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Kleinschmidt Grade

By coolsen - Posted on 12 January 2018

Check in at this site

  • Site # 36
  • GPS Coordinates: N45.05328 W116.78683
  • Elevation: 2840 feet
  • Benchmark Page: 44
  • Benchmark Coordinates: E-F3 Idaho
  • Ride Difficulty: 2


Hells Canyon is in the record books as the deepest and narrowest river gorge in North America.  The Snake River flows north through the canyon and forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon. The canyon walls are as high as 7900 feet in places, with the average depth about 5500 feet.  The canyon didn't get its name from the depth of the canyon walls, however.  It had more to do with the wild journey the river afforded a boat.  In the 1880s, copper and gold were discovered in the Seven Devils Mining District, on the Idaho side of Snake River.  The ore was high in the mountains, the terrain rugged, the climate harsh.  A man named Albert Kleinschmidt thought these problems could be managed if he could haul the ore somehow down to the river.  He could load a boat and sail it to the nearest railroad, which at the time was upstream at Huntington, Oregon.  First, he built a 22-mile road to get the ore down to the river.  This steep road is still used today (although not for hauling ore) and is known as the Kleinschmidt Grade.  He arranged to have a boat built in Huntington—the "Norma," named after his daughter.  When it came time to test the boat and sail her toward the Kleinschmidt Grade, the pilot found the rapids more than rough going, which isn't surprising considering the river loses about ten feet in elevation every mile.  The legend has it that the boat pilot's name was Haller.  Either from what Haller said as he tried to steer the boat, or because of inaccurate repetition of his name in the phrase "Haller's Canyon," this stretch of river is known as Hells Canyon.  Sadly, later research revealed the names of the "Norma" crew.  The pilot's name was Gray, and no Haller was aboard.

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Check-Ins for this Challenge Point

 #36 Kleinschmidt Grade

Posted by sage on 2018-05-28 08:13

 Old sheep barn is totally fallen down now... miss that old thing...



Posted by silverspurs on 2018-06-12 23:10

 Nice day ride.

Posted by englund on 2018-06-22 14:59

Photo taken July 9 descending into Hells Canyon.  About 1/4 mile from this signpost along Kleinschmidt Grade is big old barn of which I have a series of photos over the past 10 years documenting its gradual, but progressive colapse.  Currently, there is hardly anything standing.  I suspect that in a year or two there will be nothing of it remaining.

Posted by coolsen on 2018-07-18 14:32

 I have never ridden up this road, only down. 

Posted by shutterman on 2018-08-06 20:06

During the Heart of Idaho Rally.  We had just come up th Kleinschmidt Grade on our way to Cuprum.  I didn't realize the grade was a challenge site so I got SpecialEd to snap my picture here at Arlen's place.  He and Ron can both vouch for me, I swear.

Posted by BoiseMike on 2018-09-25 13:14


Posted by rwhopp on 2018-10-14 17:33

Special Ed @ Kleinschmidt Grade

Posted by Special Ed on 2018-10-21 08:30

 Up Hess next.

Posted by AGHill on 2018-11-27 13:16

oldnut @ challenge site #36, Kleinschmidt Grade

Posted by oldnut on 2018-12-06 19:24

 Yeah I know, I've ridden it and could have omn the RT but chose not to.

Posted by CBMMA1969 on 2018-12-21 12:51