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Priest Grade / Old Priest Grade(8 posts)

Priest Grade / Old Priest Grademr_spin
Aug 27, 2001 7:55 AM
Went to the Sierras last week, taking CA Hwy 120 into Yosemite. It goes up Priest Grade, which I was thinking would be my kind of climb without all the cars and RVs. Then I passed a tri-guy suffering midway up the hill in the heat and smoke (one of the big Sierra fires was in clear view only a few miles south).

Coming back yesterday I got a better look across the gap at Old Priest Grade, the old road (hence the name), which is unbelievably steep. I'd guess minimum 14% average, which some stretches nearly 20%. This is a true monster.

Anyone ever ridden these?
re: Priest Grade / Old Priest Gradegirodebirdman
Aug 27, 2001 9:08 AM
You are talking about the Old Priest Grade cutoff, correct? It comes out just below a small town (I can't remember the name) and saves you lots of time. I have been on that road plenty, I climb in Yosemite at least once a year, riding on the rest days. Anyways, I would say that grade is probably about 10-12% average. It is real steep, but it isn't steeper than confirmed 16% grades that I have ridden on. I don't know if I could turn over my pedals on a 20% grade in my 39-23. Easiest way to determine the grade is to get one of the 15 minute topo maps (a big library usually has them) of the area, and figure it out by dividing the rise by run. Anyways, too bad it is so short, and you soon rejoin that madhouse (at least in the summer) HWY 120. I am off to Yosemite in a few days, actually. Need to get some climbing and riding in before school starts again in the fall. Hope my car doesn't overheat on that road!
re: Priest Grade / Old Priest Grademr_spin
Aug 27, 2001 9:33 AM
Yeah, that's the one. I can't remember the bottom town--something with an 'M'. Mosquito, maybe.

I used my "Topo" program to calculate the grade and came up with 14%. Topo is pretty good for approximating, but I don't trust it to be 100% accurate. It uses USGS topo maps, but it applies a curve algorithm that tries to eliminate user/program error.

I think I would melt my tires coming down that thing.
Driven it many times...MrCelloBoy
Aug 27, 2001 9:34 AM
in 1st and 2nd gear.
We have a couple of local climbs in the 20-25% range.

The steeper one feels deadly even on an MTB. It eases up to 12% or so for a few times. It's really gruesome!
The descent on the adjoining trails is worth it though.
The name of the town is Moccasin. The Cheese & Wine century....shmoo
Aug 27, 2001 6:36 PM
...coming up Oct. 14, has its lunch stop there after a 950ft in 1 mile (%18) plung down Kelly Grade from near Moccasin peak (the 1900ft high point of the ride). The descent is a windy switchback, so you can't let it go much over 35mph.
The name of the town is Moccasin. The Cheese & Wine century....Cliff Oates
Aug 27, 2001 6:46 PM
Is that the place? That's a nice ride, I enjoyed it completely last year. The descent into Moccasin put the click into my Mavic rims. I remember they had a sign at the top that read "Got brakes?" Climbing out of town after lunch sucked...
I thought I was the only one....shmoo
Aug 27, 2001 7:24 PM
...who thinks the climb out of town "sucks" (actually, it's me who sucks climbing). Thing is, it's only averages about 2 percent, but it seems to go on forever, and it's usually the hottest part of the ride. Then, you hit a few biting rollers in the Red Hills. The 2 or 3 mile coast down 120 into the Knights Ferry area kinda makes up for it though. Oh, but then there's the final insult up short but sharp Cemetery after the Knights Ferry rest stop. You're right - it's a really nice ride overall. Not much climbing for our resident mountain goats, but enough for me.
I thought I was the only one....Cliff Oates
Aug 27, 2001 11:34 PM
It was a fun ride, well supported, and I'm coming to the conclusion that climbing up and down mountains all day is highly overrated. Yes, that climb does seem to go on forever, it's right after lunch so it's warm, and you're riding on the shoulder of 120 so there are a lot of cars. Kids visit this forum, so I'll limit my comment to "sucks."

I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I rolled into Knights Ferry and found a raspberry popsicle. How did they know that was exactly what I needed right then? It was so good, I had another.

I'm not sure if I'll be physically able to do the ride again this year, but I'm hpoing I've got at least a metric in me.