The Steepest Roads

DavidFL

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I gave Mike a shout, he shouted back, and we met in Phayao for a ride up the 6040. He led his friend Roger and me to the start of the route and pointed the way at critical turns. The steepest section of the road starts as two lanes of asphalt at 500m and ends up as one lane of concrete soon after it passes the summit, at 1100m. It continues to a village where coffee beans are laid out to dry in the sun and enjoy a wonderful view—and big bikes are advised to turn around where they still can.

View attachment 154567View attachment 154568

According to the GPS track, the steepest 9 km of the 6040 is tied with the 12 km long Singapore Road and with the steepest 12 km of the 3054, all with a mean grade of 10%. Yet the 6040 is hardly known outside the local area. A summary (the area of the pink blobs on the map shows the grade of that section divided by the speed, indicating the riding intensity):

View attachment 154569

My updated steep roads list (with R6040 in bold)

View attachment 154570

Also according to my GPS track, the curve at 19.36547,99.70733 has an 8m elevation gain over 18m (three segments between four trackpoints), which amounts to a whopping 45% grade. I scanned my 77,000 km of GPS trackpoints and could not find a steeper four-trackpoint hill. An 8m gain measured by GPS really means 8m +/- 1m, since the GPS rounds off to the nearest meter, so that curve is probably between a 40% and 50% grade. GPS measurements are not accurate over short distances. But there is no doubt that the whole route to the village at the top is good fun. Here are screenshots of the steepest curve from my traffic-cam:

View attachment 154571
Awesome work. Well done.
I'm in Luang Prabang at the moment and really must check it out.
Many thanks Mike for the tip off and Morningrider for the work and contribution. Excellent work.
 

Morningrider

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Here is the GPS track of the whole route from the junction near Route 1 (19.35699,99.76977) to the village (19.39669,99.69586), total 16 km: Route 6040 16 km.gpx

Over the 16 km the mean grade is about 8.6%, compared to about 10.2% for the 9 km climb to the summit. The concrete road along the ridgeline from the summit past the viewpoint to the village (in red) is not as steep as the climb to the summit (in blue) but the road narrows, with great views and unfenced sharp dropoffs along one side and few places to turn around. The viewpoint, at 1055m, is at 19.38204,99.70141, shown by the arrow:

R6040 16km (9km ascent in blue).jpg
 
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DavidFL

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I gave Mike a shout, he shouted back, and we met in Phayao for a ride up the 6040. He led his friend Roger and me to the start of the route and pointed the way at critical turns. The steepest section of the road starts as two lanes of asphalt at 500m and ends up as one lane of concrete soon after it passes the summit, at 1100m. It continues to a village where coffee beans are laid out to dry in the sun and enjoy a wonderful view—and big bikes are advised to turn around where they still can.

View attachment 154567View attachment 154568

According to the GPS track, the steepest 9 km of the 6040 is tied with the 12 km long Singapore Road and with the steepest 12 km of the 3054, all with a mean grade of 10%. Yet the 6040 is hardly known outside the local area. A summary (the area of the pink blobs on the map shows the grade of that section divided by the speed, indicating the riding intensity):

View attachment 154569

My updated steep roads list (with R6040 in bold)

View attachment 154570

Also according to my GPS track, the curve at 19.36547,99.70733 has an 8m elevation gain over 18m (three segments between four trackpoints), which amounts to a whopping 45% grade. I scanned my 77,000 km of GPS trackpoints and could not find a steeper four-trackpoint hill. An 8m gain measured by GPS really means 8m +/- 1m, since the GPS rounds off to the nearest meter, so that curve is probably between a 40% and 50% grade. GPS measurements are not accurate over short distances. But there is no doubt that the whole route to the village at the top is good fun. Here are screenshots of the steepest curve from my traffic-cam:

View attachment 154571

Awesome, I will try & take a look after Songkran.
Meanwhile working on a GTR Nan map I found my 2016 GPS track for R1097, Song Khwae - Chiang Klang.
1713173134942.jpeg

"Apologies" for the more prominent copyright, but I recently found a stack of my images in a FB group, with the discreet bottom right copyright removed.

A couple of pics from a 2016 ride along R1097
1713173431728.jpeg


1713173460953.jpeg


@Morningrider I've sent you the GPS track in your messages.
 

Morningrider

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I had a few tracks of the same road, so I plotted your track and a more recent one of mine for checking. According to your 2016 track, the average grade is 7.91%. According to my 2023 track, it's 7.89%, a very close match overall, about the same steepness and length as the Ban Rak Thai road. It slots in on the steep roads list in the bottom third, in bold:

Steep Roads.jpg


Route 1097 Song Khwae GTR Track.jpg


Route 1097 Song Khwae MR Track.jpg
 
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Morningrider

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David, according to your 2008 track, 6.6% average grade. According to my 2023 track, 6.9%. Later tracks are usually more accurate because the GPS system improves over time, so I’ll add the later one to the table. You can see it in bold near the bottom of the list, a long, scenic ride that isn't flat anywhere but also isn't super steep anywhere.

Route 1081 Bo Klua to Huay Kon - GTRider.jpg


Route 1081 Bo Klua to Huay Kon - Morningrider.jpg


Steepest Roads List.jpg
 
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Oddvar

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Awesome, I will try & take a look after Songkran.
Meanwhile working on a GTR Nan map I found my 2016 GPS track for R1097, Song Khwae - Chiang Klang.
View attachment 154922
"Apologies" for the more prominent copyright, but I recently found a stack of my images in a FB group, with the discreet bottom right copyright removed.

A couple of pics from a 2016 ride along R1097
View attachment 154923

View attachment 154924

@Morningrider I've sent you the GPS track in your messages.
About halfway there is a road leading to a cool area with a small water fall and pool. Lots of people this time of the year.