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Thread: What's the highest altitude you've reached by car?

  1. #1
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    What's the highest altitude you've reached by car?

    Or by bus or whatever, I guess. By road anyhow.

    For me it would be the summit of the Beartooth Highway, at 10,947 ft (3,337 m) according to Wikipedia. At least I can't think of anything that would have been higher.
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  2. #2
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    Places I've been:

    Haleakalā, Maui, Hawaii is about 10,000 feet.
    Mauna Kea, Hawaii is about 13,800 feet (I didn't drive that one, the tour bus driver drove it).
    Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) peaks at about 12,100 feet.

    Those are probably the highest.
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    I figured Mauna Kea would come up pretty quickly!
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    The highest and only mountain I have been up was mount Cadillac in Maine.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Mountain
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I figured Mauna Kea would come up pretty quickly!
    I think it took thousands of years to get that high. I wouldn't call that quick at all.

    Or did you mean something else by "come up pretty quickly"?
    Last edited by Swift; 2017-Dec-11 at 10:36 PM. Reason: typo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Or by bus or whatever, I guess. By road anyhow.
    Well, there goes my airbus joke.

    Somewhere in the Alps, not very high.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Places I've been:

    Haleakalā, Maui, Hawaii is about 10,000 feet.
    Mauna Kea, Hawaii is about 13,800 feet (I didn't drive that one, the tour bus driver drove it).
    Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) peaks at about 12,100 feet.

    Those are probably the highest.
    Did you stay at the Hotel Mauna Kea.
    https://youtu.be/XPdTlHK1h_0
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    The La Raya pass, in Peru, at 4,313 m (14,150 ft), by train.
    I don't know what it's like now, but back in the 1980s they split the train at the bottom of the steep grade, and the engine pulled the front half of the train to the top of the pass, parked it in a siding, and then came back for the rear half. Everyone in the rear half piled off the train and strolled around in the high meadows until the engine came back.

    Grant Hutchison

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    For me, the parking lot atop Mt. Evans, Colorodo, at 14,145 feet. From there we hiked to the summit at 14,264 feet. My brother and I, ages 10 and 12 respectively, scrambled straight up the side instead of taking the trail.

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    Oh, hang on - trains aren't allowed. I didn't read the OP properly, but anyway forgot the (now extinct) Chacaltaya ski slope in Bolivia.
    We drove up to that, which (it says here) was at 5,375 m (17,634 ft), though I think that's for the top of the ski lift - car park would be a couple of hundred metres lower.

    We didn't ski (it was a private club, I think), but I remember the sole ski-tow, which was a continuously moving wire loop. I was told that your "ski pass" was a leather strap you flipped over the moving wire and tightened until it gripped the wire and pulled you up the mountain.

    Nowadays there's a bus trip to the ruined buildings, which must be absolutely terrifying - even in a car it was a mad scary road.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Somewhere near the Angeles Crest, north of L.A. I remember a sign for ~8100 feet but I don't know where I was at the time. Looking on a map, none of that makes sense, so maybe I was elsewhere. But I remember getting out and hiking out to some overlook at the smog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astrotimer View Post
    Did you stay at the Hotel Mauna Kea.
    https://youtu.be/XPdTlHK1h_0


    Actually, we almost had to. The tour that we did times it such that you get to the summit just before sunset. You can't go into any of the observatories, but you can look around outside, take photos, and watch the sunset. If it is clear, you can stargaze for a few minutes.

    It was cloudy from about 13,000 feet down, but it was clear at the summit when we got there. We had a great sunset, and then just after sunset the clouds rolled in and it started snowing. We were all excited, snow in Hawaii, but all the bus drivers from the tours come running up (from wherever they were having a break) and start yelling at everyone to get back in the buses. If the snow gets too bad they close the road and you can get stuck on the mountain for the night! So we all hustle down the mountain. Below about 10,000 feet the snow stopped and we made it down fine.
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    Cannot claim any great height personally, but I used to drive an Austin seven. A 1928 model climbed 6000 feet. Those prewar cars solved the carb problem and could go most places. The invention of the SU piston type carb compensated for air pressure. It always impressed me that those early cars could tackle both height and terrain.
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    Monte Toro, Menorca: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Toro_(Menorca)

    Only 342 meters, but it's the tallest point on the whole island and the sunset was amazing.

  15. #15
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    Wait. The OP is ambiguous.

    It says 'by car' but then says 'by road', thus constraining it to be on the ground.

