http://toolangi.net/history/mount-st-leonard-towerDistance: 21.1 km
Average Gradient: 4%
Elevation gain: 852 meters
Here is a link to the Strava segment here:
Chum Creek Road is a very popular climb North West of Healesville which is popular with recreational riders. This road takes you through the beauty of the Yarra Ranges National Park. At the end of Chum Creek Road you turn right onto Myers Creek Road. If you keep climbing for 3.5 km’s you will reach the peak of Myers Creek Road. Hidden at the very top is a 4WD track which is 3.3 km’s @ 10%. This goat track takes you to the top of Mount St Leanord. Which if added to the Chum Creek Road climb, makes a very challenging HC climb.
This is arguably one of Victoria’s most adventurous HC climbs
You ride out of Healesville up the Healesville – Kinglake Road. This road changes name and becomes Chum Creek Road. This section of road continues on for the next 14.5 km’s. When you reach Myers Creek Road, the road flattens out and you need to turn right. There is approximately 3.5 km’s until you reach the top of the sealed section.
The first part of this climb is the type of climb that you can grind out in the big chain ring. Be mindful when riding Chum Creek Road to save some energy. When you come to the top of Myers Creek Road, and turn left into Monda Road, you will have a rude awakening.
Monda Road is unsealed and kicks straight into 10% gradient and does not let up until you reach the top. Monda Road is narrow (but wide enough for 2 cars). Its 3.3 km’s @ 10%, and is a very challenging climb (would rate this harder than Mast Gulley Road in Upwey).
The climb should only be attempted by those who feel comfortable with climbing extreme gradients.
The climb is a real lung burner, but thankfully there aren’t too many long stretches. You can break your climb up corner by corner. The last km does get a fraction steeper. The top of the climb the road flattens out and there is a makeshift parking lot for the Mt St Leanord lookout. At the top, there is a gate to your right. If you push your bike through there is additional climbing to the top of Mt St Leanord.
Mt St Leanord offers cross-country skiing during the winter months. The road leading up there can be in very bad shape and this is a climb better suited to the warmer months of the year. Very few riders have attempted this climb, and you will feel a sense of achievement climbing such a difficult climb.
Monda Road has a very consistent gradient. The surface is fairly good for an unsealed road, there are bumps and holes to negotiate through which makes it harder to get into a rythmn. Due to the steepness of the gradient, you may have to work with the bike to get traction which makes the last 3.3 km’s extremely hard
This is a dangerous descent. As with all unsealed roads, the road surface can be damaged by the elements and care should be taken depending on the condition of the road. This descent is very steep, and care needs to be taken to avoid rocks and fissures in the road. There is just enough space for a car to pass you either way, however you will be pushed to the corner of the road which is not in good condition, and you risk puncturing your tyres or losing control of the bike, and would advise to pull off the road and let vehicles safely pass you.
Mount St Leanord lookout tower
During the fire season the Mount St Leanord lookout tower provides an excellent lookout. Forming an important role in the early detection of fire danger. The tower also houses a wealth of communications equipment. The original tower was in the form of a small cabin perched precariously on top of a sawn off tree (see image below) and held in place by wire and several cables. Access was by a long (scary) ladder.
This was replaced in 1949 by a steel structure. In 1988 this tower was superseded by the present larger structure built by Telstra to a height of 37 metres.