Volcano High Pass Challenge and BQ Un-Meeting


Compass Cycles and Branford Bikes are excited to announce the Volcano High Pass Challenge as part of a Labor Day weekend filled with great rides. Part race, part scenic ride with friends, this unsanctioned event challenges riders of all abilities. The one-day route goes from Packwood, at the foot of Mount Rainier, to Carson, on the Columbia River.

When: Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, 5 a.m.
Where: Packwood Timberland Library
What: 166 km (102) mile self-supported ride/race


The 166 km (102 mile) course traverses the southern Cascade Range, skirts the mighty volcano of Mount Adams, and crosses Babyshoe Pass, before dropping down to Trout Lake, climbing another pass, and finally descending the amazing Panther Creek Road. When they reach the Columbia River, riders will have climbed 3000 m (10,000 ft) and descended a little more. Half of the course is on gravel, the other half is paved, including some ultra-fast descents. This mix of surfaces is best tackled on a good Allroad bike.

The scenic beauty more than makes up for the challenging terrain, with great views of Mount Rainier and Mount Adams, plus the beautiful Walupt and Takhlakh Lakes. Participants will take photos of their bikes at iconic locations as proof of passage.

September is our favorite time to ride these roads. The days are still long and sunny, but usually not too hot. The last vestiges of the snow that currently blankets the high roads and blocks the passes will have melted, and the roads usually are dry.

Riders will need to be self-sufficient as services will be limited to an online route sheet. A roving mechanic will be on the course, provided by Branford Bike. Water is available at campgrounds. Anyone is welcome: Just show up at the start at 5 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, in front of the Packwood Library, and ride!

Whether you compete for the fastest time, ride with friends, or start early and complete the ride at a more relaxed pace over multiple days, it’ll be an unforgettable experience. For more information, and to RSVP, click here.

Course map: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18802349/

Following the Challenge, the 2017 Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting will gather in Carson, WA, on Sunday and Monday (Labor Day).

When: Sunday & Monday, Sept. 3 & 4, 2017, 9 a.m.
Where: Carson General Store
What: 2 days of self-supported rides off the beaten path, different route options

The formula of the Un-Meeting is simple: Every cyclist is welcome to join us for two days of great camaraderie and riding off the beaten path. There are no fees, and no services are provided. We simply publish a date and time. Last year’s ride across Big Huckleberry Mountain was a highlight for those who chose that route. Join us in September for a repeat of this amazing ride!

While participants will be responsible for their own accommodations, we will book a group campsite at the Wind Mountain RV Park on the Columbia River, not far from the St. Martin hot springs. Meet us at the Carson General Store at 9 a.m. on both days of the Un-Meeting.

Sunday’s ride will explore the mountains above the Wind River Canyon. Monday’s ride will head to Portland to bring participants back to “civilization”. More details will be posted as the date approaches. Mark your calendars for a great weekend of riding off the beaten path!

Note: The Volcano High Pass Challenge is unrelated to the Cascade Bicycle Club’s “High Pass Challenge,” which goes over paved roads in the same region.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Compass Cycles, that turns our research into high-performance components for real-world riders.
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5 Responses to Volcano High Pass Challenge and BQ Un-Meeting

  1. jjn410 says:

    Outstanding!

  2. Keith says:

    I am curious how early you think this would be rideable?
    I don’t live in the area, but I will be in Vancouver/Seattle early summer, and would love to try something like this.

    • Snowpack is deep this year, but usually, the route should be rideable by mid- to late-June. If you can’t make it through, it’s still a great ride on the lower elevations. The first part of the reverse route from Carson to Trout Lake is lower and should be open much earlier.

  3. Nate says:

    I’m sure the bigger the tires the better, but how would 700×35 fare?

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