Berchtesgaden, Grossglockner Revisited

Grossglockner LogoFrom June 16 to 23, we spent a week near the German – Austrian border, where I cycled a bit in the Berchtesgadener and Salzburger mountains.

While the trip was originally intended as a revisit to the Berchtesgaden area, I came across the Look Marmotte Hochkönig, which was starting in Mühlbach am Hochkönig, basically around the corner from there.

And when I studied the route for that event, I realized that we would pass through Bruck an der Grossglocknerstrasse at the base of the climb up the Hochalpenstrasse by that name.

A climb I had done in 2009 and which I’d always wanted to revisit as well – I could tell I was in for a busy week.

You can read my report on the Marmotte here – this post is about the rest of the week…

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The Grossglockner High Alpine Road – or Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße  – is named after Austria’s highest mountain (3,798 m).

For cyclists, the road doesn’t get up that high, but the cobblestone road up to the “Edelweißspitze” reaches a respectable 2,571 meters.

(I noticed the map above reads 2,572 m, but both in 2009 and 2017, the “official” summit sign read 2,571 m, as also mentioned on most other info pages)

Since this side-road – starting at 2,394 m from Fusher Törl – is a dead-end, the ‘official’ pass height is at the Hochtor (2,504 m) making it the highest pass in Austria, ranked 7th in Europe.

The Grossglockner features (annually) in the Tour of Austria and was also visited by the Giro d’Italia twice (1971 and 2011).

The Grossglockner’s most popular stretches are:

  • The timed “King of the Glockner Route” from Ferleiten (1,145 m) to the Fuscher Törl
    – 2,428 m: 1,283 m elevation over 12.9 kilometers (took me no less than 1:19:51)
  • A side trip off the Fuscher Törl to the Edelweißspitze
    – 2,571 m: an additional 177 m of elevation over 1.8 kilometers
  • The south ascend from Heiligenblut (1,300 m) to the Hochtor
    – 2,504 m: 1,234 m of elevation over 15.1 kilometers
  • The side trip to Kaiser Franz Josef Höhe
    – 2,369 m: 508 m of elevation over 8.5 km.

In 2009, I cycled up the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse from Bruck, including the Edelweißspitze and the Kaiser Franz-Josef-höhe – report on that trip here.

I revisited the Grossglockner in 2017, after I participated in the Marmotte Hochkönig. I planned on tackling both ends in one ride – skipping at least the fork up to the KFJ Höhe – but I was unable to complete that mission, due to fatigue and the hot weather.

So I settled for a round trip from Bruck to the Hochtor, with the Edelweissspitze on the return – report of that trip here.

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Grossglockner 2009

*** Information page on the Grossglockner here ***

On our way to the OEMC 2009 in Baden, I planned on climbing the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße a.k.a. Grossglockner High Alpine Road.

This is one of the more famous alpine high roads (in Austria) and with 11 kilometers over 10%, it’s ranked 5th in Europe on that list.

As a reference: the Stelvio only has 6.2 kilometers over 10% on the Prato side.

The profiles I found were are a bit confusing, as there are two extra or separate ‘forks’ you can take: the Edelweissspitze and the Kaiser Franz-Josef-höhe.

I was planning on the climb from Fusch, get up to the Fuscher Törl first, then take the extra loop to the Edelweissspitze and after that get up to the Franz Josephs-höhe…

The profile of the climb from Fusch to the Edelweissspitze, is the second profile card on the info page. The start of that, is just before the last 150 meters to the Fusher Törl, at the parking to the left.

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