How to climb the Kitzbüheler Horn: The hardest climb you’ve never heard of

Familiar only to those with a keen eye on the Tour of Austria, we look at how to conquer the climb of the Kitzbüheler Horn

Although they’re the most famous, the climbs of the Alps and Pyrenees aren’t the only tough ascents in Europe.

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There are many mountains that can be as, if not more, brutal than the ones we watch riders like Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana race up in Grand Tours.

The Kitzbüheler Horn is one such example. Located in the alpine Tyrol region of western Austria, the climb is 9.7km in length and has an average gradient of 12.9 per cent, with plenty of ramps over 20 per cent and an entire kilometre that averages 19 per cent.

The better known Mortirolo Pass over the border in Italy is 2.7km longer but averages a lower 10.5 per cent and only reaches 18 per cent on its most testing section. Lance Armstrong called the Italian climb as ‘the hardest he had ever ridden’.

For anyone riding the Kitzbüheler with an eye on putting in a time, there is a ticket machine at the bottom which can be scanned at the top to give an official climbing duration.