Epic Climbs:

Ascents of the 2024 Absa Cape Epic

The 2024 Absa Cape Epic features 27.48 metres of climbing per kilometre along the 613 kilometre long route. This makes it the steepest edition in the 20-event history, topping the 26.68 metres per kilometre of 2019 by a significant margin. These are some of the fearsome climbs which contribute to the 16 850 metres of accumulated elevation gain. 

Fanties Pass 

NOTE: Please note the Fanties Pass and Assegaaibos Trails are strictly closed to the public.

Where: Tulbagh

When: Stage 1

Length: 4.1km

Start Elevation: 378m

Summit Elevation: 749m

Elevation Gain: 371m

Average Gradient: 9%

Type: Dual Track

KOM: 12:50 Simon Schneller

QOM: 15:15 Amy Wakefield

Last featured in the October Epic, in 2021, Fanties Pass is not a true pass. Rather than crossing a mountain range, it provides access to the highest orchards in the Tulbagh Valley. Measuring 4.1 kilometres in length, on Trailforks, it gains 371 metres at an average gradient of 9%. The initial ramps are steep but not brutal, before Fanties levels out to 3-5% for 750 metres after the 1 kilometre mark. Between kilometres 2 and 3 it pitches steeply with sections of 20-30% with relief provided by 10% sections. The final kilometre is relentlessly steep to a false summit, with 100 metres to go, where the road drops briefly and then kicks up for a last 10 metres of climbing. The Strava segment is shorter, and cuts out the lowest part of the climb, it therefore measures 2.13 kilometres in length and averages an intimidating 14.7%.

Old Wagon Trail

Where: Tulbagh

When: Stage 2

Length: 7.4km

Start Elevation: 372m

Summit Elevation: 1 133m

Elevation Gain: 760m

Average Gradient: 10.3%

Type: Singletrack

KOM: 38:55 Bunny Witabakpaque

QOM: 1:27:30 Laurin Little

The Old Wagon Trail was last used as a climb in 2016. As it was 8 years ago, it will be ridden in both directions in 2024, with the climb taking teams into the Witzenberg Valley from the Saronsberg race village. The singletrack ascent begins with a grinding climb which traverses the mountain side, some respite can be found between the 9 switchbacks, 3.5-4 kilometres in. The final 3 kilometres are all steep, with short flat sections to gather energy for an assault on the next kicker. Positioning in the group, with the climb starting just 9 kilometres into the stage, will be key. Trailforks gives the Old Wagon Trial a black diamond rating, while Strava's most accurate segment features KOM/QOM times set during the 2011 Absa Cape Epic. Those are due for updating in the 2024 race!

Aap d'Huez

Where: Wellington

When: Stage 4

Length: 1.4km

Start Elevation: 396m

Summit Elevation: 521m

Elevation Gain: 125m

Average Gradient: 9%

Type: Singletrack

KOM: 4:25 Karl Platt

QOM: 5:37 Mariske Strauss

One of Wellington’s most famous singletrack climbs, Aap d’Huez is just the beginning of the Queen Stage’s final climb. It is however the toughest section, averaging 9% across its 21 switchbacks and 1.4 kilometre length. It features a staccato gradient which denies any attempt at maintaining a rhythm, which is particularly brutal 65 kilometres into an 88 kilometre stage with 3 000 metres of climbing. On Trailforks riders will be able to plot their climb, which also takes in the DNF singletrack and the Cliffhanger. In total the 3 climbs and their connecting dual track links require teams to conquer nearly 800 metres of elevation gain. Thus, chasing the Strava segment on Aap d'Huez might not be the wisest move.


Where: Stellenbosch

When: Stage 6

Length: 3.1km

Start Elevation: 352m

Summit Elevation: 495m

Elevation Gain: 178m

Average Gradient: 4.6%

Type: Singletrack

KOM: 11:51 Lukas Baum

QOM: 15:56 Kim le Court

The final section of the final significant climb on a day packed with ascents, Goddess is a mix of climbs and contours. Below it teams will duck through the Hellshoogte Pass culvert and climb an old forestry dual track before turning onto the singletrack. Once racing Goddess, riders will snake along the slopes of Botmaskop; gaining 178 metres over 3.1 kilometres, according to Trailforks, at an average gradient of just 4.6%. That percentage belies the difficulty of the task at hand. The trail kicks up sharply on three occasions; 400 metres in, 1.5 kilometres in, and 2.3 kilometres in. Between the steep sections it gains elevation gradually or even descends slightly following the natural contour of the mountain. On exhausted legs the views it offers are offset by the precipitous drops right alongside the singletrack. It is one to endure rather than enjoy, though Lukas Baum did still manage to set the Strava KOM during the 2023 Absa Cape Epic en route to Val de Vie. Kim le Court’s QOM meanwhile was set during a training ride.