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  1. #1
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    Longest/Tallest continuous climb in WA?

    Anyone ever had a go at figuring it out? Just arm-chair curious after a long day pedaling uphill...
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    Longest/Tallest continuous climb in WA?


  3. #3
    FM
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    In terms of vert?
    Angels Staircase, 4th of July trail (Leavenworth), devils gulch up to tronson ridge, chikamin up to mad lake, etc etc. Big ones!

  4. #4
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    I'm supposed to be riding Angel's Staircase in September. Should I be nervous. Ha
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    On road or on singletrack? IMO the mileage isn't nearly as important as the grade.

    On road:
    - Winthrop to Tiffany mtn has over 5K of climbing in 30 miles.
    - The Mt Baker hillclimb is 25 miles. Don't know what the vert is.
    - Suntop's probably not even an honorable mention. Corral pass might be.
    - Little Bald Mtn has a pretty long road climb. 15 miles IIRC. Easy grade though, it's very pleasant.

    On trail:
    - Alder Ridge is about 4K in 8 miles IIRC.
    - Basalt is 7 or 8 miles of singletrack climbing and 3 or 4K of vert.
    - The first 1.3 miles of Kachess (going up the trail) covers about 1300 feet.
    - From the TH to Cooney Lake is about 3K and 9 miles, with one small downhill, and all singletrack. Going directly to Horsehead pass would be a bit higher. Starting at the Foggy Dew campground at the bottom would add some more to this.
    - Ranger Creek up the trail to the cabin and continuing up the trail to the high point would be a lot for a singletrack climb, also the Northway climb at Crystal.
    - In Capitol Forest, climbing #8 from the Mima campground to Wedekind is mostly climbing for about 20 miles, also all on trail.
    - Climbing Lower Dungeness, up the trail, from the bottom is another good one. There would be even more vertical if climbing the Gold Creek side.
    - At Kettle Crest, from the Jungle Hill campground to Sherman Pass, and then on to Jungle Hill is nearly all climbing for 8 miles or more.

  6. #6
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    Hmmm. The "continuous" part is the catch here... Most of the really long ones no one wants to go up as there are easier ways around with flat or down to catch a breath. 3K seems like the minimum around here. Northway/Ranger to Dalles, etc... Not sure if Alder is 4K but it sure feels like it. Chikamin to Chik Tie would be right up there and you can add to Klone going that way. Duncan? Pot Peak from the lake maybe? Basalt to Dnalrag is 5K for sure. But, the bottom to Chik Tie is road...Key is to find something that starts low as most of the high elevation rides start 2-4 below is all...

    (Waiting for someone to say, "The second half of Step it Up at Duthie"...)

  7. #7
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    Oh my favorite subject...I couldn't care less about the "longest" climb, but the most challenging. Is there any more satisfying feeling in mountain biking than heart and legs on fire, sweat permeating your skin, heaving the air in and out of your lungs, while maintaining total control, exercising your skill and clearing the tech ? Meanwhile your buddies are put to the foot like a common hiker carrying their Ira Spring guidebook ?

    Honorable mentions-
    Kachess Ridge - no warmup, straight kick ass out of the gate, good pitches, good tech, can be very condition dependent, but you're up on the plateau pretty quick making it a bit too short to be ranked higher.

    Craggy Peak - sandy, motorcycle trench trail complete with rubber flap water bars, but again the steep section is too short and the misses have more to do with the flurry of punches rather than sheer knockout power. I might not even include it if I hadn't just rode it last month.

    Merrit Lake - A classic, not overly steep, but a root killer. Almost too many offs though, and again a bit short. Never really gets steep either.

    BlackRock(?) creek trail to the backside of Esmerelda lake - Just plain f'in steep and tough, I don't have too many more superlatives for you on this one, just a hard , tough, barely moving the pedals around pull.

    Anacortes - too many too list, but especially coming up towards Erie on the Igor route. This is the only local place where you can work on your climbing skills that I can think of.

    Preston's secret September ride - sorry, can't tell you about this one, but its just one big trials move after another up root and rock ledges.

    Blanchard Mt coming up from Chuckanut - I guess this is one more local place to work on your climbing. Not super duper hard, but steep and tough. Bonus is lots of hikers many from the uh, local college, who will be amazed at your athletic grit. Which, combined with $5, might buy you a latte.

    Serious challenges

    Angel's Staircase Horsehead pass - Riding to Cooney Lake is just long, and up to the top is mostly carrying. But the last climb out of Boiling Lake to Horsehead pass - Loose shale means loose traction while trying to mo' your way through the same shale rock garden terrain. Throw in a steady pitch and a few extracurriculur tech challenges not to mention the overall fatigue at this point and you have one hardcore climb.

