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Old 20th March 2012, 00:07   #1981
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by shipnil View Post
What happens to all the melted water then?
Apart from feeding the rivers, melted snow is collected and stored by those who live there for use in winters. As was told to me, during my visit there in 2010. I wonder how they prevent it from freezing during winters.
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Old 20th March 2012, 09:55   #1982
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Great trip and awesome pictures along with the report. Don't understand why more Indians don't take a trip like this?
I would actually fly down to India to take a trip like this.

Every year we do San Juan Mountain trip that is very similar in terrain just narrower. So many roads and switchbacks reminded me of Colorado.
Our trip is much easier as the reaching that area is not that difficult due to decent roads. I usually tow my Jeep to a base camp in little town Ouray. My wife and kids also go with me. Will make a thread about it when I get a chance and you will see the similarity. Not sure if I should make it here or in the 4x4 excursion area.
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Old 20th March 2012, 11:12   #1983
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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: Glaciers & Waterfalls, 400-430 pm




Road starts ascending steeply. We were climbing rapidly.
More & more barrenness.
We see a few Bolero pick-ups coming down after having delivered their cargoes in far-off markets.
We heard that this is a crucial trade corridor, the only way the Pangi Valley people can get their agricultural produce to the markets of Punjab - through Chamba. So this narrow road has a lot of strategic importance for these traders and the Bolero pick-ups are an indispensable part of this supply chain. Perhaps that is why the Sach Pass road has been "widened" from the mule path it was till a few years ago.

The Khillar-Chamba road closes down during the winter after the snow blockade the Sach Pass. Trade goes on, but the merchandise now goes from Khillar to Kishtwar, Doda and on to Jammu instead, which road apparently remains open even during winter.

You see the videos of this road, you may start getting bored with the continuity of the road hanging out of the cliff all along. It was very exciting to drive on these roads, and the Scorpio & Bolero were also enjoying themselves immensely. No slipping anywhere, no revving beyond 2000 rpm, the Yokos were also crunching the gravel and splashing the slush with great ease.

By 4 pm, we were driving more on rocks than road. Road was getting "step-py" as the tyres climbed over boulders. There was no place to stop anywhere. Looking back, we could still see Khillar even though we were almost an hour's drive away. We did not have binocs - else we would have scrutinised the mountainside there for the Swifts! There are 00s of place where there can be sudden landslides, and I shudder to think how bad this road will be when the snow melts or it snows or rains. The road was also now firmly sandwiched between mountains competing with each other to look meaner, more rugged & menacing than the other.

Glaciers in August! We first thought that must the water, but looking closely we see that it is snow. Not only off the road, but also in several places way below in the Valley. Looks like many parts of this Valley never get sun shine strong enough to melt the snow. Lots of water trickling down from the snow to form rivulets. These were not half a spectacular as the Durang Darang Glacier we saw in the Suru Valley, but these smaller glaciers looked like cream sticking to the cake and looked forbidding & sinister & beautiful.

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3250 mtrs, 420 pm. One of those "steps" in the rocky road - where the car had to climb over rock on the road to get to the next "step" - and even the mighty Scorpio could not complete the climb. I was stuck in a crazy angle, I had to reverse down the steep slope. My usual technique in such situations: Lalu gets off to "spot" and give guidance, Bolero is directed to stop and back out and then I engage first gear, depress the clutch, roll back, release the clutch to brake, and so on. I cannot risk sliding back faster for the risk of skidding or losing control and going off into the valley!

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By 430 pm, we were getting quite jittery with all those cliffs towering above us and the "road" becoming more and more rocky. Utmost concentration needed, you cannot miss a "step" , the slightest braking action means a lot of skidding on rubble, and we also had to keep a watch out for any oncoming Boleros.

Read Phantom comics when you were in school? Well, we were transported back to those days, as we encountered lovely waterfalls whose waters were cascading into the road drenching the car. I almost expected to see Guran standing there as I came out of the water!




