Grossglockner (Fusch) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

16.2
FIETS
11.5 mi
DISTANCE
5,407 ft
GAINED
8.9 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): Bill Coppobianco (Laguna Beach, CA, USA); Ties Arts, Netherlands; Erwan Trequier, Brittany, France.

INTRO

Cycling Grobglockner from Fusch is one of the top cycling challenges and experiences in Europe. This is a Top 50 World Climb and is the poster child for Austrian roadway perfection.
8.9% average grade.  8% of the climb is at 0-5% grade, 51% is at 5-10%, and 41% is at 10-15%.  The steepest 500 meters and kilometer is at 11.6% which is a testament to the smooth gradient of the road.  

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Two lane highway in excellent condition with no shoulder. 

Traffic:  Moderate.

Toll:  There is a toll booth but my memory from my climb in 2017 is that cyclists do not pay, but bring Euros just in case. 

Parking:  I rode from my Hotel Lampenhausl in Fusch 2.6 miles north of climb start (Map; Street View).  There are also a few spots to park on a side road, or the side of the road at the start of the climb (MapStreet View). 
Provisions:  At the Edelweinhutte at the finish of the climb (Google Map + Reviews). 
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.
We stayed in Fusch at Hotel - Restaurant Lampenhäusl which had a nice breakfast and dinner, was nice place to stay, was close to the climb start, and was reasonably priced.  Consider also climbing the other side of this roadway - Grobglockner Pockhorn to tunnel and Franz Josefs Höhe (Heiligenblut), both on the other side of the pass and through the tunnel at the top.  We drove to the other side to do these climbs because we did not want to ride through the tunnel. 

Consider participating in the one day cycling only event, The Glocknerkönig - I believe this climb is held annually on the first Sunday of June beginning on the north (Fusch) side of the pass. 

Use the “Routes in Area” button on the menu bar to see other bike climbs in this area.

ROUTE MAP

MEMBER RATING

Difficulty: Strenuous
4
Road
2
Traffic
4
Scenery

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Aug 11, 2021
difficulty: Strenuous
scenery: 4
traffic: 2
road: 4
Aug 11, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 2
road: 4
beautiful but a lots of dengerous motorbikers,
Apr 27, 2021
I tried to climb Grossglockner from Zell am See on a fully-laden MTB with knobbly tires in the summer of 1990...my first cycle touring adventure (I knew nothing!). My legs were cramping so badly by ~2000m that I knew I could not make it to the top...but had great fun on the descent, especially the cobbled corners. One day I will have to go back and finish the job!
ROUTE MAP
PROFILE TOOL

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CLIMB SUMMARY

IMG_3958.JPG

Grobglockner from Fusch (north)

The last 1.6 km up to Edelweissspitze are cobbled.

Grobglockner is the highest mountain in Austria, and the road over it is an engineering marvel.  The road surface is impeccable and affords many nice views of the surrounding mountains along the way.[1]  The climb is very challenging, averaging nearly 9% over 11.5 miles. Grobglockner from the Fusch (north) side is ranked #28 on our Top 100 World Climbs List (from Pockhorn it is ranked #92; see the Grobglockner from Pockhorn climb page for more information).

The grade is nearly constant throughout the climb, with the average for the steepest ¼ mile being 11.67%, steepest mile 10.76%, and steepest stretch over a 2.5 mile run is 10.1%.  Other than a respite through the hairpins (kehres), there is no relief from the double digit grade.

IMG_3958.JPG

Precisely engineered Austrian roadway.

Austrian engineering at its finest. 👍

At mile 10.4 we turn left to ride the last mile at 10.6% on cobbles to Edelwibhutte and Edelweissspitze.

 

IMG_3958.JPG   

 

A separate set of marked kehres on the way to Edelweissspitze.

Cycling Grobglockner - bike leaning against kehre sign

The road is free for cyclists, but costs 35.50 Euro for vehicles as of 2017.

Our cycling friend and #1 contributor to Top 100 World Climbs, Ties Arts (Netherlands) provides this summary of his ride up the Grobglockner:

Ties at Edelweissspitze (the climb’s top).

In the summer of 2018 around 1:30 p.m., I began my ride up this incredible road from the Fusch side (the late start due to having done the mighty Grosser Oscheniksee in the morning).  


The weather was very hot that day (almost 40 degrees celsius/ 104 fahrenheit in Fusch!!!).  However, I was determined to climb one of Europe’s most famous roads.  And what a joy it was. And what a pain it was as well. I was on a rental (Kona ‘Jake the Snake’ cyclocrosser with a 34X34 cassette; unfortunately a heavy, 10kg+ bike).

The moment you enter the official part of the road (going through the gateway) it really starts. From “Kehre 1”  (switchback #1) the grade never falls below 9%, and I mainly saw double digits on my Garmin as I made my way up the mountain in the stifling heat.  Climbing a Hors Category climb in 35 degrees Celsius is always tough -- your body just gets exhausted faster. Hydrating regularly is critical.

 

Summit sign

Photo contributed from Erwan Treguier

This was an exceptional climb with magnificent views of the valley as we climb, and then the mountains above us that we ascend to. This is one of the most perfectly engineered roads in the world and the switchbacks become part of the wonderful scenery.  

14 kehres (hairpins) on main route (first 17 km).

Six more on the 1.6 km to Edelssspitze.

The final segment of the climb (extension) to the  Edelweissspitze is unique, turning to cobblestones and increasing the grade even more.I must admit this was one of the best five climbs in my life so far.  Any climber interested in a unique, scenic, and special challenge/adventure, should put Grobglockner on their Bucket List.

Every year there is a bike event here called Glocknerkönig, which is a bike-only, car-free, day up the Grossglockner-Hochalpenstrasse (High Alpine Road) below the Grossglockner mountain. At 3798 metres, it’s the highest peak in Austria.

View from Edelssspitze of the road to the tunnels and Pockhorn approach to Grobglockner.

Photo contributed from Erwan Treguier

Of the road, Wikipedia notes:

“Mass tourism was decisively promoted by the scenic High Alpine Road (Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße) running from Heiligenblut to Bruck in Salzburg with a branch-off to the Franz-Josefs-Höhe viewpoint. It was built across the historic Hochtor Pass of the Alpine divide between 1930 and 1935 according to plans designed by engineer Franz Wallack. The pass road, Austria's highest, reaches 2,576 m (8,451 ft), and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country (second after Schönbrunn Palace) with about 270,000 vehicles and 900,000 visitors every year, about 50 million since its opening” (Wikipedia - Grobglockner).


[1] We know the views are exceptional because the day before the climb when we descended this side of the pass in an automobile it was clear, though our ride the following day was during continual rain.