This is easily the steepest 10 kilometre stretch of paved road I have ever cycled. Ouch.
This is a road bike climb. But I brought my mountain bike so I could descend a lesser known gravel option (which is great). See below.
It was foggy, but the weather stayed dry. The first several kilometres are all fairly similar. Steep, good quality road through grassy alpine pastures, with plenty of hairpins. How tough can 10 kilometres be? Really tough.
On this Austrian trip, I have seen more e-bikes than regular bikes. Someone passed me half way up without any sympathy for me.
A touch above 1600 metres is a restaurant and the top of a cable car. From here on there are quite a lot of walkers. There is also a cable car to the summit, so there are walkers in both directions. From this first station, the road gets extra steep (closed to cars) — and one needs to stay polite and avoid walkers/children while hyperventilating and wobbling (it wasn’t crowded though).
If you are a mountain biker, pay attention to this next photo as behind me is the gravel descent. It’s not completely obvious how to find it (see map). But basically, it is below a little lake visible as you descend.
The very last stretch to the telecommunications tower is truly nuts. High teens. The summit is just below 2000 metres. I’ve cycled lots of climbs that almost reach some even number and I have hiked up the side of a hill or something to “get the number.” But here there is nowhere to go. It’s a 360-degree view “horn.”
I would descend and head towards the lake and gravel descent, stopping for a beer and cake at a little restaurant.
The unpaved road down is also hyper steep but completely deserted except for some cows. I highly recommend this and if I ever come again I will climb this side. Hairpins, views, deserted. Perfect.
It’s a long way down through undeveloped hills, just the rare little farm. Beautiful region, with potential mountain bike rides everywhere. Down low, I joined the main road to return to the start.
My one comment: I have been hyper-impressed throughout Tyrol how many dedicated bike paths exist beside busy lower roads. This was no different. For the most part, a quiet return to the start.
And a shortcut: