Buttertubs Pass (The Wrong Way)

So why the wrong way?  Well I wanted to do Buttertubs and I hadn’t read 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs yet so we rode part of the 2014 Stage 1 Tour de France route – little did I know that the official 100 Climbs segment is the reverse!  Oh well, just means I’ll have to do it again.


We started off from Hawes and climbed up the modest 5-6% gradients through Simonside before the ramps got steeper.  As you can see from the above photo it is quite a big hill that we were attempting.

It’s a long old drag for a mile or so then it begins to ramp up quite severely up to the first cattle grid.  The sign says 17% from memory but my Garmin was showing 20% at parts.  There is two steep ramps on the way to the first cattle grid – the first was a struggle but doable, on the second I had to stop.

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As you can see with my hands slumped over the bars I was struggling.  I didn’t even stop at my max HR, I had just ran our of oxygen.  I was on the limit so I admired the view for a couple of minutes and then slogged on.

It was worth it though.  Once you hit the top the descent is pretty good.  A couple of sharp corners and a few long, straight drags to get some good speed up on.

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Overall I was expecting to stop 2-3 times so I was chuffed I only conked out once.  I expected the climb to be harder though, even at my low speeds.  I think climbing the ‘official’ way will be a lot harder so I’ll maybe leave it for a bit before attempting it again.

Here is my Garmin Verb video of the climb and descent – it’s long but if you skip to 33 mins you can see the descent.

I am delighted that I did it though and I would recommend others to tackle it too.  The long, steady climbs like this are hard to find and you feel like a GC contender slogging up them!


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