Impossible Climb | Time for Coffee

Remember France? The nanny state where bureaucracy runs amok and health and safety has gone mad? Well, it also plays host to 'Impossible Climb' a series which, despite running since 1984, looks so amateurishly organised and inherently fraught with danger that you question why anyone would even take part, let alone accept the liability of organising.

Much like Iceland's Formula Off Road, Impossible Climb involves competitors launching their vehicles up the side of an insurmountably steep slope with the aim of getting as high as possible before the inevitable happens. The main difference, of course, is that while Formula Off Road features purpose-built roll-caged 4x4s with plenty of protection, Impossible Climb is attempted from the saddle of a hastily modified scrambler.

We say hastily, but these are serious machines despite their cobbled-together appearance. Putting out in excess of 100hp, or over 200 with the help of NOS, the extended swingarm and spike/paddle enhanced tyres provide the stability and traction to keep them on course. In theory, at least. In practice the majority of riders end up cascading head over heels back down the hill, their bikes often careening toward spectators protected at best by a poorly built tyre wall and at worst only by their own alertness. In fairness, there do also seem to be some rappellers in t-shirts and bicycle helmets to try and catch(?) them, too.

Despite being largely repetitive and often cringe inducing, it nonetheless makes for strangely compelling viewing. So, whether we understand the motivation behind it or not, we salute all those involved for keeping it going. Let's all pop the kettle on, put our feet up, and all be grateful it's not us!


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Comments (10) Join the discussion on the forum

  • sidesauce 23 Oct 2019

    Absolutely crazy. I love it! And I'm not normally into bikes at all... As the article says, very compelling.

  • chris4652009 23 Oct 2019


  • Plate spinner 23 Oct 2019

    Love it! Bit of craziness in an over sanitised world!

    This is sport just like it used to be at a primal level.

    Just some guys on bikes looking at an impossible hill...

    “I reckon I can make it...”
    “Bet I can make it up quicker than you”
    “Bet you can’t”
    “It’ll hurt if we fall, might even die...”
    “Yes it will, so best not fall eh”.
    “I’ve been modifying my bike at home...”
    “Yeah? Me too...”
    “A small wager to make it more interesting?”
    “Oh it’s on. Let’s fking do this!”


    Edited by Plate spinner on Wednesday 23 October 09:15

  • loudlashadjuster 23 Oct 2019

    Madness biggrin

    Going up the left side definitely seemed like a better prospect

  • Motormatt 23 Oct 2019

    Absolute madness. I used to ride motocross but this is next level crazy!

    I presume even the most amateurish organiser would retain exclusive rights to run a pop up shop at the bottom of the hill selling handlebars? idea

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