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Old 7th April 2012, 12:33   #2131
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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

?????



The guys there were very friendly and told us that the road ahead was ok but had a few water/slush crossings. He also added that if we have managed to reach so far in these cars, crossing Sach Pass and doing rest of the journey till the other side was NOT going to be impossible.....with those words of encouragement we move on, but the words Slush ahead were worrying me a lot.


Were the guys shocked when they realised you were in small cars, and not brawny SUVs?
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Old 7th April 2012, 12:41   #2132
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Were the guys shocked when they realised you were in small cars, and not brawny SUVs?
Oh yes they just dint know what to say. They also told us that even the locals dont attempt doing the Sach Pass in their small cars.
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Old 7th April 2012, 15:47   #2133
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Sach PASS

OR

Sach FAIL

?????


We move further taking encouragement from the Jawans at the check post and just a few corners later from a distance we notice something like a TUNNEL


Could that be possible? Can there be a tunnel at such a height? Why would you need a tunnel almost at the top of a pass? YP and me a wondering and in any case moving ahead..

We come closer to the spot and realize that it was not a tunnel but a cave like structure created by nature with ice!

Yes it was an ice cave/glacier on the road!

All this while we have not been able to see all the ice in the valley because it was dark...but as per the pics that we have seen from the SUV team there were glaciers all around all along. We saw this one only because it was bang on the road.

Now that we had cleared the major obstacles and we had the encouragement from the check post guys we thought we were on safe grounds and decided to stop for a couple of minutes and take a few pics!


Pictures clicked by us at 2010 hours...

KP (doctorque) next to the white swift
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_1538-2.jpg

AP (anku) looking for something with his torch...maybe the road...lol
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_1539-2.jpg

AP again with the Cave!
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_1540-2.jpg


Pictures clicked at the same spot by SS and Lalu at about 1650 hours...

A view of the same spot in daylight HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-glacier-day.jpg

Maybe it was this view in the dark and from a distance which made us think that it was a tunnel
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To be cont....



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Old 8th April 2012, 21:12   #2134
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Sach PASS

OR

Sach FAIL

?????


It was extremely dark and cold, the wind along with the fog and drizzle was making matters worst but some how after climbing for almost one more hour we come to a section which seems to have no incline or decline for a unusually long stretch.

We concluded that this could be somewhere near the Sach Pass Top (14500Ft ASL).


The cars had been running in 1st and 2nd gear only for over an hour now and we dint want them to overheat. We decided to give them a break since we had reached some flat land anyways (very rare). It was so dark that unfortunately we could not spot the exact Sach Pass point. But i guess thats ok because clicking a picture with the signboard there could have been a good to have picture but we dint have the liberty of time to look for anything else other than the road.

We had not eaten breakfast or lunch and were completely drained out. We had been in complete action since 6AM, it was 15 hours now. Specially KP looked extremely tiered, really really Low on energy; he dint even want to get off the car. Fearing that the conditions could be equally demanding on the way down mainly due the the darkness and expected slush patches, i suggested we have a few spoons of tang powder each and then also munch on a few parle-g biscuits from some instant energy.


It was between 2115 - 2130 hours and we had reached the Sach Pass Top..... but we had a LONG way to go...


To be Cont...


Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 8th April 2012 at 21:20.
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Old 8th April 2012, 21:54   #2135
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

i just spent 10 hours going through this thread, including a 1 hour break, and had still only reached page 65. then I decided I just had to go to the end and see how it all ended, and I see its STILL not finished. Holy smokes.

I hope to join you guys on the next trip.

as far as this thread goes, my stamina is exhausted. I'll pick it up at page 65 tomorrow

Last edited by Harbir : 8th April 2012 at 21:56.
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Old 8th April 2012, 22:14   #2136
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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

?????


It was extremely dark and cold, the wind along with the fog and drizzle was making matters worst but some how after climbing for almost one more hour we come to a section which seems to have no incline or decline for a unusually long stretch.

We concluded that this could be somewhere near the Sach Pass Top (14500Ft ASL).


The cars had been running in 1st and 2nd gear only for over an hour now and we dint want them to overheat. We decided to give them a break since we had reached some flat land anyways (very rare). It was so dark that unfortunately we could not spot the exact Sach Pass point. But i guess thats ok because clicking a picture with the signboard there could have been a good to have picture but we dint have the liberty of time to look for anything else other than the road.

