Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Moncayo business

On the drive towards Moncayo
Distant view of Moncayo
Pico del Moncayo/Pico de San Miguel – 2313m P1295 number 9 prominent ‘cumbre mas prominentes de la peninsula Iberica’ Sierra del Moncayo’s highest point. Clearly a popular parque natural. Although the parking is restricted it is plentiful – if that does not sound contradictory – certainly for a non-weekend day.

Penultimate carpark
It is possible to drive all the way to the Santuario de Nuestra Senora del Moncayo – a swanky looking hotel and restaurant – at N41.79075 W1.81743 ( 1606m). I chose to stop at the penultimate carpark at N41.79591 W1.82284  ( 1566m) because the unpaved road seemed to deteriorate further at that point; I intuited, correctly that there would be no shade in the santuario car park; and, although I did not intuit this, there was a sign saying autocaravanes are not allowed to park there. It only adds about 750 metres to the journey each way.
Sanctuary from above

Off we go then, into the trees
From the santuario there is a clearly marked trail – the AG1 – that zigzags all the way to the summit ridge and then onwards to the summit itself. At first the zigzags are in the shade of mainly pine trees and then the shade is replaced by breeze at N41.78870 W1.82579 (1826m) and a proper view of a wide corrie with the summit on the western end of the rim
Coming out of the trees

On the way up
The path goes up the eastern end – not sure why there isn't a path on the western end, although it does have rather more craggy looking outcrops on it. 
Warning about the snow
Path around the rim
Eventually the trail passes a warning sign about snow at N41.78348 W1.82944 (2144m) before reaching the rim at N41.78137 W1.83008 (2244m). The ridge path goes over an intervening summit at N41.78185 W1.83405 (2262m) before the final push to the summit past remains of last winter’s snow.

Moncayo trigpoint

The summit is dotted with various bits of religious nonsense as well as the trig at the highest point at N41.78719 W1.83967. I assume on a clear day there is a view of the Pyrenees – but this day the haze was quite restricting. And, it wasn’t thin air that that made breathing difficult it was the heavy scent of the broom blossom that was obvious throughout the journey up and down the mountain.

Religious nonsense - good name, though
Alto del Corralejo
On my return I bagged the top on the east end of the rim – Alto del Corralejo at N41.77898 W1.82661 (2267m) before returning by the same route as the ascent. As I descended from the rim, I met a young couple  that I had overtaken about 90 minutes earlier on the way up, who were still heading upwards. I was back in the trees before they reached the snow patches below the summit. Maybe I am getting fitter than I thought.
Moncayo man
The Moncayo business took 11.24km with 1119m ascent

Overnight in the Camping Fuente de la Teja, Soria, Soria province (1030m)

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