Ascent of Cerro de Punta on 2003-06-03

Climber: Michael Schwartz

Date:Tuesday, June 3, 2003
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cerro de Punta
    Location:Puerto Rico
    Elevation:4390 ft / 1338 m

Ascent Trip Report

Puerto Rico Highpoint Trip Report
Date: June 3, 2003
Author: Michael Schwartz

Cerro de Punta (4389 ft.)

From San Juan, I took the "Autopiste" toll road, route 52, south over the central mountains, a scenic drive, then west along the southern coast. Note how much drier leeward southern P.R. is. Toll from San Juan to the exit runs about one dollar. About 70 miles from the airport, take the exit for PR 149 north toward Juana Diaz and Villaba. I would strongly recommend using PR 149 rather than fighting your way into and through Ponce and then having to backtrack.
Route 149 is pretty good to Villaba, then becomes very narrow and curvy as it climbs steadily to a crest and junction with PR 143, El Ruta Panoramica, 13 miles from the Autopiste. Turn left (west) on 143 and drive 7.2 miles on a good road, with many views, to a large gravel pullout in a saddle just below the multi-towered summit of Cerro de Punta. You will have passed other towered bumps en route. It took 2:20 to reach the trailhead from the San Juan airport.
The paved road to the summit is wide open and unposted, but it is extremely steep, and no sane person would attempt it in wet weather
with 2WD. My GPS showed the summit was only .29 crow miles away, and the hike up the road, at a slow pace, only took 20 minutes up and 10 minutes down. At the top, walk to the far side of the obvious
summit block, then take the concrete stairway, recently cleared, to the summit. An anonymous large concrete monument is there, along with a square, flush, concrete marker, which looks to have held the long-since removed benchmark.

I returned to San Juan via PR 149 north (tricky junction at 143/149. If going north, the routes run together for a while before separating. Just go left at the junction on 143 and go until you see the sign for 149 again.) I took 149 all the way to the Autopiste Route 22, then drove the toll road east to San Juan. This route is about 15 miles shorter, but you pay for those miles with an extra ten miles of very narrow, curvy, but scenic Route 149, plus about three dollars in tolls on Route 22.
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