Grobglockner (Fusch) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling






Grobglockner (Fusch)

Austria

Beautifully engineered roadway.

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

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Climb Summary


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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.

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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.

 

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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.