La Farrapona - Asturias
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La Farrpona is not an especially challenging climb, but the gradient is uneven, which makes it tougher than the average suggests. The sting in the tail is the final 6km, which average around 9%.
Roads & TrafficThe road is in excellent condition throughout.
There is very little traffic on the climb throughout the whole year.
Despite being a newcomer to the Vuelta a España (where it is for some reason known as Lagos de Somiedo - despite the lakes being in a different valley!), La Farrapona has quickly become a favourite among cycling fans. Coming immediately after the San Lorenzo, the Farrapona offers the chance for long range attacks, with a gradient which gets steeper towards the top. In 2014, Alberto Contador all but won the Vuelta on La Farrapona, following Chris Froome up the climb before riding away from him in the final kilometre.
The main reason for La Farrapona's fame, however, is not so much its slopes as its location set inside the stunning Somiedo Natural Park - surely the most wild and undiscovered part of Western Europe. The mountains here are dotted with just a few small villages, and the surrounding countryside is home to numerous brown bears, wolves, vultures, golden eagles and lynx - making the Somiedo a truly unique ecosystem in Europe.
You almost certainly won't see any bears, wolves or lynx unless you hike into the depths of the Natural Park, specifically trying to find them. However, you will see vultures and golden eagles soaring over the road as you make your way up towards the Alto de La Farrapona - situated on the border between Asturias and Castilla-y-León.
In our opinion, La Farrapona is one of the big five climbs of the Asturias region that every cyclist should climb. In terms of both its challenge as a climb and its unique scenery, La Farrapona is hard to beat. (For reference, the other four are Angliru, Lagos de Covadonga, La Cubilla and Jito de Escarandi)
La Farrapona is open from May to October and is often open in April and Novemeber as well. During the winter months, it is usually possible to climb as far as Saliencia - around 7km from the summit - but the top is regularly closed due to snow.
Other SidesThis is the only paved side of La Farrpona. There is, however, a track from the east, which begins in the village of Torrestío. From here it is about 3km to La Farrapona and it is just about passable on a road bike - either ascending or descending. However, you will have to be confident in your bike handling skills to try it.
To get an idea of the road surface - it is slightly rougher than the final 8km of Colle delle Finestre or similar to the roughest parts of Strade Bianche. It is only 3km though and allows you to make a circular route which would otherwise force you to ride an extra 50km - climbing either Puerto de Somiedo or Puerto de San Lorenzo.
Nearby ClimbsPuerto de San Lorenzo
Puerto de Somiedo
Ermita de Alba