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Old 2nd April 2012, 17:14   #2101
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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
Take a look at these 2 pictures of one of the difficult slopes -

Check out the waterfall photo - looks easy?
Steep slope.
Sliding stones.
Water blinding your visibility.
That step like thing on the left and the killer rocks make the slope real tricky. But seeing that Omni is all the more inspiring.

Going blind when crossing such waterfall sections can be real scary! Once had to drive through one with a huge hole towards the right; was a cliffhanger.

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Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
...plus i guess you had to close your windows to avoid water, which can also cause fog inside the glass...
If required to drive with windows closed for longer duration, better switch on the AC.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 17:19   #2102
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Kaushik has posted whatever few pictures we had taken. I have just jot down my point of view.

So here we were at Khillar, as soon as we reached, the way ahead was in Y shape and we took the right and entered the Khillar town. In my heart I was also eager to know if the Scorpio and Bolero were there somewhere waiting, but it was our decision to ask them to move ahead. We were now taking a U turn without wasting any more time to make it to the start of the climb of Sach pass as soon as possible.

Coming down the hill from Khillar town towards the bridge that takes us to the other side of the river, the biggest challenge we were to come across without any help. It took us a bit before we made it to the lowest level and crossed the bridge. Almost felt like all of this is a game. Something like what we play on a playstation. There are many levels before you reach the last and final, needless to mention the most difficult level. Only difference is, this is real life, no margin for errors and no additional lives if you die like in the game.


By now, it is quite clear that I was the most scared and concerned of what was coming as I had anyways tried my best to avoid Sach route.

Must say that from the co driver seat coming down a plush green Himalaya to bridging to the other was a wonderful visual experience.


We had just crossed the bridge and gone ahead a little bit. Kaushik and Ankit in the car ahead of us and myself and Yogen behind. Their car stopped and they were having a small discussion with the driver of a Bolero camper coming from the opposite direction. I picked up the walky and asked “any useful information?” and No was the reply from Kaushik. I was concerned and not very sure if Kaushik was honest with that answer. He was desperate to make it through Sach. We started following again. Soon there was another small conversation with the 2nd Bolero camper and then the 3rd. I had no clue of what is going on as Kaushik did not share any information with us. After the 3rd car crossed us he decided to discuss the same with us 3.


During this session what Kaushik said absolutely devastated me. It shattered my confidence and nothing much seemed in my control. What he said was that the 3 campers that passed us informed him of the message that came from our team running about 4 hours or more ahead of us, HVK sir and Bolbolero. The message was to turn back as trying Sach pass will be pointless in the swift after dark, without any help from anyone. But the decision agreed upon was that we would try to reach as far as we could until we reach a point where we just can’t go ahead. Only then we will turn back.


With a lot of hesitation in my mind we start moving again. Many hairpins with some boulders thrown in here and there, but nothing that we were not able to somehow manage. I did get out of the car for some sections to assist Yogen with some more ground clearance. Also to guide him from the best path possible as the swifty now started hitting the bottom very very frequently. More frequent than ever before in the 20 days of the trip. It was very important for the co driver to get out and show the way to avoid as much obstruction as possible. Any wrong hit would have had us stranded with no real recovery I can think of. I was personally only thinking about how worse it can be, if something goes wrong. I am a Biker with quite an eventful mishaps history after all. Always think of how worse can it actually be?
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Old 2nd April 2012, 18:12   #2103
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Mod Note : Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!

141 pages and the TL continues...
Hats off to the entire team for showing us this part of the India which very few people have dared to drive..

Waiting for the mystery to unfold..

I am feeling sort of sad for having reached to the last page of this travelogue..such was the narration and the pics of this entire trip...

Really a a pleasure reading through it..

Last edited by GTO : 3rd April 2012 at 09:08. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 2nd April 2012, 19:14   #2104
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by amit_3306 View Post
I am feeling sort of sad for having reached to the last page of this travelogue..such was the narration and the pics of this entire trip...

Really a a pleasure reading through it..
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Originally Posted by amit_3306 View Post
141 pages and the TL continues...
Hats off to the entire team for showing us this part of the India which very few people have dared to drive..

Waiting for the mystery to unfold..

Thanks Amit!

We appreciate that you have read the entire travelogue!!
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Old 2nd April 2012, 19:38   #2105
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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That step like thing on the left and the killer rocks make the slope real tricky. But seeing that Omni is all the more inspiring.
Omni? What Omni?

They have not seen vehicles other than BOleros, Maxxs & LCVs beyond Udeypur. There are no small cars or OMnis anywhere in this region. Maybe what the Swifts were doing was a first-ever for this road?
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Old 2nd April 2012, 20:19   #2106
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Red face Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Omni? What Omni?

