Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Inaugural Mineshaft Grinder Race on August 17th

April 30, 2019

Results are in!

Congratulations to all our racers for braving the heat and dust and making Saturday a blast. We’re happy to share results. Please contact Lia Slemons ( if you have any questions/corrections. Note that the race distances are merely accurate to gold rush standards (e.g. 4 is ~4.8 miles).

Thanks again to our sponsors: Jaffa Construction, Turnagain Kayak & Coffeehouse, Glacier Jetski Adventures, the Seaview Cafe, Chain Reaction Cycles, Alyeska Resort, Alpine Air, and venue hosts Hope School and Creekbend Cafe.

Thanks our volunteers, including KMTA Board members and Hope EMS, who helped make our inaugural event happen. Thank you for coming out to race! We’ll celebrate and learn from this year to make next year better yet- and hope to see you there.

The Mineshaft Grinder Race

On August 17th, KMTA will celebrate the mining history in Hope, AK by encouraging racers up Palmer Creek Road in the inaugural Mineshaft Grinder. Participants will chose between biking or running in the Gold, Silver, or Quartz Grinders.

  • Gold Grinder:  an uphill-only bike race for riders to grind up ~1900’  over 11 miles. At the end of Palmer Creek Road, riders may opt to “work their claim” for raffle prizes by hauling a bucket of rocks (just like the old days!) a short distance along the roadway before finishing.
  • Silver Grinder: an out-and-back road race. Runners will race Palmer Creek Road to the top of the switchbacks to complete an 8 mile run with ~1,200′ gain
  • Quartz Grinder: a shorter out-and-back road race down Palmer Creek Road, 4 miles and ~300′ gain

Mineshaft Grinder Race Options

  • Gold (11 mile) Grinder Bike: $50 adults, youth contact the race director for entry. Start: 10:00 AM
  • Quartz (8 mile) and Silver (4 mile) Grinder Runs: $35 adults, $15 youth. Start: 10:30 AM

Other Good Info to Know

  • Bib pickup will include a helmet (for cyclists) and safety check at Hope School from 9-10:15 am.
  • Parking is limited, please carpool if possible.
  • Palmer Creek Road will remain open to vehicle traffic throughout the day and racers are required to follow the rules of the road.
  • Spectators are encouraged to bike or hike to cheer on their friends.
  • All races start at Hope School for a safer transition to Palmer Creek Road.
  • We will celebrate winners, door prizes, and August in Hope at race sponsor Creekbend Café at 1 pm.

Fundraiser for Hope School and the KMTA NHA

Race proceeds will benefit our partner Hope School and the community heritage programs of the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area.

Thank you to our sponsors: more fun and greater impact!

Turnagain Kayak & Coffeehouse is a Hope-based paddlesport education company that offers kayak rental and classes and coffee. They are helping make this event happen financially, logistically, and with a little java jolt.

Jaffa Construction stepped forward as an early key sponsor to support the race. Jaffa is a premier power plant service company with offices in Seward, Fairbanks, and Moose Pass. Jaffa Construction is a family-owned business with deep community service roots.

Alyeska Resort is providing bike passes to their thrilling bike park, which is the only lift-accessed downhill system in Alaska, as raffle prizes.

Glacier Jet Ski Adventures, the original jet ski tour operator in Prince William Sound is offering a jet ski tour as a raffle prize.

Chain Reaction Cycles of Anchorage will help keep you riding smoothly and safely with their raffle contributions and knowledgeable, friendly staff.

The Creekbend Company is graciously hosting the outdoor awards celebration, and will be following up that night with music from the Super Saturated Sugar Strings.

The Seaview is offering dinner gift certificates for raffle winners, a great reward to extend your day in Hope.

Alpine Air Alaska is offering a 1-hour flightseeing trip for two.

Lael Wilcox rides the Palmer Creek Road August 8, 2017, in Hope, Alaska. (Rugile Kaladyte)

Race Sign Up

To sign up for the race click here.  

Not racing… please volunteer instead!

We are looking for volunteers in the following areas:

  • Course Staging and Support (9 AM-1:30 PM)
  • Awards and Cleanup (1 PM-3 PM)

To volunteer please click here.


Have questions email Lia Slemons at

The Why Behind the Mineshaft Grinder

August in Palmer Creek Valley is a special time, when fireweed is in full bloom and alpine ridges may sport sun or snow. In August of 1911, John Hirshey staked four claims at the head of Palmer Creek. Gold sparkled throughout one of the quartz veins in the August light. Hirshey pulled together the finances to build and operate a stamp mill at the mine, which he named Lucky Strike. Lucky Strike was not a one-season wonder. Hirshey’s operation became the most consistent lode gold producer of the Kenai Peninsula.

Hirshey Mine Circa Early 20th Century Photo provided by Hope-Sunrise Historical Society

Palmer Creek Circa Early 20th Century Photo provided by Hope-Sunrise Historical Society


This race is under permit Chugach National Forest.

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