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Old 18th October 2011, 22:33   #541
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

A few words about the videos uploaded by KSM-Vtec above:

Video #1: The Swift is being towed across a water crossing between Batal & Chota Dara in the Lahaul Valley. The current was strong, there were some deep pits between the boulders which could trap the small tyres, so we decided not to take any chances and after the HVK Scorpio and JC Bolero crossed, the small cars were towed across safely.

Video #2: A Sumo taxi which came on the scene while we were crossing put on some bravado and got stuck badly and lurched to one side, he was lucky that he could pull himself out.

Video #3: Some foreign mobiker expedition arrived there, and they half-pushed them across. One of the mobikers also fell. THis video also has the Alto being brought into position just before it was hooked and towed across. The car had to be positioned such that when puled it would not tear its underbody in some nasty boulders underneath the water.

Video #4: View of the Swift crossing, another water crossing further down the road

Video #5: View from the Swift cabin of the climb up to Baralacha la (on Aug 21), with Suraj Tal to the right side.
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Old 18th October 2011, 22:53   #542
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I was madly clinging on to the tow rope and praying all the time I had to cross the raging stream to hand over the tow hook to each car. The current were so strong that I had to maneuver carefully releasing the to rope bit by bit so that I can cross. I would have crossed the stream at least 6 times going back and forth!!

By the time we towed all the three cars, tears were in my eyes of joy, and the pains from a frozen feet. Thanks to HVK who immediately gave a warm towel to be kept on my feet. Even before my feet could get warm, I had to jump out for spotting the boulders.

We were determined to do the trip at any costs. In hindsight, what a day it was.
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Old 18th October 2011, 23:03   #543
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Originally Posted by laluks View Post
I was madly clinging on to the tow rope and praying all the time I had to cross the raging stream to hand over the tow hook to each car. The current were so strong that I had to maneuver carefully releasing the to rope bit by bit so that I can cross. I would have crossed the stream at least 6 times going back and forth!!

By the time we towed all the three cars, tears were in my eyes of joy, and the pains from a frozen feet. Thanks to HVK who immediately gave a warm towel to be kept on my feet. Even before my feet could get warm, I had to jump out for spotting the boulders.

We were determined to do the trip at any costs. In hindsight, what a day it was.
The pictures do not express the fear and anxiety that we all had in this and many other sectors this day. Remember, this road had been closed by land slides for almost 7 days till this morning we were travelling and we were the first new cars to take it. As you can see, Lalu is in charge of the tow rope, it was a steep slope for the Bolero which was slipping down and not able to get full power to pull out the Swift. You can see me shouting frantically as I worry about the current pushing the Swift downstream or the tow rope itself breaking - even as NJ struggled to rev the Bolero up and tug the small car out.

Great work, team!
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Old 18th October 2011, 23:55   #544
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

One tip that must have come through from the above photos and videos is the importance of having good tow hooks in your car - both front and back - (something which we may neglect inspecting when we set off on such drives) and also towing accessories like tow rope, D-shackles and so on. We had both nylon as well as steel wire rope tow ropes with us.
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Old 19th October 2011, 00:03   #545
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Day 4: Amritsar To Srinagar. 20th August 2011 continued..

During the morning I get a call from an unknown no.on my cell;
Me: "Hello, who's this"
The caller: "Hi, is this Gautam"
Me: "Yeah Gautam speaking"
The caller: " Hi Gautam, this is JeepCaptain"
Me: "Hey Hi JC, how are you"
JC: "I'm fine"
Me: "So JC where you calling from and where has the team reached?"
JC: "You know what, they must be on their way to Leh by now, I am not with them!"
Me: "What do you mean, you are not with the IPHE Team?"
JC: " I'm in Cochin right now, had to come for some work!"
Me: "Sorry can you repeat that, I thought I heard Cochin as in Cochin, Kerala"
JC: "You heard right, Cochin, Kerala. I had to come back for some work! Its a long story, will tell you when we meet."
Me: "Huh, meet? Buddy you are in Cochin, I'm on my way to Srinagar, that is practically the full length of the country. Meeting you is like many many kilometres away!"
JC: "Yeah yeah, I know! Have a small favour to ask you. Can you pick me up tomorrow from Srinagar?"
Me: "Hey JC, I think my hearing has gone for a toss, I thought I heard, Srinagar and tomorrow."
JC: "Yeah I'm catching a flight to Delhi this afternoon at 3.00 pm, will be there by evening. Another flight tomorrow morning from Delhi and I will be in Srinagar by 2.00pm. So can you pick me up and give me ride till I get back into my car, wherever we meet it!"
Me: "Of course I can pick you up, what a silly question to ask. I'll see you at Srinagar tomorrow and we will take it from there."

