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Old 13th November 2011, 10:49   #976
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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
I have personally never bothered about what car you go to in Ladakh. I have myself taken a Matiz there twice - that too when roads were far worse than they are today - and lot of our friends like rkbharat and Bharat Patel have taken sedans & smaller cars too.
This is absolutely true. Have been to Ladakh twice, once to Spiti and countless times otherwise in HP in my Swift. There is even the famous tale on another forum of a bunch of guys from Bombay doing Delhi-Leh in a rented Ford iKon few years ago right when the passes opened - with zero equipment or any other preparation. It is not that you can't drive to these places in a smaller car, but it is also not the case that being in a SUV/4WD is a guarantee that you can drive to these places.

A lot of it also depends on temperament, luck and skill.

This year has been largely a 'leave-your-bumper-behind' theme on Rohtang for sedans and small cars. If breaking your axle or bumper is acceptable risk for you, you can do it in any vehicle. And how you measure that risk is purely subjective. It varies from person to person. Make an honest decision based on that rather than what someone else has done.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0213-copy.jpg

The picture is somewhere between Kazaa and Gramphoo this year. If you gun a small car through that patch only luck will see you through to the end of the journey. Best way to survive any time is to adapt well to the situation, be aware of things and know how to apply your tools (vehicle, in this case) well.

In any case, this is the best and the most detailed coverage of both Spiti and Zanskar I have ever seen. Let us not spoil it with the comments about other things.

Last edited by codelust : 13th November 2011 at 10:51. Reason: edited for clarity.
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Old 13th November 2011, 11:11   #977
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[FONT=&quot]The rude confrontation by Indian soldiers in Ladakh:

I think there is much more than what we think of it, the addressing of 'You Indians' !!!
Seems he try to convey that he and they 'ARE NOT INDIAN/S'.

We 'Indians' may not down play it as a rare incident... the writings on the wall says it is not.

Many reports read earlier and the one in today's Indian Express 'Sunday Magazine' suggest us to the logical assessment that the DRAGON is breathing on our shoulders through it's mischievous tricks, as part of it's long term plan of surrounding India from all sides.
Once 'India-loving' people and regimes of those areas now mostly 'Dragon-loving' being pets of Dragon.
Note how people in Arunachal, Assam, NEFA are calling us 'You Indians', as if they are part of some other country !
Let us hope our Govts are aware of this and put their acts together, it will be too late and costly to India, I think.

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Old 13th November 2011, 11:49   #978
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Dear Khoj,
I am really upset on your words to a suggestion of patriotism and national integration. And sorry if what I said as a general suggestion to create brotherhood among us, misunderstood by you.

If what I said is wrong, then the term ‘National integration’ too is wrong and garbage. Do you think Indians from South to North and East to West of this big country meeting and befriending is bad and do not contribute to the oneness of Bharat??

I hope you realize now that I didn’t mean anything sectarian or similar, but to the broad interests of OUR GREAT NATION, India, Bharat. If convinced of my sincere explanation, you may please withdraw your words, which otherwise mar the beauty of this travelogue and the hard efforts those fellow Indians put together in front of us in team spirit.

I still do not think it is wrong, sharing good and bad experiences of traveler’s in between at such a forum, which is basically made for same. If any word misunderstood, clearing by sound explanation is the prompt remedy.
On the other hand, if the Moderators too feel bad of my well meant suggestion, you are free to take any appropriate action.
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Old 13th November 2011, 14:09   #979
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by codelust View Post
This year has been largely a 'leave-your-bumper-behind' theme on Rohtang for sedans and small cars. If breaking your axle or bumper is acceptable risk for you, you can do it in any vehicle. And how you measure that risk is purely subjective. It varies from person to person. Make an honest decision based on that rather than what someone else has done.
Well said, codelust.

It is indeed possible to drive in Ladakh in a small car, but be prepared for lots of damage - and not just cosmetically. Both the times I have taken my Matiz - in 2003 and 2004 - the roads were so bad that the car's suspension, exhaust piping, wheel bearings, etc, took big beatings and I had to spent extensively on repairs. However, you must also bear in mind that (a) the small car was already very old at that time, having crossed over 2 lakhs kms, and that added to the breakages, etc, and (b) I have had similar problems with my Scorpio too!