We had not eaten breakfast or lunch and were completely drained out. We had been in complete action since 6AM, it was 15 hours now. Specially KP looked extremely tiered, really really Low on energy; he dint even want to get off the car. Fearing that the conditions could be equally demanding on the way down mainly due the the darkness and expected slush patches, i suggested we have a few spoons of tang powder each and then also munch on a few parle-g biscuits from some instant energy.


It was between 2115 - 2130 hours and we had reached the Sach Pass Top..... but we had a LONG way to go...


To be Cont...

Congrats to the Mumbai Roadsters for reaching (or thinking they had reached) - are you sure??! - the Sach Pass!

I can imagine the trauma you guys must have been going through. Unlike the meticulously researched Ladakh sector, none of us knew this route at all beyond having kuchcha coordinates, rest was info gathered from hearsay. The "road" is featureless and as long as you can see it ahead of you, you know you are getting somewhere. Sach Pass itself has no sign boards to announce it, except for the small temple which also must be invisible in the darkness of the night and possibly the fog.

Yes, the Tang was a good idea, I also carry Glucon with me for such situations. I also carry hard-boiled sweets (Ravalgaon type) and chocolate eclairs for that energy shot

Great going, guys......At 930 pm, we were ordering dinner for ourselves on the fly as we crossed Tissa town on our way to Chamba!
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Old 8th April 2012, 22:42   #2137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar

Yes, the Tang was a good idea, I also carry Glucon with me for such situations. I also carry hard-boiled sweets (Ravalgaon type) and chocolate eclairs for that energy shot
Yes we did have glucon d but dint have the strength to look for it...lol
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Old 8th April 2012, 23:55   #2138
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My guess is going to be right . Now the possibilities are high that the call shud be from mumbai roadsters. Following closely.. Go ahead KSM-Vtec .
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Old 9th April 2012, 15:23   #2139
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ok. I have just arrived at page 143 after reading every post and looking at every picture. took me 2 days. and all I can say is WOW

My hats off to HVK for his leadership and the responsibility involved, his knowledge and enthusiasm in not just wanting to go see these remote places but also to take so many along to show them. My hats off also to KSM-VTEC who is obviously another great and inspiring leader. It is true that adversity shows the measure of a man, and KSM has both the determination to see things through and the courage to take the responsibility for those who rely on him. Also hats off to bolbolero for his compassion, and to jeepcaptain who is clearly the most friendly, helpful, interactive, always-ready-to-go-for-it-and-help-pull-the-weight personality.

And of course all the others as well who had the testicular fortitude to see this through.

I first went to Pangong, Cushul, Hanle, etc in 1991 when ladakh was still wild and untravelled. TO me the measure of how much ladakh has changed comes from the shots of kiang, bactrians and marmots. 20+ years ago, these animals were not used to human presence, you could not dream of getting close to them. Non-domesticated bactrians wouldn't come within 2km of a human being then. Marmots would scamper away and disappear at the merest sight of a human. and kiang would gallop like wild mustangs along the vehicles, but not give you a chance of getting close. To now see these animals so acclimated to human presence really tells the story of how ladakh has changed in the last 15 years that I have not been there.

I would very much like to go with you guys next time, no matter where it is. Please do include me.
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Old 9th April 2012, 15:27   #2140
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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I first went to Pangong, Cushul, Hanle, etc in 1991 when ladakh was still wild and untravelled. TO me the measure of how much ladakh has changed comes from the shots of kiang, bactrians and marmots. 20+ years ago, these animals were not used to human presence, you could not dream of getting close to them. Non-domesticated bactrians wouldn't come within 2km of a human being then. Marmots would scamper away and disappear at the merest sight of a human. and kiang would gallop like wild mustangs along the vehicles, but not give you a chance of getting close. To now see these animals so acclimated to human presence really tells the story of how ladakh has changed in the last 15 years that I have not been there.
You must share with us your experiences in Ladakh so long ago, it must have been absolutely a unspoilt place then. Any photos too will be wonderful.
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Old 9th April 2012, 17:11   #2141
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Sach PASS ..... PASS
Congrats for the awesome achievement by the Swifts' Team!
.
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Old 9th April 2012, 18:04   #2142
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

This was becoming scarier with the Dark mountain staring at us in the eye and challenging us to the stake of our lives. It was very very dark, i do not remember going to an even darker place ever.

