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Old 15th March 2012, 09:22   #1951
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by kesri View Post
Thanks for detailed answer. I knew video editing and compiling might be time consuming job. Still was interested in knowing some guesstimate of time spent on creating any one video clip of yours ... would you guess you may have spent a total of 10Hrs of time on each? or even more or less?
Each 5 minute video clip must have taken over 30-60 minutes to prepare.
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Old 15th March 2012, 14:21   #1952
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

So late on this thread but better late than never. What a fantastic experience and travelogue. The moment I went through this, my processor started a background thread of saving enough to get a 4WD as soon as possible to do something like this. I could take my sedan but really I want to enjoy the drive and not worry about scraping and other problems. Hope that day comes soon now .
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Old 16th March 2012, 07:03   #1953
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Each 5 minute video clip must have taken over 30-60 minutes to prepare.
If you took only 30-60 mins per 5min clip, then not bad at all ... I imagined far worse!
.
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Old 16th March 2012, 20:07   #1954
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by kesri View Post
Thanks HVK for permission to post my links early without waiting; as I am leaving for Chennai later today (if Vijay Mallya & KF don't cancel my flight meanwhile).

I was kind of holding back my post, so as to not "rain on your (rather IPHE) parade" ... so to speak! Anyway here it goes:

Last year in the monsoon season (July-August-2011), I did a 3-Pass backpacking tour over Jalori-Pass, Rohtang-La and Sach-Pass in Himachal Pradesh.
.
Kesri Sir,

Just went through your Blog on the three pass trek/ backpacking trip. While I was at it, couldn't resist going through the Blogs of your other trips!

All I can say is AWESOME! Hats off SIR!
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Old 17th March 2012, 08:28   #1955
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

HVK Scorpio
Aug 12, Bombay-Behror, 1402 kms
Aug 13, Behror-Rampur, 692 kms
Aug 14, Rampur-Chitkul, 144 kms
Aug 15, Chitkul-Pooh, 207 kms
Aug 16, Pooh-Kaza, 178 kms
Aug 17-19, Kaza, 291 kms
Aug 20, Kaza-Jispa, 236 kms
Aug 21, Jispa-Leh, 374 kms
Aug 22, Leh-Kargil, 343 kms
Aug 23, Kargil-Padum, 248 kms
Aug 24, Padum-Kargil, 275 kms
Aug 25, Kargil-Leh, 259 kms
Aug 26, Leh, 148 kms
Aug 27, 2011, Leh-Turtuk, 241 kms
Aug 28, 2011, Leh-Pangong Tso, 445 kms
Aug 29, 2011, Pangong-Hanle, 203 kms
Aug 30, 2011, Hanle-Tso Moriri, 188 kms
Aug 31, 2011, Tso Moriri-Keylong, 375 kms


Sep 1, 2011, Keylong-Chamba, 341 kms

Khillar 2 Sach Pass, The Start: 230-300 pm



For us, Khillar was just a small junction - without any sign boards - and the town was somewhere up there. We did not want to go into town, since it was already 230 pm and I wanted to make some decent progress towards the higher places before it became dark, so we hardly waited at the Khillar "bypass" junction before moving on. I knew from my earlier research that I had to cross the River Chandra Bhaga to the western bank and proceed towards Bhagotu - and the absence of sign boards did not matter. I have this sense of navigating by sighting landmarks - in this case, the bridge across the River - and I could see the road on the other side precariously hanging out of the cliff. And when I saw the road turning steeply to the left down to the valley, I knew that was our road to Chamba. Luckily, there were 2 women sitting nearby who also confirmed that our choice was the correct one. The road straight on goes along the banks of the River to Kishtwar & ultimately Srinagar - something which I need to drive on some other day.


Hereafter, there will be no facilities or village till we cross the Sach Pass which is just 45 kms away, but could be on another planet! And once across, the next town was some 30 kms further west. Do not look for this Khillar-Sach Pass route on Google Maps, it does not exist on paper! Lalu & I are in good cheer - and he is busy clicking away photos - and the BolBolero is closely tailing us as we take the turn and start the descent into the river bank far below. For Lalu, the Sach Pass is one of the highlights of this drive, a primary reason why he decided to return to Ladakh this year. And for me, this was yet one more unknown road to be driven. We were now at 2500 mtrs - holding steady levels from the time we left Keylong - and we have to reach 4500 mtrs or so at Sach Pass in the next 2-3 hours. The heat of the day was already subsiding, and we plunge down the steep road, being stopped midway by a Mahindra Maxx taxi which was taking up all the space in the narrow road - and he had to go forward half a km or so to find himself a small shoulder wide enough for him to push himself into.

