|Pla de la Casa from
Pla de la Casa
|Estimated net time||3-3½ hours|
The whole route is hiked on a good path, except for an easy scramble to gain the last three metres to the highest point. If there is snow in the mountains you might need to show some care with the gap separating the main mountain and the summit point.
|Drinking water||You are likely to find running water by the hunting hut at the top of the gorge.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout the route (May 2010).|
|Parking||There are several possibilities for parking in the village Fageca.|
|Start height||748 metres|
|Vertical metres||675 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||7.3 km|
Possible parking along road CV-720, east of Fageca.
Assume your starting point is Alicante. Drive motorway A7 to Alcoi. Just before Alcoi turn right in the round-about, following signs for "Benilloba". Drive 11.4 km along this road and turn left towards Gorga. When you get to Gorga, after another 4.2 km, you get to a multi-road junction. Turn sharp right here, following signs for "Quatretondeta". In Quatretondeta, 4.8 km from Gorga, stay right and drive another 6.4 km to Fageca. Find parking somewhere in this small village. One option is to continue 400 metres past the village and park on the left hand side of the road, making sure you don't block any traffic for the road heading left.
Start walking by following the road back to Fageca, and then turn left down a steep and narrow road. Walk past the fountain (Font de L'Espirit Sant) and soon you will reach a sign-post. Turn right here, following signs for "Pla de la Casa". Walk a little more than 300 metres up this gravel road and turn left where the gravel road forks. Proceed 200 metres east on this gravel road and you will see a path forking off to the right; get onto this path, which is marked with white and yellow markers.
This path will take you into and up the gorge Barranc Del Moro. At first the terrain is flat, but it soon gets steeper, but never difficult. When you get to around 1000 metres you will see a large cave, Cova de Bernat, out on the right hand side. A little higher up you cross the stream, at at this point you are likely to find running/dripping water. From here the path turns a little right, heading south-west. You now have some steep walls up to your right and a gentle ridge to your left. Soon you will see another steep section, ahead of you, and this is where the summit is located.
To get to the summit proceed past the steep walls on your right hand side, almost all the way up to the east walls of the summit. Here you will see a cairn and the path makes a sharp right and runs up to the pass between the two steep åwalls. When you get up into the pass the path forks, with the left leg leading to the summit. However, it is worth making a small de-tour by continuing 100 metres south-west to a deep well. Be careful along the edge!
Get back to the path that leads to the summit. Just before the summit, marked with a cross, you need to walk a few metres left to avoid the dangerous gap between the main mountain and the summit cliff.
Descend by reversing your ascent route.
11. May 2010
During breakfast this Tuesday, our third day in Spain this year, I asked the rest of the family if we should all go for a hike. The reason behind my suggestion was that it was an overcast day, so hiking would be comfortable even mid-day, and it wasn't a day terribly suitable for swimming and sun bathing. They all agreed, and a little after 10:30 we were on our way to Pla de la Casa. The choice of mountain was mainly based on the fact that I had a hiking map of La Serrella, the mountain area of Pla de la Casa, which allowed us to be sure where to drive and where to walk.
After we left the motorway outside Alcoi we were presented with very curvy and narrow roads, and it didn't last long before we had to make our first stop to cure Njål's travel sickness. After the stop we continued with Njål in the front passenger seat, but before making it to Fageca we had to make one more stop. Because of these stops and me having to drive slowly in order not to disturb Njål's stomach too much it took us two full hours to drive from Gran Alacant to Fageca. We then messed around in the tiny village a few minutes, trying to find a suitable place to park, and ended up parking next to the road a little past the village "centre".
When we started our hike there were some dark clouds on the sky, but the temperature was 19°C and there was no wind, so conditions for hiking were excellent if the clouds would stay away. And as we progressed up the gorge the clouds gradually disappeared, letting the sun through more and more.
At the nice grass plain below the summit we inspected the deep snow well used in old times for collecting snow. This snow was packed hard and insulated by using grass, and then sold to the local villages during summer, for preserving food and keeping drinks cold.
Around the summit we had some fun doing easy scrambling to get to the very summit, making sure we avoided the areas where a fall would be lethal. We spent a while at the small summit area, enjoying a packed lunch and the fine views. We also scrambled a few other routes the 3-4 metres from the main mountain and up to the summit.
From the summit we headed back down via our ascent route, meeting a couple of