It does get scary when you are on arguably the countrys worst drivable patch, in Dark, with no other creature around, on a empty stomach, in a SWIFT.

Pushing the cars while getting wet in the ice cold drizzle all over us. Crossing the water had really taken a toll on each one of our energy levels drastically. I was not feeling very well. Hunger started ruling my mind.
Desperate to see any kind of civilisation, we reached the Bagotu check post. I wanted to ensure that i do not skip any information we get from the officers there. I got out of the car and ran to the small tent where we had to register our details. KSM was with me and this time i wanted to be around him to ensure that i get all the information direct from the officers.

They were shockingly surprised to see us there at the time. Also, helpful in sharing some important information about what we can expect ahead us.

Tired as hell, but couldn’t stop myself from getting out of the car to take a good look at the small Glacier almost touching the road. After watching the brilliant pictures from Lalu, feel sorry that we couldn’t see the particular Glacier in day light.

It had been another treacherous 1 hour plus driving in slippery conditions. I was not only tired and hungry but slowly started losing my conscious. There was no way i can go to sleep here, not leaving Ankit behind the wheel with no company. Around the same time we had been on a relatively better flat stretch for a few minutes and decide to stop. Time for some rest for the Car and the Occupants.


KSM gauged my condition and got a hint that i was not doing well at all and needed energy desperately. He remembered of the Tang i had told him i carried along with Parle G’s and got each one of us to have Tang powder and biscuits. Thanks to KSM for that initiative as i did help energize the situation a bit and it did make a difference.


However the best part was that the car became a little free after this short break. Not just because it got the time to cool down, but because it wasn’t as stressed as before as the climb seemed to be gone behind us and we were running pretty flat.


We have passed Sach. Have we?

Last edited by doctorque : 9th April 2012 at 18:06.
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Old 9th April 2012, 18:10   #2143
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ohhh yeah sach pass the day we all four were suppose to say bye to the beautiful mountains landscape rivers n valleys but from the whole trip of 17000km we did not know that this sach pass was gonna put to the extreme off road track on front wheel drive which we had to make either then going behind.......some where i didnt care abt my car but my n KP life which we had along chat of each others life from childhood to how many girlfriends we both had but this was the only way to keep KP busy while me n YP where busy burning d clutch of our cars to climb up d sach pass
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Old 10th April 2012, 13:13   #2144
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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You must share with us your experiences in Ladakh so long ago, it must have been absolutely a unspoilt place then. Any photos too will be wonderful.

sure. THe photos will have to wait since they're all at my dad's place in chandigarh and have not been scanned. Sorry, it was a good old Canon A1 SLR back then. That was the year when Kodak introduced its first digital camera, a 1.3megapixel sucker that was priced at $22,000 (in 2012 inflation adjusted dollars)!

It was also a time when the kashmir insurgency had hit full swing and large parts of the valley were complete no go zones, srinagar was under perpetual curfew and you saw not a soul on the roads of srinagar apart from concrete and sandbag fortified bunkers of the army blocking intersections, and the occasional civil administration ambassador scurrying by hurriedly. At this time, the militants ruled the valley and India was definitely on the back foot. TO see srinagar and the valley in this state was horrifying to me. I had grown up in srinagar and I felt like war had overrun my home. All that was charming and eclectic about kashmir had disappeared (and is now understood to have been lost forever). I mention all this both as a background of the times and to put the manali route in context.

Up to this point, the manali route had existed but was legendary in its difficulty and nearly completely unused. The Indian economy had not yet liberalized, India was desperately poor, there was no money for road infrastructure and even delhi chandigarh road was not a divided multilane highway at that point. The journey to srinagar from jammu was a hazardous one. The jawahar tunnel was like entering pataal. There were no lights inside at all, the tunnel had not been successfully sealed so huge quantities of water from the mountain would pour into the tunnel, except it was like a rain of thin mud (it wasn't clear). The road surface was non existant because of all the water, so the experience of going into the tunnel was some really incredible and scary because you could not see the road surface, you could not see the other end, you could not see the walls or anything else while your car pounded over the broken surface, the wipers going furiously trying to wipe away the mud from the windscreen, as the sounds of the mud splashing under the car, pouring on the car competed with the echoing roaring of the trucks making their way through. About all you could see was the tail lights and bumper of the vehicle directly ahead of you. It was a breathtaking experience and virtually everybody would have their heart racing as you entered this hell with worries about how quickly carbon monoxide poisoning would take you if a truck stalled in the tunnel. Seeing the tiny light at the other end would always bring a thrill and to break through out into the open again was exhilarating relief! And I would always love going through the tunnel. But the older folks would love the tunnel because the alternative they remembered and were happy to avoid by taking the tunnel because they remembered driving over the banihal pass before the tunnel was complete, and they remembered what a treacherous expedition that was.

