Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

I climbed Mt Baker - 3,300 feet elevation gain in 16 miles. (pics)

Notices
Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

I climbed Mt Baker - 3,300 feet elevation gain in 16 miles. (pics)

Old 05-09-12, 11:50 AM
  #1  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 23,039
Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18031 Post(s)
Liked 9,852 Times in 5,585 Posts
I climbed Mt Baker - 3,300 feet elevation gain in 16 miles. (pics)

The Mount Baker Highway is one of the switchbackier roads I've ever been on, in any type of vehicle. That's a big part of why I went.



The climb was long, but not especially brutal. I'd catch an occasional glimpse of cliffs, the river, the foot hills, and it put me in the right frame of mind; I'll be climbing for the rest of my life, don't think about when it'll end, just enjoy the ride. If you can make it through the first few miles of a mountain ride, you'll probably make it to the top. And I don't think anything was steeper than about 10 %, but those sections went on and on and on. Still, the weather was brutal enough to make up for it. I thought about turning around because of the miserable cold rain, and should have.

Drivers kept stopping to congratulate me. After I passed the first ski resort, somebody coming down the mountain stopped, rolled down his window, and said "My heart goes out to you. You have a long way to go." I did a track stand while I told the guy the map showed less than five miles to go; I was in the home stretch. A lady in a pickup truck, with a wood chair tied into the back (I was thinking "wood? in the rain?" and I'm sure she was thinking "bike? in the rain?") stopped, rolled down her window, and said "Way to go, buddy! I passed you on the way up, and I can't believe you're gonna make it. On a BIKE!" When I got to the top, a group of kids were cooking under a trap stretched between their SUV and the snow bank; they told me how shocked they were to see a guy make it up the mountain on a bike, and offered me the use of a snowboard to get back down. A few more people shared their surprise at my accomplishment. At one point I stopped to get a picture, and somebody got out of his car, offered to take my picture, and told me he's a cyclist, but he'd never dream of trying such a hilly road. It was a bit surreal.

It started raining a few miles in, and it came down hard. It was ****ing cold, too. That didn't bother me much while I climbed, because I was making my own heat, but I lost it once I got to Heather Meadows, where it was in the high 20s F. Miserable descent. I had old wool gloves with a few missing finger tips. Pretty soon they went numb, which somehow didn't stop them from hurting. My legs were soaked from the wet road, and my wind breaker was starting to soak through. I got a bit worried. The next 15 miles were all down hill, I didn't have to pedal once, so I had no heat. I stopped a few times, very briefly, to blow on my fingers. Thought about climbing to warm up, but that didn't make sense, since I'd just have more descending to do. I just suffered on the way down.

My brakes didn't come anywhere near overheating on the way down - falling snow is a good coolant - but they were almost as worthless from being wet. I made it down pretty quickly. And I was happy to see a few rollers at the bottom to help me warm up.

Good climb, miserable descent. The weather said partly sunny on the mountain. I need to order a drone strike against the forecasters.





You can see strands of clouds touching down on the valley:



And you can see the flying snow that was blowing into my face on the way down:



Heather Meadows, eg the top:



Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 11:55 AM
  #2  
surfer777
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 84
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Awesome!!!
surfer777 is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 12:01 PM
  #3  
speedwobbles
Senior Member
 
speedwobbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Grenoble, France
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Nice ride, nice photos, and nice bike! Gotta love people stopping to congratulate you. Was that your first big climb? Personally I love them, but hate the decent if the weather isn't perfect.
speedwobbles is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 12:04 PM
  #4  
kv501
Senior Member
 
kv501's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 832
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanks for sharing the ride. Man I wish I had so much as one hill or tree around here. It's laser level flat with 58,000 square miles of corn and soybean fields. Very nice pictures and be careful not to freeze your digits. My best friend lost 4 finger tips from a motorcycle ride because he thought he'd be okay. They don't grow back
kv501 is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 12:16 PM
  #5  
mpath
Recusant Iconoclast
 
mpath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Tsawwassen, BC
Posts: 2,560

Bikes: Look 695, Wilier Izoard

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 247 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 29 Posts
Awesome - a little chilly this time of year! And don't get me started on weather "forecasters".

