Hardest climb in the UK?

Aint Skeered
Aint Skeered Posts: 369
Watching' Mountain' last night, and Gryff R.J went up Hardknott Pass.
which he claimed had a 30% gradient. However checking the climbbybike site I am told it's 15%.
Anyway, what in your opinion is the hardest/steepest climb in the UK
«134

Comments

  • JustRidecp
    JustRidecp Posts: 302
    edited August 2007
    Has to be the Bealach na ba. may not be the steepest but is certainly the highset road pass in the UK. Sea level to 626m in 10km. Its at the top of my list of things to do on the bike.
    Real Ultimate Power

    "If I weren't a professional cyclist, I'd be a porn star" - Super Mario
  • homercles
    homercles Posts: 499
    626km? That's pretty high! OK, OK, so I guess I'm being a typo pedant but someone has to.
  • vermooten
    vermooten Posts: 2,697
    Hardknott Pass - easily the winner in this contest. If there's any hill harder I'd like to know about it.
    You just have to ride like you never have to breathe again.

    Manchester Wheelers
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Bealach Na Ba sure is a real hard climb....done it 3 times and its always proved very difficult.

    But Hardknott from the West or its Ugly Twin Wrynose from the East are the most difficult climbs I've yet did in the UK...On Hardknott the 1st steep section is near unbearable ,the top steep section...well whoevers done this knows how bad this is...forget the 15% avg gradient...when you consider this is 15% avg gradient and the 3rd middle partof the climb is much gentler then you know what to expect on the other bits...Terrible!

    Had a good comparison lastyear with the Bealach Na Ba...done the Bealach at start of May...a week later seen me have a pop at Wrynose from the East....and I suffered much much more on Wrynose...now if you look at the profile it says its ony 9% average! Have a try at this...just gets steeper and steeper until the top ramp which I would say is 30%...horrific ordeal!....

    Park Rash in the Dales is also a killer, the Struggle and Honister in the lakes,Kirkstone Pass from Patterdale is difficult, Rosedale Chimneys the steepest climb i've ever did, Boltby Bank is insanely hard aswell...Glendaruel in the Cowal Pininsula...Glen Quaich at Loch Tay....and theres tons of others in the Dales/Lakes/Moors you could speak off.

    But for me so far its either Hardknott West or Wrynose East....its the 2 climbs i'll never ever be too confident or smug with.....its certainly the Bealach Na ba after them.

    It might change in 3 weeks for me....I'm doing the Wild Wales Challenge and this year its doing Bwlch Y Groes from Dinas Mawddwy...now THATS supposedly an UBER-Climb...1 km at 8%, 1km at 14%, 1 km at 16%...thats cruel!...it'll have to go some to beat the lake twins.
  • JustRidecp
    JustRidecp Posts: 302
    homercles wrote:
    626km? That's pretty high! OK, OK, so I guess I'm being a typo pedant but someone has to.

    Woops! Fixed. Cheers!
    Real Ultimate Power

    "If I weren't a professional cyclist, I'd be a porn star" - Super Mario
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    Hardknott is 1 in 3 on the corners and there are alot of them: it takes a snake form. Also you have to get over the much longer Wrynose pass to get there. Hardknott is extremely hard from the other (Eskdale) side. It's takes a good cyclist to do from from sea level to the top - a weekend challenge for you!

    Scotland can probably do better but it's the steepest road pass in England....easily. A good ride for those needing a challenge.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • Fat Head
    Fat Head Posts: 765
    bealach and hardnott are very different climbs. hardnott is crazy from the off and in terms of intensity nothing rivals it. bealach is a long drag that has a habit of cooking people in the kilo before the hairpins, as i saw during the wee bealach in may.
  • How about the climb through Fortuneswell to Portland? That always hurt me, but I am from the fen I suppose.
  • andyp
    andyp Posts: 10,313
    It's funny - when I saw this post I immediately thought that RichyBoy is your man to answer this as he's done them all. :D

    I deign to his superior knowledge (and secretly think he must be some kind of mentalist to ride up these daft buggers that our road builders come up with!)

    The toughest I've done in the UK is the Bwlch y Groes (or however it's spelt). I'd spoken to BeaconRuth, of this parish, about it before I tackled it as she'd ridden it previously. She told me a 39x23 gear would suffice. She was VERY, VERY wrong. :roll:
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    andyp wrote:
    It's funny - when I saw this post I immediately thought that RichyBoy is your man to answer this as he's done them all. :D

    I deign to his superior knowledge (and secretly think he must be some kind of mentalist to ride up these daft buggers that our road builders come up with!)

