Llano de las Animas Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

25.7
FIETS
9.7 mi
DISTANCE
6,470 ft
GAINED
12.7 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): Dani Avila, tard0d lifestyle; Teun van Oostenbrugge, Puntagorda, La Palma; Alessandro Massoni, Milan, Italy

INTRO

This is one of the greatest bike climbs in the world.  A top 10 world ranked climb, this is one where you'll find yourself saying, "Can I do it?!" First, you need to get yourself to the island paradise of La Palma (Canary Islands) which is a similar motivator to Mauna Kea (Hawaii 🕶🌞 👍).  This is one of a handful of climbs in the world worth traveling thousands of miles to experience - a true Bucket List climb.  This climb was highlighted in the Spanish cycling magazine Solo Bici.
The grade for this climb is 12.6% (14.1% climb only).  This climb has every gradient segment you will ever encounter on a climb: 8% descent, 8% at 0-5% grade, 18% at 5-10%, 27% at 10-15%, 24% at 15-20%, and a startling 15% at ≥ 20%.  The steepest 500 meters is 24% and steepest two kilometers is 20.8%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Narrow two lane asphalt road with no center stripe in good condition for the first 12.8 kilometers.  The road is grooved concrete (like you see on super steep roadways like Scanuppia and Passo della Forcella) which is great for traction on the way up, but rather bumpy on the descent. 

Turns to Beware of:  At kilometer 7.8 (mile 4.9), cross LP-1 (Ctra General; just to the left of the Santa Cruz/De La Palma sign) and walk your bike up a short dirt path to connect too the roadway and route above (MapStreet View). 

Traffic:  Light in the first half; minimal over the second half. 

Parking:  There are spots to park at the beginning of the climb (MapStreet View). 
Provisions:  There are locations for meals, food, and/or beverages in Pino de La Virgen at kilometer 7.3, but nowhere else along the climb (Route MapGoogle - Places to Eat in Pino de la Virgen).

Gear
:  Be sure to bring a road bike with gearing for your ability and fitness level.  A 34 compact chainring and 42t cassette is recommended for all but the absolute strongest cyclists.
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
Viewpoints along this climb:  At the start is Puerto de Puntagorda (Google Map + Reviews) and Llano de Las Animas at the finish (Google Map + Reviews). 

While on the Island, be sure to ride Spain #7/World #64 Roque de Los Muchacho.  This is also considered the #1 tourist attraction on La Palma (although nearly all visitors drive to the top).  There are spectacular views from the short path accessed at the finish of our route (Google Map + Reviews).

There are tons of great places to stay on the gorgeous island of La Palma, including some great house rentals.

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Mar 26, 2021
Sheeeeesh, 6,500 feet in less than 10 miles?! Unreal
ROUTE MAP
PROFILE TOOL

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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Llano de las Animas, Spain - bike parked against guardrail overlooking ocean next to rusty sign that reads "Feel the moment...it's a present!!" with a smiley face

Cycling the sixth hardest bike climb in the world

Llano de las Animas

Ride 15.6 kilometers (9.7 miles) gaining 2,000 meters (6,560’) at 12.6% average grade (13.7% climb only)

Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.

The name of this climb derives from the name of the plateau we climb to - ironically, Llano means “flat” in spanish.  

Llano de las Animas is one of the World’s greatest road bike climbs.

This is the second steepest 10 kilometers of tarmac in the world at 15.2% (just behind Al Jaadah Pass, Saudi Arabia at 15.4%).

SEGMENT 1

The climb begins about 80 meters above the sea.

The pavement is rough and broken for the first segment of the climb.

Just below the start is Puerto de Puntagorda, a gorgeous oceanside beach and cave area accessed only by foot.  See Google Reviews for more.

The first 2 kilometers of the climb from the Puerto de Puntagorda parking lot along Camino del Puerto averages 13.6% - this is but a slight incline compared to what is ahead.

SEGMENT 2

We finish segment 1 and begin segment 2 at Camino de la Costa.

Segment #2 is the easiest of all at 7% for 5.8 kilometers through Pino de La Vergen to state highway LP-1

BRIEF HIKE

Here we have our only acceptable hike (briefly on dirt) . . .

. . . there will be more walking further up the mountain for a much different reason 😟

Cross LP-1 and walk up the foot path for 30 meters to the beginning of Camino Top Blanco, a narrow concrete road past homes that averages 18% for 300 meters. If you would prefer paved all the way and eliminating the short 30% section, used this Komoot Route.