The tight switchbacks as you approach the lodge can be downright frightening with no shoulder and only rock face or cliff beside you and idiotic cars.

You should think of doing Festival542 - aka the Mt. Baker hill climb - in Sept.
mpath is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 12:27 PM
  #6  
ilovecycling
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: RTP, NC
Posts: 2,190

Bikes: LOOK 595 & Cannondale CAAD9

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Nice ride! I bet you couldn't wait to get back indoors after that one.
ilovecycling is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 12:27 PM
  #7  
hyhuu
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NoVA
Posts: 1,421

Bikes: Specialized Allez Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Descending in a subfreezing temp is no fun.
hyhuu is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 12:31 PM
  #8  
Ultraslide
Senior Member
 
Ultraslide's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Evansville, IN
Posts: 782

Bikes: 73 Raleigh Supercourse, 99 Specialized Stumpjumer, 08 LeMond Tourmalet

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Another fantastic ride. I am downright jealous. Thanks for sharing!
Ultraslide is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 12:32 PM
  #9  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 23,039
Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18031 Post(s)
Liked 9,852 Times in 5,585 Posts
Originally Posted by speedwobbles View Post
Nice ride, nice photos, and nice bike! Gotta love people stopping to congratulate you. Was that your first big climb? Personally I love them, but hate the decent if the weather isn't perfect.
It wasn't my first (I've done Steven's and Snoqualmie Passes, and some riding in the North Cascades) but it was the first in such terrible weather. The last several weekends, I've been taking my bike east of the mountains, into the edge of the desert ... I got used to the idea of it being summer. It was my first time on this mountain, though.

Originally Posted by mpath View Post
You should think of doing Festival542 - aka the Mt. Baker hill climb - in Sept.
Thanks! I didn't know about this one, but it looks like good times.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 12:32 PM
  #10  
Nachoman
well hello there
 
Nachoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Point Loma, CA
Posts: 15,364

Bikes: Bill Holland (Road-Ti), Fuji Roubaix Pro (back-up), Bike Friday (folder), Co-Motion (tandem) & Trek 750 (hybrid)

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 487 Post(s)
Liked 271 Times in 172 Posts
Weird to see the contrast. I was pedaling in 95 degree heat this past weekend.
__________________
.
.

Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
Nachoman is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 12:59 PM
  #11  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 23,039
Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18031 Post(s)
Liked 9,852 Times in 5,585 Posts
^ The next day I went hiking on the east side of the Cascades, got a sunburn, and drank 1.5 L of water in 2 miles. Crazy world: that ocean has a lot of influence, but so do the high peaks.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 01:09 PM
  #12  
gregf83 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 9,201
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1186 Post(s)
Liked 288 Times in 176 Posts
You get special hard man points for doing it in the cold! Go back in late Aug & Sept and you'll be joined by hundreds of other cyclists on the weekends. And you won't freeze your ass off!
gregf83 is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 01:12 PM
  #13  
HokuLoa
Blissketeer
 
HokuLoa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 1,335
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks SF for fueling my PacNW drool fest!

Gotta love the driver congrats BTW. A couple weeks ago I was laboring up a nearby 3mile/1200ft climb near the top and a beat up pickup full of late teen to early 20yo guys rolled past. I got a universal "woohoo!! Go go!! Own it!!!" I find interactions like that soooo refreshing and heartwarming. One or two of those interactions a month are more than enough to overshadow whatever less than stellar driver interactions I encounter.
HokuLoa is offline  
Old 05-09-12, 01:16 PM
  #14  
ilovecycling
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: RTP, NC
Posts: 2,190

Bikes: LOOK 595 & Cannondale CAAD9

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Nice ride! I bet you couldn't wait to get back indoors after that one.
ilovecycling is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Biker395
Fifty Plus (50+)
4
06-09-19 07:05 PM
icyclist
Road Cycling
14
04-13-15 07:42 PM
Biker395
Fifty Plus (50+)
22
03-03-14 01:26 PM
Velo Vol
Road Cycling
12
07-15-11 12:37 PM
robncircus
Road Cycling
18
11-01-10 12:33 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.