I like BIG HILLS and I cannot lie!

This blog began as a training journal for my first Assault on Mount Mitchell. The name SteepClimbs reflected the height of the challenge in front of me. It was both a figurative and literal steep climb for me to reach the summit of Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River.

During my training, I have discovered a passion within myself for big hills. The bigger the hill (or better yet, mountain), the better. The tougher or steeper the challenge, the better I feel after (not necessarily during) succeeding. I like to travel, experience new places, and learn about the land.


I’m often working on projects to either volunteer for charity, improve the local cycling community, or host charity rides. You can see my current projects at this page.


Blog – Regardless how much I expend the site, it will always be a blog, first and foremost. I like to recap my adventures and share pictures, whenever possible. My own personal narrative will always be the driving force behind the site, and it will always reflect my own interests. I like to discuss my training, my nutrition, and always will recap my rides in detail.

Climbs – Throughout my travels, I have encountered many new and interesting climbs. As I discover and conquer these climbs, I index them in their very own section. Most are currently in the Carolinas and Blue Ridge areas, although I have plans to venture throughout the country and perhaps overseas to challenge myself in different locations.

Photos – I take plenty of photos on every ride, only a fraction of which get posted on the website. I save the best ones for my photo area, which is updated occasionally. In addition to the main area, I also have photo sections for the Blue Ridge Parkway and Conquered photos, where I plant my bike as a conquering nation would plant their flag.

Rides – I am a sucker for the organized century rides, preferably in the mountains. This section always lists my upcoming rides, and also contains archives for the rides I have already attended. Many readers that I have met say they use this area to plot their own training. It can also be used to find older ride reports and photos.

Routes – This is the section I use the most for my own reference. I have collected a number of routes from different areas. The focus is on climbing, but I also link to some city rides, such as in Atlanta and Spartanburg. All the information is crowdsourced RideWithGPS links that are organized by starting point. I expect this area to expand a lot faster than other content areas, simply because there are so many people out there designing and sharing their own routes. I pick the ones that I think readers will find the most useful.

Links – I have put a lot of time and creative energy into my links section, trying to find the most useful websites out there for the road climber. There are a wide range of topics that are covered, ranging from a directory of Bike Shops, Rides, and Maps. I am most proud of my directory of Blogs and links to Climbing resources. This area will continue to expand as I find new and interesting destinations on the Web.

2011 Year in Review
2012 Year in Review

You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

33 responses to “About

  • Rich Mead


    Enjoyed meeting and riding with you today. Yes, it was hot!!
    Take a look at this video for some short steep climbs–

    Hope to see you at B2B

    –Rich Mead

  • Wayne W

    Nice site. Just what I’ve been looking for. I bet we’ve passed each other on the fort. I ride there regularly and like to expend energy on the walls, both of them.

  • Richard Soto


    I have your water bottle from the Habitat for Humanity ride. I can’t thank you enough for sacrificing your own hydration for a long ride. Without it, I would not have been able to enjoy the ride…. We can meet up for a ride and I can give it back to you. Let me know.

  • Richard Soto

    Let me know ahead of time. I am always looking for a ride…. Good luck with the Franklin ride. I will mark it on my calendar for next year.

  • charlottelellis

    I have enjoyed reading your blog, thanks! Great photographs too!

  • Wayne Wells

    Hey Aaron,
    I was wondering which of the various mapping tools apps you like the best. Seems like at times you’ve used MapMyRide, Strava, and others.
    I typically use my Garmin Edge 305 and it works fine. More interested in the phone type apps. Any issues with battery consumption, accuracy, etc.

    • aaronwest

      I upload to both Garmin and Strava, and usually use whichever one fits best for the web post. If a ride has a lot of climbs, for instance, then I’ll usually use Strava because it isolates them. For using the phone, I would choose either Strava or Cyclemeter, although there are a ton out there and I haven’t tried them all. I use an iPhone and battery life can be an issue on longer rides, so I have a mophie juice box. I have noticed that the phones are not nearly as accurate as the Garmin, and often miss details like elevation, but I guess that’s to be expected.

  • bgddyjim


    I was given the Kreativ Blogger Award and would like to pass it on to you. You’ve got a great blog.




  • bgddyjim

    I’m big on the awards lately, here’s another one – but unlike most, mine doesn’t require you to do anything. Keep up the good work and your photos have been awesome lately.


  • kevinmayne

    Thanks for stoping by my blog, it let me find yours. There is just nothing like a peak on the horizon to inspire a bike ride, I hope you find many more.

  • bgddyjim

    Heading down your way next week and the bike is coming with. We’re down in the mountains of Georgia for a few days, then on to Lake Nantahala in the Smokey Mountains. I’ll have the rack on the car so I can travel a bit to get to you if you’ve got time to go for a ride. Let me know.

    • aaronwest

      Oh man, that’s bad timing otherwise I’d be all over that. I am shipping my bike to CO for the big vacation and will be without it for two weeks. Shoot me an email if you want ideas on where to ride.

      • bgddyjim

        That’s too bad, we can try again next year, my wife and I come down that way almost every year. Have a great trip brother…

        I’m going to have to give Colorado a shot some time.

  • Rocky Mountain Escape

    Thanks for the like, Aaron – appreciated! As you can tell from the blog, I do my mountain climbing on foot . . .our wilderness trails tend to be a bit rough on bikes! Enjoyed your blog and best wishes on your rides.

  • Kissimmee « There And Back Again

    […] climbed a mere 72 feet.  I felt like I was back at Virginia Beach.  I wondered what Aaron over at SteepClimbs.com would make of this.  Not much, I suspect.  It was like riding a trainer, except there was a […]

  • thedarbster

    great site! As I was driving through the Pyrenees in Spain this summer, I kept wishing I had an opportunity to ride my bike up some of those climbs. (I live a long way from any mountains and probably have never exceeded 1000 ft gain) I hope to get a chance to try it some time. Happy riding!

  • exmaschine

    I can really identify with your passion for climbing Aaron. I have been riding since 2004, when I turned 38 (wish I started sooner!) Though it wasn’t until my 7th year in 2011 that I discovered that climbing really is the essence of cycling, at least to me. Now most of my serious riding from May to October is all about the ascent! I’m slow, but I’ll take on just about any climb…the feeling of conquering the hills is amazing, once you can start breathing again! lol…

    • aaronwest

      Hey there, thanks for visiting. I completely agree that climbing is the essence of cycling. In all my athletic activities, there’s nothing I’ve found that compares to the feeling of conquering a big climb.

      • exmaschine

        Spot on mate! Great sentiment. The only other sport that I could feel that kind of emotion was in motorcycle roadracing. Other than that, tennis, baseball and football (as much as I enjoyed playing) just don’t have that allure of epicness. I’ll be following your ‘epic’ rides this year…enjoy!

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  • Rodger

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  • Steve


    Great to plug into your blog… and to someone else who admits to enjoying climbing like I do. Some of the most satisfying riding comes from conquering a good climb and the scenery often is a big bonus. Look forward to reading your posts.


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