    The toughest I've done in the UK is the Bwlch y Groes (or however it's spelt). I'd spoken to BeaconRuth, of this parish, about it before I tackled it as she'd ridden it previously. She told me a 39x23 gear would suffice. She was VERY, VERY wrong. :roll:

    Yes Andy, I remember you telling me that the Bwlch Y Groes is a total brute, and coming from you thats frightening, I know you have climbed nearly all the big ones on the continent (mortirolo / gavia etc)so a relatively 'small' climb in the UK must have left its mark on you for to speak of it so highly :shock:

    I suppose its the last real Daddie in the UK i've still to have a pop at....and I'm expecting complete punishment...seen this type of topic before and very hard to say which is the hardest because of personal suffering....don't know if youve been up Hardknott from the West or Wrynose from the East or the slightly easier Bealach Na Ba, but I hope to christ the Bwlch isnt any worse than the 2 lake brutes...because without any crap i'm at my max on these 2....
  • Rob Sallnow
    Rob Sallnow Posts: 6,279
    I guess southern softies venture no further north than Porlock Hill.
    I'd rather walk than use Shimano
  • Hardest i've done so far is White Horse Bank. That hill seems to just go on forever.
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
  • jibi
    jibi Posts: 857
    From the Wrynose side Hardknott is 30 %, definitely.
    It may not be the hardest, I haven't climbed them all. but it is the hardest I have ever done.
    From the west side, the way the FWR goes over its Ok until near the top and then it kicks up.

    Hardknott, from the East side, gets my vote

    george
  • What about Cleve Hill, climbed during the Circut of the Cotswolds sportif > 25%. I believe Jim Henderson (former National Hill climb champ) chose this as his Killer climb for the regular feature in the 'Comic'

    8) 8) 8)


    "And don't call me Shirley......"
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    jibi wrote:
    From the Wrynose side Hardknott is 30 %, definitely.
    It may not be the hardest, I haven't climbed them all. but it is the hardest I have ever done.
    From the west side, the way the FWR goes over its Ok until near the top and then it kicks up.

    Hardknott, from the East side, gets my vote

    george

    Hardknott West or East...done them both and not just for me but everyone i've ever spoke to agrees the West side is far harder...you say its Ok until near the top! Well if 30% is ok then I suppose that statement rings true...for me the bottom of Hardknott West is tougher than the top section...both disgraceful...on the Eastern ascent its far far easier...I was ok when I reached the top(still murder)...but i'm totally wiped out on the Western ascent..in fact i'd say Honister Pass and the Struggle and most definately Wrynose East are tougher than Hardknott East....thats taking nothing away from eatern approach of hardknott...are you sure youve did Hardknott West?
  • knedlicky
    knedlicky Posts: 3,097
    JustRidecp wrote:
    Has to be the Bealach na ba. may not be the steepest but is certainly the highset road pass in the UK. Sea level to 626m in 10km. Its at the top of my list of things to do on the bike.
    Though I don't know it, Coldberry End in Yorkshire is apparently at 674 m above sea level.
  • knedlicky
    knedlicky Posts: 3,097
    Anyway, what in your opinion is the hardest/steepest climb in the UK
    Not my opinion, but on his ‘Cycling Cols’ website, Belgian Daniel Gobert lists 184 ‘passes’ in England. See …

    http://users.swing.be/danielgobert/cols/engcol.xcl.html

    Elsewhere on his website he includes 100 climbs in the British Isles amongst the supposedly most 1000 difficult climbs in Europe, even though in terms of length many British climbs are comparatively fairly short and on rather small roads, e.g. the Cow and Calf by Ilkey in Yorkshire – only 2.1 km long.

    He has review descriptions of about 20 of the British climbs (written in French, some with photos or maps) and from them it appears he judges Bealach na Ba as the worst. He doesn’t review the Hardknott Pass but elsewhere on his website he states that the Hardknott and the Gap of Mamore in Eire are the steepest passes (up to 30%) in Europe, though overall not the most difficult.
  • knedlicky
    knedlicky Posts: 3,097
    andyp wrote:
    The toughest I've done in the UK is the Bwlch y Groes (or however it's spelt). I'd spoken to BeaconRuth, of this parish, about it before I tackled it as she'd ridden it previously. She told me a 39x23 gear would suffice. She was VERY, VERY wrong. :roll:
    It depends from which side you come; the Bwlch-y-Groes is okay from the Bala side, harder from the Dinas Mawddwy side.

