February 4, 2015

The top 10 Australian climbs that aren't on Strava

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In the years since its inception Strava has undoubtedly changed the way many of us approaching cycling. Strava segments have made it easier than ever before to track performance on our favourite climbs, and virtually every piece of road seemingly has its own Strava segment. But if you look hard enough you’ll find a whole bunch of great roads that haven’t yet been Strava-ised.

Thats exactly what David Blom has done, pulling together a list of the 10 best Australian climbs that aren’t on Strava. Are you game?

So, you want to get a Strava KOM or QOM on a big mountain to show off to your friends (and I’m not talking about one of those 2015 KOM or QOMs)? It’s not an easy task, particularly on the popular climbs. But what about if there was a big, impressive climb on Strava that no-one else had done?

Here is a list of the top 10 “There is no Strava segment here” climbs on sealed roads in Australia. They might take a bit of effort to get to, but we reckon some of these climbs might prove to be among the best roads to ride and test yourself on. Chances are they don’t feature much traffic either, owing to their remoteness in many cases.

Please note that we can’t guarantee the following roads are rideable — they aren’t always viewable on Google Maps and might be gated off in some cases. Best efforts have been made to try to ascertain climb info, road surface and topography (with bit of guesstimation involved). But hey, that is the nature of exploration …

First, a few honourable mentions:

Smiths Hill: Nebo, Qld

Length: 1.8km
Average gradient: 11.2%
Category: 3

Google Maps

Coming off the Peak Downs Highway, this short but steep tester goes up to a radio tower and overlooks the towns of Nebo and Lake Elphinstone.

Eungella Dam Rd + Dalrymple Rd (to Pearces Lookout): Finch Hatton, QLD

Length: 8.6km
Average gradient: 8.1%
Category: 1

Google Maps

Many have ridden the climb here. Nobody seems to have gone all the way to Pearces Lookout or bothered putting it all into Strava as one segment.

Now for the top 10:

10. Mt Bakewell: York, WA

Length: 2km
Average gradient: 8%
Category: 3

Google Maps

york

This solid 2km climb is up to a transmission tower and hang glider launch site on top of a mountain that overlooks the township of York. There is a bit of dirt road one must go on to get to ride up this one, but the views of the surrounding countryside look spectacular.

9. Bidgoods Rd: Barnawartha North, VIC

Length: 2.1km
Average gradient: 9.8%
Category: 3

Google Maps

This road, which shoots up off the old Hume Hwy (Plunkett Rd) looks like a rather gorgeous steep climb. Follow Black Range Rd and the road will transition from dirt to sealed.

8. St Lawrence-Croydon Rd: QLD

Length: 2.4km
Average gradient: 10%
Category: 3

Google Maps

20km from St Lawrence and 13km from the Sealed Bruce Hwy, there is one seriously super steep section of sealed road. According to Google Maps we have a kilometre of 20% action here. There are bailout points for vehicles going down the hill, with ramps installed to prevent disaster. All indications therefore suggest this would be a beauty!

7. Mt Goonaneman: Golden Fleece, QLD

Length: 6.8km
Average gradient: 6.4%
Category: 2

Google Maps

Goonaneman

100km south of Bundaberg is this little gem. 4.5km from the turn-off on the Isis Hwy, is the start of the Mt Goonaneman Climb. The road is sealed all the way from what we can tell.

6. Mt Cenn Cruaich: NSW

Length: 4.4km
Average gradient: 8%
Category: 2

Google Maps

TV towers sit atop this mountain. The last 4.4km of road here leads to what appears to be a great climb, finishing higher in altitude than the nearby Siding Springs telescopes. Be sure to visit the nearby Hickeys Falls at the start of the turn-off road.

5. Bombowlee Creek to Brindabella Rd: NSW

Length: 23.9km
Average gradient: 3%
Category: 1

Google Maps

This section of road has been ridden a few times but nobody has put this whole link into Strava as a single climb. It looks to be an amazing piece of tarmac heading along the most direct path from Tumut to Canberra.

4. Selwyn Snowfields from Goat Ridge Rd: NSW

Length: 23.6km
Average gradient: 4%
Category: HC

Google Maps

selwyn

Now that the climb to Cabramurra has been added to Strava (although I feel you could keep climbing by finishing at the radio tower at Cabramurra for an extra 90m vertical), this alternative also beckons. I could imagine the three major NSW ski fields (Selwyn, Thredbo and Perisher) having the major climbs to get to them as an additional challenge to the 3 Peaks. Anyone game for the 10 peaks challenge?

3. Happy Valley Rd: Cabrumurra, NSW

Length: 6.8km
Average gradient: 10.1%
Category: 1

Google Maps

You have to descend this one first to climb out from the power station along the Tumut River. Seriously steep stuff in a very remote neck of the woods.

2. Stone River Rd: Upper Stone, QLD

Length: 5.5km
Average gradient: 10.5%
Category: 2

Google Maps

This climb can be found just out of Ingham. There is 4.7km of dirt road to negotiate, then it is pure bitumen steepness!

1. Mt Alma: Raglan, QLD

Length: 4.9km
Average gradient: 11.2%
Category: 2

Google Maps

This climb is found about 60km away from Gladstone in Queensland. Mt Alma is the site of a weather and aircraft radar.

alma

This is a climb that, we think, would make Mt. Baw Baw look easy. From what we can tell, there is a mix of sealed road and gravel to negotiate up this climb. The first kilometre averages 16%, the second kilometre is at 20%. Thus at the 2km mark (which appears to be all sealed), you are well over 100m above the first 2km of Baw Baw from the Gantry, if you were to put the profiles of the two climbs side-by-side!

The road then turns to gravel as it flattens out and even descends for a little, before becoming a mix of sealed and unsealed for the last 2km and kicking up (sharply in some points).

Getting to this climb looks to be a little bit of a challenge. The way that we have recommend is to do the following: go 4.6km south on the Bruce Hwy from the Raglan Tavern. Turn right on to Gentle Annie Rd for 4.6km. Turn right on to Old Station Rd for 9.6km. Turn left on to the unmarked track for 16km to get to the start of the sealed section.

Disclaimer: We don’t know if there are gates in the way and have no knowledge if this road is open to the public and no absolute knowledge of the road condition. Please use caution for this one.

So there you have it. 10 climbs that currently aren’t on Strava. Who is game to go out and claim these mountains as their own? Happy climbing and good riding.

16 Comments

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  1. Jon Thornton / Feb 13 2015

    In November 2014, I mapped out a dirt road ride between Benalla and Mansfield. My route included two “classic” climbs. When I uploaded my ride to Strava, I was surprised that the climbs weren’t defined as segments. I created the segments and claimed the KOMs. I don’t think anyone else has ridden my climbs since. Get out there and steal my soft KOMs. They are great climbs.

    https://www.strava.com/segments/8460958 and https://www.strava.com/segments/8460937

  2. David Blom / Feb 5 2015

    For those who are on their way to Baw Baw for the Domestique ride – Elton Rd Neerim is up for grabs. It’s 1.7km @ 10.6%

    http://goo.gl/maps/Qzisu

  3. Ant / Feb 4 2015

    Pretty sure that sealed section of Bidgoods Rd is private property.

    Edit: actual name seems to be ‘Milos Private Track’ so a fair guess it probably is. Doesn’t seem to run along a road easement and is surrounded by freehold.

  4. Andy Collins / Feb 4 2015

    ‘that aren’t on Strava’… until now!

  5. Dyan / Feb 4 2015

    Hmm, I’d like to see just one sealed climb in Vic that isn’t on Strava!

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