Bimbling around the web, Tachoblog came upon the excellent Volvo Trucks Magazine.  In one article, Tobias Hammar takes a look at Europe’s most demanding hills.  We thought you might like to see it.

Volvo Truck Hill Climb 427x310

So let’s see what Tobias thinks are the toughest, starting in Iceland…

Austurleid, Iceland

Being a volcanic island, Iceland is virtually one single long gradient. Even just outside the capital city of Reykjavik there are hills with 16 percent gradients. But nothing in these latitudes beats Austurleid in eastern Iceland. The road here winds its way up to the gigantic Karahnjukar Dam, where a power station is currently being constructed. The extremely heavily laden trucks have to climb from 36 metres above sea level to 560 metres over a distance of seven kilometres, on a road that twists and turns and has the added challenge of snow and ice in the winter.

Now click below for the rest of Tobias’ list…

Somosierra, Spain

If you enter Spain from the west on Trans-European motorway 5 between Bordeaux and Madrid, you just can’t avoid it: the climb over the Somosierra Pass north of Madrid. Along the route there are a number of extremely tough gradients that all demand the utmost of driver and engine alike. The climb begins at sea level and doesn’t finish until it tops out at 825 metres. After which it’s a matter of getting safely down on the other side.

Årdalstangen, Norway

At the end of the Sogne Fjord on the Norwegian west coast is the town of Årdalstangen. Getting from there to the heights of Hardangervidda takes a powerful engine. From sea level to 700 metres higher in just 10 kilometres. This is a stretch of road 53 with a gradient of 10 degrees, and several icy 180-degree switchbacks. Even worse, the route often has to be driven in the pitch-black darkness of Scandinavian winter.

Werratal, Germany

The Kassel hills in central Germany feature uphill gradients that many European truck drivers have come to know the hard way. Here, on Trans-European motorway 45 in the very heart of Europe are routes that can drain the last dregs of energy from even the most powerful engines. The worst of them all is the long, demanding pass through the beautiful Werratal, where on one particular hill you can often see long lines of trucks more or less at a standstill.

Brenner Pass, Austria

One of Central Europe’s most important transport routes – 1.8 million trucks passed through here in 2004 – is also one of the steepest. From the north the climb starts at Innsbruck in Austria. 20 kilometres further on Trans-European motorway 45 brings you to the Italian town of Vipiteno – but not without having first strained your truck to its very limits. The route is immensely demanding – both uphill and down. On the Austrian side there are run-off ramps for those vehicles that cannot come to a stop the conventional way – using their own brakes.

Aosta Valley, Italy

If you want to drive west from Turin in Italy up towards the Aosta Valley and then on into France’s glittering Alps, you have to be prepared to climb – and seriously at that. This route, Europe route 25, combines severe gradients with hairpin bends that are so sharp that all the speed gained by the truck more or less vanishes. On some stretches, the gradient is well above 12%.

Do you agree with Tobias?  If not, then what do you think is the hardest?  And, for those of you outside of Europe, what are the toughest hills in your part of the world?  Lets see if we can compile a Tachoblog worldwide top ten!