The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

Shows the location of all steam valves, and how to operate them to get access to the control room.

Introduction

The Steam Tunnels puzzle which gives access to the Control Room really isn’t a particularly hard one. But such puzzles are rather unusual for The Long Dark. Also, the tunnel area has a large enough size that it’s easy to loose track of where all the valves are, whether they’re open or closed, and how the puzzle fits together.

If you want to solve the puzzle yourself, here are a few general hints:

  • Some of the valves are hidden in dark areas of the tunnels. Explore the Steam Tunnels completely with a good light source to make sure you don’t overlook anything. There’s also some other items laying around that may turn out to be important.
  • The handles of closed valves are always at a 45° angle, the handles of open valves are always horizontal. The angles of the handle and the pipe are not related to each other.
  • The valves are binary (either open or closed, nothing in-between). But the steam pressure is analog: Sometimes the pressure is more than zero, but less than the maximum. In these cases, you may need to redirect more steam into this section of the pipe by opening or closing additional valves.
  • If a pipe is hot and red, but the valve it leads to is still frozen and blue, this probably means that the pressure isn’t quite high enough.
  • Steam coming out of a valve is generally harmless to you. But steam coming out of pipes (not next to a valve) is very hot and will make you lose health rapidly if you walk into it. This can happen in the area around valves D2 and D3 (see the map below).

Note that as of October 2021, one of the most common cause of problems in the Steam Tunnels appears to be a bug that prevents the opening of certain doors or valves, even though the pipes are already hot and ice should have thawed. In these cases, it may help to just quick-save the game and reload that save from the main menu. If this doesn’t help, you may have to replay from a checkpoint or earlier save. Setting the valves again should hopefully be easy using this guide.

Obviously, this guide contains spoilers for the Steam Tunnels puzzle. It does not contain story spoilers.

Steam Tunnels Map

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

This is a rough sketch of the Steam Tunnels, with all valve locations marked in red. The valves are numbered roughly in the order they need to be manipulated. See below for a detailed walkthrough.

Opening Doors 1 & 2

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

Door 1 is the access door to the Steam Tunnels. This is the first iced door you meet. Valve A is right next to it, and it’s already hot, so you can open the valve right away. This will thaw the door. Open it and enter.

You’ll see door 2 straight ahead, also covered in ice. To open it, you have to put in a fair bit more work. Enter the Steam Tunnels, head off to the far right and operate the following valves in this order:

  • close B1
  • open B2 — thaws B3 & B4
  • open B3
  • close B4
  • open B5 — thaws B6
  • open B6
  • close B3
  • open B4 —thaws B7

See the following screenshots for reference (left before, right after the steps above).

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution
The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

Once all the pipes in this hallway are red and toasty, go back a few steps to the big panel and open valve B7. This will heat up one of the three pipes along the ceiling (and thaw valve C1). To open door 2, you’ll need to get all three of these overhead pipes hot. Head back past the main hall towards the control room to proceed.

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

Note that these overhead pipes leak hot steam. Don’t burn yourself!

In the hallway in front of the control room, operate the following valves in this order:

  • open C1 — thaws C2 & C3
  • close C2
  • open C3 — thaws C4
  • close C4 — thaws C5
  • open C5 — thaws C7
  • close C7 — thaws C6
  • open C6
  • open C7 — thaws C8
  • open C8 — thaws C9
  • open C9 — thaws D1

See the following screenshots for reference (left before, right after the steps above).

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution
The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

Once you’ve done this, head back to the other side. You’ll see that two out of the three overhead pipes are now hot. Note that the second pipe is also leaking steam. You should either sprint through it and take some damage or crawl underneath the escaping steam.

  • open D1 — warms third pipe, thaws D2
  • open D2 — thaws door 2
The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution
The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

Now you can finally open door 2 and head through to the area on the other side.

Opening Door 3: Control Room

Once you go through door 2, you’ll reach a slightly larger hall with what maybe looks like some kind of large steam boiler. On this boiler is valve D3. You’ll see hot steam escaping on its side, so you’ll need to close D3 in order to redirect steam into the pipe leading out of the boiler. (This thaws D4.)

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution
The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

(left before, right after)

Turning to the left, you’ll see several tunnels leading out of this hall:

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

First, follow the tunnel towards valve D4. This tunnel actually forms a loop and gets back into this hall from the other side. Once you reach valve D4, you’ll see that there is steam escaping here, too, so you need to close D4 in order to redirect steam where you need it to go. (This thaws D5.)

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

Next, follow the tunnel from the boiler hall towards valve D5. This tunnel can only be entered while crouching and it’s in a bit of a dark corner, so it may be easy to miss. Re-check the map and the screenshot if you can’t seem to find it.

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution
The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

Valve D5 is located at the back door to the control room. You can’t get in this way because the door is secured with a locked chain. Fortunately, you only need to open D5 to finally get hot steam all the way to valve D6 next to the front door to the control room.

The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution
The Long Dark - Wintermute E4 Steam Tunnels Valve Puzzle Solution

Finally, just open D6 to thaw door 3, which gives you access to the control room.

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