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Monte Zoncolan - Ovaro     open your myclimbbybike to add this climb

10.5 km  1735 m  (1210 m)  11.5 %


One of the most difficult climbs in Europe, the Zoncolan has been compared with El Angliru, the fearsome climb in the Spanish region of Asturias. The steepest, 23.6-percent pitch of the Angliru is very short however, being part of a kilometer stretch that averages "only" 17.2 percent. While the Zoncolan has a kilometer of nearly 20%. Get advice and find the right gear to climb a mountain like the Monte Zoncolan on

The Monte Zoncolan is situated in Friuli Venezia Giulia. This climb belongs to the Alps. The Monte Zoncolan via Ovaro is ranked number 48 of the Alps. If you want to climb the Monte Zoncolan, you can find more information on how to train to climb the Monte Zoncolan here.

Since 2005, the Monte Zoncolan will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Giro d'Italia 2018 :  San Vito al Tagliamento - Monte Zoncolan on 19/05/2018
Giro d'Italia 2014 :  Maniago - Monte Zoncolan on 31/05/2014
Giro d'Italia 2011 :  Lienz - Monte Zoncolan on 21/05/2011
Giro d'Italia 2007 :  Lienz - Monte Zoncolan on 30/05/2007

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Climbbybike difficulty score (180)
Ranking Alps
Ranking Italy

Monte Zoncolan via Ovaro popularity rank : 41

The Monte Zoncolan has been climbed by 42 climbbybikers. It is ranked No. 41 as the most climbed climb in the world.
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Monte Zoncolan via Ovaro: 37 reviews

Iztok Golob

At 6km sign where it flattens, I literally had to hold off my tears. That's how proud I was and happy. Zoncolan is everything you hear about it. It is hard, it is steep but manageable (assuming you are not a city biker). I was afraid the first time and was probably a bit too cautious but that is what I recommend to anyone. No need for racing here. Find your rhythm and stick to it.
I started in Tolmezzo, next to the Olympic park which gives you a good warm-up to Ovaro. First three km from Ovaro to Liaris are perfect. You get a feeling of how good your legs are and also you find your rhythm. After Liaris you hit a wall. There aren't many breathers up to 6km, but you do get a few breaks at road bends. I even managed to get a fwe sips of drink without stopping. Also, the road is excellent and wide enough to zig-zag if needed.
I liked the fact that most of it was in the shade as there were 36 degrees in the valley. All in all, a must.


This climb is a monster. The first 2 km from Ovaro to Liariis are so nice and pleasant. Riding out of Liariis you hit a wall that lasts for a very long time. You will look for rest in the hairpins, but there will be no such thing on offer. And you will wonder why the hell you signed up for this. There is only uphill from Liariis, and it is very steep. I took lots of breaks. Only when you reach kilometer 8 from Ovaro will the gradient let off, and the final 2 km are easy pickings. I was geared 52-36/11-30, but I really wish I had 50-34/11-34 for the steepest parts. Lots of professionals use this gearing for Zoncolan as well. It''s easier on the knees and may increase level of enjoyment. A strange thing I experienced was a fit looking guy on an e-bike that passed me about halfway. I then passed him a bit later while he was resting. 15 minutes after I reached the top he came up walking his bike! I asked him if there was something wrong with it, but he said no, he just couldn''t do the rest. Even on an e-bike! So be prepared to give up and walk :) If you want to climb Zoncolan, but aren''t so concerned about doing it the hardest way, look at doing the climb from Sutrio.


Very hard climb. I used 34x27 and it isn´t enough. The way is still steep in the forest and you have no view except last 1,5km. After tunnels is still hard 0,5km to the top. There are some similar ascent around but no one has the steep section too long.


This was a difficult one. It starts steep and continues steep later on.

Actually, it is freaking steep.


the most difficult climb I ever did. The first two is relatively easy although there is a steep part of 11,5%. After the right turn in the little village Liariis it really starts and never ends. Incredible steep parts upto 20% with one kilometer with an average of 19,5%. Your front tire comes off the ground every time time you pull your steer that steep is the climb! Drinking is hardly possible so I had a few ''pitt stops'' to drink. When you reach the tunnels at approx 8,5km you know you are almost at the top. The last steep kilometer is therefor easy! What a fantastic view at the top. I am glad I had the opportunity to do this climb during a vacantion at Grado. Another time ... you never know!


A challenging climb which I did on a hot (36C) day using a 34 x 28. Relentless gradients, great views and distance to summit markers adorned with pics of the great Italian cyclists. Shed at the top sells tee-shirts & hoodies, no drinks so make sure you take plenty yourself.


Great climb. I rode my MTB Corratec. The wether was rainy and on the top was 7degrees. I was very carefully and rode slow because I didn''t know how hard the climb is. I need 1h 33 minutes. I estimated that next time I would be 10 to 15 minutes faster.

Paolo De Angelis


It''s the perfection, the purity, the force of cycling.

Probably the best climb of the world, for difficulty and view. This is the "Kaiser"!

Ian walker

We organised a Dolomites Tour for a group of Australians and this was the first major climb on the itinery. We started well and thought "what''s all the fuss about" After the 1st km we found out! Having done many big climbs in Italy I have to say Zoncolan lives up to it''s reputation. This was the hardest thing I have ever done on a bike. The climb is relentless with no real hairpins to give a bit of rest. Once you stop it is very difficult to get going again. Lots of front wheel lifting and wobbling. Having said that, a spectacular climb and once through the tunnel at the last km point the sense of relief and achievement is worth the pain. At 95kg and riding a compact with 28 on the back maybe the Zoncolan is not meant for me, but bragging rights last forever!

