Rumble in the Rockies: The Toughest Major Climb in the U.S.


We're publishing the results of the Chevrolet versus Ford heavy-duty towing challenge on Nov. 15, but before we do, here's information about the killer climb both trucks tackled.

The eastbound ascent from Dillon, Colo. to the top of Eisenhower Pass on Interstate 70 is perhaps the toughest stretch of road a loaded truck will encounter on a major cross-county highway. The grade starts at approximately 5 percent for 2 miles and then it increases to about 7 percent for the remaining 6 miles, to the entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel -- the highest vehicular tunnel in the U.S.

Our tow testing with an 18,920 pound gooseneck trailer ran 7.6 miles along I-70. We started at 8,776 feet in Dillon and finished at 11,000 feet above sea level, vertically gaining 2,224 feet over approximately 40,000 feet of travel.

The maps below show the route we drove and a profile of the mountain climb created by our VBOX test gear using GPS satellite signals.

Eisenhower Grade Profile

For a pickup truck loaded to more than 85 percent of its gross combined weight rating, the steep grade up the Eisenhower Pass is like the Nürburgring of pickup truck capability.

How long do you think it took the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 and 2011 Ford F-350 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 to pull that distance with almost 19,000 pounds in tow?



But a decent chassis is not even an option on the Tundra, so I would never consider it.

Mike says we're going to be shocked by the results. The only way I would be shocked is if the ford outperformed by a large margin or one of the trucks broke down. I will not be surprised if it is close or if the chevy outperforms by a large margin since it was their idea. Any other ideas on what "shocking" results we might find?

@ hemi lol, actually it's been that way since the '10MY. For the '09MY extended cab trucks got the 6.0L (367hp, 375tq) for the max towing package, and crew cabs got the 6.2. But GM discontinued the 6.0L Vortec (excluding the Silverado/Sierra Hybrids) after the '09MY. So that's when the 6.2L became available as the max towing engine in the extended cabs. And that's also when the 6.2L became readily available in any crew cab LT/SLE trim package and up.

@ Mike, thanks for the reply. Again, can't wait to read the results. As far as my prediction for the "suprise" goes, I think its going to be a runaway win for one of the trucks. Judging from the F-450 vs. Denali 3500HD test from a month or so ago, I think everyone is thinking the F-350 and Silverado 3500HD are going to be closer in performance (thanks to the same gears, and less weight for the Ford vs. the F-450). So IMO, the big suprise is going to be, a runaway win for one of the trucks.

@Mike Levine here is an idea, shut down the comments section of the results to the Rumble in the Rockies. That way everyone can enjoy the results for what they are and not go through all this Chevy fanboy, Ford fanboy crap! Because no matter how hard I try not to start reading the comments on these comparisons, I get sucked in every time reading every single post. Every once in a while posting one myself! Cause I just happen to be a Ford guy!! GO FORD!!! May the best truck win.

@ hemi lol
Nobody, nobody puled away from me yet. Not even Lamborghini.
But You can keep writing some other excuses.
Like torque curve or Acoustically Controlled Induction System, which sounds like eco or euro...made in china.
BTW, I am european guy, who had 3 Toyotas. Hiace , Previa and Hilux, diesels, 2.5L or 2L.
Great cars. But 15 years ago. So please try harder and bring me some numbers.Not just your feelings. LOL.
I am happy to hear from you, that max torque and power is not important. But reliability is.
So I will go with Cummins. There is nothing else to say. Proved reliability, without blue urea to deal with. I am not going to be a ford or gm test driver. These trucks are to expensive for that.

@hemi lol
I completely forget. Toyota doesn't have any diesel at this North American market. You are lost boy.

@ zviera

you just posted a link to a early 70's challenger with a 426 hemi vs a lamborghini countach 5000 from the 80's. sir you are the only one here lost.

no more debating (arguing) with you........... you simply have NO idea what your talking about. if you can say torque curve sounds chinese then you really shouldnt even post on here, and i dont dispute that cummins is a WONDERFUL engine, its just the rest of the truck that has TERRIBLE reliability ratings.

PS we were all talking about the diesels until your feelings got hurt that my screen name was HEMI LOL. get over it already, its just a name.

heres an idea for you, go to a toyota dealer and test drive a 5.7 tundra and see for yourself. or dont i really dont mind, just stop with the stupid comments. my statements werent subjective they are simply facts, even dodge's OWN testing showed they were slower than the tundra.

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