Blewett Pass

About the nicest thing to say about this pass, from a cyclist's view point, is that it has a great shoulder, good by western Washington standards, which are very good already. There are never any rumble strips. It's still not enough to get away from heavy truck spray during a downpour though. But I'm told I should look on the bright side. So looking on the bright side, compared with roads in say - Montana -  this would be a road so great, that it borders on the stellar.  That's because Montana is one of the rumble strip master states of the American west. Do they justify this, by saying this is also the state of the sleepiest drivers ? ... so that they need the rumble strips to keep them awake ? I don't know. As for scenery on Blewett Pass - better to look somewhere else


1.(2210ft,mile00.0)START-END SOUTH:jct US97-Wa970, north of Ellensburg
2.(3050ft,mile09.6)southern jct with Old Blewett Pass Rd on left
3.(4120ft,mile14.3)TOP: Blewett Pass
4.(2580ft,mile22.8)northern jct with Old Blewett Pass Rd
5.(1070ft,mile35.1)START-END NORTH ALT: jct US97-US2, east of Leavenworth


Approaches

From South. The lower southern and western approaches meet at a spot called Verden on the de Lorme Gazetteer. But there is nothing there - probably not the first time that a junction is given a name without any immediately apparent reason. The southern approach to this point from Ellensberg has already a small summit point.

US97 is quite a bit busier and leads to the top of the the pass with a uniformly sloped, elaborately engineered roadbed, with scenery, that shouldn't distract anybody from thinking about anything else, than what they were thinking about anyway ( like for example how this compares to road conditions in Montana). There is not the slightest hint of an interesting view from the top. Two dirt roads meet on US97 at the summit, and there is a Blewett Pass sign with elevation. The de Lorme Gazetteer labels this spot with the offical name Swauk Pass, using the name Blewett Pass for an adjacent older crossing of this road

From North. The shoulder on this side is not as wide as on the southern side. Otherwise - the same conditions as the north side.

 

Dayride

COMPLETELY PAVED:

( < White Pass | FR9718 - 9712(sh) > )
Blewett Pass x2: jct FR9700/115 - US97 <> US97 north <> Blewett Pass <> turnaround point ~1400ft below summit: 41.8miles with 2750ft of climbing in 3:20hrs ( VDO MC1.0 m5:13.9.6)
Notes: includes also a 1.2mile/500ft unpaved approach from FR115. - The weather report said something about chance of showers, but it didn't say anything about a three hour long torrential downpour. Even though this was easily the wettest conditions since the beginning of this trip - and probably also the worst conditions (depending on how heat sensitive a person is), I saw five other cyclists on this short ride. There were two stoic racer types, on fully loaded tourer exclaiming "I guess I'm not the only cracy one out here", and then there were Connor and Lucia, also on heavily loaded bikes on a tour from Portland to Vancouver.

Lucia was from Spain and riding a Peugot bicycle, just like one I always wanted, at a time when the US was a one bicycle country - Schwinn was all that was available where I lived a long time ago. Unfortunately the Peugeot was having spoke problems, in addition to the pouring rain problem. I wish them all the best.

 



 



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