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Stage 505 – Hard Luck Creek to Kluane River

Three ups and two downs, but the downs win it by a short head: and that’s primarily because the ten mile descent from the nine mile mark is an absolute belter. Don’t get me wrong, this stage has a lot of hard work in it, which includes a two mile climb off the start and a two mile climb to the finish. But what you’ll remember most is the big climb up from the seven mile mark and the ten mile descent that follows it. As stages go, this one’s a bit of a cracker.

The rollout has some unfinished business to attend to in the shape of a climb that began towards the end of stage 504. The first two miles of 505 whack another hundred feet on the previous climb before the Alaska Highway dives downhill to cross the Donjek River: although the crossing is at one of the narrower points, the bridge is still almost a quarter of a mile wide. As the river sits in a flood plain, the climb up on the eastern side doesn’t start immediately, but after the right hander at six miles, you’re on your way.

On seven miles, the highway swings back left again and between miles seven and nine, the road gains over two hundred feet of elevation. Not surprisingly, the summit at nine miles is the highest elevation of the stage. Then the descent kicks in: as Route 1 threads its way between a multitude of small lakes left and right, the lumpy descent just carries on regardless. The end of the descent is at the right hander on nineteen miles where the Alaska Highway meets but doesn’t cross the Kluane River.

Having arrived at the river, the road climbs again as the water runs along its left hand side, the inference of which is that the river is running north while the road is heading south. Although the finish is billed at being at the Kluane River, it’s really in the middle of nowhere as there are no communities anywhere nearby.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 770 feet / 235 metres

RGT Magic Road: pFYWiJ9LUuZc

Total distance: 21.42 mi
Max elevation: 2737 ft
Min elevation: 2313 ft
Total climbing: 772 ft
Total descent: -836 ft

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