The call ended and what was left in my mind was a whole lot of questions, with no one to answer them. So I would have to wait till the next day to get answers from JC himself. Tried calling the IPHE team, but couldn't get through on any of their mobiles!
So here we were, on our way to Srinagar, and tomorrow we were going to have one more addition in the Bolero!

A stop and a few photos:
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_2217.jpg
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_2222.jpg
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc06723.jpg

We crossed Banihal Pass at around 3:45pm. We were stopped before the Jawahar Tunnel for a security check by the J&K Police. And it was really a very thorough check! All our baggage was put through an X-Ray Machine. Our car was thoroughly checked by the cops, with questions regarding the tools and the spares and the empty 50lt. can we were carrying. On explaining that we were on our way to Ladakh, he sort of understood and let us pass!
Reached TITANIC VIEW POINT at around 4:30pm.

First View of Kashmir Valley from Titanic View Point!
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-titanicviewpoint.jpg
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_2239.jpg
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_1080.jpg

SSj & BolBolero
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_2270.jpg

BolBolero
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_2274.jpg

AR & SSj
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_2277.jpg

Kashmir Valley
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_2290.jpg
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_2291.jpg

After spending nearly half an hour, we left Titanic View Point and the next place we stopped was Qazikund. SSj and AR did some dry fruit shopping at the market, while I went and picked up a crate of Kashmiri Apples and some Pears. We really spent quite some time here, without realising it. We finally left Qazikund at nearly 6:30 pm.

Fields and the setting Sun on the way to Srinagar.
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_1089.jpg

Finally reached Srinagar at around 8:00 pm and checked into Hotel Dawar Heevon on Boulevard Road facing the Dal Lake! After freshening up decided to go out and have Wazwaan. Were recommended Mughal Darbar at Lal Chowk by the manager at the hotel and it sure didn't disappoint! Absolutely delicious food! Highly recommended!

Back to Boulevard road and then a leisurely stroll down the lakeside, post which we hit the beds in our room!

Distance covered: 474 kms.

to be continued...
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Old 19th October 2011, 00:31   #546
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BolBolero View Post
Day 4: Amritsar To Srinagar. 20th August 2011 continued..
Me: "Huh, meet? Buddy you are in Cochin, I'm on my way to Srinagar, that is practically the full length of the country. Meeting you is like many many kilometres away!"
JC: "Yeah yeah, I know! Have a small favour to ask you. Can you pick me up tomorrow from Srinagar?"

So here we were, on our way to Srinagar, and tomorrow we were going to have one more addition in the Bolero!
For those who have forgotten, you may recall that Jeep Captain had some urgent summons from Kerala and he had to rush helter-skelter from Kaza, taking taxis, buses and aircraft all the way back some 3500 kms to Kochi in Kerala! And now he was planning to come all the way back to rejoin the team just 3 days after he left us.

Unknowingly to BolBolero, we had hatched a conspiracy behind his back - JC had the choice of either flying direct to Leh or enjoying the drive from the Kashmir Valley to Ladakh. So we put some numbers together, JC looked at flight schedules and it was decided that he would swoop down upon the hapless BolBolero Bolero in Srinagar and hitch a ride with them till Kargil, where JC's own Bolero (which was with us, the Kaza team) was scheduled to meet on Aug 22! JC had one more choice, to join the Safari of RB which had already left Pune and was retracing the same route that BolBOlero had taken 2 days before.

