Page Contributor(s): Dan Razum, San Jose, CA
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Cycling Narbona Pass
Ride 10 miles gaining 2,822’ at 5.4% average grade.
Climb summary by PJAMM ambassador Dan Razum, San Jose, California.
This is a fairly isolated climb in Navajo Nation. We climb up the Chuska Mountains from the east, starting in dry arid conditions. The western side of the Chuska Mountains have more moisture and vegetation, the eastern side is basically a desert. From the start of the climb Shiprock is just visible on the horizon, about 40 miles to the north. Shiprock is a craggy
rock formation of religious and historical significance to the Navajo people. The pass is named after the Navajo Chief Narbona. It was formerly called Washington Pass, after an English colonel, but is now officially Narbona Pass.
There are a few buildings at the start which is the most civilization we will see on this climb. There are some houses scattered throughout the climb but it is a sparsely populated area, with no services along the way. But this means that traffic is pretty light, which is good. There is a decent shoulder most of the way but there isn't any shade, the road is exposed and it can get hot at the bottom.
As we climb higher the scenery changes from desert at the bottom to pine forest at the top, with small shrubs and scrub land in the middle. There are some views as we gain elevation but nothing too spectacular. Overall, it's a nice climb that will give you a good workout.
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