Mount Graham is the most difficult climb in Arizona and is located in a remote area with no support from beginning to end. Rarely do you encounter motor vehicles along the route, which makes for an often private and safe ride up a very challenging mountain. As with Mt. Lemmon (Tuscon, AZ), weather conditions can vary tremendously from bottom to top (we were turned away at 8,000' by frigid temperatures and snow when we did this climb in March, 2014).
The climb begins in the high desert at just over 3,000' and transitions into alpine forest towards the top. The first 4 miles of the climb are very tame at 4.5%, but the remaining 80% of the ride is closer to 6% average grade
As with so many major climbs, the weather conditions at the top of the climb are much different from those at the start. We rode Mount Graham in October 2010 (no weather issues, other than heat at the bottom). However, the ride on March 8, 2014 was quite different - a pleasant 66 degrees at the start ultimately gave way to extended riding at 28 to 34 degrees (beginning at around 7,000'). Beware of the 30+ degree weather swings from the beginning of this climb to the top - gear up and be safe!
Hover cursor over segment slices (right) for exact grade of a particular segment. Map route (bottom) colors correlate with elevation legend colors.
DNF Due to Adverse Weather Conditions! 8,000' Mark March 2014.
Background photo - U.S. #5 Pikes Peak CO.
Photos are in order from bottom of climb to top.
Start - Click and drag to rotate or double click to advance.
Note: Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Mt. Graham RideWithGPS page. Hover over the distance line at the spot you would like to begin a sub- segment for this climb. Click your mouse on the start point and drag the vertical graphing line the distance you wish to obtain sub-detail from, then release the mouse at the end point. This will give you the following sub-detail for the selected segment in the “Metrics” window top right of the page: (a) distance, (b) elevation gained and lost, (c) max grade, (d) average grade (e) that segment's climb category – e.g. Cat 1, HC, etc., and (f) FIETS score for the segment.