    In North Wales I found some fairly short stretches of smaller passes more taxing, like the road from Llandyrnog (near Denbigh) over the Berwyn Mountains to Nannerch. The minor road up from Ruthin to Moel Famau then more gently down to Mold is also fairly steep in parts.
  • Tom Butcher
    Tom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    jibi wrote:
    From the Wrynose side Hardknott is 30 %, definitely.
    It may not be the hardest, I haven't climbed them all. but it is the hardest I have ever done.
    From the west side, the way the FWR goes over its Ok until near the top and then it kicks up.

    Hardknott, from the East side, gets my vote

    george


    Surprising - I think it's much harder from the West the way FWC goes over it - the steep section near the top from the West is the steepest bit of road in the lakes as far as I know, certainly steeper than anything else on Wrynose, HOnister or Hardknott.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    jibi wrote:
    From the Wrynose side Hardknott is 30 %, definitely.
    It may not be the hardest, I haven't climbed them all. but it is the hardest I have ever done.
    From the west side, the way the FWR goes over its Ok until near the top and then it kicks up.

    Hardknott, from the East side, gets my vote

    george


    Surprising - I think it's much harder from the West the way FWC goes over it - the steep section near the top from the West is the steepest bit of road in the lakes as far as I know, certainly steeper than anything else on Wrynose, HOnister or Hardknott.

    Tom -its not surprising...it's twice as hard going from the west...this qoute 'the way the FWR goes over its Ok until near the top and then it kicks up' has to be the most ludicrous statement i've ever seen on this entire forum...not having a go at the fella....but jesus christ...Ok until its kicks up at the end!....I wouldnt like to climb his OK hills...!

    I know the steep switchback near the top you speak off...yeah thats as steep as you'll get...but there is a section on the Eastern approach of Hardknott which is as steep....the very 1st ramp upto that wee biridge...1:3 aswell...the top of Wrynose from the East is disgracful aswell -30% IMO.....the start of Park Rash is 1:3 aswell...and steeper than all of them is Rosedale Chimney....a sustained 1:3 for 300meters solid....the top of Boltby Banks not far behind either...

    But this topic is about toughest not steepest...Rosedale Chimneys the steepest no doubt but its not as tough a climb as Hardknott West / Wrynose East / Bealach Na Ba....and i've a funny feeling the Bwlch Y Groes is going to get a good placing :wink:

    Also the climbs of Long Mynd are supposedly very tough...especially this Asterton Bank upto a gliding area...thats goes up 190meters in 1km!....thats brutal....

    Everyones got there own personal opinions...but I know how I feel...and deep down I know Hardknott West and Wrynose East are mega climbs...they test me to different level to any other climbs...I also found Winnats Pass a very difficult climb but levels below the Lake brutes....spoke with a few Lake Locals who reckon Honister from Buttermere is also dreadful....

    The funny thing is i'm a pretty crud climber -far too big...I need a triple and anything over 20% see's me in my 30x27...its never let me down so far but Hardknott/Wrynose always puts me to the test even on this gearing...

    And one more thing...when i'm approaching the 2 lake brutes and also Rosedale Chimney I'm absolutely Sh*tting myself...stomach turning etc....stop talking etc...to me that speaks volumes...I don't get near so afraid on other climbs....
  • jibi
    jibi Posts: 857
    edited August 2007
    I have ridden Hardknott from both sides.
    From Wrynose as you go through the gate and go around a little knoll it kicks up to the bridge, and although it is still very steep after that, its that first bit from the bend to the bridge I hate.

    from the west I found it a struggle to get around all the hairpins , if you stay on the outside of the road they are doable, but as the thighs are burning and near the top , that bit steepens.

    IMHO its still the east side that gets my vote. As the Op asked
    Anyway, what in your opinion is the hardest/steepest climb in the UK

    But as Richboycp says its all subjective.

    But as has been said there is also the top of Honister from Buttemere
    or how about

    The Struggle from Ambleside up Kirkstone, the climbs out of Dent, or Garrigill on the C2C

    enjoy
    george
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    Hardknott/Duddon valley area used to be a training route of mine (used to live near Ambleside). I'd say the West is tougher - it has very steep sections and goes on for ever! If you start from the coast on the West your starting point is clearly much lower. The East is perhaps more consistently steep & looks harder from the bottom - but it is significantly shorter.

