The map above shows more than 800 climbs in the Australian state of Victoria. It was painstakingly put together by David Blom over the last year or so and features sealed climbs with an elevation gain of more than 80 metres.
Each of the pins represents a different climb and you can click on each pin to learn more about the climb it represents, including a link to the Strava segment, Google Maps file or other way of showing you where the climb starts and where it finishes.
The colour of the pin shows how tough the climb is:
- Green = 4th category
- Blue = 3rd category
- Yellow = 2nd category
- Red = 1st category
- Pink = hors categorie (highest category) climbs
- Purple = short, steep roads that have an elevation gain of less than 80 metres.
A climb’s category depends almost entirely on the amount of elevation it gains from start to finish:
- 4th category: climbs with an elevation change of 100m-300m
- 3rd category: climbs with an elevation change of 300m-600m
- 2nd category: climbs with an elevation change of 600m-1000m
- 1st category: climbs with an elevation change of 1000m-1500m
- Hors categorie: climbs with an elevation change of 1500m+
These ranges are only a guideline and there a number of factors that can ensure a climb is categorised as harder than its elevation would suggest, the most significant of which is particularly steep sections. For example, Mt. Baw Baw‘s 962m of elevation gain should make it a 2nd category climb, but given the extreme gradient of the final 6km, Mt. Baw Baw is more than worthy of a HC categorisation.
You might be looking at the map and wondering why there aren’t any climbs in the north-west corner of the state (the Mallee). David Blom provided this explanation:
The area of the Mallee used to be a sea bed. Therefore there are no hills up there. The land is extremely flat with only the odd sand dune. Therefore no climbs. As opposed to the Alps, Dandenongs, Otways, Strezleckis, Pyrennes and Grampians which have volcanic origins and Mt Arapiles which had tectonics push together sandstone rocks to form a mound. The other way that a climb can be formed is if a river bed cuts through deep enough through the layer above it (think Glenmore Road).
The other thing about road building is that engineers will go for the cheapest option. Which is going around a hill (you see it a lot in WA on highway 1). Also in times gone by, people making their way by horse and cart, searched for the lowest point over a mountain range. This is called a “gap”. We have a large number of famous gaps that we go through in Victoria: Tawonga, Merton, Tunnel, Panton, Rosewhite, Tolmie, Dead Horse, Buckland and so on.
So how do you use this map? Well, you could use it to scout out roads and climbs you haven’t done in the past. Or, if you know you’re going to be riding in a certain area, you could use it to find interesting climbs to take on during your ride.