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We reached the bottom at 300 pm and just before the bridge, we saw 3 truckers relaxing by the road. Obviously, only small trucks can run on these roads, and we told them to watch out for the Swifts and tell them we had crossed that way - the only means of communicating in these parts! And then we crossed the River and headed west.....

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Old 17th March 2012, 11:20   #1956
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

HVK Scorpio
Aug 12, Bombay-Behror, 1402 kms
Aug 13, Behror-Rampur, 692 kms
Aug 14, Rampur-Chitkul, 144 kms
Aug 15, Chitkul-Pooh, 207 kms
Aug 16, Pooh-Kaza, 178 kms
Aug 17-19, Kaza, 291 kms
Aug 20, Kaza-Jispa, 236 kms
Aug 21, Jispa-Leh, 374 kms
Aug 22, Leh-Kargil, 343 kms
Aug 23, Kargil-Padum, 248 kms
Aug 24, Padum-Kargil, 275 kms
Aug 25, Kargil-Leh, 259 kms
Aug 26, Leh, 148 kms
Aug 27, 2011, Leh-Turtuk, 241 kms
Aug 28, 2011, Leh-Pangong Tso, 445 kms
Aug 29, 2011, Pangong-Hanle, 203 kms
Aug 30, 2011, Hanle-Tso Moriri, 188 kms
Aug 31, 2011, Tso Moriri-Keylong, 375 kms


Sep 1, 2011, Keylong-Chamba, 341 kms

Khillar 2 Sach Pass, After the Bridge, Mud & Slush: 300-330 pm






The biggest worry in mind as I crossed the bridge across the River Chandra Bhaga was not really the road ahead - but would the Scorpio's fan belt pulley hold? It was already screaming because of a failed bearing (or so I suspected) & I was worried that the bearing (s) would seize & the pulley fail. In the Scorpio, if the pulley fails (belt snaps, pulley stops rolling) fails, I will have no brakes, no cooling fan & no battery charging. That would mean a total break down. As you may recall, this problem started somewhere in Hanle itself & there was no way I could do anything about it till I reached the plains. So I had mastered the art of driving the Scorpio in as high gear as possible, keeping engine revs down to the least - at higher revs, it seemed that the pulley screamed even more - and that meant that even in the steepest of slopes, I was on my 3rd gear mostly although I was doing speeds of max 20-30 kmph!

Some road repair was going on, the construction workers looked startled to see our vehicles, they are used to Bolero pick-ups & Maxx taxis!



The road started climbing steeply, lots of hair pin bends, but the road was muddy & slushy and almost the 4WD type. As you can see from the videos so far, we had left tar roads some 7 hours ago, but the dirt track had good surface, with it breaking up into rubble & boulders occasionally. The slush in the hair pins was worrisome, because if you lose momentum, you could get bogged down, but the Scorpio's 2.6 kept a steady pace. Luckily, this road does not see heavy trucks and the tyre tracks of the Boleros & Maxxes the Scorpio could easily handle. What was important on this route was not the vehicle - whether it had 2WD or 4WD - but the drivers' skills.



Behind us was the Bolero keeping close behind. I could see BolBolero's face in a tight grimace, he was not liking it one bit our having left the Swifts behind to their own devices! In my car, Lalu was happy clicking away the ravines, valleys, skies, roads, mud roads, bridges, birds & monkeys! Yes, monkeys too - we saw some magnificent specimens of Black-faced Himalayan Langurs (???) in the forests.

By now, the road was threading through deep forests, although from time to time, it skirted the steep valleys too.

The mud roads - I asked Lalu, "Can you imagine the Swifts doing this type of road, that too in the dark?"
No way, no chance - Lalu & I shook our heads, we felt very sad for the Swifts, unhappy that they would have to turn back somewhere here itself, head back to Keylong through the rocky Tindi-Udeypur sector (where they got stuck earlier). Worse was what they would do after reaching Keylong?
#1 Go through Rohtang Pass, where you have to virtually air-lift a small car through the 2-feet deep mud?
#2 Return teh way we came, via Spiti Valley, the horrors of Chhatru, Batal & landslides, where the Swifts had to towed across?
#3 All the way back to Leh - via the sandy desert of More Plains, Kargil & the big, bad high pass of Zoji la? Whichever option they chose, none of tehm sounded good. It was like being in a Chakravyu!
Both of us hoped that the Swifts would see the sense of the thing & turn back at Khillar!


