Wrynose Pass East (SW #85) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Wrynose Pass East (SW #85)

United Kingdom

All the cycling data and info you'll need to climb Wrynose Pass East (SW #85)

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Climb Summary


750 meters up the climb looking west back over 13% grade.

This is the final climb of the annual Fred Whitton Saddle Back Challenge, one of the most popular sportives in the UK.  PJAMM Fred Whitton Challenge Climb Page

This is a very remote and difficult climb in the middle of Lake District National Park.  The first 250 meters of the climb average 12% and the first 2 kilometers are an extremely challenging 13.2% average grade (the final 700 meters of that first segment are at a brutal 17.5%).  Hang in there because you can almost coast the final 500 meters to the summit (3.6% average).  


Start of the climb.


Steepest section of the climb - 1.8 km (20%).

View back down the hill from near the top.

Top left photo - where we parked in Ambleside; other photos are of the climb.


Using Simon Warren’s seminal bike climbing work, 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, The Guardian writes of this climb:

“If Hardknott is the king of climbs, then Wrynose is its queen; slightly softer at the edges but no less ruthless. The hardest ascent is from the west [note - this is an error and should read from the east], beginning at Fell Foot Farm, where straight away you have a 20% right-hander and that's just a taste of what lies ahead. The road levels slightly but the surface is cut up and damaged. Still, that's the least of your worries as you pass a 25% sign. A long, long stretch of wickedly steep tarmac lies ahead, hugging the side of the mountain, with a slight levelling halfway but steeper still after that. Then you hit the switchbacks, where a better surface is cold comfort as you grapple with gravity's pull and attempt to hold your momentum through these vicious bends. Once through, you can pick up some speed before the final steep turns and your new-found momentum will help carry you through these and over the top.”  Read more 

Skyaboveus.com writes:

“England's Second Hardest Climb- Wrynose Pass Wrynose Pass is much lesser known than the majestic and imposing Hardknott Pass but offers an amazing climb for cyclists visiting the Lake District to test their legs. Any Mountain Pass that cuts between the Coniston Fells to the South and Scafell Massif to the North (Including Scafell Pike, Englands Highest Peak at 978m) has to be treated with deep respect.” Read more

Grade - Wrynose East 

Steepest ½ km begins at km 1.4 (17.2%)


These climbs are within Lake District National Park, 236,200 hectare (583,663 acres) established in 1951:

“The Lake District, also known as the Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells) and its associations with the early 19th century writings of William Wordsworth and the other Lake Poets, Beatrix Potter, and John Ruskin. A National Park was established in 1951 and, following a minor extension in 2016, now covers an area of approximately 2,362 square kilometres. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

It is located entirely within the county of Cumbria, and all the land in England higher than 3,000 feet (914 m) above sea level lies within the National Park, including Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. It also contains the deepest and longest bodies of water in England, respectively Wast Water and Windermere.”  
Wikipedia - Lake District National Park