You’re going to love this stage. Not. Fourteen flat miles along the shore of Kluane Lake followed by a six hundred foot climb then by a two hundred descent and another two hundred and something foot climb. Basically, after a nice calm jaunt, you’re going to get hit with around nine hundred feet of climbing in the last eight miles: ouch!
We’ll come to the painful end in due course but let’s focus on the rollout first. The Alaska Highway follows the shore of Kluane Lake virtually the whole way from Congdon Creek Territoral Park to the crossing of the A’ay Chu River at the southern end of the lake. The crossing is at ten miles but because the mountains to the west come right down the water’s edge on the western side of the lake, the road has nowhere to go apart from follow the shoreline so it’s relatively flat for all of those ten miles.
Even after crossing the A’ay Chu, the road continues to hug the lakeside and for the next four miles, the direction actually reverses back north briefly before hanging a right to begin heading east: it’s where the highway leaves the lake at fourteen miles that the fun starts. North of the point where the road leaves the lake, Silver City airport serves the community of the same name.
After two miles of climbing, at the sixteen mile mark, the road passes by a top end of Silver Creek, a large finger shaped lake that extends south into the hillside for a distance of around three miles. By now, Route 1 is heading east and as the unrelenting climb heads straight up the hillside, the full extent of the task should be clear to see.
The summit is at nineteen miles and as the road goes over the top – clearly the highest elevation of the stage at almost three thousand two hundred feet – it descends down to Christmas Creek just before twenty one miles: the creek is flowing south to north at this point from the lake of the same name three miles to the south of the highway. As is usually the way with water crossings, it’s uphill on the other side and this one’s no exception. The road slices between two bunches of water north and south of the highway and the end of the stage is where the gradient starts to level out close to the southern lake. Hungry Lake, nominated as the finishing point because it’s actually named, lies two miles to the south of Route 1 at the finishing line.
Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres
Ascent: 968 feet / 295 metres
RGT Magic Road: rtxH5cCZxFxb
Max elevation: 3148 ft
Min elevation: 2525 ft
Total climbing: 968 ft
Total descent: -468 ft
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