    "Artifacts/TMT approach" - This one is only a few hundred feet gain and a few 100 ft linear, with very little challenges, but the pitch, the trench, the undulations makes it very very difficutl. Very conditions dependent- a few years ago it was not cleanable at all, and then something changed in its composition and it can be ridden when your monthly man cycle is at its peak and the earth is loamy. If you are a good, well behave biker, you shouldn't even know where I'm talking about.

    Lower Dungeness - mostly pitch climbing and almost always wet and soft. Just when you think you're done it comes back to slap you down. If you can ride this whole climb with no dabs (other than pure washouts) then consider yourself a climber. Some of the top is classic, pitch, pause, pitch, pause, we're done, NOOOOOO, steepest pitch of all !

    Miller Peak CW - The lower part just beats you up and steals your mojo as you delightfully meander your way through the woods encountering short but very loose shaley climbs that are steeper than they look. You are already losing it when the serious stuff starts - Steep, mostly unrelenting, and shaley and loose, it takes the fortitude of a Banzai squad to stay on your bike and keep the pedals turning. I've never been fully satisfied on my performance on this one, probably because its traditionally an early season ride. I'm not sure why this one doesn't make it into the top echelon, but its just missing a certain je ne seis quois.

    The killers -

    Goat Mt (St. Helens) - I believe something has changed in the upper trail composition, looser, more trenched out. The last time I cleaned it was probably 10 years ago, I pretty much just heart attack out on the last bit these days although its been a few years since I've been up it. STarts with pumicey energy sucking looseness until you get in the woods, and then excellent trail tread means great traction but every pitch just gets steeper and steeper to the top. A total F'in redline, and if you're going up it you probably have lots of miles to cover when you're done.

    Tumwater Mt Lollipop of Woe (St. Helens) - This comes after Goat Mt, you end up down in a Shire like woods following a little creek. And you climb, and you climb, and you climb - pitch, tech, horse pock bump trail, it has a little bit of everything. Inspired my favorite ride report ever, back when we still wrote those things (Yahoo! Groups).

    The winners -

    Copper Butte (Kettle Crest) - This butte rises up out of the Crest like a hideous giant boil on the face of a cartoonish Hollywood villain in the final stages of his self inflicted demise of madness. It only takes about 40 minutes but its almost completely composed of sharp rocky shale with a relentless pitch. Total red zone climbing where every bit of rock garden tries to throw you off your line. The last 500 vertical feet is just intense and yet its totally rideable.

    Juniper Ridge- The whole damn thing. Its all climbing, every type you want - sandy moto trench trail, woodsy steep pitch root ball, rocky shale sidehill single track, smooth no tech steepness, sun exposed death march push. This ride will re-energize your zest for life ! Or, you could just walk I guess.

  8. #8
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    Wow, every one of these sounds just painful, now I know what to avoid
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  9. #9
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    Mt Muller on the Olympic Peninsula has 2,200 ft continuous climb in about 2.5 miles and about 3,300 ft combined climb in 5 miles.
    As I painfully found out about a week ago.

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    *****en idea for a thread! I like the "biggest climb" link on Strava profiles.....if you've been afflicted by that

  11. #11
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    Surprised that people think Corral Pass is shorter than Suntop, at least for me it felt the oppposite...
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  12. #12
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    Preston, after reading your post I'd recommend you do an out n back on Lost Creek Trail during your trip to N. Idaho. That or get tim208 to tell you what his favorite beatdown rides are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarekith View Post
    Surprised that people think Corral Pass is shorter than Suntop, at least for me it felt the oppposite...
    Thing about the Sun Top road climb is that it is so mind numbing. Lower angle and no views to speak of.... Pure, painful, monotony...

  14. #14
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    Mt Teneriffe - honorable mention

    A favorite is Mt Teneriffe (just a mile past Mt Si).

    All fireroad, but steep and continuous. I wouldn't quantify it as the most, but it is worthy of an honorable mention for local riding. I love it, but you'll feel robbed on the descent because it's too steep to go very fast, and the gnats on the top will drive you nuts. I can't comment on the condition of it though as I haven't been there yet this year, but should be a good training ride.

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    If you start from Buck Creek the climb to the top of crystal is 4200', although the first 1300' is on the paved blvd. The corral pass climb is just shy of 3000' on steep grade (for FS road) with 3 sections where it really pitches up. Suntop is over 3000' to the top of the singletrack climb, a little less to the lookout. The Strava says the grade between Suntop and Corral Pass is equal, but I thought Suntop felt easier.

