Cycling Baniamr Aquabah Pass, Saudi Arabia
Ride 5.9 miles gaining 5,014’ at 16.3% average grade.
Another of the unbelievable Asir Mountain bike climbs. Ranked at #5 in the world, this one is high on our list of favorites in those wonderful mountains (PJAMM World Top 10).
The road was in excellent shape which is surprising for a fairly remote route in the middle-western section of the Asir Mountains. We encountered very little traffic and those drivers that came upon us invariably honked, yelled encouragement, or stopped to offer water. We were even invited to meals in the village near the bottom of the climb by two separate and equally gracious motorists.
Climb start - only 5.9 miles to go . . .
. . . at 16.3% average grade.
View of Baniamr climb from Al Aqaqah, some 30 kilometers north.
Any time you rank anything, there will always be a first and a last. Well, this one is a big time first for steep grade. Baniamr is home to the steepest five miles (18%), five (20.6%) and 10 kilometers (18%) on earth. Thus, the Asir Mountains are home to some of the steepest cycling segments in the world. Rdom to the south has second steepest mile bragging rights, at 26% average grade (Top 10 Steepest Mile) - just behind Scanuppia at 26.7%
I felt like Jan Ullrich on Alpe d’Huez in 2001 on this one. 😔
Photos rarely capture the true pitch of the climb, but this one is just impossibly steep.
Although some of the climbs had more greenery than others, all Asir Mountain bike climbs have some things in common - they are steep, often have many hairpins, and boast unobstructed views back and down (4-5,000’) to the climb start.
Beginning at mile 2.2 there are 3.7 miles that include 37 hairpins, averaging 20.4% grade.
We encountered no cyclists on this climb, nor in all of our 11 straight days of climbing in these mountains.
Amazingly, there was excellent cell coverage on this and most climbs in the Asir Mountains.
Type 1 (during the ride) and Type 2 (at the finish) fun on this one.
Fantastic views back to the start as we climb.
We encountered many got herders in the mountains, but no sheep, and only one set of cows.
We climb towards that unique mountain formation as we climb, SLOWLY, to the top.
37 at 20.4% in 3.7 miles.