They have not seen vehicles other than BOleros, Maxxs & LCVs beyond Udeypur. There are no small cars or OMnis anywhere in this region. Maybe what the Swifts were doing was a first-ever for this road?
Woopsie, my bad! Somehow, mistook a vehicle (don't dare to say which one) as a Maruti van. And there I was, thinking that the van's driver must be cool offroader.
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Old 2nd April 2012, 21:58   #2107
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Woopsie, my bad! Somehow, mistook a vehicle (don't dare to say which one) as a Maruti van. And there I was, thinking that the van's driver must be cool offroader.

Now I am forced to think for all wildest reasons that you mistook HVK scorpio for the OMNI

Beware chief will not take that lightly
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Old 2nd April 2012, 22:28   #2108
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post

If required to drive with windows closed for longer duration, better switch on the AC.
Yes true but the situation here was different as it was rocky and steep incline, so the vehicle needed all the power it can muster. Besides as we can see in the video the waterfall duration isnt that much but you can't see a thing for more than 10secs.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 02:06   #2109
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Sach PASS

OR

Sach FAIL

?????



Was that the right decision?
Was I being brave or just plain foolish?
Will this foolhardiness result in a huge damage to the cars?
Are we risking our lives?
What if something goes wrong and we have a real bad ending to this wonderful trip?
Can this mistake leave a dent on our road tripping temperament?



Well we could not answer the above questions but we decided to just go ahead till where we could without risking our lives and the cars!

Yes the assessment of how risky the situation is was a debatable and very subjective. Often one ends up making a mistake in such situations and then repents about going overboard. But in this case we could be stuck in the middle of nowhere without any support.


By process of elimination the only scary thought which i could not get over was "Medical Emergency". What do we do if there is any sort of medical emergency? Worst case we could leave our cars back, but we cant even contact anybody.

The best chance we had in case of a medical emergency was to turn back and head towards Killar. To be sure that we can at least do that we had to ensure 2 things -

1. One of the cars is safe - which would happen automatically because we could attempt every section only one at a time
2. Constantly assess the situation and be sure that we are not crossing any section which we cannot do if we had to turn around - the probability of which was low till we were climbing.

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 3rd April 2012 at 02:11.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 04:49   #2110
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
Sach PASS

OR

Sach FAIL

?????


[
Well we could not answer the above questions but we decided to just go ahead till where we could without risking our lives and the cars!


By process of elimination the only scary thought which i could not get over was "Medical Emergency". What do we do if there is any sort of medical emergency? Worst case we could leave our cars back, but we cant even contact anybody.

The best chance we had in case of a medical emergency was to turn back and head towards Killar. To be sure that we can at least do that we had to ensure 2 things -

1. One of the cars is safe - which would happen automatically because we could attempt every section only one at a time
2. Constantly assess the situation and be sure that we are not crossing any section which we cannot do if we had to turn around - the probability of which was low till we were climbing.
Kaushik, Man reading all these is giving me goosebumps and sometimes I get a shiver through my spine! I knew how difficult is the Sach pass because I had heard the whole Sach pass episode from Glenn & Saji who crossed it few weeks before us, when we met them at the Hotel in Chitkul.

I am sad that I missed this sector last year but happy that I have one more reason to go back this year!

So as Tadek always say. .SHALL WE?? ....

Last edited by Samurai : 3rd April 2012 at 11:35. Reason: as requested
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Old 3rd April 2012, 11:55   #2111
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Yes Shibu WE SHALL for sure!!!

It was really a challenging section.........

......... and we really dint know what was coming up next

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Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
Kaushik, Man reading all these is giving me goosebumps and sometimes I get a shiver through my spine! I knew how difficult is the Sach pass because I had heard the whole Sach pass episode from Glenn & Saji who crossed it few weeks before us, when we met them at the Hotel in Chitkul.

I am sad that I missed this sector last year but happy that I have one more reason to go back this year!

So as Tadek always say. .SHALL WE?? ....
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Old 3rd April 2012, 12:32   #2112
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Sach PASS

OR

Sach FAIL

?????


Now we come to the first major obstacle, it was a 100 meter long almost 45 degree inclined rocky climb without any space for a run-up even at the start. The moment we reached the start point itself we knew it that this could be a deal breaker.

Getting stuck is one thing, but not having enough power or GC to cross an obstacle is something one cannot do anything about. Now we know that even the Scorpio took 3 attempts and had to backup all the way down. Which means that even if we had help with us it was not going to be possible to tow the Swifts up the hill because the incline and unevenness in the surface was slowing down the momentum. Only a winch could have helped in a situation like this.

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post

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!


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.

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We do a recce on foot, move as many stones as we can. The good news was that the major uneven parts were a little spread out, so we could workout a route such that we can protect our under body. But we did have to pay a price for this, it was loss of momentum resulting in not enough torque to climb the entire section in one go. Anyways we dint have a choice, so worked out a route and smothen the sudden unevenness by adding a few smaller stones. Identified a the point till which the swift will reach with the initial momentum. This point somehow had to be cross because it was a huge bump exactly at the center point of the entire 100m length. If we dint cross it with the initial momentum it was not going to be possible to recover.

