I’ve come to really love this climb. It’s short, sweet and pending traffic, isn’t that far from San Francisco. Mt. Diablo can be heaven or hell, depending on the weather. Get on it early enough, as the sun is rising and you’ll be descending just in time for the heat to set in. Get on it later than ten or eleven in the morning and you’re in for a scorcher. After climbing up to the KOM during the ATOC this year (that story is still coming), I told myself I’d make it up every time I visit SF.

The Monday after The Ends photo show, I rallied Lyle and Evan from Mission Workshop and Marc Marino to hit the climb early. It was the first time I had taken the North Gate road and I think we saw three cars total that day, along with only a handful of riders. At the top, “the Devil’s elbow” awaits, a steep ramp up to the ranger station. Once there, we had a Coke, a chat and talked about how we’d head back down. After a roundabout way back to our vehicles, we had totalled around 37 miles and 3,900′ of climbing. Next time I’m taking the trails down!

I have to say, this part of California is very photogenic and these photos came out great. See for yourself in the Gallery.

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Neopan 400

  • Dillon Martino

    Wow, this looks unreal. I am in the SF area for the month and I feel compelled to hit this road the first chance I get. Thanks for posting your ride, I am not too familiar with the area and your map has helped me scope out my own (abbreviated) route. Some absolutely beautiful shots by the way!

  • GeraldBowles

    oh dang, I thought that was you, I was there on the Moots that morning. Mt. Diablo is basically my backyard. It’s not the tallest climb but it fights you the whole way up. Loving these photos.

  • AB

    Just moved to the base of Diablo from NYC and I could not be happier. Consistent incline in portions for some solid sessions but mellow enough to keep it casual if you want. Dead on about the temps, but there’s always shade and water spigots to be found. Awesome pictures, definitely a playground for someone with a camera. I ride this 4-5 times a week and every time I’m blown away at how amazing it is, especially weekday mornings. Make sure to pop a story up if you do take the trails.

    • The main trail is like 6 miles to the summit, vs 11 on the road. Can’t wait to hate that one!

  • Sean Curran

    This is an awesome set, loving the neopan! 2nd shot is especially good.

    • Yeah, when Neopan is good, it’s fucking good! This set was a perfect use for it and my lab scans at 7,000px wide for the price of processing the film now!

      • Sean Curran

        wow, thats outstanding, I finally found a good lab that does “high” res, but its only about 3,000px wide, and not exactly cheap. I really hate scanning myself.

  • Milin Balsara

    I love that climb. It’s a good way from Oakland, but you can put in a nice 100 mile day riding out and back. I’ve only climbed the north gate, though. I should try the other way up soon on the Geekhouse.

  • Maxwell Merkle

    There were 3 cars because it was MONDAY! It’s also nice on weekends…