Ascent of Cerro La Santa on 2013-11-21

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, November 21, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Cerro La Santa
    Location:Puerto Rico
    Elevation:2963 ft / 903 m

Ascent Trip Report

Located in the Bosque Estatal de Carite (Carite State Forest), this peak is the tallest mountain in the State Forest and is likely the County HP for at least one County. This peak straddles and area that has 5 counties (Municipalities) come in close proximity. The peak separates Caguas, San Lorenzo, and Cayey but is nearly touching Guayama and Patillas. The maintenance road along touches 4 counties. The internet claims that the highest peak is the one shown although the USGS does not give spot elevations of the other 4 candidate peaks on the top of this mountain so most assume that the 903 meter elevation shown is the true highpoint. The true HP appears on the ground to be in the road by the final tower where the three counties come together.

There appears to be no higher peaks in any of the nearby counties of San Lorenzo, Patillas, Guayama, Caguas or Cayey. Although Cayey has some other peaks in the near 900 m range but they are to the west nearing Las Tetas area. The is a peak bordering the counties of Orocovis, Juana Diaz, and Villalba that exceeds the 1000 m range but that peak is far to the west. A little closer is a peak near the border of three counties Orocovis, Barranquitas and Coamo which exceeds 900 m ar around 940 m BUT El Toro far to the north is actually the next highest neighbor. This peak thus, would be high on the prominence and isolation ranking for the island and is a multiple county highpoint!

Did this as a road hike. First visited Charco Azul and was quite disappointed at this feature. Leave it at that! Found a place along SR 184 to pull over at around 650 meters and hiked up the busy narrow road (not the best idea) and then up the access maintenance road of the towers. I was greeted by many barking and investigating stray dogs along the road (at least 4) but survived then all by being friendly and saying "Hola perro" the final peak is a tower as one expects but the hilly terrain was nice. Urban radio tower hiking in the caribe beats in FL

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1130 ft / 343 m
    Extra Gain:150 ft / 45 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:SR to tower access roads
    Trailhead:SR 184 parking near Charco Azul  2133 ft / 650 m
    Grade/Class:1 &1+
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear

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