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Old 17th November 2011, 11:00   #1006
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
One interesting thing abut the trip is - we had 29 in the team overall, none of them brought their families!
The eldest was 81, youngest 23.
There were 3 of the team who flew in from Dubai & Warsaw.
Of the entire team, only 5 of them had been to Ladakh before, of whom 1 had been there way back in 1976!
2 of the team were cousins, and 2 were school chums from LKG onwards.
We had 3 retired people, and we had only 3 people working in the IT industry!
Maximum number of people were from Bombay (8), Bangalore (3), Dubai (2), Ahmedabd (2), NCR (2), Kozhikode (2), Hyderabad (1), Vizag (1), Dehra Dun (1), Chandigarh (1), Warsaw (1), Madurai (1), Trissur (1), Tiruvalla (1) and Pune (2) who ultimately did not join us.
I work for a bank and luckily like many other organisations we also have the mandatory 2 continuous week holiday (once a year) policy.

In addition to the above there were 4 bank holidays in this period which is what helped me in getting a 3 week holiday by just adding 1 more day of leave to the mandatory holiday period. Resulting in a 23 day holiday by using just 11 days of leave. And all of us know that the 23 days could not have been spent in a more fruitful manner.
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Old 17th November 2011, 11:25   #1007
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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


"road was quicksand"
- HVK (hvkumar)
This is what I meant - you can see the slope where I came down, and also the tyre tracks dredging through slush, but if you check out the left hand corner, you will see the tyres completely bogged down inside the mud where it appears to be deep and quick-sandy. The tyres were simply pulled in that side and sank!

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Quote:
Tricky situation"
- Jeep Captain (Shibu)
This coming from a veteran of many OTRs! You can see him trying to tow out the Scorpio with his Bolero!

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Quote:
"tense moment getting stuck in mud all the way above the knee, and still sinking down"
- Lalu KS
His feet simply sank in, with the mud going above his knee, and he had to be pulled out! You can see him holding on to the footboard. The team members on the left side are standing on a rock which they reached from the back of the car, since the front side was sinking ground!

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Quote:
"Will your Scorpio become a national monument?"
- gsferrari (Guru)
Well, it almost did! I was debating whether to return to the spot next day and start digging the car out of the ground once the mud dried and it is easier to uproot the car!
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Quote:
waiting for the video"
- Akhil
Lots of videos coming!

Quote:
Tata needed to get M&M out of this mess"
- mjothi (Mahesh)[/center]
Couldn't be truer! Here is why! Check out the red guy behind the Scorpio!
Attached Images
 

Last edited by hvkumar : 17th November 2011 at 11:27.
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Old 17th November 2011, 11:30   #1008
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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
I work for a bank and luckily like many other organisations we also have the mandatory 2 continuous week holiday (once a year) policy.

In addition to the above there were 4 bank holidays in this period which is what helped me in getting a 3 week holiday by just adding 1 more day of leave to the mandatory holiday period. Resulting in a 23 day holiday by using just 11 days of leave. And all of us know that the 23 days could not have been spent in a more fruitful manner.
One answer for all those who "dream" and do not get going - everyone in the team (except 3 of the 4 senior citizens) works for a job or in his own business, so taking off so many days is never easy, it is a major "career" decision - something we had to fight our bosses, clients and even families! The difference is in doing it despite many difficulties!!
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Old 17th November 2011, 14:34   #1009
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

We used to get 14 days off maximum at one go and i had not really taken any leaves for years @ Porsche. So getting a 24 days leave approved from the company was a cake walk (thanks to my record).
Finally i resigned on 10th August to be on the holiday from 12th and used 24 of the 30 days notice period holidaying. No client calls, no emails, no pressure, only bliss.
Worked out just right. Thank you God.
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Old 17th November 2011, 22:02   #1010
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Hey gentlemen of the Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition-

Went through this thread - what a thread, what a journey, what a story. Guys, you are simply the best. Hats off to you for an epic journey - this is indeed the stuff that dreams are made of.

Special kudos to the Alto-Swift brigade.. you have some gumption guys - for pulling this off

And that is by no means to say that the others are any lesser - an expedition of this kind deserves the highest accolades.

Wish I could do something close to this, at some point in my life !!

