Brutal hill climb in Wales held on newly-crowned steepest street in the world

With a 37.45 per cent max gradient, Ffordd Pen Llech is an excruciating climb for a race

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A short and savage hill climb event was held on the newly-crowned steepest street in the world in North Wales.

Guinness World Records officially confirmed last month that Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech, Gwynedd is the steepest climb in the world, taking the title from Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The Harlech Hell Climb event was held on the excruciating climb on Sunday (August 11), with riders tackling the 330 metre climb, which averages 17 per cent and reaches a maximum gradient of 37.45 per cent.

Riders taking part in the event included double British hill climb champion Dan Evans and five-time Welsh hill climb champion Jessica Evans.

There are ten criteria a street must meet to be in contention with being named the steepest, including having to be a public thoroughfare, being fully surfaced, as well having buildings alongside the road.

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The men’s event was won by Calum Brown who smashed his way up the climb to finish in 50 seconds, while the women’s competition went to Rebecca Richardson with a time of 1-18.

Brown said: “It’s nuts. I walked up it when we got here, before we went into HQ, and it was pretty knackering. Once you’re on a bike with a bit of momentum it was okay.

“My legs are fine. It’s only 50 seconds, so it doesn’t take it out of you too much. It was more the technicality of it, it was pretty difficult to get up.”

Rebecca Richardson said: “It’s the first hill of the hill climb season and it was really nerve-wracking to come and test your legs and see what you can do.”

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Dan Evans took the Strava KoM on Sunday, with other riders in the event filling out the top 10.

Evans finished third with his time of 1-05, averaging 667 watts for the effort and holding 18.5km/h on the climb to top the leaderboard on the ‘OFFICIAL 100Climbs No92 Ffordd Penllech’ segment on.

The QoM didn't fall during the event however, with Jessica Evans still fastest on Strava with her time of 1-45 set in February.


Harlech Hell Climb


1. Calum Brown, B38-Cycles in Motion, in 50 seconds

2. Andrew Nichols, B38-Cycles in Motion, at 5s

3. Dan Evans Assos Equipe UK, at 8s


1. Rebecca, Richardson Brother UK-Fusion RT, 1-18

2. Jessica Evans, Assos Equipe UK, at 2s

3. Lucy Lee, University of Bath Cycling Club, at 4s

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.