Like this site? Help us to make it better.


A cycling climb to go straight to the top of your bucket list

Hairpin heaven

The epic climb klaxon has sounded, there's a new bonkers berg to be ridden...

This one has shot to notoriety after doing the rounds on social media but, from what we can tell, you'll have to plan an awfully long spin to get there as it's in China.

Despite a couple of accounts sharing the mind-boggling video evidence and saying it is in Argentina, those claims were quickly disproved by others who shared pictures of the supposed Argentinian hairpin-packed ascent (which is actually in Chile) and compared it to the much more similar Panlong Ancient Road in China. Confused? Don't be. The short of it is we've now got (at least) two impressive switchback-laden routes to share...

Panlong Ancient Road, China

Not in Argentina but the Kashgar region of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region this magnificent feat of engineering must have been designed by a cyclist. With 208 bends over the longer 36km (22 miles) route and climbing to 4,269m (13,989 ft) this one will need some training.

According to PJAMM Cycling, the actual climbing part of the road is 20.4km (12.7 miles) long and averages 5.2 per cent, probably helped by the design not following the British handbook of 'build those roads straight and steep'.

Panlong Ancient Road (Twitter video screenshot)

You'll be gasping before you hit the official slopes though... the climb proper starts at 3,197m (10,491 ft) and peaks with 12 per cent ramps.

Route 60, Chile

As a bonus we thought we'd chuck in the South American climb everyone thought was actually the Panlong Ancient Road. I say 'South American' because rather than Argentina, it's actually on the Chilean side of the border (just).

The Chilean Stelvio is on Route 60 in the Valparaíso Region and continues on to Argentina, although from this video the heavy traffic makes it slightly less appealing...

To make things even more confusing, if you continue towards the border and then slip onto the Acceso al Monumento Cristo Redentor (road E-773) you also have this climb on the Chilean side of the border...

Chile climb

And down the other side in Argentina... 

Argentina climb

In short, there are lots of hairpins in the area.

If however, Chile, Argentina and China are a touch outside your budget, you could always head to North Wales and Stwlan Dam for a taste of the action on a slightly smaller scale...

There's our Sunday dive down a hairpin rabbit hole complete. Now it's your turn. Get your favourite hairpin-heavy climbs in the comments so we can all create a bucket list longer than the Stelvio... (just don't say Box Hill)...

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

Latest Comments