SEGMENT 3

There’s a half kilometer pleasant alpine setting and 8% rest zone beginning at km 9.7.

I didn’t risk it, but Luke got plenty of water from irrigation pipes along the route.

SUPER STEEP!!

There is a brief, but deadly, 30% segment that is impossible for a human cyclist to climb . . . 😟

 If you would prefer paved all the way and eliminating the short 30% section, used this Komoot Route.

Top left - Alessandro Massoni - shoes off = walking on 30% grade.

Top right - Luke Hise on a 30 percenter.

Bottom - Komoot warning about a segment of this climb.

Komoot’s Steep Hill definition.

Komoot segment for this climb.

Komoot Map of Llano de las Animas

PJAMM’s Profile Tool:  2 kilometers average 20.8% and 500 meters 23.4% and 200 meters 29.4%.

The gradient profile for this climb says it all - there are several segments of extraordinary steepness.  Add the length and altitude of this climb and you have the legitimate World Top 10 bike climb behind (1)  Mauna Kea (Hawaii), (2) Al Jaadah (Saudi Arabia),  (3) Babusar Pass (Pakistan), (4) Apagua (Ecuador) and (6) Baniamr Pass (Saudi Arabia)

Beware that your brakes will likely overheat on the descent - stop frequently.

Photos rarely capture “steep” but this is a rare road bike climb.

Scenes along the way from kilometers 11 to the 12.8 km mark where we roll onto the cement.

CEMENT PATH TO THE FINISH

Cement begins at kilometer 12.8

Cement segment is 2.8 kilometers at 18.1% average grade.

Cement with friction cuts almost always spells S T E E P ! !

2.8 km of cement to the top.

FINISH

Finish the climb at a water treatment tank.

Thank you to our extreme cycling contributors and three of the few who have ever experienced this amazing bike climb:  

  • Dani Avila, tard0d lifestyle
  • Alessandro Massoni, Milan, Italy
  • Teun van Oostenbrugge, Puntagorda, La Palma

TIES’ SUMMARY

Climb summary by our Legendary Mountains co-author, Ties Arts.

La Palma is the jewel of the Canary Islands, although it’s not really an island, it’s a miniature continent at 708+ square kilometers. Only a full continent could hold cloud forest and semi-desert, bananas and horizontal, foot-long icicles. On most days of the year, you can decide which climate you fancy and then drive to it. It’s a volcanic island, last erupting in 1949.

The main reason for this extreme variety is the island’s height and steepness. Meet Llano de las Animas!

The Llano de las Animas climb is located on a plateau in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, the western part of the island. The plateau is unique and staged, especially in springtime, by admirable orchards of pink Tajinastes (echium wildpretii ssp trichosiphon) exclusive to the summits of La Palma and found nowhere else in the world.

This climb will test the best riders in the peloton, and you must thoroughly prepare for the beast. It is one of the world's most brutal climbs with 12.6% average grade (14.1% excluding the 1.2 km of descent) for 15.6 kilometers.  Only the few can keep their feet from the road and avoid the “Johnny Walker” (paperboy) method.

The climb starts at the Puerto de Puntagorda. A sign marked with the legendary words: “Feel the moment, it’s a present!!!” welcomes you to the second hardest road bike climb in the world.  Here you go, with the sea on your port side, you begin your climb up the mountain towards Puntagorda.

Many switchbacks and severely steep segments will test your legs. And with steep we mean in the first 2 km, four short 20% sections.  Until Puntagorda at kilometer 12.8 you average 11.3% but do have several flat spots and even descents (descents total 1.2 kilometers during this segment).  And, while the climb can be torturous, be sure to appreciate the lovely scenery surrounding you.

The road is paved and in fair condition. Then, after Puntagorda, the real hell begins. Between rocks and pine trees the average gradient is 18%!  And the last three kilometers are on a concrete surface running through a firewall. The road is extremely steep - there is a 20.8% average two kilometer segment with sections exceeding  25% - this is the real deal!

THANK YOU DANNY AND ALESSANDRO

Cycling Llano de las Animas, Spain - photo college, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked next to LOVE statue, cyclist pushing bike up steep section of roadway, aerial view of roadway in mountainside

Thank you Danny Avila, Madrid, Spain.

The summit hosts a water raft. Time for cooling down. The road is open for cars so if you want support make sure you have a 4x4.

Cycling Llano de las Animas, Spain - cyclist at top of mountain, rooved pavement and a water tank behind him

Thank you Alessandro Massoni, Milan, Italy

That’s a wrap!!

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