Pala Alta from the Virgen de Montalegre
This is a circular route through the Sierra de Mont-roig. We start the route in the hermitage of Montalegre. To get to this point, we will have made a forest track of practically 6 kilometers from the road that leaves Vilanova de Sal.
We started walking along a path heading east (we found a signpost to go to the Pala Alta and that warns us of the precipices that are on the way.
The path begins planning and enters a stretch of typically Mediterranean forest, dominated by oak and various types of shrubs. The trail is evident all the way and there is no loss.
Above, we find a deviation to the right indicated by a landmark. This path allows us to go up to a small rock with views and, at the same time, it could be used to go straight down a canal. We follow the path and the successive milestones that lead us to the foot of a rock that we can easily climb. Once up, we will see some of the cliffs of the Sierra de Mont-roig, (if the winter fog allows us).
We undo the path to the fork and continue uphill gently to another hill in the mountains. We go down a few meters and face a more significant climb to the summit of the sierra, the Pala Alta, which is crowned by a geodesic vertex and a forest watchhouse.
We will see that the path travels more in the interior of the ridge but that you can also climb closer to the cliff since the terrain is quite open. From the top, we can see the entire sea of inland fog, as well as the mountains of the Cordillera Prelitoral and Montserrat (if the day is clear). Towards the other side, Montsec and some emblematic peaks of the Pyrenees, such as Monte Perdido.
We continue walking the ridge of the mountain range and now we have to lose a few meters and then face another small hill that we will surround on its northern slope. If we want to reach the top, we can momentarily deviate from the path to reach them.
Once past this other hill, we face the steepest descent section of the route. The path goes down hard to look for Puerta's neck. The section is stony but accessible.
Once we have lost height, we reach the neck of Porta, where we reach the forest track. We will follow it to the right, west direction, to turn towards the hermitage of Montalegre. The track gently gliding and descending below the cliff we just made up. Thus we have a double vision of the mountain.
A section below, the track reaches the junction with the track that goes up to the hermitage of Montalegre. We continue to the right, up, and in fact we could be following this track all the time until we reach the sanctuary. However, shortly after we see a path to the right that climbs determined. We decided to follow him.
Surely it is a well-trodden path especially for climbers who want to reach the foot of the track. The trail is a little less beaten but the milestones indicate perfectly where to go. Several cakes and stone sections are created without difficulty. The milestones will help us glimpse the path in the places where it is least trodden.
Finally, already at the top, we ignore some forks that go up the canals and we follow the path that now turns and goes west. Shortly after we will see the hermitage just above us. Now we only need to finish making this section of the climb. Altogether, this shortcut is pretty straight.
Image and text authoring: Sergi Boixader
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