The true motoring enthusiast will not think twice about driving in his own car regardless of the consequences. Road conditions are such that any car can run into problems and you have to pray that you have a better time.
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Old 13th November 2011, 15:09   #980
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Well said, codelust.

It is indeed possible to drive in Ladakh in a small car, but be prepared for lots of damage - and not just cosmetically.
The true motoring enthusiast will not think twice about driving in his own car regardless of the consequences. Road conditions are such that any car can run into problems and you have to pray that you have a better time.
Adding to it, a trip to such terrains is always safe to travel in a group(atleast two cars) and not alone, better not to go with a false hope that some of the taxis enroute will bail us out. I believe in prevention than in cure. Therefore, if anyone planning to scale such terrain, I believe they should carry some spares, tools(ropes, showels etc.) and be able to DIY, atleast the basic stuff. As I already said, by the end of this travelogue I am sure, most of us, if not all, will have earned a very indepth knowledge about the terrain, survival techniques and routes to follow according to the season.
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Old 13th November 2011, 15:24   #981
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Originally Posted by AlphaKilo View Post
Adding to it, a trip to such terrains is always safe to travel in a group(atleast two cars) and not alone, better not to go with a false hope that some of the taxis enroute will bail us out. I believe in prevention than in cure. Therefore, if anyone planning to scale such terrain, I believe they should carry some spares, tools(ropes, showels etc.) and be able to DIY, atleast the basic stuff. As I already said, by the end of this travelogue I am sure, most of us, if not all, will have earned a very indepth knowledge about the terrain, survival techniques and routes to follow according to the season.
Yes, travelling in a group is always a good thing. Taxi guys are in a hurry to earn big bucks during the peak season in Ladakh, they are unlikely to be of any help, can't blame them. The Army is the most helpful, but that is only in some sectors - e.g. in Kargil-Padum sector, there is no Army to help.

We were well-equipped, had lots of tools and we were self-sufficient. We were lucky to have a mix of team members with previous experience in Ladakh (me, Lalu, KSM-vTEC, Jeep Captain) and veteran OTRers.

Having said that, I think anyone with good driving skills and even temperament can tackle Ladakhi terrain. And above all, research your route and driving conditions extensively so that you manage all potential risks.
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Old 13th November 2011, 18:07   #982
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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


CHAPTER 6 – Mission Sankoo ends, What a Relief, the drive from Sankoo to Kargil


CHAPTER 5 – Will we have to build a Samadhi for the HVK Scorpio in the Suru Valley?


As we set off from Rangdum, BolBolero and his damaged Bolero were slower and trailing far behind as I and Jeep Captain matched pace till Panikkar.

Rain in Ladakh is perhaps as rare as snow fall in the Sahara Desert. The ominous rain clouds that we saw coming in from the East descended on us as we crossed Purkitchey and it pelted hail stones too for 10-15 minutes.

The lashing has been well captured in Jeep Captain’s Flip Video. For some time, we had almost zero visibility. The road was awash with water flowing down the mountain sides.


Video - Jeep Captain

When we drove through this, we were relieved that the cloudburst had happened after Panikkar town the Suru Valley and not in the tougher sections near Rangdum where the chances of roads getting closed down were high and the sections very tough to navigate. But how were we to know that the damage that the cloudburst created would sink us?

Here is a view from my car on the Car Camera – speeds were less than 30 kmph.



This is the first of the landslides that must have happened hardly 5-10 minutes before we came on the spot, and the video shows me running into the ground and getting stuck. We got stuck here, but luckily, I was able to back out before the tyres sank in. The cliff had collapsed, rocks strewn around on the left side, and the quicksand spilling over to the right side. Right side was a total sink-hole. Left side meant climbing onto rocks. Approach was a steep slope with mud where you can sink.



Lalu did a reccee – see how he slips on the mud - and we found the slush was bad enough to pull down the car. He had to adjust the boulders to firm up the ground in some places and thereafter, the Scorpio was able to find the firmer path and cross the section. I had no choice but to step back and gun it - but only at 20 kmph or so - to brutally fly over the boulders on the left side. On the other side, it was a free slide on the mud. Thank you, Lalu!

