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Open Roads Forum  >  Roads and Routes

 > Colorado Hwy 50 @ Monarch Pass

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mustang071

Plano, TX

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Posted: 07/21/22 02:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Got a 40' Fifth Wheel towed by a Ram 3500 5.9- but NO exhaust brake. Is traveling east bound over Monarch Pass a safe option?


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IDman

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Posted: 07/21/22 02:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could do it but you won't enjoy it. Traffic behind you won't care for it, either.

How 'low' does your lowest gear get?

I lived in Colorado for 22 years and towed over Monarch many times. I have seen several trucks that have gone over the side because they lost their brakes.

I would find another route.

Martyn

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Posted: 07/21/22 03:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lived in Colorado for 30 years. I've done it with 29ft 5er and Ram 2500 5.9 CTD. No problem.

Had no exhaust brake but put it in 2nd on cruise at 30mph. Let it slowly speed up to about 50 then braked hard until back to 30. Repeat.

Saw me fine over that pass doing this.

Also going down Wolf Creek Pass but with boat added behind the 5er. Similarly on Vail Pass.

Just take it slow and careful and you will be fine. I found Monarch to be the easiest of the three.


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Veebyes

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Posted: 07/21/22 04:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Martyn wrote:

Lived in Colorado for 30 years. I've done it with 29ft 5er and Ram 2500 5.9 CTD. No problem.

Had no exhaust brake but put it in 2nd on cruise at 30mph. Let it slowly speed up to about 50 then braked hard until back to 30. Repeat.

Saw me fine over that pass doing this.

Also going down Wolf Creek Pass but with boat added behind the 5er. Similarly on Vail Pass.

Just take it slow and careful and you will be fine. I found Monarch to be the easiest of the three.


Been over about every major CO pass with my 12,000-13,000lb, depending on water load, 5er.

The low gear, let it speed up, brake hard to slow right down, let it speed up while brakes cool, brake hard method works.

Only had smoking brakes a few times. Slumgullion Pass into Lake City was one occasion. Nasty pass that one.


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Bionic Man

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Posted: 07/21/22 05:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I towed over it several times with my old 1998 5.9. Yes you can do it.

If you aren’t aware, there is major construction on 50 further west (between Gunnison and Montrose). I’d be more concerned about that than going over Monarch pass.


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Alan_Hepburn

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Posted: 07/22/22 12:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We did Monarch Pass east to west a few years ago in our 2007 Fleetwood Bounder 35E Workhorse towing a smart car. Going up we were doing about 25 mph in the right lane and going down we used the Grade Brake built in to the Allison transmission and kept the speed to around 35-45.


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Bob806

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Posted: 07/22/22 12:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I drove it to & fro last year and had no problems (30' 5th wheel). Just gear down and tap the brakes when needed.

I was a bit nervous about it but found it wasn't nearly as bad as people wrote/talked about.

padredw

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Posted: 07/22/22 12:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I consider Monarch Pass a routine drive. I've been over it both ways many times. My present rig is a 34' fifth wheel pulled by a Chevrolet Duramax/Allison 2500. Never a worry on Monarch.

The only pass I have bypassed so far is Slumgullion. I feel sure I could do it, but at almost 90 years old I think I will just let that one go.

Wolf Creek many times. Both Monarch and Wolf Creek have been improved since my first tow over them.





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Posted: 07/22/22 05:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

East bound on Monarch is easy on brakes, if you watch your speed. Lots of passing area for, high speed cars, on that down hillside.


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mustang071

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Posted: 07/23/22 12:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks everyone for your responses. I am encouraged since most of you are so positive about it. 'Guess it's time to give it a go.

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