Hirschbichl. A notorious pass. A narrow road, with gruelling ramps of over 20 percent. But don't panic! Anyone who doesn't fancy the challenge can easily make a detour around the Hirschbichl. But, hand on heart, if you happen to be in the area.... Plus, in the long history of Epic Climbs we have made tougher conquests. First, though, we head out of Burghausen, cross the Salzach and set tyre on Austrian soil for the first time. Shortly afterwards, though, we are back in Germany and riding south on minor roads through the foothills of the Alps. By the halfway stage, at Bad Reichenhall, we are definitely in the Alps and the surrounding mountains get higher and higher. The lovely Schwarzbachwachtsattel offers an initial tester, but it is only a warm-up for the day's killer climb. Everyone who makes it over the three extremely steep ramps of the Hirschbichl can genuinely be proud of themselves – happily, there are several flat sections where you can regain control of your pulse. Just before the summit we enter Austria again. Take care on the descent – some of it is just as steep as the ascent! But once we are down in the Saalach Valley it isn't far to our stage arrival point of Zell am See.<italic>Variant:</italic>omitting the Hirschbichl saves you 500 m of climbing while maintaining a similar distance.