Thunder Mountain

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Thunder Mountain
PL Thunder Mountain.png
Basic Information
Map type: Payload
File name: pl_thundermountain
Released: July 8, 2010 Patch
(Engineer Update)
Variants: Mannpower
Developer(s): Valve
Map Info
No. of Stages: 3
Environment: Alpine
Setting: Daylight, raining
Hazards: Pitfall
Deep Water: Yes
Bot support: Yes
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
Map Photos
Loading screen photos.
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. Unlike other Payload maps, Thunder Mountain features new gameplay mechanisms not used in earlier maps, including a bridge which must be raised in order for the cart to cross, and sloped tracks, marked with yellow and black caution stripes.


Stage 1

Details of stage 1 (large file).
  • BLU Spawn: A spawn with two exits, one on the left and one on the right wall leading to courtyard.
  • 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.
  • RED Spawn: A large spawn room with windows overviewing the entire courtyard and outside of BLU spawn. Leads down a couple of staircases to a singular exit near Stage A, Checkpoint 2.

Stage 2

Details of stage 2 (large file).
  • BLU Spawn: A large spawn room with staircases leading to equipment and furniture which is purely cosmetic. It has two main exits, with one exit on the left and right walls, respectively.
  • Tunnel: After crossing a bridge at BLU spawn, the cart is then pushed among a bottleneck track and to the first capture point.
  • Final Cap: The final capture point is right after the first capture point. The cart is pushed into a tunnel and among a ramp, and after the ramp lies the final capture point.
  • RED Spawn: A spawn room with two exits. One exit leads to the dropdown to the final cap, and the other inside a sheltered building to A.

Stage 3

Details of stage 3 (large file).
  • BLU Spawn: A spawn room that leads to two small areas with staircases. Each room has two exits; one of each serves as a quick route of shortcuts to B and A, left and right room respectively. The other two exits lead to the bomb cart's start.
  • Payload Starting Point: Just below the final tower is the bomb cart's start. This position is very vulnerable to enemy fire due to the lack of cover and most places on the map being able to fire on this area.
  • Checkpoint B: The second cap is on a bridge on the outskirts of the map. The cart then proceeds up a ramp to the final cap.
  • 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 the cart into a hole in the center, detonating it.
  • RED Spawn: A spawn room with a similar design to BLU's spawn, though with more shallow staircases. The left room has a shortcut to A, and the right room a shortcut to B. Similarly to BLU's spawn, there are also two doors on each side that head towards the final tower.


Main article: Community Thunder Mountain strategy


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

March 17, 2016 Patch

  • Fixed being able to build on rocks outside of the fence by the capture points.

July 7, 2016 Patch #1 (Meet Your Match Update)

  • Fixed the first and second cap points of stage 3 each awarding 2 points to the capturing team instead of 1.


  • Players can get stuck on Stage 1 of the map if they crouch at the end of the bridge near the control point whilst it rises. The bridge rises halfway and the player rises with it, but then the player stops rising while the bridge continues on.
  • On Stage 3, a player's view can glitch out if they rub against Checkpoint 3's sign on top of the roof.


  • On Stage 1, in the BLU spawn, the player may see some BLU characters in an area similar to the Soldier Training map, around a blackboard. They occasionally taunt, albeit with no weapons, and also occasionally do the Thriller taunt regardless of the time of the year.
  • On Stage 2, in the RED spawn, one may see the RED team swimming in a pool.
  • On Stage 3, 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.
  • 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, this map's name references the history of nuclear weapon development at Los Alamos National Laboratory (see also the mushroom cloud reference on the Engineer Update page), with a few underground nuclear tests occurring just north of where this map is located.
  • A train can be seen occasionally pulling a logging train across a trestle off the map near the lumbering near Stage 1 BLU Spawn.

External links