The brutally steep (23%) paved road to Bola del Mundo

Bola del Mundo (the ball of the world) is a high mountain peak at an elevation of 2.265m (7,431ft) above the sea level, located on the edge of the Spanish provinces of Madrid and Segovia. It's one of the highest roads of Spain.

Bola del Mundo

How long is the road to Bola del Mundo?

The mythical road to the summit, also known as Guarramillas pass and Alto de las Guarramillas, is totally paved with rough concrete. Starting at the popular Puerto de Navacerrada, the road is 3.1km (1.92 miles) long. It is not open to regular road traffic and usually closed to private vehicles because of the narrow road and the steepness. It was paved in 2009.

Is the road to Bola del Mundo open?

Set high in the western Long Cuerda Larga mountain range of the Sierra de Guadarrama, the pass is usually open throughout the summer, but during winter months, it can be closed when the access is not cleared of snow. The summit of Bola del Mundo (Ball of the world) hosts many antennas, to broadcast signal to the area.

Is the road to Bola del Mundo steep?

The fearsome road to the summit is brutally steep, hitting a 23% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. It was first included in the Vuelta a España in 2010. Starting at Puerto de Navacerrada, the elevation gain is 361 meters. The average gradient is 11.64%. After 300 metres there is a first steep ramp of 16%, and another of about the same percentage after approximately one kilometre. The 23% segment, which is the hardest of all, comes just 500 metres before the summit. Alberto Contador, winner of all three grand tours, said ‘it’s a very difficult, dangerous climb. It’s incredibly steep and probably harder than Cuitu Negru. The climb is so hard, that despite living around there, I rarely go up it.”
Pic: Mario Barrientos