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Comparing the Cascades to Vemont Gaps

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Comparing the Cascades to Vemont Gaps

Old 07-23-08, 09:11 AM
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nun
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Comparing the Cascades to North Eastern Climbs

I've never ridden in Cascades, but I've read a few descriptions of climbing Washington and Rainy Passes and I'd like to know how they compare with climbs I've ridden in Vermont and MA, in particular Mt. Wachusetts,
Andover, Middlebury and Mt. Terrible. Looking at the elevation profiles the WA passes seem to be long, but of reasonable gradients around the 5% range. Does anyone have actual experience of both sets of climbs?

Last edited by nun; 07-23-08 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:53 AM
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I can't help with those specific passes, but in general I found the long less steep passes in the west easier that the steeper shorter ones in the east. That experience comes mostly from the TA so I didn't ride the exact passes you are comparing, and don't know if this is helpful or not.
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Old 07-23-08, 11:02 AM
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I've ridden over Washington & Rainy Passes in North Cascades NP, and I've toured in Vermont though none of the climbs you mentioned in Vermont ring a bell. In any event, the passes in North Cascades (I was going west to east) weren't particularly difficult. The road was good and traffic was extremely light. Given the elevation of the highest peaks in Vermont, I'm sure the elevation differential has to be far greater for the North Cascades passes if you consider them as one pass. You lose some elevation between the two, but they're not very far apart.
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Old 07-23-08, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
I've ridden over Washington & Rainy Passes in North Cascades NP, and I've toured in Vermont though none of the climbs you mentioned in Vermont ring a bell. In any event, the passes in North Cascades (I was going west to east) weren't particularly difficult. The road was good and traffic was extremely light. Given the elevation of the highest peaks in Vermont, I'm sure the elevation differential has to be far greater for the North Cascades passes if you consider them as one pass. You lose some elevation between the two, but they're not very far apart.
Thanks, that's what I was thinking having looked at the profiles. I'll check over on a couple of the other forums for opinions too.
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Old 07-23-08, 11:43 AM
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Re: North Cascades: You probably already know this but there is a long stretch w/no services (65 miles?); be prepared.
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Old 07-23-08, 03:53 PM
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The Vermont Gaps (Appalachian, Lincoln, Middlebury, Brandon) have higher gradients than the western climbs you mention. App Gap and Lincoln Gap have steep sections. App Gap has a 1 mile section that is about 18% while Lincoln Gap has one 1.4 mile section that runs 20-24%. I learned a new definition of slow on that climb. I can't remember the highest gradients for Middlebury and Brandon Gap (depends if you are riding the east or west sides) but they are lower (significantly) than 20% - probably more in the 12-14% range for sections. The western climbs are in the 5-7% range. Mt Wachusetts averages about 5.2%. I don't know the gradients for Mt Terrible and Andover. As others have written, western climbs generally have lower gradients than eastern climbs but the western climbs are significantly longer. Mt Evans is 28 miles in length and averages 4.5% and Grand Mesa is about 21.5 miles in length and averages a little over 5%.

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Old 07-23-08, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SRS View Post
App Gap has a 1 mile section that is about 18% while Lincoln Gap has one 1.4 mile section that runs 20-24%. I learned a new definition of slow on that climb.
For those who have not tried climbs with grades of such magnitude and distance, I can vouch that such grades are very strenuous and require excellent cardiovascular conditioning if one wishes to ride without frequent rest stops.
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