Nebelhorn Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

16.5
FIETS
4.6 mi
DISTANCE
3,531 ft
GAINED
14.7 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

Cycling Nebelhorn - Germany's most difficult bike climb.  This ascent is as brutal as it gets. Scanuppia (Italy), Mombacho (Nicaragua), and Nebelhorn are the steepest seven km (four mile)+ segments in the world.  Exactly what you should expect of a climb that begins at an international ski jumping venue. 
The average grade is 14.7%!!  The crux of the climb is a 2.1 kilometer segment beginning at kilometer 4.8 that averages 23.8%.  

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Roadway:  Good condition.

Traffic:  Minimal for the first 4.3 kilometers and none after the gate from there - this is a hiking path after the gate. 

Parking:  There are several public parking lots near the climb start incluing Nebelhornbahn Talstation where a tram can be taken to the top of the climb.  Obserstdorf Google Parking Map.
Provisions:  There is a restaurant at the mid-way point just before the gate where only hikers and cyclists may proceed, and at the top. 

Gear:  Compact chainring and 42t cassette cog are recommended, or a mountain bike - I popped a rear spoke 500 meters from the top due to putting such a strain on my bike (34 chainring / 42t cassette cog).  
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
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CLIMB SUMMARY

Neblhorn - Toughest bike climb in Germany - road, mountains, view down canyon

Cycling Nebelhorn - Germany’s biggest bike climb.

Ride a mere 7.4 km to elevation 1,885 m gaining 1,075 m at 14.7% average grade.

Ouch!  Enough said.  One of the three steepest we’ve ever done (Scannuppia and Mombacho round out the top three).  Several brief segments exceed 30% and there is a full quarter mile at 26%, half mile at 25% and 1 mile that averages 23.5% grade.

The Nebelhorn is a mountain peak in the Allgäu Alps which is part of the Alps Mountain Range of Europe.  The climb begins at the eastern edge of Oberstdorf (pop. 9,695, 2017 census; elevation 815 m (2,674’).  Oberstdorf is a skiing and hiking venue near Germany’s southern border with Austria.

What do you expect, the thing starts at the bottom of a championship ski jumping facility!

   Cycling Nebelhorn - Schattenberg Ski jumb

View up at the long  Schattenberg 120 m hill

For some reason (ha, ha - maybe good sense??) Nebelhorn is not on many cycling radars - only 25 cyclists as of October, 2017 had engaged this beast (and, we are proud to say that PJAMM’s own Brad Butterfield holds the KOM).

Bike climb of Nebelhorn - cyclist riding bike on road

Brad on his way to glory!  

There is a nice cafe (See alpenGasthof) at mile 2 / km 3.2, just before you hit the wall that keeps on giving!  

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For after the climb!  

Seealpe Gasthof

This is range land and we encounter some pretty hardy horses and cows along the way.

Bicycling Nebelhorn - cow rubbing head on bike handlebars 

   Bicycling up Nebelhorn - cows in meadow with bicyclist

Meadow and manageable grade at km 4.4

The views along the last 2 miles of the climb are excellent.  The road is paved, but does have loose gravel in places that can cause serious problems standing and pedaling with the force needed to ascend the last 2 miles.  While we climbed this mountain on road bikes (Brad used a compact chainring with a 36t cassette and John used a compact with 42t), a mountain bike would be preferred.  And, as a testament to the force necessary to get up the mountain, after no mishaps in 40+ climbs in Europe during our 2017 trip, John broke a rear spoke on the Nebelhorn.  

STEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPP!!!!!

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Looking down at steepest ½ km (26%)

27% grade (middle of steeps ½ km @ 26%)

Cycling Nebelhorn  - steep roadway through wheel spokes   

  Bicycle climb Nebelhorn  - Edmun Probst-Haus, top

O.k. - there is an alternative to killing yourself - take the tram . . . who knew!

Nebelhornbahn Station and Edmund-Probst-Haus

Nebelhorn is one of the steepest bike climbs in the world.

Cycling Scanuppia, Italy - 45% gradient sign

The granddaddy of steep - Scanuppia, Italy

7.3 km at 17.7%

Cycling Mombacho Volcano, Nicaragua - steep cobbled road

Mombacho, Nicaragua

6.1 km at 14.2% (1 km @ 29.3%; ½ km at 31.9%).

Cycling Passo della Forcella, Italy second hardest climb in Italy - road and steep grade sign 

Passo della Forcella, Italy

9.4 km at 14.4%

Cycling Alpe Fuori, Italy  one of the steepest bike climbs in Italy - bike and road sign.

Alpe Fuori, Italy

11.8 km at 13.7%

Safety note:  it is nearly impossible to stay on your bike and hold down your speed on the 30+% grades during the descent.

The steepest ¼ mile 26% / ½ mile 25% and steepest mile is 16.6% / steepest ½ km is 25.5%, 1 km 24.7% and steepest 2 km stretch is 23.6%.

One can take the cable car to the Edmund Probst Hutte (cafe and viewpoint - stop #2 of 3) from Oberstdorf and to Nebelhorn Peak (last stop).  As of 2017 the cost of a pedestrian ticket for all 3 sections of the cable car was a whopping 34,50 Euro.

 

Steepest kilometer begins at km 5 (24.7%!!!)