Mt. Washington driving experience | Subaru Outback Forums

This week I spent an afternoon at the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire after driving up the self-driving auto road. It is a 30-minute, 7.2 mile drive up (& down) a paved road with an over 4000′ elevation gain. While it was a nice 62 degrees F at the base entrance it was a chilly 26 degrees F at the summit!

Basics – I have a 2024 Subaru Limited XT with the 2.4L turbo with a little over 5K miles on it so far. And this is my 1st Subaru and experience with this type of transmission.

I started the drive up with the gear shift in manual and mainly used 2nd gear, but occasionally had to use 1st due to slower cars in front of me. If you’ve never been on this road, it is very narrow with no guard rails and an extremely steep drop-off. So no speeding up this one due to sloe-pokes going up and road-hogs coming down.

Coming down was a different story. They tell you to use 1st gear only and let your transmission to do most of the braking for you on the decent. But I found out quickly that this type of transmission doesn’t work this way. I put it in first gear and on the first part of the decent it quickly rose towards the redline without any sign of slowing as I picked up speed. So while I did keep it in 1st gear, there was a lot of braking to keep my speed under control. There are a lot of “pull-offs” for vehicles to use to cool their brakes and I made full use of those several times on the way down. I did try the hill descent control in X-mode, but it’s just a slower mode of using my brakes – exactly what I was already doing.

Is there anything I was doing wrong? Could I have done anything differently for the 7.2 mile descent?

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