Keep it up, keep adding to this thread - I'm hooked and addicted, Cheers !!
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Old 17th November 2011, 22:59   #1011
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
everyone in the team (except 3 of the 4 senior citizens) works for a job or in his own business
sir, add baby-alto to the exception list!!

EDIT : i got bored of my job with a "leading" financial services company and quit just a month before trip

Last edited by no_enthu_da : 17th November 2011 at 23:03.
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Old 18th November 2011, 09:12   #1012
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Default HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 8: Padum to Kargil 24th. August 2011

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


"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!!!!!"

continued

We finally reach the road to Sanku and there standing in front of us is JeepCaptain and KSM-Vtec frantically waving their hands asking us to stop. Behind them I can see that there has been a landslide due to the sudden thundershowers and the road is now covered with stones and thick slush. A quick discussion with JC & KSM and I realise and see that there have been three landslides and not one.
After taking in the situation with inputs from JC & KSM, I request JeepCaptain to drive the Bolero through the first obstacle, which he does with his usual panache!
Thank you JeepCaptain!


Video: JeepCaptain


Emboldened by the ease with which the Bolero crossed the obstacle, I decide to drive through the second obstacle.


Video: JeepCaptain


On clearing the second obstacle we come across the last of the landslides, which is mainly a lot of slush and mud! Beyond the landslide is HVK's Scorpio stuck very badly in slush on the right hand side of the road. We cross the third landslide without much ado and park at the side of the road to begin the recovery of HVK's Scorpio.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-img_3490.jpg


Over to you HVK Sir...

to be continued....
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Old 18th November 2011, 10:32   #1013
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Bring it on HV , lets see the videos of what happened next. So even M&M could not pull the scorpio out of the mud slide.
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Old 18th November 2011, 10:45   #1014
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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


EPILOGUE

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?


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The 3rd crossing was ahead of me.

I found a few vehicles lined up on the other side and I was the first on this side – and the first car to do it after the cloudburst. There was a small slope on my side (full of slush), then a heap of stones/boulders, and then a steep slope downwards, again with slush. The cliff on the right side, the steep valley on the left.

The vehicles lined up on the other side - and the smaller vehicles were turning back - were not sure of being able to climb up the slippery slope and then clamber over the stones heaped in the summit. After my reccee (with the passengers/ drivers in the other vehicles removing and adjusting the boulders), I saw that it was an easy crossing, decided to go for it and successfully crossed the landslide point (to big cheering from the crowd!). At that time, our Boleros were still behind.

On crossing the big slush, I slithered down lots of slush down the slope.
There was a truck standing right in the middle of the road.
My tyres were locked in a mild skid and although I had taken the crossing at slow speed, I was still too fast to risk braking there since I could have skid to the wrong side.
I had the fear that I would go and hit the truck.
The ground to the left was firm, but I had very little space to the left side and had no margin for over-steer or error - I would go down into the valley.
The ground to the right looked quite slushy, but as you can see from my tyre tracks (please remember that there are many tyre tracks in the photos which happened AFTER my car got bogged down, and other vehicles started going up and down!), the ground was definitely motorable.
I knew I had to avoid going too much to the right which we had already seen in the first obstacle as being too soft.
I had to turn the steering a little to the right and made it through the soft slush initially, but then the tyres got sucked into the extreme right (not on my doing), sank down at the deepest part.
It will not be correct to say that I had any control of the car at that moment, the wheels were slipping and it would not have been possible to apply the brakes or turn - had I, I would have scraped the truck.
....and there I was firmly stuck in the quicksand and the car simply dipped down in a few seconds - unlike many such situations, the rotating wheels did not drill down, the vehicle went down even before the tyres could do any damage!

The experienced Off-The-Roader Jeep Captain says,
"Even a 4x4 wouldn't have helped in this situation. Not because it was extreme. But was tricky situation"

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You can see from the tyre tracks before the sink-hole that the ground is firm but suddenly dips in - the tracks you see are those of other vehicles which crossed AFTER I made it across. In the background, you can see a M&M pick up stuck in the stones/slush which I had just crossed - check out the trail which I took.

Yes, quicksand it was - when Lalu KS tried walking in it, he sank down to ABOVE his knees - and he had to pulled out.

