Alto de Los Molinos s(u)

This traverse below a vertical appearing limestone block leads along the outskirts of the Ordesa y Monte Pedidio National Park. Below lies the old village and tourist town Ainsa. Not far from the summit a paved one way climb goes to, what I think is the highest paved point on this limestone mountain, and also the Hermitage San Victorian, a landmark church on one of the countless more remote branches of the Camino de Santiago.

I have used the pictures of panoramio and flickr contributors, as well as other web sites to illustrate this page. There are copyright notices and links  to all original pictures. My own pictures were on a computer, that was stolen at the train station Frankfurt Airport (model Acer Aspire One (serial# NUSGPAA01625101C947600F)


1.(00.0km,620m) START-END NORTH: sideroad to Laspuna leaves from "Eje de Cinca" road, just north of Escalona
3.(03.5km,860m)turnoff to El Casal on the left
4.(05.9km,940m)TOP: point of highest elevation
5.(07.9km,850m)a shorter road to Ainsa leaves on the right
6.(12.0km,800m)turnoff to Oncins and San Victorian, immediately past Los Molinos
7.(17.7km,600m) START-END SOUTH: jct with N260 below town Arro


From North.
Looking up from below From a line of houses appears halfway up the mighty cliff of the Pena Montanesa. They look like a tempting goal on a bicycle. The Pena Montanesa is the same mountain block, that can be seen as a distinctive landmark from the Fanlo summit. The main road passes through the middle of this old town and the street bars are already busy this weekend. After that the road heads straight for the mountain with the steepest climb along the route. The frontal light during my ride makes the mountain appear completely vertical. The included pictures show later light conditions, that show much more detail.

At the turnoff to the the next village - El Casal, a transpyrenean MTB route also branches off. It continues up the Pena Montanesa along its the north side, while this profile follows an easier path on the south side. It traverses below the cliffs, but still high above the valley of the Rio Cinca. The mountains on the west side of the wide valley of the Rio Cinca are partly covered by well defined clouds. They highlight certain nipple like features on the mountains and hide others, a wonderful surprise to a day that started with questionable weather. The highest point is reached on that traverse, which gives an open view of the valley for many kms.

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

From South. (described downwards) The route stays at roughly this altitude for quite a while. Without an altimeter it is fairly difficult to figure out the highest spot. In Los Molinos the road negotiates between a few old stone houses, garden walls and sheep herds. In this area a signed turnoff leads up a steep climb on a remote road to San Victorian.

A little later on the shallow descent, from below, the church San Victorian appears to be perched precariously on a limestone cliff above. But in order to see it, you really have to stop and look upwards for a tiny spot where the power lines aim for, from far below. In a  car you would have to get out, or cut off the roof.

The lower part of the descent goes through a soft shale that forms badlands and erodes into pagoda like shapes. This is the only part of the trip where I took many pictures, the likes of which I cannot find on any photo sharing sites. For me personally, this part of the ride is a reminder of the Utah landscape, but without the gun shooting ranges and jeep tracks in the dessert.

The profile ends, where this side road meets newly constructed N260 between Anso and Collado Foradada, below the little village Arro. This collection of a handful of houses on a cliff has a modern addition, a water tower, but made out of stone, so that I am tempted to ask myself: Did they have watertowers in the middle ages ? Well - no they didn't - not this kind anyway.

Sidetrip to San Victorian. Immediately after the summit a steep one-way climb leads to what I think is the highest paved spot on the Pena Montanesa. The goal is the hermitage church San Victorian, that is one of the many Camino Santiago landmarks. The road appears to head in the wrong directions at first, straight for a farm. But then before reaching it it passes between a couple of old stone houses in Oncins, one looks like an Inn for pilgrims. Then it makes a sharp right, the road surface improves all of a sudden, and then for the last km or two, it traverses flatly, as if in a celebratory mood, over to the hermitage church. For me the church is closed, but the man behind the heavy wooden doors has no problem accepting a large, previously announced tourist groups. From the outside the surrounding ruins make it look abandoned, a scene from an old romantic landscape painting - not necessarily anything, anybody would inhabit. Trails continue from here up the Pena Montanesa, and it becomes apparent, that from this side, it is not nearly as vertical, as it seems from previous points of the ride. Instead you can actually hike up it, going partly through green pastures.

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

A Dayride with this point as highest summit:

( < Buerba - Vio s(u) | Collado Foradada > )
Alto de Los Molinos: Ainsa > Labuerda > Escalona > Laspuna > Alto de Los Molinos <> out and back to Oncins > San Victorian >> Arro > sightseeing around Ainsa > back to starting point.
Notes: gps and distance data is on stolen computer.