Minimum Watt per KG Mt. Lemmon

Any one have an idea on the minimum watts per KG to make it up Mt. Lemmon?

with the ‘right’ gear it shouldn’t matter, unless you are literally coming off the couch.


Dig up the specs for the climb, via Strava segments, and then use a basic calculator like this one:

But as mentioned, as long as you have a decent low gear, getting there is not the “problem”. The greater unknown is how long it will take. That’s where a calculator can help. There are others out there, with Best Bike Split being one of the best, but also requires payment from what I know.



Best bike split works fine on the free version for what you want. You can upload the gpx and enter the IF you want to maintain and a maximum wattage and it will give you the best time and how to achieve that time. You can download a file you can import into TrainerRoad to practice. I think you can do 5 downloads for free. It’s amazing what you get on the free version!


I had no issue doing it back when my all-time best 20min power was ~2.6 W/kg.

I used a 34 small ring, and a 32t largest cog. I would have been fine with 34-30. I think I would have suffered a bit with 34-28.

I just stuck it in my easiest gear and hung out there even if it felt like I could do more. Didn’t have to push myself especially hard until the final ascent to the observatory. (optional 1000 ft ascent up past the ski slope at the very top)

I carried 400g carbs, 400mg caffeine, and 4L of water.

I now have about a 3.2W/kg 20min power and feel very comfy everywhere on Mt. Lemmon with a 36-30 easiest gear.

Bring a jacket for the descent, unless the weather at the top is supposed to be 60+ degrees all day.



if you don’t mind, what is your current W/kg?

For reference, these HC climbs I’ve done are all in the 2.6 to 3.0 W/kg range:

Full Mt Lemmon climb is a bit longer than my HC climbs:

Cadence on those were between 60 to 79rpm. My new bike has 35x36 gearing, so better than the 34x32 and 34x34 of the attempts above. Mt Lemmon then becomes a game of muscular endurance and patience.

Worth going thru the exercise yourself and figuring out appropriate gearing. Hope the data above helps, if you are similar W/kg.


Besides gearing, looking at best bike split (or similar) to get an idea of how long the climb is likely to take you will help you pace your effort. Also keep in mind 9000 feet is quite high, so keep that in mind as well. Above 7-8k feet for me is where I really start to feel it, so keep that in mind for you pacing as well - you will be getting tired as you hit the worst of the altitude. Altitude affects people differently, so there is no cookie cutter answer regarding how to handle altitude.
Good luck!

I move between 2.9 and 3.1. I will probably be at least 3.1 when I do the climb in April. Lat time I tried I bonked about 2/3 of the way up (among other issues).

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Thanks for the help and advice!

This is not a question of W/kg, this is a question about gearing. I don’t know Mt. Lemmon, but with the right gearing and sufficient mental stamina you can climb it.

What gearing do you currently have?

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As long as your gearing is acceptable, this is a fueling issue. Even if gearing is unacceptable, fueling better probably solves this.


Depending on Trout’s definition of bonking, I’d suggest both fueling and working on muscular endurance / fatigue resistance. I’ve heard locals say “bonk” when they mean the legs give up even with proper fueling. Spending 2+ hours climbing also requires a fair bit of mental stamina - “I will not give up” - attitude.


It was a depletion of glycogen. I just wanted to lay down and sleep. My fueling plan was nonexistent. I will have that fixed in April.

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This is probably actually depletion of blood sugar, which can happen independently of glycogen depletion, especially at altitude where rate of glucose usage in both brain and muscle is faster.

The answer is the same though: consume more sugar while riding up the hill. :slight_smile:


Agree with everyone above. I did it last year with and even though I didn’t have a power meter, I paced at what I thought was around 180 watts (2.2 w/kg probably around .75 IF) and made it up reasonably comfortably even though it took about 3 hours. My rental bike had a 34 on the cassette which was nice, spent almost all the time in the 2 easiest gears. Really wish I had a jacket for the descent. I was freezing.


Like others said, pace yourself and eat a lot. You go from about 3000 feet above sea level to over 9k, that takes it’s toll if you start out too hard. Also keep your mind on the prize…a giant, warm cookie at the Cookie Cabin in Summerhaven :slight_smile:


I think I could do 1W/Kg which would be around 3mph at 6% at 40rpm with my trusty 35 front AXS little ring and a 33 in back. Any slower I think balance becomes harder than the effort of pushing the pedals.

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I have done 2 hrs 40 minutes at 2.5. Hoping that will get me up the hill. I have been training my carb intake as well. I plan to have support to carry our food and water for us. I still have a couple of months to train but I am feeling pretty good right now. I hope the confidence isn’t false!

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