Lalu says,
"After getting stuck in mud all the way above the knee, and still sinking down was a tense moment. Thanks to Nobin who braved himself to pull me out."

We were stuck there! Quite a lot of activity around as the other vehicles also attempted to get across, including the truck. Some of the samller cars started turning back. From the direction I came, some vehicles also crossed, including both the Boleros, who were lucky that they could stick to the middle/ left side (truck had moved by then). It was a long waiting time for them to come join me before we could mount a rescue operation to get the Scorpio out.

This is what it looked like – the JC Bolero crossing it after I did.



The Bolero had a safe landing because it was able to keep to the left side of the road where the ground was firm.

It took some waiting time - the 2 Boleros had to cross the 3rd obstacle before we could start the Scorpio rescue operation. In the meantime, braver after my crossing, the other vehicles made their own attempts to cross and most of them succeeded (except the pick-up that you see stuck in the previous picture). I was getting increasingly worried - it was 530 pm when I sank and it would soon be dark impeding recovery operations.

JC and KSM-vTEC took over the operations. we were fully prepared for such situations with towing accessories - ropes, shovels, etc - so we put through a well-oiled plan into action. Unfortunately, we had neither a winch nor a high lift that could have helped in such a situation.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_00452.jpg

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_00462.jpg




The recovery operations begin.
Jeep Captain - what a guy! Without much ado, he wades into the mud, digs in with his bare hands to locate the tow hook of the Scorpio which is "underground". He did not even wait to change over into a towel (like a lungi) which he had kept specially for this purpose.



Jeep Captain gets down to his knees to dig out the tow hook and tie the tow rope onto the Scorpio. He had to be helped up by NJ, and then got into the Bolero to try towing the Scorpio out! Let me say this again, What a guy! Thanks, Shibu!!

Note how deep the right tyres have sunk in, that is the softest and deepest part, the tyres are as good as 90% in!



The Bolero simply did not have the power to pull it out. The team was standing on the left running board and swinging it on the left hand side too. The recoil not only broke the tow rope but the first attempt by the Bolero almost ended in a tragedy as the recoil of the tug at the stubborn SCorpio sent the Bolero careening away in a deep skid towards the right side. Had it gone to the left, consequences could have disastrous. Luckily,Shibu had god control!

The synthetic tow rope which snapped was of 6-ton capacity.So you can imagine how badly the Scorpio was stuck.

There was no way to extricate the car from the quicksand other than by brute force and some skilful towing. The tow rope broke a few more times.

Then this kind truck driver came forward and offered to help. Mind you, there were other SUVs going up and down at that time, no one bothered about our plight, after all they had their own business to mind (since they were taxis ferrying locals to the next town Panikkar)

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Now KSM-vTEC took over - the tow rope had to be fastened to the truck, the truck driver had to be instructed how to take it forward and the entire operations had to be synchronised with the efforts of the team pushing and tilting the Scorpio - and I sitting inside the Scorpio had to also gun the engine at the right time to add power.

We hooked the Scorpio onto the truck. Pulling with all its might, the truck itself took a big skid as it recoiled against the stubbornness of the Scorpio stuck in the mud. The tow rope snapped 2-3 times. Luckily, it was not the steel wire rope but the polymer one so whiplash was milder. The truck did not succeed till the 6th or 7th attempt

Some reasons why it did not succeed initially: truck moved too fast, the Scorpio front tyres were turned (since I was worried that if the steering remained straight, I would sink into more deeper mud). At least for now, one side (the left side) was firmly anchored in firm ground and I was apprehensive that if the Scorpio got pulled further to the right, the whole car would get bogged down! In the first few attempts, the Scorpio did not move an inch. If you notice, the team was lucky, despite standing close to the snapping tow rope, no one got the whiplash!

