Climb to the Clouds

2011-06-24 16:02:54.000 – Brian Clark,  Observer / Educational Specialist


Ever since I was an intern over 5 years ago, I have known about the cars that have raced up the mountain in the past. Over the years, I have frequently been asked about those races, and why the Auto Road does not host them anymore. My answer has always been something about how I have never worked on the mountain when they were running the races, and I’m not entirely clear on why they stopped running them. I have also always ended that explanation with ‘…but I would love to be here some day if they start doing the race again.’. So, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when I found out last summer that the race, dubbed the Climb to the Clouds, would be resurrected in the summer of 2011 as part of the Auto Road’s 150th anniversary celebration. My level of excitement was only heightened when I learned that I would be working on that particular weekend.

Now the first day of the three day Climb to the Clouds event has come, but the weather is not cooperating. Yesterday and today have seen very thick, wet fog, as well as nearly continuous drizzle and rain showers. All this moisture is not good for the gravel portions of the road above treeline, as they become very soft and muddy. Because of this, the first round of trial runs were limited to the halfway point on the road today, preventing myself or any of the summit crew for that matter from seeing any of the fancy cars that are participating in the race. I was especially disappointed that I didn’t get to see Slim Bryant, one of our snow tractor operators in the winter, and his Porsche 911 that he has entered into the event. Tomorrow does not look any more promising for the second round of trial runs, with more thick fog, drizzle, rain showers, and maybe even thunderstorms in the forecast. The good news though, is that Sunday looks to be bringing some improvement, at least relatively speaking. Although there will still be some fog on the summits in the morning, things will be generally drier and there will likely be some form of clearing by the afternoon.

For more information about the event, head on over to and also check out some of the really neat pictures the Auto Road is posting on their page on Facebook.


Brian Clark,  Observer / Educational Specialist

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