Friday, October 17, 2008

The Promised Ride Through The J-bad Pass Switchbacks

I made the trip through the J-bad Pass a number of times during my deployment. Twice in one day, with one of them at night; which was crazy. It was one of the most dangerous things that I did the whole time in country. One of the drivers later told me that he had started hallucinating from fatigue during the trip.

This particular clip was shot on December 15th, 2007. The total trip from Kabul to Jalalabad takes over three hours and is about 90 miles in length. Along the way you lose about 5,000 feet in elevation. This clip is nearly seven minutes in duration, and is the most exciting part of the trip; the switchbacks. It is the most dramatic elevation change, probably around a thousand feet or so. The first time I made the trip there were no retaining walls, which was really interesting as I was driving at the time with O in the turret.

It may sound like I am talking to myself during the clip, but we use an intercom in the humvee, so you can't hear anyone talking back.

Yes, humvees really do rattle like that.


  1. What an adventure! Tremendous scenery. Who built that road? It's better than the road from Canon City to Cripple Creek, CO. Looked to me to be fairly well maintained. Maybe their DOT isn't as dysfunctional as the other Departments/Ministries.

  2. first time me and some friends of mine went through pass was back around june 2006. it was pretty much a gravel road. we were going through one of the tunnels and as we came up to it there were a bunch of guys standing around with boxes of dynomite. scared the hell out of us until we realized they were the chinese workers that were there.

  3. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/17/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  4. First. keep up the good work. second Abu Muqawama has commented on this rolling stone article on Afghanistan:

    Muqawama thinks that it is accurate do you?

  5. Excellent video. Thanks. Like Canonner I'd like to know who built that road and the tunnels. It looks as well maintained as any in the mountains of BC.

    Your second commenter has partially answered the question. It appears to be reconstruction dollars in action. If so it's definitely a sign of progress.

    My other question is what are the effects on the body when ascending. It must be quite a strain on the lungs.

    Stay well and thanks again for these insights; they're important, especially now.

  6. And here I thought the WVa Turnpike was bad.
    Holy crap, you sound so nonchalant!
    I must admit to serious butt-puckering just watching this.
    Does that make me a wimp or just confirm my girl-ness?

    (very cool video)

  7. Well I can attest the scenery is awesome. From the turret its a little spooky. Scanning the mountains for bad guys and looking down at the Russian tanks and other unfortunate vehicles who didn'tquite make it make is very real very fast. Well you gunned on the ride back. The TC was too busy sleeping. But I can honestly say that was the best road that I travelled in that country. I'll send you some clips from MF to PF. Then the reality sets in!

    love ya Bro
    Hakuna Mutata Kusmata


  8. Hi there! Wow! I don't know if it's the same, but when I go down the mountain at that rate it makes me light-headed and my ears pop.

    I was wondering. Why are there openings on the side of the cliffs? (The part where if you get out of the car you will fall down the mountain!) Maybe it's just my lack of understanding? Or maybe that's what you guys call a restroom? lol.

    Either way, nice video! Have a blessed day, and may God watch over your family.

  9. That was amazing! Thanks for filming it so we could join in on the fun!

  10. @ rosemary - I think it is for rain water irrigation.


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