There was this amazing place where there was this waterfall. And the road was badly "stepped". Because of the heavy flow, we could not even get under and "spot" the rocks up close, all I could see was it was a very mean looking set of boulders that were in our path, exactly below the place where the falls was the most. I had to engage first gear and slowly release power, moving at speeds of 2-8 kmph (at least that is what the GPS in my Car Cam says.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-waterfall-screen-shot.jpg

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The water was all over the road. The road itself was very narrow. The left (valley side) had huge boulders. So I had to drive closer to the cliff side, closer to the water. The slope was steep - at 3350 mtrs - and the surface was completely rocky, which means you have to drive up the slope as though you were climbing up steps. We could not even get out and do a reccee because there was too much of water and we would have got drenched. So I started off slow and once under the water, it was blind driving for a few seconds.

Last edited by hvkumar : 20th March 2012 at 11:19.
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Old 20th March 2012, 20:13   #1984
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

The road looked like this. I was almost crying at the thoughts of the swifts here!
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HVK Scorpio had three attempts before he gunned it all the way up
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BolBolero
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Glacier all around!
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continued...
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Old 20th March 2012, 20:22   #1985
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

A waterfall on the road!
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Interesting!
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Scary
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Narrow
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Steps
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Furious
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Slippery
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But we enjoyed the drive!
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Look at Scorpio's Bonnet. It even reflects the sceneries on it!
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Nice Water wash! Much required one for the Scorpio.
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We moved on
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continued...
over to HVK
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Old 21st March 2012, 08:43   #1986
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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 Sach Pass itself, 430-530 pm






440 pm, Bhagotu Check Post, 3500 mtrs
We have taken 2 hours to cover 33 kms, quite fast.
This is the point which we feared stopped motorists beyond 5 pm. Or so someone had told us earlier.

The Check Post
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But nothing of that sort. There are no timing restrictions here. It is just 13 more kms from here to Sach Pass. But some 1000 mtrs higher!
This check post is in the middle of nowhere, just 2-3 tents with cops sitting there entering our car/ passenger details in their registers. Friendly guys, theirs is not an enviable job.
But we got chai! So we took our first real break here - for 15 minutes, to register & drink tea.

Surprisingly, I see that Google Maps shows the road from Bagotu to Chamba. It did not have any of the sections from Khillar till here.

Wild Flowers
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One word about the road - what you are seeing is a "wider" road - which was earlier narrow!

We now have company. The bull-dozer driver of the HP PWD who has been working these roads for the last 18 years. His duty was to clear the road and he wanted to go to his home in Bhairavgarh - just 45 kms or 3 hours drive away! He proved to be a cheerful bloke, very talkative, shared with us many anecdotes and lots of info about this region & the building of the road. He has spent a career working only here and nowhere else. He drives the bull dozer which he says is an everyday job because of the constant dribbling down of rocks onto the road. The snow in this road is cleared the last, and the Sach Pass does not open till end-June, but can remain open till as long as end-Nov every year. In the winter months, he is deployed in the Bhairavgarh area. He was also quiet amused with our enthusiasm to drive these wretched roads, mostly the privilege of only the Bolero pick ups and Maxx taxis.

We had stopped thinking of the Swifts - we knew they would have got the message from the Bolero pick ups - since BolBolero had accosted 3-4 of them and told them to convey the message if they saw the Swifts dissuading them from following behind - happy in the thought they would be enjoying the comfort of hotel rooms in Khillar.

The higher we climb, the more the glaciers around us. The last of the "tempos" has already passed us by, although I believe that the pick-ups travel this route by night too.
You can go off the road into the valley and no one will know.
You can break down here & you will get no help for a very very long time.

Stopping at one of the places where the glacier spills down into the road, we broke off chunks of ice and cooled ourselves - ouch, the cold hurts! Truly one of those ecstatic moments this day!