This one felt like the circus jeep jumping over the ramp!




HVK's Scorpios dredges through the slush in the ascent and batters through the boulders that have tumbled down the mountainside. On the other side, the Scorpio slithers down the slush but does not skid


Video: Jeep Captain


There were 2 more such crossings where the JC and I crossed successfully. BolBolero was lagging behind and JC stayed back to guide him, but he was a long time coming. We learnt later that he missed the Panikkar Bypass and took some time going through the village.


CHAPTER 4 – The cars are feeling the pinch

CHAPTER 3 – Sleeping Check Post Policemen, White Glaciers & Maggi Noodles again

CHAPTER 2 – Yawn – and this is Karsha Gompa?

CHAPTER 1 – Happy Birthday, Anku – what present do you want today?

DEDICATION – To all 2WDs who are driven like they are 4WDs

How wrong we were - that we had crossed the worst parts of the drive.....we were heading for some drama up ahead!

Last edited by hvkumar : 13th November 2011 at 18:13.
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Old 14th November 2011, 10:43   #983
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Log Book of HVK Scorpio, Aug 24, Padum-Kargil, 275 kms

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-log-book-d13.jpg
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Old 14th November 2011, 15:59   #984
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Day 8: Padum to Kargil 24th. August 2011

DEDICATION – To all 2WDs who are driven like they are 4WDs

We were leaving from Padum to return to Kargil today. Early start was warranted, considering the conditions of the roads or rather the lack of it! Things don't go exactly as planned, cos the breakfast organised by KSM-Vtec is a long drawn out affair. I guess it was the start of the celebrations for Anku's B'day! Presents would surely follow!

The Bolero still had problems with the drivers side window stuck at a weird angle & partially open and the drivers side door not opening! Not something to be very much concerned about, but more of an irritant!

After a sumptuous breakfast with lots of cups of tea, we left Padum at around 7:15 am. Our first stop was Karsha Village and Gompa.

Karsha Village from a Distance
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Vista from Karsha Village
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School Children @ Karsha Village
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We left Karsha at around 8:30 am and soon were on the road to Darang Drung Glacier. Much to my dismay the front wheels of the Bolero started making a lot of noise at every turn. Surely something major was amiss! But I didn't dare stop here and decided to continue, albeit with reduced speed!

Lake before Darang Drung Glacier
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Roads leading upto Darang Drung Glacier
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A different view of Darang Drung Glacier from the road!
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All the cars reached the Darang Drung Glacier at around 11:00 am. I had also managed to keep up a decent pace and reached the glacier a little later than the others.

Darang Drung Glacier
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Short break @ Darang Drung
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laluks doing what he does BEST
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The ever smiling JP @ Darang Drung
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Discovery Bolero
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HVK's Scorpio
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to be continued...
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Old 14th November 2011, 16:38   #985
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Day 8: Padum to Kargil 24th. August 2011

DEDICATION – To all 2WDs who are driven like they are 4WDs

After a short break of around 10 minutes all the cars headed off towards Pensi La and onwards to Rangdum. Having checked the problem in my Bolero, realised that the rubber bushings of the Balancing Rod and the Link Rod had all but disintegrated. Actually there were no bushings left at all!
HVK's Scorpio and the Discovery Bolero set quite a fast pace which I was not able to match. While driving towards Rangdum after crossing PensiLa, realised that the fuel needle was inching dangerously close to the "E" mark. Not wanting to take any chances decided to stop and refuel!

Refuelling Stop.
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Are these the NUN & KUN peaks??
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Local school children on a Picnic
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Must be the teacher!
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We reached Rangdum Gompa at around 1:00pm nearly 40 minutes after the Scorpio and the Discovery Bolero. Maybe that was the reason we did not have to experience the unpleasantness of the ITBP jawans! Lucky us!
Rangdum Gompa
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Views from Rangdum Gompa
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After spending a few minutes we headed off to the Rangdum Check post, where the rest of the team were already in the process of finishing their lunch! Another treat for Anku! Breakfast and lunch too! Wonder what else is in store for him!