Finally, it was only with the concerted efforts of towing, accelerating, swinging and pushing by at least 7-9 members of the team that we could take the Scorpio out

It was only because of some "swinging" on the RHS and "weights" on the LHS and pushing from behind that helped the car move inch by inch. The OTR skills of Shibu Varghese & Kaushik (not to forget Nobin) were indispensable in this salvage operation. Almost the entire team of 14 people were involved in one way or the other.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_00512.jpg





mjothi rightly said,
"It needs a TATA truck to get the M&M car out of the mess"

Shibu says of the truck driver,
"He was a God sent Angel! And a nice soul too. Refuse to accept our token of appreciation. And I had to use all my skills to convince him to accept it. "

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gsferrari (Guru) says,
"If our operation had failed, the Scorpio might just have become a national monument"

We re-discovered what a fabulous team we had during this endeavour - Shibu digging out the mud with his bare hands to fasten the tow hook, Kaushik directing operations and the entire team pushing, winging or doing something to get the car out. Thanks, all.

No damages, except that later I found that the rear tyre valve got damaged resulting in a slow puncture which we fixed 2 days later in Leh



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


....to be continued
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Old 18th November 2011, 11:16   #1015
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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


EPILOGUE

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?


FAQ

1. Why is the Scorpio coming so fast on the bad sections?

Neither the Scorpio nor the Boleros were 4WDs. The only way to do those deep slush sections was to batter through at full power. In a 4WD car, you could have done this slower. In our car, at that speed, we ran the risk of hitting the under carriage in the stones, although we had removed/ adjusted the ones that could be potential trouble and also steered a path that would help us avoid them.

2. Why did the Scorpio go towards the right when the left looked firm ground? Was the Scorpio driver an idiot that he did not realise that soft ground can bog down the car?

After crossing the boulders, the Scorpio went down the slope. It was making the first tracks and there was no way to judge which route was best to take down. The truck was standing in the middle of the road with very little space to the left side. The Scorpio wheels had locked in a mild skid and any barking could have been dangerous. Despite letting go the accelerator, the car continued to slide down - had it continued on that trajectory, it could have hit the truck head-on. Had the car been steered to the left, there is no knowing whether it could have over-steered and gone off the edge. So I had to move slightly to the right to just about nudge past the truck, but the ground was too soft at one point and the car simply got pulled sharply to the right and went down.

3. Why did the Boleros who followed not face the same problem? Were their vehicles better, were the drivers more skilled?

By the time they crossed, the track had settled down, the others knew the best drive path to follow, the truck had moved out of the way and they took the left most part of the road at the outset itself.

4. Why were high lifts and winches not used to recover the Scorpio?

Simple answer - we had neither.

5. It was easier to have towed the Scorpio out from the reverse - right or wrong?

Wrong.
Behind the Scorpio was a steep slope with lots of slush, whereas ahead was firm ground and down slope. Pulling out the Scorpio in the reverse (it has a tow hook in the back also) could have meant that the Bolero could have also got bogged down in the ascent and definitely would have had less power.

6. Why were both Boleros not used to pull out the Scorpio?

Good idea, but the truck came along and I guess a Tata dumper truck packs more power than a pair of Boleros. Maybe we could have used 2 tow hooks from the truck, but then the Scorpio has only tow hook, the second one would have to be tied to the axle.

7. Would a 4WD have fared better?

There is no way a 4WD could have escaped the same fate. However, since the 4WD would have come slower and had more control on the slippery slope, it could have swerved to the left side easily. Had it gone to the right, it would also have got bogged down. While being towed out, it would have come out faster though because it had power in all wheels.
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Old 18th November 2011, 13:31   #1016
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Awesome teamwork in getting the Scorpio Out, Kudos to all in the IPHE team !!! The truck driver is sure a God sent angel

I was just imagining what would had happened if there is not much people in the team or if the scorp would had got stuck in the mid of night with one one to support. Still somehow it would had been got out in someway, but the sufferings would had been much worse.

I strongly believe such situations will surely develop a strong emotional bondage with each one in the team.

Once again, Awesome guys.
Shibu, you rock man
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Old 18th November 2011, 14:59   #1017
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TEAM WORK AGAIN!!!

What a day!!! We started our return journey from Padum that day assuming a straight forward drive back to Kargil with a few scheduled stops. Everything was going as per plan when suddenly it began to get dark and in no time there was a downpour of rain and ice pellets out of nowhere. We (Team HVK Scorpio) did slowdown but continued driving keeping in mind that there could be bad light very soon.

