Mount St Gwinear (Erica)

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Distance: 26.1 km
Average Gradient: 3%

Maximum Gradient: 15%
Elevation gain:  1,200 meters
Traffic:Light traffic
Surface: Sealed/Gravel
Category: HC

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:
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Mout St Gwinear (Erica) climb

Mount St Gwinear is best known for its cross country Skiing.  Sitting at an altitude of 1,509 metres above sea level. It is located to the South West of the Mount Baw Baw Village.  Being one of the state’s best hidden Mountain climbs in Victoria
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The climb starts in front of the Erica General store
Don’t be fooled by the average gradient as this is a very difficult climb. It can be hard to get into a rhythm due to constant undulation changes.  However the scenery, and free flowing windy roads make this climb a joy to do.
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The first half of this climb is on windy undulating roads. After you pass the Rawson turnoff the road becomes Thompson Valley Road. You’ll pass South Face Road to the left side of the road.  This is a gravel road which would take you up to Mount Baw Baw if you were feeling adventurous. With 30 km of gravel & close to 1,100 metres of climbing this is one of Australia’s toughest climbs.
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Shortly after you pass South Face Road, you’ll see a turn off to Mount Erica.  The 20% pinch on the corner will give you an indication of what you’d be in for if you braved it up that 4 km climb. After 13.2 km’s of climbing you’ll come to a dirt road on your left hand side where you will need to turn off.

Yyou will see a big sign “Declared Hazardous Area” which is not very comforting.

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Mount St Gwinear is a gem of a climb and suitable for Road bikes. The first 8 km’s of climbing has a fairly consistent gradient.  The road is quite wide and there is plenty of space for cars to pass, however large logging trucks can populate this road.  If you do hear one coming it can pay to get out of their way, as they can drive quite recklessly.
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After climbing for 8 km’s you will come to a turnoff for Mount St Gwinear.  This is where you will earn your money.
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With 21 km’s of climbing in the legs the last thing you want is to be hit by a consistent 10% gradient for the next 3.5 km’s.  The road surface deteriorates as well & there is a lot more gravel on the road.  Unfortunately/fortunately the climb has a nasty end to it.
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You will come to a steep descent which of around 300 metres. You’re legs will breath a sigh of relief momentarily until you see what in store for the remainder of the climb.  The last km does not drop below 10% and peaks at 15%.

Expect to see snow throughout the winter months going through to Spring.

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As for any dirt climb, the condition of the road varies depending on weather conditions. The first 5 km’s are very steep and caution is advised. Also be careful of Logging Trucks, as they can travel at very excessive speeds.

The Baw Baw shire 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 www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

How to get there

The climb begins in Erica which is located approximately 167 km east of Melbourne.  To get to Erica, take the M1 Freeway, and exit at Moe, and head north-east up Moe-Rawson Road.

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One thought on “Mount St Gwinear (Erica)

    HC Climbs « The Dandenong Ranges said:
    September 15, 2015 at 11:17 am

    […] Mt St Gwinear                                                                   Erica                      26.1 km              HC […]

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