15 minutes, 500 mtrs, and maybe that was in 5 kms or so, that tells you the story of the steep climb, as the road started twisting around, in different height levels. The Bolero was trailing far behind by now since I always believe in taking steep climbs in one go in constant gear as far as possible and I can travel on such ghat sections pretty quick! We reassured ourselves that he was still following us, by peering down onto the roads below to see him roaring forward in hot pursuit.

"Bhoot" Ground
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The ground evens out a bit and we descend into a wide valley with water flowing around. This is the "Bhoot" Ground, says the bull-dozer driver. He points to the steep walls of the mountain around and says that the landslides and water flows here are terrible and every year at least 5-10 workers die here, that is why it is called the valley of ghosts! With the sun dipping down and encircled by mountains, the place is in shadow and exudes an eerie atmosphere, at this high altitude of 4300 mtrs. We stop awhile hoping the Bolero will catch up. Surprisingly, it is pleasant weather, not as cold as one would expect at such a high altitude - although after Ladakh this is far lower than most of the areas we had been travelling the last few days.

Now we could see clouds billowing out of the peaks on the other side, the Chamba Valley section which Glenn had warned us about - he had driven through these sections in total fog. When we told him later about glaciers, he said, "Glacier? What Glacier?" He did not see any in the heavy foggy conditions he had to drive through. I now realised the meaning of what he and Kesri told me - the journey is very "rocky", we had not seen so many rocks anywhere else. This is total stone country!

At one point, it looks as though the road is getting swallowed up by the glacial snows, but in reality it curves sharply inward & climbs up.

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4400 mtrs, The walls of ice - so much a part of everyone's Ladakh photo album in May/June - surrounded as as we neared the Sach Pass. We loved it, there was a small photo session here. Lalu got some good exercise here running up front to take the photos of both the Scorpio & Bolero in full pose with the ice wall background. It was rock-solid, looks like the sun's rays never reach here, no water flowing on the road.

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We reached Sach Pass 4400 mtrs at 535 pm...............

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Old 21st March 2012, 10:16   #1987
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
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


We reached Sach Pass 4400 mtrs at 535 pm...............
HVK, its more than a hundred pages and its still getting better! WOW! Cant wait for more, please keep them coming saar! And the picture in the earlier post of your Scorpios bonnet with the reflections is too good. Was that your best car wash till date ? (and that too a free one in pure mineral water)

Regards,
Aalok
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Old 21st March 2012, 13:09   #1988
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

We saw the Checkpost at a distance
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There in nothing much around - very depressing place and hats off to the Checkpost guys doing their monotonous job!
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Bulldozer parked
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HVK really needed a break
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See the smile of the Bull Dozer driver behind HVK. He even approved that HVK needed a break!
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Statutory Warning : Cigaratte Smoking is injurious to health; With the recent taxation it is injurious to the pockets also


Getting Ready to Go. The Doggy looks on curiously at the unexpected visitors
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Old 21st March 2012, 13:15   #1989
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

More Glaciers!
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Curvy Twisty roads
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Ice all around the place
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Old 21st March 2012, 13:21   #1990
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

More Glaciers!
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More Interesting roads
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Flowers too!
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Old 21st March 2012, 14:02   #1991
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

We drove on towards Sach pass
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Old 21st March 2012, 14:10   #1992
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

Ice everywhere
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Gateway to Sach Pass
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We reached Bhooth Ground
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Bhooth Ground - It really had a scary feel, the vastness added to it
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We moved on safely from Bhooth Ground
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Old 21st March 2012, 14:16   #1993
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

By now I got tired of Ice
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BolBolero at Bhooth Ground
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Ice Walls!!
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Old 21st March 2012, 14:20   #1994
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

Cloudy, Foggy, Misty
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New feature now - Walls of Ice
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Old 21st March 2012, 14:23   #1995
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 21
1st September 2011
Key Long - Sach Pass - Chamba

Photoshoot - HVK Scorpio near a Glacier Wall of ICE!
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