Rosedale Chimney is a mountain pass at an elevation of 312 m above the sea level, located in the centre of the North York Moors national park in North Yorkshire, England. The tarmac road approaching the pass is one of the steepest, toughest and most spectacular finishing climbs in Europe, with a gradient of 33%.
Few climbs have such a fearsome reputation as Rosedale Chimney. The road becomes especially dangerous for the brakes on a couple of particularly steep turns and it’s one of the most challenging sections of road in England. The climb is immediately steep - a sign tells you’re about to tackle a 1 in 3 hill. You encounter a cattle grid which doesn’t help matters, after which the road hits 25% on the first corner of a switchback, followed by the steepest part of the climb (33%) - a very steep second corner and unforgiving section after it, leaving riders struggling to maintain momentum. The climb then relents to about 20% before easing off to the top and on to the vast expanse of Spaunton Moor. Leaving Rosedale Abbey, a sign warns you of the one-in-three gradient to come.
The surface of the road is asphalted, and chains or snow tyres can be required throughout the year. The surface is rough at first and steep from the outset, but improves as you pass over a cattlegrid and approach the double hairpin. The second bend here is so steep on the inside that it forces you far right, so take care. Now straightening up, the next stretch is ridiculously hard, the main problem here being just staying upright while either side of the road, sheep wait to see if yet another rider falls victim to the Chimney. Stick with it, as eventually the one-in-three does turn into a relatively gentle one-in-six, allowing you to build a little momentum to drag your bike up on to the moor. It’s one of the truly definitive climbs.
Avoid the route in wintry conditions. The road is unsuitable for lorries and caravans. Rosedale Chimney has a fearsome reputation and with good reason. Starting from Rosedale Abbey, the ascent is 1.47 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 175 meters. The average percentage is 11.9 %. Brutal is a word used often in cycling, but there isn’t a better one to describe the climb. So, use caution and enjoy the magnificent scenery.