Can a jeep climb vertically up a cliff, say a sheer surface? A video showed one climbing up a cliff in Utah, though there are some viewers who believed it to be fake.
To perform this trick, you need considerable stunt knowledge. As it was performed in rainy conditions, reportedly this makes the job harder. It needs to be a 4×4 in order to maintain the required grip.
It’s so much easier at a smaller scale, hence the number of remote-control toys performing this type of stunt. When you scale things up you increase the numbers, but the gravity part of the equation doesn’t change.
Intuition says that rugged looking vehicles are best for a cross country adventure but aerodynamics are still vital to whichever car you choose to negotiate a mountain road. Weight, size and power all play a part. When it comes to climbing mountains, a sedan is too close to the ground for rocky areas, despite their smallness. Ironically, a compact, like the Mini Cooper, is useful as it is the right size to handle country roads and also an extensive trunk space for any mountain gear. Maybe it’s not going to dig you out of quick sand, but for the average logging road it should perform well.
How about SUVs or crossovers? Yes, they can get you up there but as with any mountain traverse it helps if you have some experience. Remember that driving on rocks and fields is much harder than driving on a road. And many SUV’s are intended to look like a mountain vehicle but suited only for the city.
Here are further cars suitable for a mountain drive – Mahindra Scorpio and Vitara Brezza.
The Mahindra has a brilliant red shade and is built for negotiating the toughest of rocky roads in all but the worst weather.
Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza has a similar scarlet colour and has enough suspension to deal with the bumps in the road as you edge towards the mountain’s peak.
Just outside Nice is the beautiful town of La Turbie, site of the first uphill race in the world, also known as speed hill climbing. The sport fell slowly out of favor in France but eventually it was revived in the 1980s. There have also been races in Austria (Gaisberg) and the UK (Harewood) and various locations in the US. There have been races as far afield as Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
Some races use racing cars while others use a kit car to race. There are smaller races out there which use everyday cars with some of them undergoing modification. The modification may be a roll cage or a rollover protection system which will protect the driver should the vehicle overturn. Sometimes cars are protected with the ability to prevent a rollover, such as anti-lock brakes and traction control, the kind of safety system you might need when negotiating a hill, but this goes against the spirit of hilltop driving.
The smaller races are in speed-trial format with competitors having two attempts to tackle the hill.
If you wish to explore the early days of hilltop driving, including pictures of the racers themselves you can do worse than browse specialist racing magazines like, Uphill Racers. Even the UK’s Stirling Moss, linked more to Formula One racing, has taken part in the hilltop driving culture. So, hilltop drivers are in good company.