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I saw below that someone did a 2400-foot climb in about four miles. I did one of those myself on this road called Corkscrew Grade during the (so-called) World's Toughest Century, which had a few 22-24 percent sections.

I thought that was pretty beefy, but there HAS to be worse. For the record, I think the worst road section I've ever seen was that military road monstrosity in the 2002 Giro where the team cars were literally stalling and sliding backward off the road, which, if my calculations are correct, was a 637.9 percent grade. I could be a bit off, though.

So tell us, climbers, what is the most hellacious climb our great nation, or this planet, has to offer?
 

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Gator said:
I saw below that someone did a 2400-foot climb in about four miles. I did one of those myself on this road called Corkscrew Grade during the (so-called) World's Toughest Century, which had a few 22-24 percent sections.

I thought that was pretty beefy, but there HAS to be worse. For the record, I think the worst road section I've ever seen was that military road monstrosity in the 2002 Giro where the team cars were literally stalling and sliding backward off the road, which, if my calculations are correct, was a 637.9 percent grade. I could be a bit off, though.

So tell us, climbers, what is the most hellacious climb our great nation, or this planet, has to offer?
I think the 637.9 percent grade is way off the scales. I remember reading a cycling magazine last year that somewhere in New Zealand is a street that is 36 percent grade. That is the steepest I've ever heard of.
 

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Don't you guys remember the Angliru in Spain used in the Vuelta at least twice in the last 3-4 years.

Sections of 27%, first time I've ever seen the pros use a triple chainset. David Millar managed to fall off before the climb & throw a massive temper tantrum at the top by not crossing the finish line & abandoning 20 metres before it in "protest".
 

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as reported here in May 2003 - 33%

Gator said:
I saw below that someone did a 2400-foot climb in about four miles. I did one of those myself on this road called Corkscrew Grade during the (so-called) World's Toughest Century, which had a few 22-24 percent sections.

I thought that was pretty beefy, but there HAS to be worse. For the record, I think the worst road section I've ever seen was that military road monstrosity in the 2002 Giro where the team cars were literally stalling and sliding backward off the road, which, if my calculations are correct, was a 637.9 percent grade. I could be a bit off, though.

So tell us, climbers, what is the most hellacious climb our great nation, or this planet, has to offer?
is the steepest I've come across

http://forums.consumerreview.com/[email protected]@.efcd8cc

luckily the steep part was less than a quarter of a mile
 

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Steepest I've been on....

is in Princeton, MA at Mt. Wachusett ski area. The road travels from the base of the mtn up the alongside the ski area. The entrance to the state park is at the top and from there you can summit the mountain but that section of road is nothing like the road from the base. I know it is 1.3 miles long but I'm not sure how much it rises. No break, no change in pitch all the way up, narrow and heavily travelled so no weaving...
 

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myette10 said:
is in Princeton, MA at Mt. Wachusett ski area. The road travels from the base of the mtn up the alongside the ski area. The entrance to the state park is at the top and from there you can summit the mountain but that section of road is nothing like the road from the base. I know it is 1.3 miles long but I'm not sure how much it rises. No break, no change in pitch all the way up, narrow and heavily travelled so no weaving...
I've done that ride with the Charles River Wheelmen. Going up wasn't nearly as bad as coming down. I had a tire blow out. I have no idea how I didn't end up as road meat. The guy a few minutes after me, however, wasn't so lucky. In addition to a trip to Road Rash Land, he broke his collarbone and a couple of ribs. He and his bike were a nasty mess. The best was when someone asked him who they should call.

"Don't call my wife. We're going through a divorce. She'll just tell you to back over me and call it a day."

But yeah, it was a steep ascent and long, but it didn't seem all that bad. I actually passed some people on the climb, which made it fun. Being on a 24-pound bike certainly didn't make it any easier. Woof.

-OwMyNads
 

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I did that climb too. It's one of the 3-4 times in the last couple of years I'd actually used a small ring on a triple.

But as a youngster I recall a bad hill (not a fraction as long though) between the villages of Low Bradfield and High Bradfield in South Yorkshire, UK. Also at the city of Lincoln, Robin Hoods Bay, Yorkshire (and one other fishing village in the southwest) there are really steep hills. I remember driving a car in a little village in Shropshire and the world disappeared before me as I got the top of a hill -very scary, as you only could see sky. My wife wasn't too happy.

But I think there's a 40% paved grade somewhere in Wales -not recommended to cycle up or down as I recall.




myette10 said:
is in Princeton, MA at Mt. Wachusett ski area. The road travels from the base of the mtn up the alongside the ski area. The entrance to the state park is at the top and from there you can summit the mountain but that section of road is nothing like the road from the base. I know it is 1.3 miles long but I'm not sure how much it rises. No break, no change in pitch all the way up, narrow and heavily travelled so no weaving...
 