    Which is it?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Mauna Kea, Hawaii is about 13,800 feet (I didn't drive that one, the tour bus driver drove it).
    I drove it. That is, I drove it on another occasion; I wasn't your tour bus driver.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I think it took thousands of years to get that high. I wouldn't call that quick at all.

    Or did you mean something else by "come up pretty quickly"?
    I'd have been astounded and disappointed if someone hadn't posted that. Probably still fairly quick as geology goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    For me, the parking lot atop Mt. Evans, Colorodo, at 14,145 feet. From there we hiked to the summit at 14,264 feet. My brother and I, ages 10 and 12 respectively, scrambled straight up the side instead of taking the trail.
    I think I saw that as the highest paved road in the USA, although just a few feet higher than Pikes Peak.
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    Not very high, I can't recall the exact height but I think the highest roads I have driven were in the Pyrenees near Andorra. From what I can see the passes are about 1,500 metres. High enough for snow to fall on us in late October - and naturally I had a car with poor tyres.

    I am never going to get anywhere near that height in Western Australia as the highest point is only 1,249 metres and that is the top of a "mountain".

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    A van driver must have taken us to something like 1600m in Corsica, bus driver something similar in Switzerland. The highest I've driven myself must have been some mountain roads in the Alps; I once drove my ex Porsche 944 across Mont Cenis so that would have been 2081m. Still going strong at that altitude.

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    The highest was the parking lot for the Mt Washington Cog Railway, at about 2,200 ft. We summitted by train

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    You know, I'm finding myself quite surprised by the low maximums expressed by a number of posters. I spent four years going to college at 5000 feet.
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    My college was at 0 feet, so there. They call them the Low Lands for a reason. But hey, at least I've driven a car at an altitude over 6 times as high as the highest point of my home country!
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2017-Dec-12 at 04:40 PM.

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    I honestly have no idea off the top of my head. I've done family car trips through the Cascades, so probably somewhere in there. Or the Angeles National Forest, as mentioned above. Since I grew up just south of it, and went to summer camp in that area. I've been to Big Bear, which is 6752 feet, and other towns in that vicinity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    My college was at 0 feet, so there. They call them the Low Lands for a reason. But hey, at least I've driven a car at an altitude over 6 times as high as the highest point of my home country!
    Six times zero? (yes, yes, I recognize that 0 feet was not the highest point, but that wouldn't be funny)

    When I lived in New Orleans, my boss was very proud of the fact that even though his front yard was below sea level, the middle of his living room was about a foot above sea level. That was before Katrina.
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    3,309 m (10,857 feet), Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado, in 1982, on a motorcycle, while it was snowing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    You know, I'm finding myself quite surprised by the low maximums expressed by a number of posters. I spent four years going to college at 5000 feet.
    When I want altitude, I use aircraft. I was tempted to train for the Mt Washington Hill Climb. This idea lasted about 2 femtoseconds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    You know, I'm finding myself quite surprised by the low maximums expressed by a number of posters. I spent four years going to college at 5000 feet.
    Thirteen years at 7200 feet.

  28. #28
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    Probably on the highway that passes just south of Mt. Robson in
    British Columbia, near the border with Alberta, approaching Jasper
    National Park. That was in 1971. I remember a very long, straight,
    well-paved road heading right for the mountain. It might be the
    only thing I remember from that day. We came from Kamloops,
    to the south. My dad was driving. I think I had a valid driver's
    license at the time, and my sister may have, too, but the car was a
    rental and my dad probably only signed himself to drive it.

    I don't know how high the pass is.

    In 1986 I rode over the same mountains in the opposite direction,
    apparently on a different highway, from Banff to Kamloops, but it
    was the middle of the night, total darkness except for the lightning,
    accompanied by thunder and heavy rain, on what seemed like steep,
    twisty mountain roads with presumeably a sheer drop on one side
    that I couldn't see at all, my friend Scott driving at what seemed like
    maniacal speed while I sort of slept in the back of the van after not
    having slept from Minnesota through North Dakota, Sakatchewan,
    and Alberta. So I don't really have any idea where I was, or how high,
    or why I and my several companions all managed to live through it.

    The lowest I've ever been was by elevator....

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    For me, the parking lot atop Mt. Evans, Colorodo, at 14,145 feet. From there we hiked to the summit at 14,264 feet. My brother and I, ages 10 and 12 respectively, scrambled straight up the side instead of taking the trail.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    ... I think I saw that as the highest paved road in the USA, although just a few feet higher than Pikes Peak.
    My highest is Pikes Peak. Although I was there when it was higher than Evans ... before all the tourist traffic wore it down.
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    During one of my rally demo runs I must have reached about 10cm.

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