Welcome to Climb Central. Here you will find detailed information about road cycling hillclimbs located throughout the New England states and north-eastern New York. Most of these climbs offer paved surfaces, and gravel sections on a few of the climbs usually do not pose problems for road bikes. Profiles of the climbs are given, as well as detailed descriptions of surface quality, climbing/descending difficulty, and other bits of info, such as views, race records, etc. All types of climbs are represented here, including mountain summit, gap/notch/pass, long and gradual, short and steep, big and small vertical gain climbs. I continue to add content to this site. Many NE hillclimbers have sent suggestions for additional content, and many of these suggestions have been recently added to the site. If you have a favorite climb you would like to see added or other comments, please send me an email through the contact link above.
So why are hillclimbers so passionate about climbing? When I first began cycling in 1996, I suffered unspeakable pain climbing the modest hills of west Michigan. But I kept going back. My first exposure to climbing was on the main slope of the Cannonsburg ski area. It had a narrow ribbon of smooth singletrack that ran straight as an arrow to the peak. I couldn’t make it half way without stopping, and this was only a 250 foot rise at maybe 10 or 12 percent grade. I still can remember the first time I made it to the top without stopping. There was something mystical in that experience, a great sense of accomplishment. Today I seek out climbs of several thousand feet, and it’s not always about how fast I can get to the top either. You don’t have to be an elite cyclist to enjoy a good climb, although I believe being in good shape can enhance the experience. And you don’t have to be young to climb, there are 80 year olds still climbing Mt Washington, one of the toughest climbs in North America. So what is it about a good climb? I don’t know, and I hope it remains a mystery.
Doug Jansen (apparently the former owner of northeastcycling.com before I registered the domain)
Passionate Hillclimber and Webmaster
editors note: The below have not been fully added back to the site, but I will get them back up for all the people that have been coming here looking for them.
This page is dedicated to hillclimb races in New England plus New York. All of the climbs are compared on a single chart so prospective climbers can pick what they are next ready for. Hillclimb records and a few photos are also included.
Here is a simple guide for those considering their first hillclimb and those striving to improve their finishing times. It also provides a philosophical perspective on hillclimbing in the northeastern part of the country, contains many tips and offers advice from lessons learned over the last several years.
Mountain Climbs Greater Than 1000 Feet
This page gives profiles of big mountain climbs grouped by the regions of the northeast. These climbs are generally out-and-back summit climbs and tend to be steep. Go here to see Washington, Whiteface, Ascutney, Greylock, and many others.
Pass, Notch, and Gap Climbs
Here you will find the profiles of popular mountain passes. These profiles will rise to the saddle between peaks and then descend on the other side of the range. Vermont has the highest density of paved gap climbs, and they tend to be steeper and taller than in other parts of the northeast.
Hillclimbs Less Than 1000 Feet
There are many popular short climbs in the 500-1000 foot range. These are usually close to metro areas, where cyclists can include them in a ride from their house or work place. A couple examples are Blue Hill south of Boston or Holyoke near Springfield, MA.
Great Rides for Hillclimbers
I have compiled info on some of my favorite road ride loops that entail a good deal of climbing. These rides range from 62 to 132 miles and up to 14,500 feet of climbing. Some examples are the 6-gaps loop in Vermont, and the Greylock/Petersburg Pass loop straddling the Mass/NY state line.
Northeast vs. Global Hillclimbs
Have you ever wondered how your favorite monster climb stacks up against Alpe d’Duez? Mont Ventoux? Then check this page out. Turns out that for many of the feared climbs of the grand European tours, there’s a similar local climb. I haven’t had the chance to ride these great climbs yet, but hope to change that soon.
Favorite US Climbs
Here I will keep a running tabulation of great climbs I have done within the United States. Climbs from Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona, California and other places are presented.
These simple calculators will help you determine if your gearing is suitable for Mt Washington and estimate climbing time based on sustainable power or finishing time on other climbs. These calculators replace the tables that used to be linked here are much easier to use than the tables.
This page quantitatively compares climbing times between several mountains, presents some PowerTap findings, climbing time vs. age on Mt Washington, and more.
How the Profiles Were Created
For those wondering how in the world I overlay all those profiles on a single plot, read on. I start by profiling a climb with DeLorme’s TopoUSA 7.0 software. These are the images you commonly see for race courses or other cycling events. I save the profile as a bitmap image file. Then I use an mathematical analysis tool by Mathworks called Matlab. A Matlab script I wrote reads in each profile bitmap image, extracts the raw elevation data out of it, and temporarily stores it as a numerical array. Multiple numerical arrays can then be plotted in a single figure, allowing comparison between hillclimbs. I have run into some issues however. TopoUSA is not topographically precise. Roads are vectorized into discrete segments which can produce profile data partially inconsistent with riding experience. The graphs are plenty accurate for qualitative comparisons however. Presumably, DeLorme vectorizes map data to conserve on the amount of storage required. The latest Topo 7.0 release fits the topography, roads, and land use of the entire US on a single DVD-ROM. Really amazing when you think about it.
There are various sites on the web now that offer profile generation capability. Most are derived from the wildly popular Google Maps application. A simple tool that provides road following and profile generation is TopoRoute. It does not give total climbing gain for a given route though. Several more such sites are listed below.