Cycling Parmah Pass, Saudi Arabia
Ride 10.8 miles gaining 5,900’ at 10.5% average grade.
Summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.
Parmah Pass is your typical run of the mill Asir Mountain climb - scenic, epic, steep, and ranked at the top of the world cycling climbing charts at #17.
As with all of the top Asir Mountain climbs (12 in the world top 100), there are some extremely steep segments on this climb: a quarter-mile at 20%, half-mile at 18%, and a full mile at 15.5% average grade.
There are roughly 50 hairpins on this climb - this is just a great serpentine road with a lot of pitch to it. I mean, really? They put in 50 hairpins and the average grade is still in double figures?? 😓
I know I’m beating the same drum over and over on these climbs, but this is an epic road bike climb. It is ungodly challenging, scenic, through rugged terrain and completely unknown, unridden and undocumented (until now) in the cycling world. There were no Strava segments for these climbs (until I added them after each of my climbs) and there is no literature online or off about cycling in this magnificent mountains.
It is not easy riding these steep segments and even harder to use one hand while photographing your Garmin . . . 😊
22% was the highest I saw on my Garmin during the Parmah climb - and, believe me, my head was looking down (wheel, road, Garmin, whatever . . . ) during this climb.
The primary livestock in the Asir Mountains are goats - we saw no sheep and only one herd of cows, but many herds of goats. The bottom middle photo is one of my several interviews I was asked to give during my 11 climbs (in 11 days). Motorists were amazed by and encouraging of someone cycling up these walls.
Left photo - here I demonstrate my standard climbing position in the Asir Mountains.
Looking back along our climb we have unobstructed views far down the mountain towards our starting location.
COOL ROCK CANYON
At mile 4.3 we enter a short and fun narrow segment bordered by rock walls.
Baboons are native to the Sarawat region of southwestern Arabia.
The Asir Mountains are part of the Sarawat Mountains, and we can attest there are a lot of baboons in these mountains.
We encountered many mosques along our climbs in the Asir Mountains. Mosques are distinguishable by their towers, often with speakers at the top used for call to prayer five times per day beginning around 5 a.m. depending on the time of year, and ending around 6 p.m.
Matt left (ARAMCO, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia); John right.
Plenty of company at the parking lot next to the finish.