Need help - question on slopes on dirt road

Discussion in 'Expediter and Hot Shot Trucking Forum' started by Dustycoyote, Jan 11, 2023.

  1. Dustycoyote

    Dustycoyote Bobtail Member

    Jan 11, 2023
    Hi All,
    Hoping I can get some guidance here. I'm an average guy with no special knowledge of roads or pulling large loads.

    I have some land that I would like to use for camping. the Dirt road that leads to the land is about a mile and a half long and runs laterally across the slope of the mountain face. The road has a few stretches that seem very steep to me and I am concerned that they may be too steep.

    I drive a 1 ton duramax and pull a 15,000lb fifth wheen for camping. Using Google Earth I've measured the grade on those stretches of road. All but one of them are between 14% and 16% and are each 400 feet long or less. Most are straight runs. With no tight corners on the steep parts. There are two exceptions to this that I'll get to in a minute..

    The one stretch that is more than 16% is just over a 20% grade for about 150 feet at the bottom of the hill. It then softens to about 15% for another 150 feet and then gradually levels out. total length of this hill is about 500 feet.

    Two of the hills that are at approx 15% are not straight lines. One is an "S" shaped decent/accent of the hill. that is maybe 400 feet long. The other has mild bends in the road for about 1500 feet.

    Over time I will want to be able to get a semi in there to potentially bring in some shipping containers to build some shelters.

    How concerned should I be about those grades when pulling my fifth wheel on dirt? Same question for getting a semi in there....

    I'm assuming that the bigger concern is the non-commercial truck with the fifth wheel, as I expect that a semi could pull a full load pretty much anywhere that my Chevy can pull a 15K trailer. But as I said, I'm not an expert on towing....

    Thanks for any help!!
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  3. Mnmover99

    Mnmover99 Light Load Member

    Oct 22, 2022
    Think about this. What will you have when the vehicle is smashed up because it did not make the hill or ?? Do not "test" the hill by trying it with you trailer. A semi may not be able to pull that hill either. May loose traction and not make it. Look for another place to camp.
  4. ducnut

    ducnut Road Train Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    Tons of YT videos, on the subject of what NOT to do.

    From what I know, a dozer is usually what most use to pull heavy loads up steep grades. The guys who place mobile homes do it that way, up in the mountains. I don’t know of a more secure solution.
    Dino soar, Lite bug, Siinman and 2 others Thank this.
  5. Siinman

    Siinman Road Train Member

    Mar 5, 2017
    Kansas City, MO.
    Sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen. I would guess that it is not gonna happen in a semi truck but that is a guess. I like what ducnut said about the dozer being used. Maybe can cut some new roads depending how the land is that would work better. Sounds expensive to me!
    Dino soar and ducnut Thank this.
  6. 062

    062 Road Train Member

    Oct 20, 2013
    Just a guess, but I bet @OLDSKOOLERnWV has been on some sketchy “roads”
    Dino soar Thanks this.
  7. loudtom

    loudtom Road Train Member

    Aug 26, 2016
    I've got property at over 11,000 feet, and as long as the roads are dry I haven't had a problem towing. I don't know the percentage of the grades, but they are pretty steep and a lot of switchbacks. The main concerns I have are how the trailer tracks around the corners, and the height of any trees hanging above the road. I've never lost traction going up or coming down with a 2.8 Duramax towing 7000 lbs. I just keep it slow and steady going up, and drop a gear and use the exhaust brake with some mild foot braking if needed on the steeper downgrades. If you're in an area with a lot of snow, I'd watch out for any corners or hills that get a lot of shade, since they might stay wet even into the summer.
  8. Dustycoyote

    Dustycoyote Bobtail Member

    Jan 11, 2023
    thanks for the input all.

    I've pulled the fifth wheel up gravel roads that are about a 15% grade before and it wasn't really an issue. But that was on a pretty well used/compressed forest road. one thing I wondered is about how much concern I should have with this road just being dirt.

    Thanks for your input. Very helpful to get info on reall world experience in a similar situation. I own a Right of Way on the road so I can trim trees as needed. And there really aren't any tight corners like on switch backs. When I improve the road I can make the places with corners/curves pretty wide and flat.

    I'm concerned about wet ground too, but less from snow pack and melt, and more from rain. I'm at 7000 feet so I probably get an earlier melt than you, and am not too concerned about getting into the property too early. Don't get too much rain and assume I might need to leave the camper onsite on days when it has rained and the ground might stilll be wet.
    loudtom Thanks this.
  9. Albertaflatbed

    Albertaflatbed Bobtail Member

    Nov 20, 2022
    Nisku, AB
    I have extensive experience hauling heavy in off road conditions in the Canadian rockies, with everything from a 1 ton with 40' gooseneck to semis hauling underground mining equipment where 30 miles will take 6 hours with full chains on drives and steers required even when conditions are dry.

    With a 1 ton duramax and that load you should have no issues whatsoever. The key is go slow and easy both going up and coming down. You obviously know your road so that helps as you know where the tough areas are going to be.

    If you truck is 4x4, use it the entire trip up and down. It will make things much easier.

    Select a gear that pulls well in your engine torque range, that holds you at a slow steady speed, and hold that gear and rpm up the hill. As the grades change you can adjust manually up or down to hold the desired speed keeping yourself in the torque band.

    If you are really concerned, you could get tire chains for your trucks rear tires, but probably not really needed.

    If you haven't already go up and down without the trailer, selecting gears manually and see what is a good match for your speed. Then with the trailer you will have a good idea of the gears to use.

    Sounds like you will not have any issues regarding sharp turns so that's great.

    Enjoy the camping, sounds like a fantastic location!

    Again, slow and easy is the key.
  10. okiedokie

    okiedokie Road Train Member

    Jun 13, 2011
    A suggestion, have another power unit up hill from your truck & trailer. So if you do power out, loose traction you can get pulled up. Backing down is probably a bad idea. Not that I would know about that.
  11. Albertaflatbed

    Albertaflatbed Bobtail Member

    Nov 20, 2022
    Nisku, AB
    Great point if that's an option...backing down sucks and usually ends poorly lol
    okiedokie Thanks this.
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