out again and went another toll lane as cars came at me in the dark! Not fun. Stay far right for change bottom line

Lesson numero dos - nearly all roads wind around mountains and the drive time is longer than you think. Stay on main tollways and be prepared for hot brakes.

I read accounts of someone who struggled for hours to find the trail up the backside of Cerro de Punto and hiked it up from some Hacienda. I elected against getting lost in a rain forest on my first venture plus there were too many other mountains with great trails to do in the El Yunque National Forest and i had only one personal day there - the rest was on business.

So i went and parked at the parking lot of the maintenance road to the tower. I heard of people driving up it. Hmmm. It is very very steep and in sections poor shape where you could bottom out. Not to mention the storm trench grate with one section of missing grate to lose a tire in...but go for it if want - i want the excercise and hike up everything. The road is as steep as any road i have every climbed. It was awkward on my thighs and i felt better reversing from time to time and going up backwards! It is a short but steep ascent. Appears to be over 600 feet.

Started at 7:20 AM and the valley temperature of 69 to 70F had dropped to 58F up here high in the mountains. I never stopped and walked quickly - had my heart racing and made the top at 7:37 AM.
I am guessing with all the hairpin curves and the pace i had it was near a mile but short. I left at 7:45 and was down at 7:57 (12 minutes down) but i can fly going down hill. This road if wet would be very slippery and difficult - luckily it was dry. With top time and photos i was up and back to the car in 37 minutes and off to the next peak to check out.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:620 ft / 188 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.6 mi / 2.6 km
    Route:steep maint road
    Trailhead:Parking lot turn out at base of cell towers  3770 ft / 1149 m
    Grade/Class:1+ very steep
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
70s and 60s at base but 58F at TH
Ascent Statistics
    Time:17 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:15 Minutes

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