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Valle Nevado

Chile

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A truly world class climb that epitomises the Epic Cols mission.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

The Valle Nevado has it all – 58 switchbacks, vast landscapes, killer reveals. And, when you reach the summit at 3000m, the majesty of the Andes still tower high above. This 29km rewarding climb begins in Lo Barnechea region, in Corral Quemado, 20km northwest of Santiago. It ascends 1802m and has an average gradient of 6% (max 14%).

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

Turning away from the river (rio San Franciso), herein lies the first 16 gloriously intertwined switchbacks carved into the Andean landscape.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

It is hard not to get too excited while riding this first section – the gradient is eminently doable and the views are already epic.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

6% average gradient.

But, some with 30% sharp inside lines.

Then a rolling section of long contouring bends, before rising up and over a small col – vertical metres are lost while descending to the bottom.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

Another set of switchbacks await. It is a game of snakes and ladders.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

The spring/summer (October - March) are great months to ride this climb. During this time there is very little traffic, as Valle Nevado is a ski resort. However, there is one drawback, and that is the heat. Likely in the mid-thirties (90F+). It makes for thirsty work.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

Notably, after switchback 21 there is a small café to refill bottles – and then no less than 37 switchbacks before the summit.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

Generally the surface is smooth with helpful countdown markers on each corner.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

At 2560m altitude, the air is thin and the landscape has changed – what was once lush green with soil is now baron with rugged volcanic rock.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

Yet, during the final set of 18 switchbacks, it's like the road gently adds layers of beauty with every turn.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado

NOTHING

can prepare you for the views on Valle Nevado. They take your breath away.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado
Cycling climb Valle Nevado

It is hard to find another cycling climb, where during the last few hundred metres, it appears you've barely scratched the surface.

The enormity and outstanding beauty of this climb provokes a particular feeling yet to be experienced anywhere else. It is the majesty of the Andes is in full force when at 3000m there are peaks of mountains still thousands-of-meters towering above. This climb warrants a title as one of the Greats.

Cycling climb Valle Nevado