    The East used to b***er me but the West often used to beat me, kill me then b***er me! Happy days.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I would say the Bwlch is nothing like as hard as Hardknott or Wrynose. Hardknott from the West gets my vote, I was always very conscious of taking is easy up Eskdale to make sure I was well warmed-up before hitting the bottom. It's not just the first ramp, but the steepest section is about 3/4 of the way up as it doubles-back up to the left. I hate the decent from the top too - the bumpy road makes it impossible to descend smoothly. When working in Barrow a couple of years ago, I used to drive over to Broughton in the evening, ride up Dunnerdale and over the top to Eskdale, up Hardknott West, down Wrynose and then into Langdale and then climb back up Wrynose, back down Hardknott and back over the top into Broughton.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Rosedale Chimney is steep, but its not very long at all. But when you can no longer remain sat in the saddle because every exertion on your pedal makes your front wheel lift up off the ground, well, thats worrying.

    Coming down is even more nerve wracking. The gradient being so steep you can't actually see the road infront of you in places :?
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Monty Dog wrote:
    I would say the Bwlch is nothing like as hard as Hardknott or Wrynose. Hardknott from the West gets my vote, I was always very conscious of taking is easy up Eskdale to make sure I was well warmed-up before hitting the bottom. It's not just the first ramp, but the steepest section is about 3/4 of the way up as it doubles-back up to the left. I hate the decent from the top too - the bumpy road makes it impossible to descend smoothly. When working in Barrow a couple of years ago, I used to drive over to Broughton in the evening, ride up Dunnerdale and over the top to Eskdale, up Hardknott West, down Wrynose and then into Langdale and then climb back up Wrynose, back down Hardknott and back over the top into Broughton.

    MontyDog....what bwlch are you speaking off...I know theres a fairly easy one in the Dragon Ride called simply the Bwlch.....are you speaking about this 'bwlch or the 'Bwlch Y Groes' from Dinas Mawwdwy? here:-


    http://www.multimap.com/map/browse.cgi? ... pright.y=9
  • Tom Butcher
    Tom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    Yes I've never ridden the Bwlch Y Groes but I did drive it once and it looked pretty comparable to Hardknott - not quite as steep but more unrelenting for longer stretches - more like a longer and maybe slightly steeper version of Winnats Pass.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Sorry, should have said Bwlch y Groes - ridden it from both sides - I can ride it seated on 39/25 but the steepness of Hardknott means concerted periods of out-of-saddle effort.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • oldwelshman
    oldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    It really depends how far you have ridden, also how hard.
    I rode the Bwlch Y Groes and did it easily on 39/19 as I had not gone far, next day during the wales gran fondo, did it from the supposedly easy side and used a 39/27 as it was windy, raining and I had done 100 miles hard.
    Then after the bwlch I had to do Hirnant into a roaring head wind which made it worse than both (after 117 miles) but I guess is normall much easier.

    I recently rode a 33% in StAgnes Cornwall which I also found easy as I was fresh.
    Every one will have their own opinion so they have to ride them all to find out :D
    The one in my lick below is a good climb and though OS map says 25% my computer shows sections of 35% but I always struggle on it as you cant get a rhythym as it gets steeper and steeper then hit the 35% bit and after that hit a cattle grid you ave to try to accelerat to !!

    The Tumble and Llanelli hills in S.Wales are also good and I expect there are loads of locally less well known climbs which are very hard.

    I have done several hard sportives over 115 miles this year including Pinarello Gran Fondo in Italy but the hardest for me was the North Wales Gran Fondo with 4300m climbing, it was just the number of long climbs, some with really steep little ones before you hit the big one, and 2 big climbs after 105 miles (Bwlch Y Groes and Hirnant)
    I don't think the shitty weather helped though !!
    Hope it is sunny next year!!
  • JamesB
    JamesB Posts: 1,184
    Hurrah!! Asterton Bank gets a mention away from teh Lakes classics; very long time since I`ve ridden teh Bwlch, Wrynose, Hardknott so can`t really comment but can assure you that both Asterton Bank and Burway onto Long Mynd are worth considering, they , especially Asterton, are very steep and sustained indeed. Some of mid Wales climbs are also very hard, eg Gamallt on Tregaron road, usually tackled after Devils Staircase which has a 1:3 inside on the hairpins. As above comments also show difficuly depends on what has come before, climb out of Nenthead on C"C going west is also pretty vicious after earlier climbs!!
  • rdaviesb
    rdaviesb Posts: 566
    Hardknott and Wrynose together. Really opens the lungs up.