Thunder Mountain

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Thunder Mountain
PL Thunder Mountain.png
Basic Information
Map Type: Payload
File name: pl_thundermountain
Developer(s): Valve
Map Info
No. of Stages: 3
Environment: Alpine
Setting: Daylight, raining
Deep Water: Yes
Hazards: Pitfall
Map Items
Healthico.png Health Kits: Smallhealth.png ×25   •   Mediumhealth.png ×24   •   Largehealth.png ×1
Ammoico.png Ammo Boxes: Smallammo.png ×7   •   Mediumammo.png ×9   •   Largeammo.png ×21
Aw, now you don't look like a happy camper.
The Engineer finding the Sniper's hidden camping spot

Thunder Mountain is a Valve-developed Payload map included with the Engineer Update, revealed on Day 4 thereof. It is the third official Payload map to be developed and released since the Heavy Update, and one of three Payload-based maps released during the Engineer Update, the others being Upward and Hightower (a Payload Race map).

Thunder Mountain is a multi-stage Payload map, like Gold Rush and Hoodoo. However, unlike other Payload maps, it features new gameplay elements such as a bridge which must be raised in order for the cart to cross, and new types of cart tracks. Going down, the cart will roll whether it is being pushed or not, and if it is going up, if it is stopped with no-one pushing, it will roll to the bottom of the hill. These sections are marked with yellow and black caution tape-like decor.


  • BLU Team: The BLU team's primary goal is to guide the cart on its tracks throughout the map. By continuously pushing the cart forward and breaking through RED defensive positions, it will detonate and the BLU team will be victorious. Failure to push the cart forward by having teammates near it will eventually result in the cart slowly moving backwards after a period of time, eroding your team's past progress.
  • RED Team: Opposite the BLU team's objective, the team function of RED, as a group, is to deter and stall the BLU team and prevent them from advancing the cart to its final destination. By fighting off their opposition for a long enough period of time, the RED team will be victorious. The most effective way to stall the BLU team is to remain very close to the cart, thereby halting it from moving even with BLU forces nearby.


Details of stage 1.(Large file)
Details of stage 2.(Large file)
Details of stage 3.(Large file)
  • First Courtyard - Just outside BLU spawn is a courtyard that resembles Gold Rush's Stage A, Checkpoint 1.
  • Bridge - At the end of the First Courtyard is a small, tighter section of woodwork that leads to an unraised bridge. By pushing the cart onto the point the bridge raises slowly until it is high enough for the Payload to cross.
  • Final Spiral - In Thunder Mountain's final stage is a large tower, which the BLU team slowly climbs over the course of the round until they push it into a hole in the center, detonating the cart.


See Community Thunder Mountain strategy

Easter eggs

  • On Stage A, in the BLU spawn, the player may see some BLU characters in an area similar to the Soldier Training map, around a blackboard. They will occasionally taunt, albeit with no weapons, and will also occasionally do the Thriller taunt regardless of the time of the year. [1]
  • On Stage B, in the RED spawn, one may see the RED team swimming in a pool.
  • On Stage C, near the second checkpoint (third dot), off in the distance the Sniper can be seen near his camper van (the same one seen in Meet the Sniper), a tent, and a fire. He only appears after BLU team has pushed the Payload past the first checkpoint.


Update history

July 8, 2010 Patch (Engineer Update)
  • Added Thunder Mountain to the game.

August 17, 2010 Patch

  • Clipped off sticky outcrops for smoother movement.
  • Clipped various exploit ledges.
  • Increased environment ambient exterior light level.
  • Stage 1
    • Fixed hole in respawn room brushes in RED spawn.
    • Shifted respawn times to favor BLU by two seconds.
  • Stage 3
    • Clipped rocks off by BLU's spawn exit that leads to building B. (allowed Snipers to snipe the entire area)
    • Removed embedded displacement. (building B interior roof)
    • Removed rogue clip brush from building A balcony.

February 14, 2011 Patch

  • Updated the final stage to have the train begin receding after 25 seconds. (15 seconds on the final stretch)
  • [Undocumented] Reduced the cart speed on the final two ramps in the final stage to 1/2 normal speed.

May 3, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed a build-in-spawn exploit in the Blue spawn room for stage 2.

July 10, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed gate visible through ceiling in stage 3
  • Fixed clipping in stage 3 Blu spawn
  • Prevented players from building in the cliffside kill zone in stage 1


  • Thunder Mountain was originally teased on Day 1 of the Engineer Update, on the map of Badlands, an area that a number of game maps occupy.
  • There is an actual mountain named Thunder Mountain in Sierra Nevada, California; however, Thunder in this case references the history of nuclear weapon development at Los Alamos National Laboratory (see also the mushroom cloud reference on the Engineer Update page).
  • Occasionally, a blue logging train will pass by on the train tracks at stage A.

External links