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Anything steeper than about 24% won't hold pavement (that is, the pavement will slide), so that's pretty much the limit for paved roads.

Percent gradient is a calculation of rise/run, with 100% being the equivalent of 45 degrees. Your calculation of 637.9 has to be wrong, since it would result in an angle of 89.9 degrees, and a vertical wall is 90 degrees.

(angle = tan^-1 gradient)
 

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Dave_Stohler said:
Anything steeper than about 24% won't hold pavement (that is, the pavement will slide), so that's pretty much the limit for paved roads.

Percent gradient is a calculation of rise/run, with 100% being the equivalent of 45 degrees. Your calculation of 637.9 has to be wrong, since it would result in an angle of 89.9 degrees, and a vertical wall is 90 degrees.

(angle = tan^-1 gradient)
Hey Cutter,

I think the steepest i've ever been on in a race or organized ride is either snake mountain or beech mountain(the old tour dupont course) which is between 18-22%..sorry to be boring....
But i HAVE gone 60mph in the small ring, i mean, who hasn't?!!!
 

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Steepest I have ridden is the Manayunk "wall", but I don't get out much. It's not that bad either, it's over in like 5 minutes of pedalling.

Out in central PA around where I went to school I had some 3 mile grinding climbs, not super steep, but wanted mommy by the top.
 

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This is one of the ugliest ones I have seen- so of course we are hosting a race up it. Heh!

"Starting at 10:00am, every 60 seconds, a rider will attack the 7+ mile course which climbs more than 2,500 feet. The course winds its way up to the entrance of Wintergreen Resort, and then twists and turns up the mountain-side to the finish line at the Wintergreen Spa and Fitness Center. The climb reaches grades of 15 percent with an average of 8 percent and will challenge the best of riders..... "

Painful. There is another climb that is a bit steeper closeby. The blue ridge has a bunch of nasty climbs actually.
 

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Thought..............

Gator said:
(commentary deleted for brevity)
So tell us, climbers, what is the most hellacious climb our great nation, or this planet, has to offer?
Why not come up with this by state?

I can think of an ungodly steep climb off Eden Prairie Road in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
I know that both Geardaddy and Scot_Gore both know this climb - you can take the
long way up by Flying Cloud airport or hang a left and it's the type of steep climb that
if you unclip you won't be able to clip in again. I drove up that thing in a car last winter
and the road was a little slippery and I was concerned the car was going to start a long
slide backwards. I'll have to get a picture of this as it's really steep.
 

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Where did you go to school? I live in New Cumberland (outside of Harrisburg) and there are some 18% pitches around here. There's one that I've done that I can't find on my Topo USA map. It's got to be around 20%
 

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Aliensporebomb, is the climb in Eden Prairie steeper than Ramsey Hill in St. Paul? That one kills me, as I always finish my rides with it.
 

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I went to shippensburg university, so i rode out in those mountains when i was in off seasons from track/cross country. i don't know the name of the roads i was on, but some of them were doozies. mountain biking out there was absolutely a blast, but the climbing would kill the weak. being in the middle of nowhere isn't much fun either, especially when there are bear lurking.

fun times though, good riding too, no cars, it's hicksville.
 

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collateral info

Up to about 20%, it doesn't make much difference whether you use the road distance or the true "run" to calculate percent grade:

http://www.midcalracing.com/slopechart.htm




Gator said:
I saw below that someone did a 2400-foot climb in about four miles. I did one of those myself on this road called Corkscrew Grade during the (so-called) World's Toughest Century, which had a few 22-24 percent sections.

I thought that was pretty beefy, but there HAS to be worse. For the record, I think the worst road section I've ever seen was that military road monstrosity in the 2002 Giro where the team cars were literally stalling and sliding backward off the road, which, if my calculations are correct, was a 637.9 percent grade. I could be a bit off, though.

So tell us, climbers, what is the most hellacious climb our great nation, or this planet, has to offer?
 