Soon the rain stops and the visibility also improves showing us what exactly was in store for us. We see a few vehicles standing in the middle of the road and few people running around trying to figure out if there was a way to cross this stretch to thick slush which the cloud burst had pushed down the hill. The slush was thick and gave a feeling that it would not bog you down. So HVK decided to give it a shot with all of us in the car…it was getting tricky and he engages the reverse gear immediately and gets out without getting stuck. Lalu was the first one to test the situation on foot, he took a few steps and then realised that he was sinking and tried to run out of the slush from a different route only to realise that he was getting into more trouble. Just then Nobin had also arrived and was in the slush on foot.

Lalu was sinking and this looked very funny to us (we do this for fun all the time on OTRs – Mud bath) sitting high and dry, but soon we realised that it was not a joke. Lalu had an extremely tensed look on his face, he was down till his beyond his knees and it was not able to get himself out. Nobin realised that Lalu needed help and went for it. We got off the Scorpio and decided to throw the toe rope towards them just in case it was a quick sand kind of a situation. But fortunately the need did not arise and both of them with each others support worked their way out. Lalu obviously was in a shock and took some time to settle down. This episode was eye-opener for me, taking it lightly was a BIG mistake.

Hats off to Lalu & Nobin!!!! Respect!!!

Finally we found that a part of the slush was not very deep and doing this with good momentum can make it happed…and we were right!!!! The first obstacle was cleared. Lalu, Nobin, Yogen & Ankit decided to stay back and guide JC at the same spot. Till then HVK and myself decided to go for the next similar obstacle that we could see not very far away. Similar situation and we decided to adopt the same approach; HVK gunned it and cleared the stretch in great style, in fact if I am not wrong we were airborne for a split-second.

We parked on the side noticing that JC had decided to wait for BB and I ran back to the previous obstacle. JC and BB cleared the obstacle with ease and we started moving towards the next one. HVK had moved a little ahead and parked on the right hand side of the road (lol this is the impression we got when we looked at him from a distance). The second slush patch was cleared by the 2 boleros and we then moved ahead towards HVK and realised that his Scorpio was parked at a very krazzy angle…and we all know what happened next…..
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Old 18th November 2011, 16:36   #1018
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A mind blowing travelogue. Awesome snaps. I too did Ladakh this August. I am trying to pull in some time to write the travelogue. But i am sure, we guys will be proud of being in Indian after completing this trip.
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Old 19th November 2011, 09:40   #1019
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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HVK Scorpio

2. Why did the Scorpio go towards the right when the left looked firm ground? Was the Scorpio driver an idiot that he did not realise that soft ground can bog down the car?

After crossing the boulders, the Scorpio went down the slope. It was making the first tracks and there was no way to judge which route was best to take down. The truck was standing in the middle of the road with very little space to the left side. The Scorpio wheels had locked in a mild skid and any barking could have been dangerous. Despite letting go the accelerator, the car continued to slide down - had it continued on that trajectory, it could have hit the truck head-on. Had the car been steered to the left, there is no knowing whether it could have over-steered and gone off the edge. So I had to move slightly to the right to just about nudge past the truck, but the ground was too soft at one point and the car simply got pulled sharply to the right and went down.
You can see the Car Camera footage on the Scorpio coming down the slope. I did not want to stop on the slope - even if I could - because I was worried about getting bogged down and from my line of vision, the truck was standing too much to the left side of the road leaving me too small a gap to negotiate since I was worried about a skid if I braked.

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Old 19th November 2011, 10:02   #1020
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HVK Scorpio

We hooked the Scorpio onto the truck. Pulling with all its might, the truck itself took a big skid as it recoiled against the stubbornness of the Scorpio stuck in the mud. The tow rope snapped 2-3 times. Luckily, it was not the steel wire rope but the polymer one so whiplash was milder. The truck did not succeed till the 6th or 7th attempt

Finally, it was only with the concerted efforts of towing, accelerating, swinging and pushing by at least 7-9 members of the team that we could take the Scorpio out
Here is the Car Camera footage of the car being pulled out by the truck - 2 sequences of it. The first part where the tow rope breaks (the scene where you can see Jeep Captain running across with the Flip Video in his hand!), and then finally the attempt where the truck tugs it out, and KSM-vTEC running to the truck driver to ask him to move forward a little more so that I am fully on firm ground.

Now I don't know if Jeep Captain has a video of the final pull-out - let us await his word on that.

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