Bicycle Climbs of Seattle, Eastside Edition

Spent a bit of time polishing up my google maps application last night, and it's ready for public showing.


This is based on an idea I've had percolating away in the back of my mind for a few months now...



That takes you to a google map which shows a fair number of climbs around these parts. Click on a climb, and you'll get a popup with some data about the climb, and click on the name of the climb to go to the detail page.


I feel fairly confident that the length and elevation gain data is correct, and therefore the average gradient is likely to be pretty good as well. The maximum gradient - well, I've taken that from the steepest parts of the gradient plot, but there is certainly some chance for error there. Not only do the roads on Topo USA not conform to actual contours (which definitely messes up the gradient plot on any climb with switchbacks), their topo data may also not take into account that grading that takes place during road construction.


I'm looking for:

  • General comments and suggestions

  • New climbs to add, both on the eastside and in Seattle and elsewhere

  • Better data for maximum gradients

  • Descriptions for the climbs.

  • Rankings for the climbs. I currently have green, yellow, and red. I'm going to add something beyond red for climbs like the zoo, but if you think I'm off on the relative ranking of climbs, let me know.


(Technology stuff)


This was originally going to be all generated on the fly, but I'd forgotten how much of a pain it is to work with a database on a web server. So, the data lives in a database on my machine, and there are a set of C# scripts that generate both the detail pages and the xml to drive the google maps page (yes, I know, how 1998 of me). The maps and gradient plots are hand-extracted from Topo USA.

Comments (11)

  1. tzagotta says:

    I’m not a climber, but that’s a pretty cool application. Does Google have good satellite images in that area? That might be a nice view to enable.

  2. ericgu says:

    Yes, I can do the Satellite thing as well, but I haven’t enabled it yet for the page.

  3. Iain says:

    I really the map, excellent. How do you calculate ranking, is it a subjective thing or something like average gradient vs length?

  4. ericgu says:

    The ranking is subjective. For the climbs I’ve done, I tried to make a reasonable guess, and for the ones I haven’t done, I tried to find comparable ones.

    When the list expands I’ll list all the climbs with rankings and give people a chance to changes ones.

  5. Brian says:

    Very awesome. I need something like this for Pittsburgh!!!

  6. Jim Argeropoulos says:

    Awesome! I would love it for my riding region! But, well, we only have one hill.

  7. robburke says:

    Eric, that’s very cool!!

  8. robburke says:

    I’d love a feature that lets me input my own routes… you could end up with people contributing their favourite bike climbs from wherever in the world they find themselves.

  9. Scott says:

    Wow, this is very very VERY cool. I am alwayes curios about the various rodes/climbs that I train on daily. Thanks for the great info!

  10. Mike Rice says:


    I was able to find your site again. I just want to commend you on this. It is a great resource. I hope you are able to get more Seattle climbs on here soon and I second the idea about people inputting their own favorite climbs (though I have no idea how technically workable that is).


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