The Alta Pass is a path cut through the Alta Mountains between the nations of Berk and Phelin. Both countries jointly maintain the pass. On both sides it is lined with cliff faces and mountains. The road itself is wide enough for wagons to easily pass each other, and is made of some of the stone removed to build the pass, crushed and evenly spread along the route. Because it takes most travelers on foot eight days to complete the journey through the pass, wider areas were cut away to offer places for travelers to camp. These areas contain water and grazing areas for animals, and most include large stone buildings created from the mountain rock to provide shelter.
At each end of the pass is a city, each of which provide travelers with supplies, guides, and tips for using the pass. They also provide entertainment, accomodation, and medical care if needed.
In many places, vegetation clings to the cliff faces, lush and vibrant in the warm months, which are short. The wind often channels through the pass, making travel uncomfortable at times. Rainwater and snowmelt often flow down the cliffs to the road, causing standing water in places, or flooding.
The pass is often impassible in spring and early summer, due to flooding from the snowmelt. This is a problem that dedicated minds in Berk, Phelin, and Algoma are all working to solve for improved trade.
In the winter, which is quite long in the mountains, avalanches make using the pass dangerous. This does not prevent the pass from being used, but does result in increased risk and cost.
Fauna & Flora
Lush vegetation lines the road, often nimbled on by passing pack animals. Trees offer shade in regular intervals, often near natural streams so that travelers and their animals can rest and drink.
Mountain animals such as sheep and large cats roam the mountains, occasionally crossing into the pass. Due to the danger of the pass, armed guides are frequently hired to protect travelers. The sheep, if hunted, make acceptable meals.
The Alta Pass was built jointly by those in Phelin and Berk as an aspect of the peace treaty signed by Grand King Caolan and Kane Ferchar, the Overlord of Berk, in Year 353. Work on the pass began in Year 354, and was not completed until Year 360 due to the long winter months and spring flooding.