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Iceland Mag

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Photos: Travellers in a compact car get stuck on mountain route 66 only suitable for trucks

By Magnús Sveinn Helgason

  • Mountain route 66 The road, which is only open to 4x4 trucks, has been eaten away by the mountain streams in several places. Photos by KM Þjónusta/Karl Ingi Karlsson.

Two foreign travellers had their road–trip around Iceland cut short when they attempted to cross the Kollafjarðarheiði mountain pass in a small passenger car with only front wheel drive. Mountain road F-66, which connects Kollafjörður bay, in the Southern Westfjords, and Ísafjörður bay in the Northern Westfjords, is closed to passenger cars and only pasable by 4x4 mountain trucks.

 

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To the rescue The travellers had already crossed several small streams which had eaten away the road.

The road was obviously not passable
Karl Ingi Karlsson, mechanic at KM Þjónustan, a garage in Búðardalur village, who towed the car, told Iceland Magazine that he could scarcely believe the travellers had made it as far as they did, and that they had not had the good sense to turn back when they were faced with a road which was obviously not passable:

"The road was obviously not passable. The mountain streams had cut through it in several places along this stretch, and the two travellers had already crossed one of these. Had they managed to get across the stream where they got stuck, they would only have been faced with even worse obstacles. Just a little further up the road another stream had eaten a half meter (1.6 feet) deep gorge through the road."

The photographs, which were taken by Karl and his colleague, show the conditions are such that it is hard to believe anyone would have thought it was a good idea to try to drive the road, let alone cross the stream where the two travellers got stuck.

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It would never have worked And, indeed, it did not.

Karl and his colleague were asked by the travellers’ car-rental to tow the car down from the mountain pass. Karl told us that where the travellers had gotten stuck the road had been completely eaten away by the mountain stream. As a result the travellers had attempted to drive off-road and pass the stream further up, only to drive onto a large boulder, ending their trip.

"We could hardly believe they had made it this far, and that they had attempted to drive this road in a small car like that. It is hardly passable for 4x4‘s!"

 

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This is where the trip ended The travellers got their car stuck on top of a large boulder.

The travellers had made it 11 km (6.8 miles) along the mountain road 66, which is clearly marked as a F-road, only suitable for well -equipped vehicles. After getting their car stuck, the travellers called Iceland Search and Rescue, which escorted them to safety.

"We were told they had made the trip late in the evening, and we were called in the morning after. You get to see all kinds of things in this job. We are constantly assisting and helping travellers, but this is among the worst kinds of things we get to see."

A road-trip ends in shame, and a sizable bill
Karl tells us the travellers could easily have turned around by the stream, but instead charged ahead, getting the car stuck and badly damaging its underside. Karl did not perform a damage assessment at the site, but believes the two travellers will be seeing a pretty sizable bill for the repairs.  

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No road left A little further along the way one of the streams has eaten a sizeable gorge through the road.

We at Iceland Magazine would like to urge all travellers to respect road-signs, heed the travel limitations imposed by the Road administration and above all: use common sense and not attempt to drive on mountain roads in passenger cars! Roads are closed or only open to 4x4‘s for a reason.

You do not want to be the traveller who‘s road-trip ends with your car stuck on a rock  somewhere on a impassable mountain road. There is nothing romantic or adventurous about being reckless and thoughtless.

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