Anyway, in these times, just keeping the zojila route to leh was an enormous challenge for the BRO and nobody had the will or the stamina or the need to struggle against the Manali route. THe army would make some cursory efforts to make sure that the route did not completely disappear, but it was such a fearsome expedition in those days that truckers going to leh prefered to risk the militancy in the valley than go via manali. Only the most intrepid and those prepared to deal with becoming stranded for weeks at high altitudes with no hope of rescue would venture there, and even then they would do it only during the most climatically benign times of the year. About the only reason that anybody heard of Rohtang was school boys making trekking trips there. Nobody every went past rohtang except locals who lives in the lahaul valley.

It was such a treacherous route that the author of one of the best books written for lay people on Ladakh in the 1980s wasn't able to go that way and eventually the book only repeated a description of that route what others had previously written. Thats not to say that nobody went that way. THey did. at the best times of the year, properly equipped vehicles could make it through. THe first Desert Himalayan Rally Raid went through to ladakh that way, and out the zoji la way. But in all that time, this was the only use of that route I heard of.

With the militancy troubles, the army realized it needed another route into Ladakh and serious efforts got underway to make the manali route usable. But even then progress was so trechorously slow that Pakistanís plan in the kargil war involved cutting off ladakh by attacking at the dras sector. Thatís when they got really serious about making the route usable.

I am sorry I never got to travel this route ever, and really especially sorry that I didnít get to travel it when it was that wild. But not too sorry because in those days, the Zojila route was wild enough to make memories for a life time.

and that I will get to in my next post because this had gotten long enough and I need to attend to lunch
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Old 10th April 2012, 17:06   #2145
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Sach PASS

OR

Sach FAIL

?????


So the rejuvenation session was over in 10 minutes and we ready to get back into action. We had approx 30 kms of down-climb to be done before we could actually complete the Sach pass crossing and reach the foothills on the other side.

The rain dint stop and the fog increased drastically. Finding the road was becoming increasingly difficult and the constant hairpin bends with steep declines made the situation very critical and demanding.

The wet conditions resulted in the cars sliding on hard braking and the lack of visibility increased the probability and frequency of sudden brakes. There was a point when i was pointing out the searchlight from the window to look for the road and any obstructions around corners.

The situation became even worst and we couldn't see a thing, on one occasion KP and myself got off the cars and we were actually looking for the road with our searchlights while YP & AP were following us slowly on getting a clearance.

One hour passed and we had descended almost 3000ft...thats almost like a 5 story building every minute in such extreme conditions. We reach a spot where there was a barrier blocking the road and there was a gunman standing next to it. His partner comes to us asking us to stop and shutdown the cars, we had reached the Satrundi CP and these were the Jawans posted there.


Here is a pic that Lalu had clicked at about 1830, obviously it was pitch dark when we saw the barrier.
Name:  CP1845.jpg
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It was 2220 hours and the Jawans were shocked to see us coming their way at that hour. They got very suspicious looking at 4 guys in 2 similar looking cars types of which are never seen in that locality and demanded for each ones original photo id and also checked both the cars and all the bags thoroughly. They wrote down all our details and warned us about the road ahead as it was going to be very slushy and steep with a lot of water flowing around.

They also told us the story about a Sumo driver who missed a corner and went straight into the valley. He was very lucky they said because the Sumo got stopped by a huge tree that the car had rammed into on its way down. He then points his torch at a white car in the valley and says that the guy just walked up from there. Phew, that was the last thing we wanted to see.

We signed the register at 2230 hours and noticed that there was just one entry between ours and the SUV teams who had crossed the CP at 1840 hours, that is about 4 hours before us.

We move forward, the visibility improves but the water logging and crossings increase drastically making it very slushy. The rocky patches were over now we had a lot of Slush to negotiate for the next 15kms approx.

As we were moving ahead, KP - doctorque did something that was a not know to any of us....


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