Check out the video, you can see the road falling steeply to one side, the road to Khillar on the other side of the Valley. Believe it or not, we stopped for a few minutes, tried to scour the entire mountain side on the other side with our eyes trying to spy the Swifts, but we were disappointed not to see anything that resembled our Mumbai Roadster car convoy! Looked like they were hours away from us.

The last mobile connectivity was when we were in Udeypur, some 6-7 hours ago, but I was confident that the GPS devices in my car - including the car tracker - would be faithfully recording the route.

Some of these road sections looked as though they would collapse any moment, spilling lavas of mud onto the road - which I am sure happens when the snow melts or it rains. The task of the road construction worker here is not a pleasant one. Road was quite bumpy too and the Scorpio wobbled through.

The mud sections - I gripped my palm firmly on the steering wheel and gunned the Scorpio through, no hesitating anywhere, this monster is not meant to do any serious 4WD stuff.

Speeds were 20 kmph, max 30 kmph, sometimes crawling to 5 kmph! I checked my notes, we had done 10 kms in 30 minutes - and that was without any stops! In the steep sections, we can skid & hurtle down into the valley deep below. The Maxx taxi which came from the other side did not have any space to pass through, so I had to back up and snuggle by the mountain side to let him pass. It is never an easy task to reverse your car on such a narrow road.

Google Maps had no road here - we were in "Un-Mapped" country.

But inside my car, the mood was quite cheerful, both Lalu & I were also enjoying ourselves. There was even this remorse that we should have been riding a mobike on this route, would have been more enjoyable, and even if we get stuck, the bike could be pushed through.

We had no idea what lay ahead.......
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Old 17th March 2012, 16:03   #1957
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

While The IPHE A team was struggling and worried about all the uncertanities of crossing Sach Pass. The IPHE B team who decided to take the Debring - Leh- Kargil-Srinagar- Delhi route was attending the Leh Festival.

The most important event of the festival was the cultural procession of various groups and tribes and organnizations and the Polo match which followed.

We reached there just before the cultural procession started. Here are some videos.




All the Groups are lining up for the procession.



The Arrival of Bride and Groom.

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Old 17th March 2012, 19:00   #1958
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TS aka Tadek wanted to be in Leh on this day and HVK planned our Trip in a way that we can be part of the Ladakh Festival.
So Tadek was the happiest man today and we all were enjoying.It was like the whole of Ladakh region has assembled in one place.
JP, Myself and NED was busy clicking pics and me recording videos.

Two more (ex)members from our IPHE Team SS & DB was also there on that day. If you remember, they were with HVK and decided to leave us and fly back to Mumbai from Leh.

Some more videos from my Flipcam.











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Old 18th March 2012, 08:19   #1960
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How unrealistic the whole thing sounds!

The 14-man team that was together just 24 hours ago is now:

IPHE - A 1: Enjoying itself on the slopes leading to Sach Pass

IPHE - A 2: Struggling (?) somewhere near Khillar

IPHE - B: Walking along with dragon dancers in the streets of Leh!

And none of us in touch with each other! We don't know if we will meet again.

In the meantime, back in the office work stations & home living rooms, our drive has excited lots of attention among family & friends, they were tracking us live thanks to the tracking device in my car - this works occasionally when there is mobile connectivity - and through the Face Book group https://www.facebook.com/groups/hvkumar/ where info gathered from random calls & SMSes was being discussed even as our drive hopped from one Himalayan range to the other! I estimated some 75-100 tracking us live and over 200-500 people following the FB thread!

And yet none of them knew where we were at this moment ever since we went into radio blackout region 7-8 hours ago after crossing Udeypur.
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Old 18th March 2012, 12:00   #1961
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
How unrealistic the whole thing sounds!

The 14-man team that was together just 24 hours ago is now:

IPHE - A 1: Enjoying itself on the slopes leading to Sach Pass

IPHE - A 2: Struggling (?) somewhere near Khillar

And none of us in touch with each other! We don't know if we will meet again.
Team A1 & A2 - This was a split which was not planned earlier but the circumstance demanded (so the surprise element for ourselves and the others tracking us enhanced) and nor did i expect the region Killar to not have mobile connectivity. Obviously as a result of this surprise we forgot to plan for the no connectivity issue between Team A1 & A2.

