Northwest Hills


by Byron on May 02, 2007 at 7:21 AM

Hills, especially for those of us that don’t climb, are often debated, considered, and argued about during rides or when prepping for the big race. “What’s the grade? Does it stair-step? Is there a wall? Mostly flat, or rollers?” While we debate if it’s a climber’s race or power hills and what wheels to ride, a reader sent in meInnovations Rides, a definitive guide to the hills of the northwest, including Cougar Mountain.

The guide has most of them, but doesn’t include the Col de Roy in West Seattle. The climbed was named for Rob the Roy Chalmers who had to get off and walk up it after bragging for weeks about his climbing prowess (he may have puked as well, that’s also debated). The climb follows Marine View Drive (Marine View Dr, SW 125th, Shorewood Dr SW), descends down to the coastline and right back up about a thousand feet at 20%. That’ll break your legs or Rob’s legs at least. Pam told me to f-off one time up it and we never climbed it together again (riding with your spouse is a whole other topic for another post).

Another is the Col de Kent (West on 216th, 37th Pl S) that’s now disrupted by a housing development and roundabout. The Col is a 22% monster that climbs up the ridge to Military Road. Near Orillia Road, also in Kent and featured on the REI Legendary Lunch Ride is the Graveyard Berg (West on South 204th, past the graveyard, joining Orillia) – while just a blip, in relative terms, it’s relentlessly attacked and gives no quarter to the unsuspecting riding who may have tragically chose the wrong gear.

What famous climbs are in your neighborhood or city? Back in the day, when I rode more in the Tri-Cities it was Clodfelter Road and Finley Hills.

Share this story:

Recommended Reading

I bought a house on Finn Hill in the Kirkland area thinking it would force me to be a better climb.  Every ride home ends in a 8 minute or better effort.  Somehow it hasn’t worked out that way (even after 4 years).

From Mike’s site:
Juanita Drive, from the north  
400ft gain

We’ve got a wall, then a shorter climb in West Seattle. There’s also the Jenna Jameson climb that’s the steadiest, longest grade in the neighborhood.

OK lets set the record straight. It is a killer hill but I did still have my NYC 41 chainring and 21 cog as my smallest gear. I didn’t puke. It was the climb that made me understand why having a 39x25 was so important for riding in Seattle. And lets not forget even with stopping I think I beat you to the top.

And by the way thanks for naming a climb after me. We have a few here in western ma that will wake up up.

so, why is there a climb named after jenna jameson? is that some kind of motivational thinking in order to climb it?


The road is called actually called Jacobson (off Beach drive, headed East) and over time, don’t remember who actually added the first name or changed the last name, but it became known as the Jenna Jameson climb.

You can see where that’d go with the Holmes, the Del Rio!, and the Green Door. Also, while we were in Santa Barbara, I climbed the mothaf@#$. I’m sure the locals called it something else, but it was the *motha F* to me.

The accurate story on Col de Roy is that Byron had been trying to beat Rob up a hill for years.  Once finding this climb, and knowing Rob had a limited gear range, he planned his attack.  To his demise, Rob still made it up first.

And on Jameson - it’s Jacobson.  Byron’s mind wanders towards the end of a ride…. no more said :)


Ok, I do recall the gearing problem and I think I was laughing so hard that I missed a few pedal strokes, which gave you time to clean up a bit and get back on the bike.

Check this [snapshot from Google Maps](/images/blog/col_de_roy.jpg) showing the topographical view of the Col de Roy.

Almost a serious hill - my wife and I did a climb out of Ambleside in the Lake District in England.  25% grade.  And even better, a pub to celebrate the climb at the summit!

Thank god for modern bikes and low gears…