That is how BolBolero got this mystifying call from JC..............
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Old 19th October 2011, 08:49   #547
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Unknowingly to BolBolero, we had hatched a conspiracy behind his back - JC had the choice of either flying direct to Leh or enjoying the drive from the Kashmir Valley to Ladakh. So we put some numbers together, JC looked at flight schedules and it was decided that he would swoop down upon the hapless BolBolero Bolero in Srinagar and hitch a ride with them till Kargil, where JC's own Bolero (which was with us, the Kaza team) was scheduled to meet on Aug 22! JC had one more choice, to join the Safari of RB which had already left Pune and was retracing the same route that BolBOlero had taken 2 days before.
That is how BolBolero got this mystifying call from JC..............
Oh, so it was a conspiracy that you guys had planned. And what a surprise it turned out to be!
SSj and AR were thoroughly perplexed and wondering what sort of a person would undertake a journey of this sort, just for a drive! But then again they did not know, the stuff that JeepCaptain was made up of!
The plan was to pick up JC at Srinagar, move on to Sonamarg and then he would transfer into RB's Safari, which would hopefully be reaching Sonamarg tomorrow evening! From thereon the Safari and Bolero would travel to Kargil in convoy!

GPS Track

Day 4: Amritsar to Srinagar

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-4-amritsar-srinagar.jpg


4 Amritsar to Srinagar.kmz
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Old 19th October 2011, 09:30   #548
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GPS Profile for Aug 20, Kaza-Jispa, 236 kms
Recorded by no_enthu_da in his Android phone
Attached Thumbnails
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-2011-08-20-0515__kaza-jispa_map.jpg  

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-2011-08-20-0515__kaza-jispa_altitude.png  


Last edited by hvkumar : 19th October 2011 at 09:31.
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Old 19th October 2011, 12:08   #549
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Wow, that video of the swift crossing the river was scary, the way the water was hitting the driver door i guess some would have seeped in. At one point in the video i thought the bolero would slip back into the water, i guess this is where 4x4 option is very handy.
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Old 19th October 2011, 12:27   #550
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As others have comlemented multiple times, I'd agree this is "the" travelogue of Leh Ladakh.

HVKs name I have read quite a few times on other logues on this forum but reading one from him for the first time.

Laluks, if I am not wrong, is the one who wrote one fantastic logue of Ooty with awesome photographs. I think the camera was Nikon D90.

I think IPHE was one of kind expedition with so many cars and the coordination.

I have done reading for whole of last week and this is my first post so pardon me for asking some questions which relate to earliest leg of your travelogue.

I read that HVKs scorpio did 450 kms Udaipur - Behroor journey in 5 hrs. whereas the Swifts have taken 8 hrs for the same. Is the scorpio that fast?

Also a general question. Did you guys rotated drivers or most of the time it is one person driving? Because I think in the first 48 hrs. HVKs scorpio took 3 hrs rest only.
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Old 19th October 2011, 13:30   #551
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shipnil View Post

I read that HVKs scorpio did 450 kms Udaipur - Behroor journey in 5 hrs. whereas the Swifts have taken 8 hrs for the same. Is the scorpio that fast?
No, it was 585 kms in 8 hours by HVK Scorpio, from Udaipur to Behror.

Quote:
Also a general question. Did you guys rotated drivers or most of the time it is one person driving? Because I think in the first 48 hrs. HVKs scorpio took 3 hrs rest only.
In my case, I always am the solo driver, never rotate.
I think in the other cars, there was some rotation.
We did Bombay-Behror on Day 1, reaching at 11 pm, and leaving at 4 am (4 hours) and reaching Rampur at 12 midnight.
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Old 19th October 2011, 14:06   #552
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Laluks, if I am not wrong, is the one who wrote one fantastic logue of Ooty with awesome photographs. I think the camera was Nikon D90.

Yes Sir, you are right. Camera is D90 still.
I also have a few other logs - Infact only 17 of them
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Old 19th October 2011, 22:37   #553
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Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Wow, that video of the swift crossing the river was scary, the way the water was hitting the driver door i guess some would have seeped in
Luckily the water dint come in, all of us were surprised about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shipnil View Post

I read that HVKs scorpio did 450 kms Udaipur - Behroor journey in 5 hrs. whereas the Swifts have taken 8 hrs for the same. Is the scorpio that fast?

Also a general question. Did you guys rotated drivers or most of the time it is one person driving? Because I think in the first 48 hrs. HVKs scorpio took 3 hrs rest only.
We were stopped by the cops in this section and we also had a proper (dhaba) lunch in that section.

