Jito de Escarandi - Asturias*
|Start Town||Altitude (m)||Elevation Gain (m)||Length (km)||Gradient (%)||Difficulty||Rating|
|Poncebos (Arenas de Cabrales)||1308||1090||14.5||7.5||943||*****|
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Jito de Escarandi is a very, very tough climb - far more challenging than the statistics suggest at first glance. It has two significantly tough sections; the first 4km and the two kilometre either side of Sotres. Both of these have numerous stretches above 15% gradient, with the latter containing sustained ramps of over 20%.
The middle part is easy and it is vital that you recover. Although the incredible scenery here may prevent you from catching your breath too easily.
Roads & TrafficThe road is in excellent condition throughout. This is a perfect road surface for cycling. Watch out for the short tunnels in the early part of the climb; occasionally there may be a cow lurking inside, which can be potential hazardous on the descent.
There is very little traffic on the climb throughout much of the year. Weekends in the summer months are busier, but still not enough to be bothersome.
Jito de Escarandi is one of the best climbs in Spain, and one that all cyclists who enjoy mountains should endeavour to climb. It is one of very roads that actually run inside the Picos de Europa National Park boundaries, and the views are incredible throughout. Even the ride up to Poncebos and the start of the climb is through a stunning, steep sided gorge. The top of the climb is even more breath-taking, particularly if you continue descending towards the end of the road in Tresviso.
Jito de Escarandi is essentially the same climb as Alto de Sotres - which made its debut in the 2015 edition of the Vuelta a España. The ascent to Alto de Sotres simply finishes 1km from the top for logistical reasons.
The stage in 2015 was won by Joaquim Rodriguez during an attack 1km from the finish, which will live long in the memory. The steep gradients reduced many of the best cyclists in the world to walking pace - with even a climber as accomplished as Nairo Quintana coming to a near standstill.
*For the sake of accuracy we should point out that the summit is in the Cantabria region, just metres over the border from Asturias. However, 99% of the climb is in Asturias - including the false summit at Alto de Sotres - so we feel that it should really be classified as an Asturian rather than a Cantabrian monster.
Jito de Escarandi is open throughout the year depending on the weather. Snow is common in winter, closing the climb at times, but there are still many days where it is passable (although whether or not you would want to ride such an isolated climb in winter is debatable). From May to November snow very, very rarely closes the road.
Other SidesJito de Escarandi can be climbed from the east, starting in Tresviso. However, the only way to get to Tresviso on a road bike is by climbing over this side from Poncebos first. It is an extension well worth doing for the scenery alone - and the climb from Tresviso is not particularly tough.
On a mountain bike (and possibly on a hybrid bike if you are brave enough) it is also possible to get to Tresviso on a rough track via Bejes and the climb to Salto de la Cabra.
Nearby ClimbsLagos de Covadonga
Alto del Torno
Salto de La Cabra