The Corkscrew Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

The Corkscrew


Remote climb in the Tahoe National Forest near Top 100 US Climb Mosquito Ridge.

Page Contributor(s): Cal Erdman, Sacramento, California, USA

Explore this Climb

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Partly Cloudy

0.8 mph SSW with gusts up to 6.6 mph

0% chance of light rainfall

9:40 PM (local)
PJAMM Sunrise Icon5:47 AMPJAMM Sunset Icon8:14 PM

Wind Speed


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58° 43°


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49° 41°


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65° 48°


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67° 47°


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70° 50°


pjamm cycling partly-cloudy-day weather icon

65° 46°


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59° 48°

Climb Summary

Climb Summary

The Corkscrew

The Corkscrew is a short but stout climb off Mosquito Ridge Road and can (should?) be done in conjunction with some derivation of the Mosquito Ridge climb (see spreadsheet below).  This is a remote climb in the Tahoe National Forest.  Take Fire Road 23 off of Mosquito Ridge Road and travel 2.2 miles to the Oxbow Reservoir and Rubicon River.  Just past the Reservoir the climb begins in earnest.  

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There are some great views of the Hydroelectric Plant (the start) about 1,000’ up the climb as well as some interesting “look-backs” at the Corkscrew you just navigated (see slideshow, above).  The grade on this beast is steep throughout, spiking at the mid to upper-teens in spots.  This one will test you!

The road is rough, but quite manageable and there is no traffic to speak of.  The three climbs in this area are all very remote with light vehicular traffic.

Note:  There is a slide just past the power plant on Rubicon Road, so you now cannot access Corkscrew from the Oxbow Reservoir side.  You can access the climb by doing Mosquito Ridge climb (Map of just the Mosquito Ridge climb) then continuing on Mosquito Ridge to French Meadows Road (turning right there) at mile 25.5 then bending right to merge onto French Meadows Road at mile 30.9 until you get to the back slide of the slide and the bottom of the Corkscrew climb - then turn around and retrace your steps to the start of the Mosquito Ridge climb - here’s the out-and-back map for this 96.5 mile 12,880’ day - 

Unnamed Road (Off Mosquito Ridge Road) to power station at bottom of ravine

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This descent from Mosquito Ridge Road down an unnamed road to a somewhat eerie and desolate hydroelectric dam is quite the challenge, particularly after climbing Corkscrew and Mosquito Ridge.  Mosquito Ridge’s 18 mile stretch of road from the start of the Mosquito Ridge climb (at the bridge over the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River  - really, that’s how it’s referred to on the maps!) is home to some incredibly difficult and remote Northern Sierra Climbs - Unnamed Road being one of them.  We have not been able to identify the name of the road or the hydroelectric dam at the bottom, but the road is on the right side of the Mosquito Ridge ascent precisely 10.8 miles from its beginning at the bridge at longitude/altitude 39.05182, -120.616433.  We charted the climb here:  RideWithGPS Map.    The beginning of this climb is just up the hill from the dam at 39.02937, -120.60419 latitude/longitude.  There was no traffic on this one - it is remote, desolate and a bit creepy!  The roadway is paved and was in pretty good shape which was a bit surprising given it’s ghost-town feel . . . hey, was that a tumbleweed that rolled across the road in front of me?

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This monster climb, done in conjunction with Mosquito Ridge and Corkscrew, offers a formidable climbing challenge at 58 miles and 9,925’ of climbing:  Map.  

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