Metres Climbed: 169
Avg Gradient: 10.5%
Road Surface: Good
This is probably the most difficult climb in Adelaide. The only climbs that come close are Woodland Way https://adelaidehillclimbs.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/coach-house-drivewoodland-way/ , Sheoak Road, and Coach Road (soon to be added). Down near Victor Harbor, this climb is hard to get to, and harder to ride. I did it as a part of a two-day trip down to Victor and Back, and we started our return journey at the base of Mt Alma. To reach it, take Inman Valley Road from Victor Harbor, and turn right onto Mt Alma Road. Quiver in fear at the signs reading “Not Suitable for trucks/busses” The Google Streetview Car didn’t go up this road, and I can only assume this was because the driver saw the sign and was too terrified to try.
Before the proper climb, Mt Alma Rd gives you an excellent warm up effort in the form of 1.7km at 6.6%. Normally I’d write up a post for a climb that worthy, but compared to what you’re going to face after, you’ll have to make do with the strava segment: http://app.strava.com/segments/744556
Having covered the warm up, you have a couple of km of flat roads to prepare for the climb. You’ll be able to see the road rise up on the hill ahead of you, as it runs along the top of a ridge. The Climb starts at a bunch of signs saying things like “steep” and “17%”.
The first part is the hardest. You’ve got about 700m at around 18%. The smallest gradient during this time is 17%, and it regularly hits 19%. If you’re foolish enough to take the inside line around the corner, you’ll be climbing at well over 22% for several hundred metres. Don’t do that.
Once you make it past this part, the road flattens out, to about 6-7% for a few hundred metres, and even briefly going flat. Then you’ve got another ramp, shorter this time. Approximately 150m at about 17%, but reaching 24% briefly. Suddenly, you’ll hit gravel, and the climb is done.
I’m the one hunched over my bike in the middle, once we reached the top of the hill.
If you’re feeling brave, you can keep going along the gravel for about 4km, which is a bit of a shortcut on the way back to Adelaide. If you’re feeling braver, you can bomb back down the hill.