    I'm unfortunately ignorant of the snoqualmie/I90 corridor, although I would guess you could get 4,000' in that area. I'm hoping someone chimes in with a good climb/descent combo within 45 minutes from Seattle. Or maybe I'll have to do some internetting.

    There are at least a handful of buttery-smooth, perfectly-graded trails that climb over 5,000' in one continuous push, but unfortunately aren't bike legal in their entirety.

    Totally agree with Mt Muller on the Peninsula, it's the most soul-crushing 13 miles you'll ever do. The Gold Creek/Dungeness area has some big climbs and the overall loop has quite a bit of gain, but nothing more than 1,500' in one push (unless you climb the Gold Creek trail, but that's just weird). And speaking of the Oly's, as a side note, you can get 5,200' on a road bike going to Hurricane ridge or 5,400' to Deer Park if you have a cross bike. The big guns from Vancouver Island take the ferry over and do 3 or 4 laps on Hurricane Ridge.

    I'm thinking the dry side of the cascades would have some big stuff, something in the Methow area or Mission Ridge/Devils Gulch.

  16. #16
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    I guess I wasn't really looking for grunt factor effort level, as soon as you factor in different pitches that just becomes variable on the rider strength.

    I was more after "this is the longest continuous single track (or FS road) climb" or "this continuous climb will get you the most vertical elevation from bottom to top". More hard numbers rather than people's individual experiences and preferences.

    Great reading all these though, don't get me wrong.
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    Heck, for that matter then, you can ride from the ferry landing to the top of Mt Constitution on Orcas and get your 3K there. Just the trail portion from Cascade Lake to the top is a workout though.
    Side note: one can also climb the dirt access road to Crystal off the Corral Creek Road to stay off the pavement. it's what we did when we di the CTC years back.

    Point I guess is, there are a lot of options out there... depending on the grunt factor and distance to be covered...

  18. #18
    TrinityRiverKerplunk
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    My vote is for Captain Point. Though by far not the longest, it gets about 2400 feet of vert in about 3.5 miles more or less. I like it because of the challenging nature of just trying to stay non the bike.

    Those long, easier climbs drive me absolutely nuts, unless it's at the end of the day. They seem to take forever to get uphill, and gearing always is sh*tty 'cuz it's neither low enough or high enough.
    Good friction shifting is getting hard to find nowadays....

  19. #19
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    Mt. Muller and Christoff are both pretty challenging climbs.
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    Mmmmmm. Muller, for sure since it's just at the edge of even being able to ride it the whole freakin' way. (Yes, I'll puff my chest a little and I've made it to the ridge line w/o dabbing.) For you park and flats people, "dabbing" means putting a foot down. It used to be a bragging point....
    Christoff is mostly road and not all that bad IMHO.

    If we are going for short climbs, the "Jeep road from Hell" as Bruiser puts it up Fortune creek to Gallagherhead lake is up there on the red line level. Only once, but that was because I had already ridden 2/3rds of it and was feeling the peer pressure along the way. Worth the pain? Hell no...

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    How does East Tiger Road to Poo Poo Point compare? I do it regularly for training.

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    Strava tells me that the Devils Gulch trail from lower to upper is 4.9% grade, 3276' of gain (3107' altitude difference) over 11.7 miles. The road climb with a different GPS tells me that it was 5.2% over 11.1 miles, 3900' gain and the same elevation 3100' altitude difference. The trail up has some level and small downhill sections, but I pretty much call it continuous climbing. The road ride up is more steady and I don't really recall any downhill stuff on it at all. I would take the 3900' of gain with a grain of salt and GPS errors, but there were probably some downhill as you go in and out of drainages.

    If you add on the uphill road climb of about two miles from the Upper DG trail head to the Upper MR trail head you will get 9.0% grade for 1.8 miles and 838' more elevation gain for your trouble. On either route, I think it is an honest 4000'+ of climbing.
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    >Thing about the Sun Top road climb is that it is so mind numbing.

    Then don't ride up the road.

  24. #24
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    For you park and flats people, "dabbing" means putting a foot down. It used to be a bragging point....
    Ironic since the term comes from Trials riding, where flat pedals are the standard. Just sayin'.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRSpalding View Post
    Strava tells me that the Devils Gulch trail from lower to upper is 4.9% grade, 3276' of gain (3107' altitude difference) over 11.7 miles....
    Does that involve as much cussing at whoever's idea it was as, say, climbing from Windy Pass to Quartz Mtn?
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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