|No. of Stages:||3|
|Health Kits:||×25 • ×24 • ×1|
|Ammo Boxes:||×7 • ×9 • ×21|
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.
- 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.
- BLU Spawn: A large spawn room with interactable 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.
- 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.
- First Cap: Just below the final tower is the bomb cart's start, it is pushed into a covered track and back around to the second point.
- Second Cap: 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 it into a hole in the center, detonating the cart.
- RED Spawn: A spawn room with a similar design to BLU's spawn, albeit the staircases are more shallow. The left room has a shortcut to A, and the right room with a shortcut to B. Similarly to BLU's spawn, there are also two doors on each side that head towards the final tower.
|“Sun Tzu's got nothing on us!”
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- Pl thundermountain stage1.png
Overview of stage 1
- Thunder mountain stage3.png
Overview of stage 3
- 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 will rise halfway and the player will rise with it, but then the player will stop 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 will occasionally taunt, albeit with no weapons, and will 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.
- A.D.M.E. locomotive 105, seen as a static model on many previous maps, is animated here, occasionally pulling a logging train across a trestle off the map near the lumbering near Stage 1 BLU Spawn:
- In spite of the playback of steam exhaust and steam whistle sounds, A.D.M.E. 105 is in fact a model of a 30 ton Davenport diesel locomotive.
- It is modeled on D&RGW #50, the only narrow gauge diesel locomotive that the D&RGW railroad ever owned.
- This model is particularly identified by the unique custom mounting of an airbrake cylinder as a coupler-adjusting device on the front, which allowed #50 to be coupled to cars of different gauge. While the real #50 was a narrow gauge locomotive that could couple to standard gauge cars, the in-game A.D.M.E. 105 is usually rendered oversized as a standard gauge locomotive coupled to narrow gauge cars (check the undercarriages with noclip in Badwater Basin).
- In the 1960s, the D&RGW operated this locomotive in Durango, Colorado, which is across the mountains northwest of Valles Caldera, and so, corresponds with the label "Thunder Mountains" on the Map of Badlands. In particular, 1968 was the last year that D&RGW #50 serviced trains from Lumberton and Chama, New Mexico (in the Thunder Mountains on the Map of Badlands) as the tracks from there to Durango were being abandoned.
- Archer Daniels Midlands (A.D.M.X.) operated a few superficially similar locomotives.