Honister pass can be approached from two directions. This video covers the side travelling East to West, which is famously used in the Fred Whitton Challenge. It may only be 2.4km long, but don't let that fool you. This is a tough climb.
- Distance: 2.4 km
- Category 3
- Average gradient: 10%
- Max gradient: 25%
- Height gain: 243m
- Suggested gearing – 34-32 or 36-32
The quaint village of Seatoller marks the start of the climb up Honister Pass. Coincidentally this is officially the wettest place in England! Heading out of Seatoller you are immediately faced with a brutal wall through the trees. This unrelenting section averages 14% and is 25% at its steepest. It will see most riders forced to get out of the saddle.
This is the hardest part of Honister Pass and eases off once you reach a cattle grid in about 900m. After the cattle grid the climb eases, giving you an opportunity to enjoy the views and recover before the final ramps up to the slate mine.
The final push to slate mine is tough with an inconsistent gradient occasionally ramping over 20%. It is easier than the first part of the climb though, which can help mentally. Take care as there can often be loose stones, gravel and water.
Descending the other side is very steep, so before you do, take in the views and enjoy it! On a clear day you can see Helvelyn in the background! A pro would climb Honister pass in 9-10 minutes. The slate mine cafe makes for an ideal cafe stop too.
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Oliver Bridgewood - no, Doctor Oliver Bridgewood - is a PhD Chemist who discovered a love of cycling. He enjoys racing time trials, hill climbs, road races and criteriums. During his time at Cycling Weekly, he worked predominantly within the tech team, also utilising his science background to produce insightful fitness articles, before moving to an entirely video-focused role heading up the Cycling Weekly YouTube channel, where his feature-length documentary 'Project 49' was his crowning glory.