As far as the Swifts are concerned we were sharing the driving most of the time apart from some exception.
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Old 20th October 2011, 03:14   #554
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BolBolero View Post
Day 4: Amritsar To Srinagar. 20th August 2011 continued..

During the morning I get a call from an unknown no.on my cell;
Me: "Hello, who's this"
The caller: "Hi, is this Gautam"
Me: "Yeah Gautam speaking"
The caller: " Hi Gautam, this is JeepCaptain"
Me: "Hey Hi JC, how are you"
JC: "I'm fine"
Me: "So JC where you calling from and where has the team reached?"
JC: "You know what, they must be on their way to Leh by now, I am not with them!"
Me: "What do you mean, you are not with the IPHE Team?"
JC: " I'm in Cochin right now, had to come for some work!"
Me: "Sorry can you repeat that, I thought I heard Cochin as in Cochin, Kerala"
JC: "You heard right, Cochin, Kerala. I had to come back for some work! Its a long story, will tell you when we meet."
Me: "Huh, meet? Buddy you are in Cochin, I'm on my way to Srinagar, that is practically the full length of the country. Meeting you is like many many kilometres away!"
JC: "Yeah yeah, I know! Have a small favour to ask you. Can you pick me up tomorrow from Srinagar?"
Me: "Hey JC, I think my hearing has gone for a toss, I thought I heard, Srinagar and tomorrow."
JC: "Yeah I'm catching a flight to Delhi this afternoon at 3.00 pm, will be there by evening. Another flight tomorrow morning from Delhi and I will be in Srinagar by 2.00pm. So can you pick me up and give me ride till I get back into my car, wherever we meet it!"
Me: "Of course I can pick you up, what a silly question to ask. I'll see you at Srinagar tomorrow and we will take it from there."

The call ended and what was left in my mind was a whole lot of questions, with no one to answer them. So I would have to wait till the next day to get answers from JC himself. Tried calling the IPHE team, but couldn't get through on any of their mobiles!
So here we were, on our way to Srinagar, and tomorrow we were going to have one more addition in the Bolero!
..
Dear Gautam, I am still grinning thinking about our phone conversation that day asking you to pick me up. Thanks a lot for waiting for me in Srinagar and giving me a ride till Kargil! It was another crazy cross country run or adventure by me. Now when I think about it, I still cant believe how I managed it. I guess there was a lot of luck factor, Gods grace and help from friends like you. We, The IPHE team rocks!!
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Old 20th October 2011, 05:43   #555
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HVK Scorpio
So much for co-ordination by various agencies working on roads in these parts. For example, Losar PWD folks know only about road till Kunzum la, and only the Chota Dara or Chhatru PWD guys knew about the condition ahead.
It is hard there to get information. We had done this route in July and had to shack up at the Chhota Dhara Rest House. They had no electricity, no telephone connection etc. We were allowed in only on the condition that we'd have to vacate if any of the PWD officials stopped by, which they could not confirm because, well, they don't have any phones or any other modes of communication.

The place where the Alto broke down is way too familiar to me. We crossed that area at around 6 PM and went down a bit further to the water crossing, figured it was way too deep and had at least another 5 more to go before Gramphoo, so turned around and went back to the Chhota Dhara Rest House.

There is a nasty rock on that section, we could not avoid it in the dark and had to take a hit on it both times on the same day. In the morning, with better visibility, we managed to avoid it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
I have crossed some of the toughest and worst road in my SX4, but Chotta Dara is just too much. It can wreck some of the tough hearts and minds.
We did this in a SX4 and a Swift. And to make matters worse, the Swift was low on fuel since we could not tank up at Kaza. At the water crossings I would wade across the water most times feeling for depth and quite often we'd fill some of the nastier gashes with rock. Sometimes it lost us a lot of time at each of the bad crossings, but it kept us safe. I'll do that route again, but not in a Swift.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Yes, I think so. Al roads leading to border or along the border are maintained by BRO.
Spiti Valley west of Tabo is not near the border.
Similarly, the Suru-Zanskar Valley Kargil-Padum road is also maintained by the PWD, since it is also not on the border.
From what I was told the Kaza - Gramphoo stretch is being handed over to the BRO, but I have not been able to confirm it from anyone else.
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