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Hochwurtenspeicher 2,422m

The excursion to Hochwurten reservoir in Carinthia, Austria, is one of the toughest road bike climbs in the Alps, with over 1,800 metres of altitude and an average gradient of almost 8% over 24 kilometres, and is surprisingly attractive above the tree line. It gets even more challenging at the immediately neighbouring Oscheniksee. Both trails lead to reservoirs and are therefore accessible via asphalted service roads. The trail to Hochwurtenspeicher also leads to the summer skiing area of the Mölltal Glacier.

Start: Flattach 700m
Altitude difference: 1,868m
Distance to summit: 24km
July 2021

The profile is very diversified and also includes some altitude losses (which become unpleasant climbs on the way back). In between there are long passages with double-digit gradients.

We start in Flattach in the direction of the Mölltal Glacier.

First we head via Innerfragant towards the valley station of the Mölltaler Glacier train.

Here on the right is the turnoff to what is probably the hardest road bike climb in the Alps up to Lake Oschenik. But we won't be going up there until tomorrow. Today, we continue straight ahead.

Behind the large car park of the glacier lift, things get interesting. Black signed uphill track for mountain bikers - exactly our road bike humour.

Quite steep 25 hairpin bends follow and the condition of the road unfortunately deteriorates considerably.

Behind bend seven, a small unlit tunnel. The road is damp and pothole-strewn - unpleasant without lights, but no motorised traffic.

One hairpin bend after another on the bumpy track.

At the end of the group of hairpin bends, a second tunnel follows: quite short, but miserable road conditions. (The camera brightens up the picture a lot).

Behind it, at kilometre 13, you lose a few metres in altitude and reach the back wall of the Wurtenspeicher. But we want to go much further up to the Hochwurtenspeicher.

The route is varied and provides fun.

On the last kilometres above the tree line it becomes spectacular. A group of galleries has to be crossed.

At the very back you can see the rest of the ramp.

There was quite a lot of snow this winter.

View back to the passage with the galleries

Fantastic view down to the deserted road that winds around the mountain station of the glacier cable car. No other cyclist is on the road today and no motorised traffic on the route closed to public traffic anyway.

Below on the right the Wurtenspeicher, behind on the left the course of the roadway.

Behind the mountain station you reach the Weißsee, at the end of which the dam wall of the Hochwurtenspeicher can be seen.

The Weißseehaus towers over the lake.

The still rather wintry Weißsee

And finally, after a very strenuous ride, you stand behind the dam wall to the Hochwurtenspeicher. But there is nothing to see here. The reservoir is empty!

Instead, the place is a construction site. The asphalt road only leads a few metres further anyway, so after a great tour we take our obligatory summit photo at a somewhat dull pass sign: "Entry to the construction site prohibited".

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