RP101: El Sosneado – La Jaula – Arroyo Hondo – Pareditas
From Malargue there are 3 route options to Pareditas, south of Mendoza. The paved route is RN143/144 which takes the long way round via San Rafael. RN40 has 100kms of ripio and we’ve heard from other cyclists that much of it is corrugated. The route described here is the old RN40, now designated RP101, which is all ripio from where it leaves the paving at El Sosneado to where it rejoins at Pareditas. The route is little used which makes for a lovely tranquil ride in this quiet corner of Mendoza province. The surface is bad in places however and the sandiest sections require pushing.
There is a service station at El Sosneado where you can get basic supplies, but it is not possible to buy supplies anywhere between El Sosneado and Pareditas. If coming from the south it’s best to stock up on food in Malargue and if coming from the north in Pareditas.
There is no reliable water source between El Sosneado and the Rio Diamante, but after this we found water in Rios Carrizalitos, Faja and Hondo as well as in a few smaller streams, so we never had to carry too much. There are also plenty of houses as you near Pareditas where you could obtain water.
|Total dist.||Stage dist.||Description|
|0km||El Sosneado service station (1,600m). 50kms north of Malargue on RN40.|
|22km||Descend about 10kms to a river bed (1,480m), then start climbing. A couple of kms into the climb the main ripio road (and all traffic) goes L at a junction (no signposts), and the much smaller RP101 to La Jaula continues straight. To this point the ripio is fine. (This junction the easiest place to go wrong on this route, as you don’t stick to the biggest road. After this, though there are many roads heading off RP101, stick to the main road – most of the small tracks are just dead-ends leading to nodding donkeys.) Continue to the abandoned Minas El Sosneado. Road is often sandy and steep, pushing required.|
|22km||Minas El Sosneado (1,730m). Abandoned, no water.|
|37km||3kms to Puesto Los Buitres, a couple of buildings where there are sometimes people around. Don’t rely on there being water though. The road climbs to reach a high point (1,970m) 20kms from Los Buitres, then descends 500m in 14kms to the bridge over the Rio Diamante. Go straight at a crossroads half way down this descent. The surface on this section is often bad and sandy with pushing required on the steep parts before Los Buitres.|
|59km||Bridge over Rio Diamante (1,470m). Water.|
|35km||Climb less than a km to La Jaula (school, water), then continue climbing out of the valley. There are further climbs and descents to the rivers in El Carrizalito, La Faja and Arroyo Hondo valleys. Surface ok.|
|94km||Estancia Arroyo Hondo (1,920m). Water.|
|69km||Climb out of the valley to the highest point of the route (1,980m), then it is almost all descent back to the paving on RN40. Surface is fine for first 45kms, then becomes corrugated and sandy for a stretch.|
|163km||Pareditas (1,080m). Return to the paving on RN40.|
|Time taken – 2 days and amount climbed 1,600m||3 hours: El Sosneado to Los Buitres (450m climb).
7 hours: Los Buitres to Arroyo Hondo (1,000m climb).
4 hours: Arroyo Hondo to Pareditas (150m climb).
|Traffic||Petrol traffic for first ~12kms to the junction. Less than 1 vehicle an hour from this junction to past Arroyo Hondo. Becomes a bit busier as you near Pareditas.|
|When we cycled||Mid April 2010.|
|How much we had to push on this route||3kms (sand)|
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