Abantos - San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid)
|Start Town||Altitude (m)||Elevation Gain (m)||Length (km)||Gradient (%)||Difficulty||Rating|
|San Lorenzo de El Escorial||1640||620||11.5||5.4||745||**|
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Abantos is more challenging than the average statistics suggest. It has numerous stretches above 10% gradient, although also some downhill and flatter sections.
Roads & TrafficThe road is in very poor condition. It is asphalted, but it is narrow and cracked in places with some large pot holes and some gravel sections. It is passable on a road bike - just about - but is not the most enjoyable ride.
There is generally little traffic on the climb, although it can increase on festivals and during weekends in summer.
Abantos is one of the more popular climbs for cycling in the Madrid region because of the relatively low volume of traffic on its slopes. However, this is compromised by a poor road surface and scenery which is largely forested.
The climb begins from San Lorenzo de El Escorial - home to a spectacular monastery which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The vast palace was formerly the residence of the King of Spain. Towards the top of the climb there is a much more controversial and less celebrated palace. Situated less than 2km from the summit, Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) is essentially a shrine to the fascist dictator General Franco and his supporters.
The visually spectacular site set in the beautiful surroundings of the Guadarrama Mountains was built by Republican prisoners and is a source of great contention in Spain even today. The modern democratic governments claim that the site is to remember the victims of the Civil War on all sides of the political spectrum - but the majority of Spaniards feel that it is an insult. Even today, the remains of Franco are buried in a giant tomb that he had designed for himself, and the large cross on the top of the mountain - which is visible across much of Madrid - is a painful reminder to many of the nefarious collaboration of the Catholic Church in the crimes of the Franco regime.
Abantos is open throughout the year subject to weather. Closures during winter, however, are common.
Other sidesAbantos can also be climbed on a long looping route from the Aceña River.
Nearby ClimbsBola del Mundo
Alto del León
Puerto de Navacerrada
Puerto de Cotos