Some views from Rangdum check post.
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After lunch, thoroughly checked the underside of the Bolero with help from the rest of the IPHE team members. The Bushings were completely gone. Tightened some nuts and hoped they would hold atleast till Kargil! Silently said a prayer too! Would have to drive pretty slowly here on. All the cars left the checkpost at around 2:25 pm.

Local children between Rangdum and Pannikar.
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Marmots
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Kashmiri children. Will give any of the present day Bollywood actresses a COMPLEX!
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to be continued....

Last edited by BolBolero : 14th November 2011 at 16:42.
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Old 14th November 2011, 19:12   #986
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Day 8: Padum to Kargil 24th. August 2011

DEDICATION – To all 2WDs who are driven like they are 4WDs

Unbeknownst to theBolBolero team, the HVK Scorpio and JeepCaptain's Discovery Bolero teams were speeding towards Kargil or were they???
We were driving as gingerly as possible, trying to avoid further damage to the balancing and link rods. Probably no_enthu_da and doctorque, were wondering what sort of luck got them into the BolBolero team! Not that they said anything aloud, but I'm sure the thought would have crossed their minds! Here they were in car, with people they had just met a day before, unlike the rest of the IPHE team, with whom they had spent a considerable amount of time and traversed some real bad roads. Anyway for better or for worse they had to grin and bear it!

We reached Pannikar at around 5:00 pm. and passing through we realised that we had taken a wrong road. Instead of bypassing Pannikar, we were actually passing through the village!

While driving through we could hear thunder and see showers/ rain in the distance.

Thundershowers in the distance
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Pannikar Village from the other side!
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The road in the distance, which we should have taken!
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In Pannikar village we were held up in a traffic jam, not of the four wheeled variety, but of the four legged variety! I'm pretty sure no_enthu_da has some snaps of that?

After many wrong turns and asking for directions from the locals (no network so HVK could not be contacted) we finally were on the right road to Sanku/ Kargil.

Taking a three point turn to head back to the right road! Notice the position of the drivers side glass!!
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Oops there goes the indicator light!
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Finally on the road to Sanku we encountered the thunder showers, but fortunately for us it wasn't as bad as the other cars experienced. Making good progress we were well on our way to Sanku, hoping to be there by around 6:30pm. only to be halted by the scene in front of us!!!!!

to be continued....
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Old 15th November 2011, 00:05   #987
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Padum to Kargil - 24th August 2011

What a sector!! i had no words to describe the Kargil Padum sector and now by the virtue of the route we were going to be fortunate enough to experience the same views today.

Few more destinations were planned and we decided to hit the road immediately after a modest breakfast.

Unfortunately it happens very often that in the excitement to click some nice pics and capture the memories forever i end up spending more time on photography than absorbing the nature within myself. This was going to be a great opportunity for me to click less and absorb more!!

During this entire trip i was very fortunate that doctorque (Kunal) & Yogen (Yogen) were more than willing to use my camera and click some great pics, this gave me more time to just keep admiring nature.

Some pics from my side....

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But what an end to the day.....


Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 15th November 2011 at 00:18.
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Old 15th November 2011, 00:24   #988
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Well, in case you had not guessed, this is the main road in Padum town.

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Old 15th November 2011, 11:22   #989
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The picture also shows the area in which we stayed (IBEX & Marq Guest House) and also the place we had our dinner and breakfast (@ a dining room exactly behind the MARQ signboard)

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Well, in case you had not guessed, this is the main road in Padum town.


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Old 15th November 2011, 14:36   #990
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

So after i roughed up Yogen like everytime, we started the journey again. As HVK mentioned that the Bol Bolero team incl. myself as well were lost as we missed a bypass and enterred a village. It was a result of the same bollywood actress beating 2 girls failing to understand what direction we were trying to ask. And i could see most in the car not being too bothered about the direction as they expected to come across even more bollywood beating faces through the villages. We decided to come up with the best possible jokes from our cell phones to kill the extra time we were to pass because of a missed Bypass.
To be continued.
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