Terskol Ice base is a ruined military complex at an elevation of 3.675m (12,057ft) above the sea level, located in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay–Cherkessia of Russia, near the border with Georgia. It’s one of the highest roads of Europe. The route passes along a very steep road made in 1938. The average gradient is 12,68%. This road has humbled many egos.
The dirt road to the summit, located within the western Caucasus mountain range, is gravel, rocky, tippy and bumpy at times. It’s totally impassable from September to July. Great trail for experienced wheelers. Along the way there are several tributes to Russian World War II casualties on the Battle of the Caucasus and abandoned houses and huts. This track can get very muddy and slippery after rain making it challenging to get through. During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
The drive is very scenic with beautiful waterfalls on the way. Avoid driving in this area if unpaved mountain roads aren't your strong point. 4x4 required. Stay away if you're scared of heights. Wet conditions may make for tough driving along the muddy road. The road to the summit is very steep. Starting from Terskol (at 2.166m above the sea level), the ascent is 11.9 km long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 1.509 meters, and the average gradient is 12,68%, with some sections up to 18%. It’s not for the sissies and shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice.
Pic: Alexandr Demidov