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more re climbs

Subject: 5.3 Rating the Tour de France Climbs</PRE>

One of the most frequently asked questions is how do the organizersdetermine the ratings for the climbs in the Tour de France(TIOOYK).The Tour organizers use two criteria 1) the length and steepness ofthe climb and 2) the position of the climb in the stage. A third,and much lesser criteria, is the quality of the road surface.It is important to note several things before this discussion begins.First, the organizers of the Tour have been very erratic in theirclassifications of climbs. The north side of the Col de la Madeleinehas flip-flopped between a 1st Category to an Hors Category climb,even though it seems to be in the same position of a stage everyyear.Secondly, rating inflation, so rampant in other sports has raisedits ugly head here. Climbs that used to be a 2nd Category are now a1st Category, even though, like the Madeleine, they occupy the sameposition in a stage year after year.Let's talk about the ratings. I will give you my impressionson what I think the criteria are for rating the climbs based onhaving ridden over 100 of the rated climbs in the major Europeantours.Note that gradual climbs do not receive grades. It has been myobservation that about a 3-4% grade is necessary for a climb to getrated. Also, a climb must gain at least 70m for it to be rated.The organizers of the Tour de France also claim that the quality ofthe road surface can influence the rating of a climb. If the surfaceis very poor, like some of the more obscure climbs in the Pyrenees,then the rating may be bumped up.4th Category - the lowest category, climbs of 200-500 feet(70-150m).3rd Category - climbs of 500-1600 feet(150-500m).2nd Category - climbs of 1600-2700 ft.(500-800m)1st Category - climbs of 2700-5000ft(800-1500m)Hors Category - the hardest, climbs of 5000ft+(1500m+)Points awarded for the climbs ranges are as follows (from the 1990race bible):4th Category: 3 places: 5, 3, 13rd Category: 5 places: 10, 7, 5, 3, 12nd Category: 10 places: 20, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 11st Category: 12 places: 30, 26, 22, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1Hors Category: 15 places: 40, 35, 30, 26, 22, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1Steepness also plays a factor in the rating. Most of the big climbsin the Alps average 7-8% where the big climbs in the Pyrenees average8-9%.Please remember that I am giving very, very rough guidelines andthat there are exceptions to every rule. For example, L'Alpe D'Huezclimbs 3700ft(1200m), but is an Hors Category climb. This is becauseit usually comes at the end of a very tough stage and the climb itselfis unusually steep(~9%) by Alpine standards.More confusing is the Col de Borderes, a mere 1000ft(300m) climb outsideof Arrens in the Pyrenees mountains. I have seen it rated anywhere froma 3rd Category to a 1st Category !!! This is most likely due again, to itsplacement on the stage. The 3rd Category rating came when it was near thebeginning of a stage where its 1st Category rating came when it was nearthe end.Flat or downhill sections can also affect a climb's rating. Such sectionsoffer a rest to the weary and can reduce the difficulty of the climbconsiderably. This may be one of the reasons that the aforementionedCol de la Madeleine, which has a 1 mile downhill/flat section at mid-height,flip-flops in its rating.I am often asked how climbs in the United States compare to those inEurope. Most of the US climbs are either steep enough by Europeanstandards(6-8% grade), but are short(5-10km) so they fall into the3rd Category or 2nd possibly; or the climbs gain enough altitude, butare too long(they average <5%) so again they would fail to breakthe 1st Category barrier and end up most likely a 2nd or 3rd Category.Fear not, there are exceptions. Most notable to Californians isthe south side of Palomar Mountain which from Pauma Valley climbs4200' in 11 miles, a potential 1st Category ascent, though it mayfall prey to downgrading because of the flat section at mile four.The east side of Towne Pass in Death Valley is definitely a 1stCategory climb!A popular Northern California climb, Mount Hamilton, is similar toPalomar Mountain but, fails to be a 1st Category climb because of twooffending downhill section on the ascent and an overall gradient of 5%.For Coloradoans, you can thank the ski industry for creating long,but relatively gradual climbs that rarely exceed 5% for any substantiallength(5+ miles). I never had to use anything bigger than a 42x23on any climb in Colorado, regardless of altitude. Gear ratios of39x24 or 26 are commonplace in the Alps and Pyrenees and give a verytelling indication as to the difficulty of European climbs.One potential 1st Category climb for Coloradoans may be the 4000 ft.climb in about 15 miles from Ouray to the top of Red Mountain Pass.Also, remember we are rating only paved(i.e. asphalt) roads. Dirt roadsvary considerably in their layout, condition and maintenance because therereally are no guidelines for their construction. This makes it difficultto compare these climbs and inappropriate to lump them with paved roads.Also, it should be noted that there is not a single uniform rating schemefor all the races on the UCI calendar. What one race might call a 1stCategory climb, may be called a 2nd Category climb, even though the stagesof the two races are almost identical.One last note. I think it is inappropriate to compare the ascents ofclimbs by the European pros with the efforts of us mere mortals.I have said this time and time again and I will repeat it now. Itis very, very hard for the average person to comprehend just howfast the pros climb the big passes. Pace makes all the difference.Riding a climb is very different than racing it.</PRE>

http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/5.3.html</PRE>
Gator said:
I saw below that someone did a 2400-foot climb in about four miles. I did one of those myself on this road called Corkscrew Grade during the (so-called) World's Toughest Century, which had a few 22-24 percent sections.

I thought that was pretty beefy, but there HAS to be worse. For the record, I think the worst road section I've ever seen was that military road monstrosity in the 2002 Giro where the team cars were literally stalling and sliding backward off the road, which, if my calculations are correct, was a 637.9 percent grade. I could be a bit off, though.

So tell us, climbers, what is the most hellacious climb our great nation, or this planet, has to offer?
 
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