Grosser Oscheniksee  Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Grosser Oscheniksee


About as private as it gets!

Page Contributor(s): Erwan Treguier, Brittany, France; Patrick Blonk, Netherlands.

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Climb Summary

Red, Circle - Free vector graphics on PixabayClimb SummaryRed, Circle - Free vector graphics on Pixabay

[Note: this is a private road.]

Cycling Grosser Oscheniksee: Austria #2 and World #21 hardest bike climb.

Ride 12.3 kilometers gaining 1,433 meters at 11.7% average grade.

Photo:  Erwan Treguier

Don’t blink or you’ll miss this one!  At km 2.9/mile 1.8 there is a right turn onto a one-lane access road to Oscheniksee Reservoir that is 9.33 km/5.8 miles (at 12.6% average grade!) up the hill and through multiple sets of wonderful hairpins.  Be sure to check out the hairpin slideshow at the bottom of the page (Ok, we did get a little out of control on the volume of photos for that one, 83 photos, sheesh...).



This is a private road,

If there is a circle with bike for the side road, but not for main road, couldn’t one take that to mean the main road is alright for bikes but not for cars . . . ?  

Patrick Blonk answers the mystery of Grosser Oschenikss April 26, 2020:

To all cycling fans,

I read the article about the Grosser Oscheniksee on PJAMM and you weren't quite certain whether one is allowed to cycle it. In 2019 I did this climb and saw the road signs as well. I had never seen the signs anywhere on the internet, I assumed they had been placed there quite recently.

As for the question(s), on the sign you can read that:

Cyclists are permitted to use the road from 1 May until 30 September, from 09.00 - 20.00 hrs.

Cyclists are permitted to use the road from 1 October until 30 October from 09.00 - 16.00 hrs.

The uppermost sign is a list of general rules that you have to obey. You will also find the sign(s) at the beginning of the Hochwurtenspeicher (or: Mölltaler Gletscherstraße as it is also known), although it was closed last year due to construction work. This climb is on the same road as the Grosser Oscheniksee, just a few miles further.

We were not aware that the mighty Grosser Oscheniksee was predominantly on a private road.  In fact, we completely missed the turnoff on our first run up the road.  Once we reached the power station about a half mile up the road we realized we had missed something and backtracked to the gate shown in the photos above.  At that point we had to make a decision -- do we hop the gate and continue up a private road in a very remote area of a foreign country, or call it a day and head back to the car -- as with Scanuppia the year before (#2 World Climb) we just could not accept turning back after traveling thousands of miles to Europe, in part to tackle this little known, hidden (well, and off-limits) jewel.  So, over the fence we go . . . (and we are glad we did!).  We encountered no vehicles during our time on the private road, but did run into a cyclist from Holland who had traveled to this remote area to climb to the reservoir.

The climb itself is magnificent, there’s no doubt about it.  Starting at hairpin 9 (kehre in German), each is marked in some fashion all the way up to the last one (#42).  Note that we did not see markings for the first 8 hairpins.

Kehre 9.jpg   


First kehre that we saw was #9, and the last #42.

It was a bit overcast during our climb, so we were not treated to what are likely exceptional views of the distant mountains during the climb.  There was enough of a window between sprinkles to get a taste of what the views are probably like on a clear day, however:

The steepest ½ mile and 1 km of this climb is right at 16.8% average grade, and there is a 2.5 mile/5 km stretch at nearly 14% -- it is simply a beast of a climb.  The road is paved to the top and we believe it exists as a service road to the dam and reservoir that it ends at and for fire watch.


Several fire watch towers along the climb.       


Photo:  Erwan Treguier


Oscheniksee Reservoir.


Photo:  Erwan Treguier

The road is paved nearly all the way up the climb and is only a problem on our hands and wrists on the very steep and windy descent.  As noted above, do not expect much to any traffic and you must assume this is a fully unsupported climb -- you are on your own on this one.  Erwan writes “I didn't meet any human being... at all! (climbing + going down) so it's important to be very cautious... (or ideally, not to be alone!).”


The road is in decent shape . . . for the most part . . .


Even in paradise, not all is perfect . . .

Photo:  Erwan Treguier