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Mount Haleakala ride April 07

hope the below is of interest, was thinking of submitting it to Cycling weekly but they changed their "rewardW to a pair of fulcrum 7's and i think i have enough wheels for now (is that possible) hence the title. am downloading the pictures this weekend so in the absence of overwhelming abuse for my penmanship will put them up next week Laughing Laughing

Killer Climb

Mount Haleakala, Maui, Hawai’i

Where is it – The whole of the eastern part of the Hawaiian island of Maui is Mount Haleakala. In fact at sea level the mountain has already risen 20,000ft from the sea bed making it the tallest extinct volcano in the world, taller than Everest. Traditionally to cycle up the starting point is in the town of Paia which is at sea level on the Hana Highway.

Climb Pass Facts

36 mile climb depending on route
5m (16ft) above sea level to 3,055m (10,023ft)
3,000+m of climbing with almost no descents all the way to the top
Average gradient 5.6% up one of the longest continuous climbs in the world

My personal best

Will always be 4 hours, 47 minutes!!

If you are one of those cyclists who likes climbing without the annoying inconvenience of descending this is for you. Thirty-six miles and 10,000ft elevation with only two sections (both less than 100m) of downhill. This is a truly spectacular climb and will have your “Etape” friends in shock as it is the equivalent of nearly three Alp Duez back-to-back.

The climb is essentially broken into three parts. From the start in Paia at sea-level the road climbs slowly through pineapple and sugarcane plantations at a reasonable gradient of 3-7% to about 3,500ft. Then the scenery changes completely as the road heads straight up the side of the mountain crossing an old lava field in the region rightly called “the switchbacks.” This section climbs from 3,500ft to 6,300ft in very few miles in a series of 23 switchbacks with gradients up to 15%. The feeling is very French “alpine” and if the weather is good the views are amazing. This is by far the toughest section of the climb. Finally at about 7,000ft you reach the U.S. National Park Headquarters and visitor centre where food and more importantly water can be had ($5 entry charge to the National Park). From there you enter the clouds which normally cover the volcano at this height to emerge at about 9,000ft in pure blue sky. Here the environment is very similar to Mont Ventoux with volcanic boulders and scree together with a painfully obvious lack of oxygen.

Up to 9,800ft the riding is excellent with a shallower gradient of between 4-8%, however there is one last sting in the tail – the top of the volcano has 2 car parks and if you want to claim the 10,000ft mark you need to make it to the top one. This is to be found up half a mile of newly laid road which again ramps up to between 12% - 16% at its steepest. Because of the altitude and with 9,800ft of climbing already in your legs this has to be the most brutal short climb anywhere in the world!!

Finally the upper car park appears and you are the very edge of the crater of the worlds largest extinct volcano. There are toilets at the top for changing and water, and, if you still feel you haven’t done enough for one day; its just a short 36 mile spin back down to the beach in Paia.

I mostly be riding:

A rental Lemond road bike hired from The Haleakala Bike Company (, free-phone in the USA 1-888-922-2453)
For about £30 for two days they provide the bike, bike rack, helmet, rain gear, gloves and tool kit. Also great advice as most of the staff have ridden up the volcano themselves.

so did you descend I hope?


Cyclingweekly would only give it a 7 out of 10 rating. If you were lucky.

They will give some climb that is 1.5 km long and has a 100 meter section of 25 percent gradient but averages only 6 percent a 9 out of 10.

But you put some real long hard climb in and they only give it shit marks. Some one got a alpine climb in their of 20 kms at a 6.5 avarege and they gave it a lower mark then nearly all of their other climbs.

A 36 mile climb is just out of this world! Once again well done.

would'nt waste it on them, will try and remember to bring in the photos on monday. Forum Index -> Around the World
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