Weekend Warm-Up: The Trail to Kazbegi

Adventure Travel
Four men, four bikes, 10 days in the Caucasus. Photo: Ross Measures & Joey Schusler

“One of the most dangerous roads in the world.” — Brice Minnigh

Between the Black and Caspian Seas, the wild and rugged Caucasus Mountains sweep across Azerbaijan, Georgia, Dagestan, Chechnya and Russia. The Trail to Kazbegi picks up the story of four North American bikepackers as they blitz for 10 days through Georgia and along the Russian border of Dagestan and Chechnya to one of Georgia’s most iconic towns, Kazbegi.

The crew consists of Bike Magazine editor Brice Minnigh, filmmaker Joey Schusler, adventurer Sam Seward and photographer Ross Measures. Only Minnigh knows the region, and luckily for everyone, he speaks fluent Russian.

They pedal ancient trading routes and farm paths, steep trails and snowy passes, encountering hostile dogs, lightning storms and hair-raising descents during this 15-minute film.

They face particularly awkward moments negotiating with border guards for permission to cross the remote Atsunta Pass (3,400m). They are told rather politely that due to heavy snow, “There is no fucking way you will make it. We can’t let you go.” We’ll leave it up to you to discover how they manage to circumvent the officials.

As they finally crest statuesque Mount Kazbek, their final destination, Schusler reflects, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Coz what the world needs is people who have come alive.” A good mantra to end — or begin — any adventure.

About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash Routen is an outdoor and adventure writer from the UK specialising in adventurous travel and expeditions, such as mountaineering, polar travel, and ocean crossings. Ash juggles a day job as a public health scientist with this second career in outdoor writing.

His words have featured in national newspapers, national and international outdoor and adventure magazines, and various websites. Bylines include Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Outside Magazine, Rock and Ice, and Red Bull.

Alongside writing, Ash also spends some time undertaking his own adventures, and completed a 640 km foot crossing of a frozen Lake Baikal in 2018. His next arctic journey is a 700 km trek along the coast of Baffin Island in Canada.

Read more at www.ashrouten.com

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