THE BUMP....
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Yogen decides to take the first shot and lands exactly short of the huge bump and looses momentum/torque. He backs up all the way down and approaches the climb again with slightly more momentum and manages to get the front tyres over the bump and begins to loose the momentum, just then the 3 of us push the Swift with all the energy we had and the finally clear the bump. But now what??

The Swift had come to a standstill and was loosing the 1st gear torque within a few inches. Very quickly we offload the heavy/chunky luggage in the car. There was a brand new 5k kms used Mahindra Genio which had broken down just after the climb, its clutch was slipping and they were planning to spend the night there waiting for help the next morning. So we requested them to help us push the Swift and luckily 2 of them agreed.

So 5 of us pushing a Swift with just the driver in it and no luggage. Slowly Yogen managed to gain some momentum and reached the top on engine power. Now it was APs turn to do his run. Exact action replay, he managed to clear the bump, we offloaded the stuff at the same point and then pushed it for a few meters... So we lost some precious energy pushing the cars and now had to carry all our luggage/50 ltrs of fuel up a 45 degree incline for the next 50 meters. We thank the guys who helped us and move ahead having lost over 30 minutes and lots of energy.

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This was not a very dangerous section but was very challenging because the Swifts dint have enough power to climb the long & uneven incline. Burning the clutch wouldn’t have helped because it was almost impossible to do it without the manpower we gave the car.

Somehow with 5 people pushing an empty car we managed to cross an obstacle which would have forced us to turn around just due to lack of engine power/torque and that would have been a very disheartening situation.


At this stage we got to know from the locals stranded there, about there being 2 more major obstacles up ahead after which we should be ok and reach the 1st check post.


It was around 7PM we were 3 hours behind the SUVs... it was completely dark by the time we finished this climb, was getting windy and cold and then it started to rain.....



Unfortunately we did not click any pics in this section because the situation was too intense and taking pics just dint come to our mind.....all pics by Lalu.

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 3rd April 2012 at 12:45. Reason: Correcting a few typos
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Old 3rd April 2012, 13:58   #2113
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
Sach PASS

OR

Sach FAIL

?????


Now we come to the first major obstacle, it was a 100 meter long almost 45 degree inclined rocky climb without any space for a run-up even at the start. The moment we reached the start point itself we knew it that this could be a deal breaker.

Somehow with 5 people pushing an empty car we managed to cross an obstacle which would have forced us to turn around just due to lack of engine power/torque and that would have been a very disheartening situation.


At this stage we got to know from the locals stranded there, about there being 2 more major obstacles up ahead after which we should be ok and reach the 1st check post.


It was around 7PM we were 3 hours behind the SUVs... it was completely dark by the time we finished this climb, was getting windy and cold and then it started to rain.....



Unfortunately we did not click any pics in this section because the situation was too intense and taking pics just dint come to our mind.....all pics by Lalu.
Super-human effort, improvisations on the move!

Let me tell you a story abut KSM-vTEC's earlier drive to Ladakh in his Gypsy, so that you get an idea of the spirit behind this climb......

His Gypsy's accelerator cable broke even as he was climbing up to the 5000 mtrs high Baralacha la and it was already becoming dark. What would anyone have done? I guess he would have simply sat there waiting for help???

But our Kaushik, he did not bat an eyelid, he threaded the accelerator cable through the bonnet & window and like a charioter pulling the reins on the horse! And imagine, here he is pulling the accelerator wire when he wants to accelerate! That is how he drove up the high pass through the bitter cold.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 14:09   #2114
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

The steepest inclines that I have come across were on both sides of Jalori Pass. If any of you have driven through Jalori Pass, how would you compare this to the Jalori Pass inclines ?

The other steep incline and the only one where I lost momentum and had to reverse my Scorpio and climb up again was the path from the road to the parking area of hotel Rakpa Regency in Kalpa

Styler

Last edited by Styler : 3rd April 2012 at 14:11.
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Old 3rd April 2012, 15:29   #2115
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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The steepest inclines that I have come across were on both sides of Jalori Pass. If any of you have driven through Jalori Pass, how would you compare this to the Jalori Pass inclines ?

The other steep incline and the only one where I lost momentum and had to reverse my Scorpio and climb up again was the path from the road to the parking area of hotel Rakpa Regency in Kalpa

Styler
Jalori Pass approach roads are well-made, so you do not have to worry about the climb much even if some sections are steep, except at the opening of the season when there is lots of snow & slush.

But the Sach Pass roads are dirt tracks where the tyres struggle to gain traction & slip on the rubble. Besides, unlike Jalori Jot, here the roads are much more narrower, have lots of landslides and a single mistake can land your car either in the ditch or the valley.
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