I’ve always had problems with climbing, partly to do with my crappy knees (which I can’t really fix) and partly due to my fitness (which I am fixing!). It’s just about practice, really – when I first started biking, I was terrible at climbing, even if it was only slight uphill, or a short hill. At Cannock Chase, on FtD, it was a major achievement when I could get up the fireroad hill to Section 8 (now Breeze the Trees/High Voltage) in one go. I had to stop every 10 or 15 minutes on the initial climb at Llandegla. Same for the climb from the Hub car park to the Buzzard’s nest at Glentress. I can now get up all of them without stopping, or dropping into granny ring! \o/
Doing mid-week rides as well as weekends has really helped me out. If she’s only ever going out occasionally though, she’s not going to see a miracle improvement – outside of a motorised bike, I don’t think there’s a quick fix.
On the plus side, the climb from the bottom of Glentress to the Buzzard’s nest is pretty much the only climb I’d classify as ‘fun’ – it pretty, it’s fairly varied and there’s some optional trail features along the way. If my legs are feeling a bit knackered on a Glentress trip, I’ll actually do the blue from the bottom car park to the Buzzard’s nest car park, ride up a bit more and get to the bit before Berm Baby Berm and then ride all the way down the bottom, and do that a couple of times – feels like less effort than doing the entire blue.
The climb up to Spooky Wood isn’t too bad until you hit the fireroad, which if you have trouble climbing seems to go on forever. And as Grum said, the red/blue climb after Pennel’s Vennel is really quite tough, harder than any of the climbs on Follow the Dog (more like the climbs on the Monkey, only made out of pointy rocks instead of sand, with slighty roomier turns!). I actually find the red climb up to Spooky Wood easier than that bit of trail.