Here I have compiled data and descriptions of some great climbs I’ve done from elsewhere in the country. Most of these are out west or from Hawaii. New Englanders might have one of the toughest hill climbs in the world with Mt. Washington, but there are many climbs that are either much bigger vertical gain, go to a much higher elevation, or both. About half of the climbs presented here are 100% paved, and one is 100% singletrack. The others are mixed paved/gravel or entirely from gravel. If you like to climb and have opportunities to travel, maybe there’s something here you’ll like to try sometime.
The climbs are depicted two different ways: in terms of elevation gain to allow comparison of relative steepness, and in terms of absolute altitude to show how high some of the climbs reach. The two Hawaiian climbs start at sea level, rising to 10,000 and 13,800 feet. Mt. Evans on the other hand, while finishing above 14,000 feet, starts at 7,555 feet. Because Mauna Kea on the Big Island encompasses both huge elevation gain and high altitude climbing, it easily dwarfs the other climbs presented here in difficulty.
Haleakala, Maui, HI – If this climb weren’t in the middle of the Pacific Ocean 2500 miles from the nearest land, it could perhaps be the most popular bicycle climb in the world. The fully paved climb to the summit gains just over 10,000 feet from sea level in less than 38 miles. At the summit, you are only 6 miles, as the crow flies, from the ocean. Nowhere else in the world can you be this close to the sea at this elevation. Views are stunning everywhere you look, especially the Martian landscape at the summit. I calculate the average grade to be 5.1%, and the entire climb feels like it deviates very little from this. There’s barely a downslope the whole way up. Only near the summit does the grade pick up some, but maybe only a few percent. I began this climb in Kahului, taking Rts 37, 38, and 377 to the summit.