In fact the network there was funny or i should say fluctuating. The locals had phones which we tried using to contact Team A1 (since they had a Post paid BSNL) on reaching Killar at 5:30PM but something was wrong and we couldn't connect.

But we sure did receive the a message to turn back and not attempt Sach pass from Team A1 via the BPMS (Bolero Pickup Messaging Service)

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 18th March 2012 at 12:02.
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Old 18th March 2012, 12:22   #1962
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
How unrealistic the whole thing sounds!

The 14-man team that was together just 24 hours ago is now:

IPHE - A 1: Enjoying itself on the slopes leading to Sach Pass

IPHE - A 2: Struggling (?) somewhere near Khillar

IPHE - B: Walking along with dragon dancers in the streets of Leh!
Sir ji, you did mention that you have logged this whole trip or part of it. Is there any way you could share the logs in a KML format? Wanted to see how it looks in Google Earth though I known most of these routes are not mapped in Google. Thanks.
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Old 18th March 2012, 12:49   #1963
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Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
Team A1 & A2 - This was a split which was not planned earlier but the circumstance demanded (so the surprise element for ourselves and the others tracking us enhanced) and nor did i expect the region Killar to not have mobile connectivity. Obviously as a result of this surprise we forgot to plan for the no connectivity issue between Team A1 & A2.


But we sure did receive the a message to turn back and not attempt Sach pass from Team A1 via the BPMS (Bolero Pickup Messaging Service)
Actually, we never expected to travel separately in this sector, we had planned to be together. We could have used the Radio - at least for range of 4-5 kms - but then the HVK Scorpio & the Bolero did not have one.

Yes, the "pigeon messaging" service worked - as you put it the BPMS!

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Sir ji, you did mention that you have logged this whole trip or part of it. Is there any way you could share the logs in a KML format? Wanted to see how it looks in Google Earth though I known most of these routes are not mapped in Google. Thanks.
The entire trip is logged extensively in log books, GPS tracks, etc and all POIs are also recorded. All the GPS tracks so far have already been shared in the earlier posts - watch out for post by BolBolero (and in some cased, by NED) after the completion of each day's drive.

After this TL ends (will it?) we will also share the complete files of log books & GPS tracks.
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Old 18th March 2012, 18:29   #1964
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Default HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 16, Keylong-Chamba, 1st. September 2011

Khillar 2 Sach Pass, The Start: 230-300 pm

Fight over, decision made, aall izz well, we move from the junction of Khillar towards Sach Jot (pass). Its around 2:30 pm and we have absolutely no news of the Mumbai Roadsters and their Swifts!

The Bolero was just a few metres behind the Scorpio as we started descending towards the River Chandra Bhagha. We need to cover a distance of around 45 kms to reach Sach Jot, not much one would say!

Narrow roads with the mountain on one side and a deep valley on the other, what a great road to be driving on. SSj and me were thoroughly enjoying the experience. But somewhere in the back of our minds we kept thinking of the Mumbai Roadsters and invariably the talk would veer to the predicament they were in.

The road leading down to the bridge over the river, though narrow and with a lot of hair pin bends was pretty decent. It would be altogether a different story during the monsoon, wherein I guess a 4WD vehicle will be an absolute necessity.

The two of us in the Bolero were just taking in the experience and keeping pace with the Scorpio, and were so engrossed and occupied with the drive, that we didn't even bother to click many photographs! (Actually that was the case right from the start of the journey at Keylong!)
Also since laluks was in the Scorpio ahead, we knew that there would be enough photgraphs by the end of the Day!

We reached the the banks of the River Chandra Bhaga at around 3:00 pm with the bridge in front of us.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-ladakh-trip-453.jpg

to be continued....
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Old 18th March 2012, 21:09   #1965
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were so engrossed and occupied with the drive, that we didn't even bother to click many photographs! (Actually that was the case right from the start of the journey at Keylong!)
Also since laluks was in the Scorpio ahead, we knew that there would be enough photgraphs by the end of the Day!
Ahem!
Treat me for those wonderful pictures I have for you


I have not even the faintest idea when I will be back on this magnificient route, all I know is one day I surely shall again. I just did not have enough of this adventure
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