Vespers Hill

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Distance: 4.4km
Average Gradient: 7.4%
Maximum Gradient: 14%
Elevation gain: 332 metres
Category: 3
Traffic: Light traffic
Terrain: State Forest
Road Surface: Sealed (average)

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

In the shadow of Mount Baw Baw lies a climb named Vespers Hill.  Those looking to ride through to Baw Baw need to first contend with Vespers and it is no easy feat.  Relentlessly long steep gradients and a rough gritty surface make this one very tough climb.  This is a climb which is a popular inclusion in the Baw Baw classic.  This is held annually by the Warrigul Cycling Club.

Vespers Hill climb

The climb starts several kilometers east of Noojee just after you pass the bridge crossing the Toorongo River.  Approximately 50 km from Mount Baw Baw.  The climb up Vespers Hill takes you through some stunning state forests.

The Vespers climb offers consistently steep gradients with the hardest part of the climb being around the middle. The climb takes you through stunning state forest and rugged rock peaks and you make your way up windy bends.

This is one of those climbs which seems to go on forever and you’ll be relieved when you get over the top.

Vespers Hill at a glance

  • Long windy road with deceptive gradient changes
  • Thick forest to either side of the road
  • Quiet roads.  Majority of traffic would be tourist traffic
  • Super fast descent on the far side (please use caution)
  • Closest food stop is in Noojee

History

The Baw Baw region is one of the best in Victoria to visit by bike, and is steeped in history. Originally settled by gold prospectors during the 1860’s, the area became a timer industry.  This industry helped to sustain the area through the following century.

Shortly into the climb on the left hand side of the road is Tooronog Valley Road. If you ever get a chance to head down this road to visiti the Toorongo Falls it’s an amazing walk.  From the car park you travel through a scenic valley.  There is a short 750 metre walk through the tall wet forest to reach the Toorongo Falls.

Image courtesy of Flickr “Rexness”

If you’re attempting Vespers then we would recommend that you visit the historic trestle bridge in Noojee.  This is Victoria’s oldest trestle bridge which was built in 1919 as part of a railway to transport timber out of the area. There is a 6 km rail trail from Noojee which is amazing to ride.

Noojee Trestle bridge

The Baw Baw Classic

Vespers Hill is integral to the Baw Baw classic which is an event which has been run by the Warragul Cycling Club since 2001and through the success of this event has also been used in several editions of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

Pro rider & SBS commentator Dave McKenzie won the inaugural event and commented that the climb was equal to the hard ones in Europe. These comments and the race conditions went a long way to establishing the race as a tough nut of a ride.  The race has also been won by a number of other famous riders including Simon Gerrans, Simon Clarke, Matt Clarke & a 3 time winner Nathan Earle.

How to get there

This climb is located approximately 110 km east of Melbourne on the Mt Baw Baw tourist road.  The climb begins just after you pass the bridge crossing the Toorongo River.

During fire season

The Baw Baw National Park is in a fire district. Anyone entering parks and forests during the bushfire season needs to stay aware of forecast weather conditions. Check the Fire Danger Rating and for days of Total Fire Ban at http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

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