San Elijo Hills offers multiple climbing options right out your doorstep. There are the long climbs, short climbs, abrupt climbs and technical climbs. They each have their own character and play to the strengths of different types of runners.
I am in the process of posting the climbs and wanted to share with the reader my categorization process. For a climb to be placed here, it needs to start at the beginning of the climb and finish at a peak. Climbs that start 100 meters before the ascent or finish half-way up the climb make no sense to me and will not be posted. I also don't want to duplicate portions of climbs too much and don't think much of climbs less than a half a mile.
I am now in the process of offering some comments on the climbs and their difficulty. I originally placed the Telescope Climb at #1. However, after running James Walsh's Melrose to Double Peak, I have to place this at #1. This is a climb that has everything and forces the runner to use all their gears.
It begins with a slap in the face at 10-20% grade and immediately forces the runner into a series of switchbacks. The runner then has to bust their quads running downhill before they assault the radio tower, which includes a short portion at 25% grade. Upon reaching the radio tower, lungs busting, the runner gets a brief respite, but needs to open the pace up before hitting two sets of short steep hills. At the same time, the runner busts their quads running down the backside of these climbs. The climber then confronts the last bit up Double Peak, which includes a technical uphill finish at 15% grade. This is 4.2 miles of pain and total elevation gain has to be greater than 1216 due to the descents, which I do not believe are factored in.
The Telescope Climb is much more pedestrian. The runner runs uphill the entire way and uses one gear. Don't get me wrong, this is a hard climb, it's just the JW climb forces the runner to climb, descend and sprint.
With that said, I hereby challenge all SEHRC members to run the JW. One word of advice, study the course just a bit, as there are some points where you could take a wrong turn, especially: (1) after super steep portion of radio tower climb, but a little further up, get off asphalt towards left and go on trail (2) when going up Double Peak head up the steep dirt section and (3) when almost to the top of Double Peak and trail flattens out a bit, make a left into a narrow trail, which brings you to the top. Good luck!
1. JW - Melrose to Double Peak - Cat 2
2A. Telescope Climb (dirt paths) - Cat 2
2B. Assault on Double Peak! - Cat 2
(Same as Telescope Climb but on North side for pavement lovers)
3. Jeep Trail - Questhaven to intersection of Frank's Peak/Mt. Whitney - Cat 3
4. Creek to Water Tank - Cat 3
5. Via Ambiente / Cielo Climb 2.2 - Cat 3
6. Radio Tower & Beyond - Cat 3
7. Denning Road Climb - Cat 3
8. TOV @ Craven to SE Road Peak - Cat 3
9. Double Peak Climb - Cat 4
10. Backside Water Tank Climb - Cat 4
11. Whiptail Climb - Cat 4
12. Quest to Attebury 2.1 Climb - Cat 4
13. Black Dog Climb - Cat 4
14. Post to Pillar
15. Creek to Cross