Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lake Mountain, Butterfield Canyon and Pole Line Pass

One of my favorite things to do on a bike is to find good, long, sustained climbs where you can get into a rythym and just climb, climb and climb some more.  I've honestly been a little jealous of everyone who is training for the Crusher race that's coming up soon as that course is appealing to me.  I will probably have to put that one on my calendar for next year.  For those of you who are training for this race here are a few good climbs that I've done recently that I'd recommend.

Lake Mountain

This one starts on the SW side of Utah Lake.  It's about 20 or so miles round trip and around 3,300 vertical feet of climbing, all on gravel/dirt road.  The lower 5 or so miles are at a fairly gradual grade and then the last 5 miles to the summit are more challenging with a steeper grade and more rocks and generally rougher road.  The summit has several radio or TV station towers on it and it gives you a great view of Utah Lake to the east.  The other nice thing about this climb is it dries out fairly early in the season.

Butterfield Canyon

Previously I had only done this climb on a road bike and it was fairly brutal due to some of the very steep grades.  Recently I climbed this one on the mountain bike and it was nice to have the extra gears.  The road that starts up Butterfield Canyon just west of Herriman is closed to vehicles.  The bottom half of the road portion of the climb is mellow for a few miles and then it gets nasty steep.  You do get some relief after the ~ 20% grade section, but for the most part, plan on it being steep all the way to the saddle where it turns to dirt.  At this point you can either keep going straight (west) and drop down the dirt road (it eventually turns to pavement) which will lead you to Tooele or you can go North on the dirt road that climbs to just above 9,000 ft. and overlooks the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine.  The view at the top is well worth the effort.

Near the top there were still some drifts on the road as of about 10 days ago.  By now I'm sure they've melted enough to where it would be completely rideable.

Switchbacks on the dirt road portion. 

Pole Line Pass

I've been itching to get up American Fork Canyon and ride some of the trails up there but last I checked they are all currently closed due to wet trail conditions.  The next best option is to climb the dirt roads that are open.  I parked at Tibble Fork Reservoir and went up the North Fork road, then turned off at the Baker Fork.  Right now there is still snow about a 1/2 mile from the top of Pole Line.  If you start at the bottom of American Fork Canyon and ride up to Tibble, you'll get in some extra vertical.

Looking south at Timp after the Baker Fork turnoff.

This is near the top of Pole Line Pass.  Still some snow and debris on the road but it shouldn't be long and the road will be clear to the top