Hill-climbing 101 (with pics)

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by topsites, May 28, 2005.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Hi,
    This is my 4th year in the lawncare business and I would like to share my experience when it comes to the more difficult aspects of lawncare. You will likely have some yards that are nice and flat and then a few that are not so nice and flat. And then, you will end up with one that really challenges you and the machine.
    On page 5 of my Owner's manual, it says:
    - Do NOT mow slopes greater than 15 degrees.
    ... Ok, but what if?
    - Mow SLOW and avoid Turning on slopes.
    This last I know: You actually CAN turn but make sure you select a LOW gear! Even then you need to be VERY careful - The mower can suddenly 'catch' or slip and the only thing I can advise is this: When you even THINK you may have lost control of the WB, get the HELL away from it!
    The WB is a dangerous machine that has more power and weighs more than you do. It can kill you instantly, and it can turn on you with sudden force and power that will always let you know: The Wb is the BOSS!

    That having been said, the following few posts illustrate a slow and easy approach to slope-cutting. The pictures show a yard that I rate a single-diamond, I have only one other yard that is tougher, which is a double-diamond (yup, just like skiing).
    ...
     
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    This is a picture from the truck which merely shows how much fun is to be had. The patches of dirt are very tricky - That is where your tires can slide out from under you and suddenly they catch grass and all hell breaks loose (well, not today anyway).

    [​IMG]
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    NOTE: I am running Castrol Syntec Blend (10w-40). Do NOT run a standard oil or you can seize the motor due to Oil starvation! Synthetic blend or pure synthetic is a must!

    To mow this patch with a WB, start from the flat end at the BOTTOM in a LOW gear!
    On this particular WB, I have a 5-speed transmission and I used 2nd gear.
    The Wb is a 2005 model 30197 proline (48" fixdeck, like an Exmark).
    Yes, I rode the Velke for parts of it but stepped off frequently - It wouldn't hurt to walk the entire part.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Then, work your way towards the steep end but do NOT wait to get to the end because remember: Do NOT turn on a slope.
    Instead, once you get close, start angling upwards like this:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    The same picture from another angle shows just how tricky the dirt can be.

    Notice if you look at the chute you can see the grass being flattened by the air created by the blades - My mower was running Full throttle with the blades engaged despite operator absence - I don't believe in safety switches, if your Wb cuts off on this slope, good luck getting it started.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Work your way (easy) up to the top at that earlier angle, and once you get to the top, swing around (slowly).


    [​IMG]
     
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    - Look at the previous picture, notice the top is flatter than the bottom and:
    - Move slowly along the top, keep moving towards the street sign where things flatten out.
    - Then, come back along the bottom 1 row higher than when you first started.
    Once you get to where you start to work yourself towards the top again, DO make sure you get to the TOP like the first time - Yes, you will have to run along the TOP 2-3 times, you do NOT want to run 1 row below the top in this case because:
    - Run along the bottom rows going *downhill*
    - Run along the TOP going *uphill*
    BUT the reasoning is you always want to go UPHILL where it is FLAT!
    In this particular case, the top IS flatter than the bottom (and it's less tricky due to no dirt). If you get to a hill where the bottom is flatter, then you want to run your toughest part on TOP going downhill, then run back along the bottom.
    Always make your turn-around in the flat areas, then run straight and SLOW and angle easy towards a flatter portion where you can swing around.

    Warning: If you mess up, you can hurt and kill yourself. It is best to always stand ABOVE the machine and under no circumstances should you ever be standing (or walking, whatever) UNDER it !
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Et voila!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Next time, we'll tackle this one (looking down - straight down. Uneven slope with culvert and trees - yippee! )

    p.s.: practice with easy slopes - I didn't get into these until my 2nd year :)

    [​IMG]
     
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Other Caution notes:
    Read and Believe this Rule:
    No onlookers or bystanders within 500 feet of running machines!

    For the mathematically challenged, 500 feet covers the entire area in the picture, all the way to the street sign and across the street into the neighbors yard as well, all the surrounding areas need to be clear of people as far as you can see OR you need to turn down the throttle of the Wb to around 50 percent or so (WAY down). This helps prevent injury from flying objects or should you lose control of the Wb, you can look at all the previous pictures and see, there is NOBODY around - Perfect!
     

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