Michele Bean

I am a local from Friuli I have done more times form both wonderful, but is better with mountain bike from the other side from Villa Santina center you take the road for Lauco. You climb from there to the top of the mountain. It is the road untill Lauco then you enter in the forest. There is a road in rough concrete done for forest use then become mix of gravel and red soil with a good grip. With 22x36 ( not 36x22) and 29 inches wheel ( 2,25 and max 2 bars) you go up. Thinking bad words.

It is, i think 30% and also 40% in some parts and the medium is 20%. or more.

When you arrive down on the road before start to climb you think: ok is something that they use for cut trees in forest or is it the water line. No it is the road.

When you arrive in Malga you do the circle and you go up sweetly on the top. There, the view is a gift for your future life. You never forget it if you have a clean day without clouds.


Climbed in 1992 with 3 friends. Is a very nice mountain to go. I think is more harder than mortirolo and angliru (spain) which i rate level 3. My rating is 4 because the level 5 i think is only for the maximum climbs: Scanupia-MalgaPalazzo, Nebelhorn, Saltner-Edelweiss and only some others


As it was 36 degrees and over while climbing, I confess I thought I wouldn''t make it, but I did (barely). ''Gate way to hell'' is correct under the circumstances! Once on the summit, you feel inconvincible though, as you have just finished one of the toughest climbs in Europe... A couple of days later, I climbed the Mortirolo and that was - or at least seemed - much easier.


After the scanuppia the hardest clinb i''ve ever done. Did 300 different climbs dureing the last 20 years, but this one is special. I used the 34-25 for the whole climb and it was tough. If yoy ever have the change to climb it. Do so you will remember it..


After the scanupia this is really a killer. I did the climb in July 2011 with perfect weather. Teh first 3 kilomters are tough but when you passed the little village aand have a few meters flat road it begins to climb very steep. I used the 34-25 for the whole climb it''s really tough. Nothing (except the Scanuppi which i did in 2009) can compare to this one. I''ve climbed more the 300 different climbs (not the Angliru) and this one really is special. If you have a change to climb it, do so.


After the scanupia this is really a killer. I did the climb in July 2011 with perfect weather. Teh first 3 kilomters are tough but when you passed the little village aand have a few meters flat road it begins to climb very steep. I used the 34-25 for the whole climb it''s really tough. Nothing (except the Scanuppi which i did in 2009) can compare to this one. I''ve climbed more the 300 different climbs (not the Angliru) and this one really is special. If you have a change to climb it, do so.

Greg M

Rode the Zoncolan on the giro stage for 2011. Had a 34 28 and found it very difficult but possible. The large number of people walking up for the stage and the mountain bike riders wobbling added to the challenge. Had at least 5 people on road and mountain bikes fall over in front of me when they couldn''t keep momentum. A MUST DO climb. Did Stelvio, Passo Giau, Mortirolo, Stelvio and colle del Finestre and this made Mortirolo seem easy in comparison..... Strangely if I am back in that part of the Alps I''d do it again! :)


I think this is one of the most difficult mountain in Europe! I have climbed from Ovaro the 21 May 2011, it was raining so I cant wait to climb it because I was realy cold. From Liariis it take about 1h10m to the summit. I''ve climbed with 39-28 without stop or walking, I highly recommend to use 34 or 36 chainring, it possible to climb with 39 but it wasnt to easy. It''s a beautifull mountain, You have to climb it!

Glenn Caruso

The Zoncolan has my vote for the hardest road bike climb I''ve ever done. A technical problem forced me to ride it the first time in a 34-23 and I remember thinking I could have saved a few grams by leaving the seatpost and saddle at home - I didn''t spend much time sitting down. I''ve been lucky enough to catch two Giro stages on the Zoncolan and keep getting attracted to ride it again. The best part is when you get a chance to ride the Mortirolo a few days later and start thinking that one is easy! It would have been a real spectacle if Pantani had ridden the Zoncolan during his best years.

Mike Kilduff

The hardest climb Ive done because of the steepness. I made it up on a 39-24 but after about 4km (the first steep section) I was boiling over so I resorted to zigzaging up the steep parts of the road.

Arrigo Frisano-Paulon

It certainly lives up to its hype. Tough, beautiful, and you will need every ounce of strength. But yes, it can be done. Just to give you an idea, I am 42 years old, weigh 80 kilos and did it with a 34x25 (no triple) without stopping, just a few zig-zags here and there. This means its tough, but not impossible. After Liariis you immediately get a sense of whats coming: 300 straight meters, sign says 13% but feels more like 15%. Thats what you get for the next 6 kms: 15% average, 18%-20% max, never under 12%. First 3 kms of those 6 is the hardest part, then 3 to 6 are just a bit lighter but since youre tired from the first part, the pain is the same. When you see Indurain, the tough part is almost over. Last 2 kms are human, with only a violent ramp ca. halfway and then the last 400 m or so at around 12% (curious thing, it almost feels like nothing, compared to the rest). Hard to make comparisons with Angliru... probably Zoncolan is just a bit tougher because you need to be in red zone for 6 kms straight, and thats a lot of time here, with Angliru lets you rest here and there. You need to be mentally tough and know that those 6 kms wont give you any break, never... it just get worse as you accumulate acid.

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