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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning to take my new Silver Bullet to Canaan Valley Ski Resort in WV and know that those little mountain roads can be pretty steep. Do you think this little car can carry four people up the mountain? Does it have enough horsepower? What if there is a little snow on the road? Should we leave it at the bottom of the moutain and have our truck take two trips carrying everybody to the lodge?
 

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I often traverse a steep mountain gap (1,300' in 3 miles) and find no problem powerwise. I think with 3 passengers you'll do fine even in light snow (the extra weight should help in traction). However, you will be annoyed by the loud reving on ascent. For descent, use "B" mode which really helps in engine braking until the battery is fully charged (see the thread right above this one for more info on "B").

If there's significant snow that's not plowed, take the truck.
 

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Until I see posts from this new member that like those of fishantlers nobody is a Troll. Edmunds isn't going to give this guy as rounded a base of advice as we will, but his association with a post there is not a conviction here. What if he had posted the same question over at PriusChat; Greenhybrid? I doubt anyone would be accusing this member of being a troll then.

Anyway, it is a fair question?
 

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On moderate ascents - up to about 3,000 feet - the Prius is not only an adequate climber but a very good one. It's not as good on longer, battery-draining ascents, but even with four people, the Eisenhower Tunnel (a 5800-foot ascent from Denver) gave the Prius no trouble. We were passing as many cars as were passing us, and I wasn't flooring it.

Traction is another matter entirely. If there's going to be a lot of snow, I'd highly recommend snow tires.
 

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I recently had the experience of climbing a rather steep 13% (?) hill to around 6,000 foot elevation (Hwy. 155 west of Lake Isabella, CA).

My 2005 Prius slowed all the way down to 35 mph and would not go any faster even in the one long passing lane to the summit. The battery level dropped down to 1 bar (red) and there was nothing for the electric motor to draw from. It just ran very slow off the gas engine and once I saw the single bar remaining I backed off. It still continued along, but quite slowly for the duration of the climb to the summit.

Of course, coming down was another matter and it went all the way back to the top of the scale in a short while. Engine braking on "B" was pointless as it accellerated too fast going down the grade. I've found when I need "B" I need a lot more than what it provides.

I wouldn't put it into the league as a Hemi-powered vehicle. Personally, it could use a little more gas-engine ummph if I had to make that trek daily. Forget passing anyone. Oh, it does get rather loud - engine wise - on a serious climb. Scaling Pike's Peak may be another matter too.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the help guys. I'm not a troll. Actually I had account on here when I was looking into buying my Prius then all of a sudden I couldn't log back on so I stopped coming to this site and had just been using PriusChat mostly. But they were down and I really wanted some feed back some I resigned on. DanMan32 can account for me.

Actually my wife has a Honda Accord and I have the new Prius. We are going to take one or the other. Other friends in the trip are also taking their truck. Do you think the Prius will do better than the Accord or just drive one and park it at the bottom of the mountain and have them come back down to get us? I can't see getting snow tires for 1 trip every two years. We don't get much snow in the Outer Banks of NC.
 

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I have taken the Prius from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe on a couple of occassions, and had no issues at all. Two adults, one baby, and one big dog; plus all the crap for the baby and the dog.

We have also done the SF to Seattle run a couple of times, which includes some pretty high and steep mountains at the CA/OR border. Again no issues.

Never an issue with snow either, but I haven't been in either place when it was bad.

The first trip I took to Tahoe in the Prius, I was actually a little nervous about it. I needn't have been. I never ran out of battery power -- well except when we went to leave Tahoe and as I was loading our luggage into the car and saying our goodbyes I had left the car booted up (it was about 10 days old at the time, so I didn't realize). Sine the engine wasn't "running", I didn't realize it and ran the battery to the red. But that was my fault, not the cars.

In the end, the only way you will know is to try. Your driving style will be different than any of ours, and the exact rate and length of accent will be a big factor.

Spike
 

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We drove to Big Bear Lake over the New Years weekend. The pass on highway 38 topped out at 8,200 ft MSL. We had no problem keeping up with traffic. On the way back it was snowing and the road was wet but no problems. The trip down helped the lousy mpg (37) from the trip up.

I had some tire cable chains along for the ride but never needed them. I bought the La Clede #1030 from PartsAmerica.com for $35. Seemed like a reasonable price and we drive up to the mountains a lot in the winter. These fit the stock Prius tires and meet the specifications from the owner's manual.
 

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Prius in the mtns

I live in Colorado and have drive often in the mountains w/ 3 adults, 2 children with lugage and my Prius (04) does fine. I've driven between Flagstaff and Phoinex AZ about 4 times now where there is about 20 miles of 6% grade and my loaded and weighed down Prius hasn't missed a beat.

Last year I replaced my OEM tires with Goodyear tripletread tires. These are very aggressive, all weather tires and grip the road well on wet, snow packed and icy pavement. These tires have reduced my MPG by about 3-5 mpg. With two kids, I am Mr safety and feel the tradeoff of great bad weather handling vs higher mpg worth the hit on mpg.
 

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Pike's Peak

As most of the old-timers may know, my wife and I drove our 2002 Prius over Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park and up Pike's Peak, both in Colorado. These mountains are between 12,000 and 14,000 feet. No problems on either. As a matter of fact, the east-bound approach to the Eisenhower Tunnel in the mountains west of Denver is lower, but much worse. Went over that fine, too.
 

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Thanks

Thanks for posting your experience regarding travelling in the mountains. We were considering making a trip to CO this summer, Durango to Silverton. Was a bit concerned about the Prius' ability to hack it. 2 years ago, our Sienna kind of grunted and groaned over that "hill", and it was a v-6. But, it looks like it's the silver bullet for our next trip West. Besides, gas mileage is a heck of a lot better.
 

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What's "enough horsepower"? Horsepower is all about
how *fast* you can lift a given load a given vertical distance,
assuming you begin with enough force [torque] to begin
moving against the resistance in the first place.
.
Google for "horsepower per ton", and consider that big
semis are only running 300 - 500 hp. That's why there
are two lanes on the ascending side. Does that mean
that trucks don't have "enough horsepower"? Where does your
food come from, then?
.
_H*
 

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Not many of us want to accelerate the rate of a turtle.

But I agree, mountain driving depends on torque (force) and traction. The prius has plenty of off-the-line torque. The problem becomes the application of traction, which is why I say have good shoes (tires).
 
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