|Time from city||25 minutes|
|Strava||Click here for link|
|How to get to the climb: Take the Strickland Avenue climb, or the Commando Route to Longley. Turn onto Pillinger Drive in Fern Tree as signposted.|
Images and words Marc Durdin
Mount Wellington climb
Mount Wellington is Tasmania’s most iconic climb. The climb to the summit passes through some stunning temperate rainforest and sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations. It is frequently covered by snow, sometimes even in the summer. If you’re lucky to climb Mount Wellington on a clear day there are amazing panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula from the summit. One thing that sets Mount Wellington aside from all of the other Alpine climbs in Australia is the fact that you can start the climb from well over a dozen different locations. All offering at least 18 km of climbing which offers cyclists many challenges. The longest climb being 21.3km in length and averaging 6% in gradient offering a massive 1,224 metres of elevation.
The Mount Wellington climb is also instrumental in the career of a young Cadel Evans. Who in 1999 won the Tour of Tasmania with a win on the stage to Mount Wellington.
The first section is a little deceptive, marked as “only” 6.8% on average. One might wonder if it’s hard to get a tempo rhythm up on this section of the climb. This is because the gradient on this section is actually mostly above 8%. With just the last kilometre at about 4% (which feels flat in comparison). It is characterized by tall forests and cool fern-shaded bends. It finishes at The Springs, a popular picnic area where there also used to be a hotel.
This was before it was destroyed in the 1967 bushfires.
And now is where the pain really starts. The next section is steep with a constant average of about 9%. Offering a rough road surface which saps your energy with every turn of the pedals. The view to your right is often amazing but it is pretty hard to take it in! This steep stretch of road seems to go on forever. At each corner you peer hopefully ahead for a glimpse of the Chalet at 1,000m. What is usually waiting around the next corner is more climbing.
After you reach the Chalet. The gradient eases off a bit, and a couple hundred metres later the road surface becomes slightly smoother. A welcome relief! You are now onto the final section of the climb. Having passed the Organ Pipes the road curves onto the plateau, with the summit clearly in view on your left. It’s a beautiful ride across the plateau, but the road is still deceptively steep in places. The last kilometre just hurts: the summit is just there, but it’s such a long kilometre…
Once you make it, hot and sweating, you’ll pause for a minute. Congratulate yourself, it’s a tough climb! Unfortunately there’s usually a brisk wind and the temperature is cold, and with a long cold descent ahead of you, best to not linger.