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Old 23rd August 2012, 23:17   #196
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

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I have to do another trip to see your 700th!!????? So be it............
No sir, if you manage to do another trip in the near future, 700 kya I will even become a senior BHPian all depends on you and laluks. I guess 750 odd I will reach soon, because, laluks sir has his ooty trip and this log is yet to complete also I have slowly come into terms of posting in technical and 4x4 section. So i guess anymore mile crunching will not be a problem.

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Old 24th August 2012, 06:31   #197
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

We moved on
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That's the road towards Satrundi
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We started seeing Greens and rains

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continued...
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Old 24th August 2012, 06:52   #198
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

This side of the valley is Green and has heavy rains
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Lot of flowers too
- I am amazed at these micro climates
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The roads were slushy due to the rains
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Old 24th August 2012, 06:59   #199
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

The greenery continued...
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The roads to Satrundi Check Post
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An amazing Sunset before Satrundi

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Satrundi Check Post became visible

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We reached the Check Post by 19:00 hours
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A cool doggie was watching us from the Check post!

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Old 24th August 2012, 07:07   #200
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

We stopped at the Check Post
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Agent Vinod Reporting at the Check Post - All is Well

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This was all what I could see in IPHE 2011 amidst the thick fog and darkness
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HVK Scorpio near the Check Post
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Sheepish!!

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Amazing Doggie
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Old 24th August 2012, 07:20   #201
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

While we were waiting for our tea, I roamed around near the Check Post
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The doggie decided to come along
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We went towards the water crossing
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The doggie was with me
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More pictures of the water crossing

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The check post from the water crossing side
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I came back to get my tea. Was an amazing and refreshing tea.

The road ahead from the Check Post
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Old 24th August 2012, 07:28   #202
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 2
24 - July - 2012

We left the Check Post by 19:30 Hours. The last light of the day!
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We crossed heavy waterfalls

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We reached Bairagad by 20:15 hours.

We checked the availability at the Rest House. It was already given to a couple of bikers who were not very happy that we poked our nose in
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Finally we found out that there is one Rakesh, who has a Guest house. We figured it was near the bus stand and easy to find. It was named Mannat Home Stay.

We got ourselves some cosy rooms at Mannat Home Stay
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It was 20:45 hours already. We ordered dinner and relaxed. A hot tasty dinner was served and we all retired by 22:00 hours.
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Old 24th August 2012, 09:04   #203
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

No Thanks are enough for this hvk and laluks. Hats off to you guys and your whole team for going thru all these. As always mesmerizing pics. Keep it coming, just glued to it.

A couple of things:
1. The uphill slope seems to be quite a gradient as per picture and that too muddy and slippery.

2. The waterfall on the road seems have created quite a flow, I get a feeling, it may have created a slippery stony slope.

What kind of issues did these pose while driving on that part and how did you guys tackle it, if at all anything special was needed?

Last edited by parsh : 24th August 2012 at 09:07.
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Old 24th August 2012, 09:45   #204
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

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1. The uphill slope seems to be quite a gradient as per picture and that too muddy and slippery.
Yes, what the photos don't portray is the gradient which was steep in the entire sector. From Khillar, you continously climb up till Sach Pass, then it is a steep drop all the way to Bairavgad & beyond. For most part, we drove on lower gears, slipping into third occasionally. I prefer to keep the car on first and second on downward slopes to get braking assistance. Using too much of brake on such slopes can heat up the wheel bearings besides burning up the brake pads & shoes. Luckily for us, the Chamba Valley side receives all the rain & slopes are slippery & slushy there, but it is easier to go down than to burn your clutch going up. I swerve around to avoid the muddier patches - since my Scorpio is 2WD only, as was Agent Vinod's Madam Safari - and if I face any resistance, avoid revving or burning the clutch plate, instead try to find an alternative track - such as by reversing & trying again on a different track. As OTR guys will tell you, blind revving the engine is not going to get you anywhere. The good thing about the diesel-engined SUVs is that they have lots of torque & getting the power, as long as you do not lose momentum, assuming you have good tyres, will get you through most situations where they tell you only a 4WD only can do.


Quote:
2. The waterfall on the road seems have created quite a flow, I get a feeling, it may have created a slippery stony slope.

What kind of issues did these pose while driving on that part and how did you guys tackle it, if at all anything special was needed?
In most places, the PWD has built culverts for the waterfall water to flow under the road, but there are many places too where the water overflows. The first thing about the waterfalls like the one shown above is the "road" is flowing with its water. It is not the slipperiness that matters here, but the depth/ velocity of the water and the stones underneath. So it is either a field "survey" (Lalu getting off, checking it our, or me doing it) or simply experience which tells you whether it is doable or not. Besides, you must negotiate the car through the stones & water to avoid getting stuck between the stones. If your tyres get wedged between the stones, it can be difficult to get it out eaily.

I am going to illustrate this by showing you 2 videos:

The first video is the same spot - same waterfall - when we did it last year during the IPHE in total darkness & heavy fog. You can see me prospecting, not knowing where the pits & stones are, unable to gauge the depth of the water, but taking a chance by going right to the cliff edge to get through:


Check from 2:50 timeline onwards

The second video is also from our IPHE of 2011, where you can see a Sumo floundering mid-stream after he misjudged the depth & the position of the stones & got stuck for some time, ably videographed by our KSM-vTEC, even as we waited to cross the same spot (this is in the Kaza-Gramphoo sector)

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Old 24th August 2012, 09:54   #205
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

HVK really thanks for writing this bible. And I do it heartily and I am sure many reading this do but do not say, the pains that you guys take to jot it down so that the others can truly realize the minutest aspects. I just wish I could give a Zillion thanks to you for your swift and yet so detailed illustrious reply.
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Old 24th August 2012, 10:02   #206
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Even as we write & read this TL, the breaking news is that Avicorp, inspired by this TL, drove his Scorpio from Bangalore to Bairavgad, started yesterday morning from there, crossed Sach Pass & Khillar & halted for the night at "cliff hanger" Tyari (same tea shop where we had our lunch), on his way to Kishtwar, Srinagar & Leh. There is a huge boulder fallen on the road ahead of Tyari and he expects it to be blasted and cleared before noon today so that he can forge ahead. His conditions were more hostile than ours, since it has been raining in the region & the climb up from Chamba side can be slushier & more difficult too. Yes, he is on a 2WD Scorpio too - you may remember his Ladakh trip last year when he got stuck in the snow in Wari la - and he is accompanied by a friend
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Old 24th August 2012, 12:25   #207
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Even as we write & read this TL, the breaking news is that Avicorp, inspired by this TL, drove his Scorpio from Bangalore to Bairavgad, started yesterday morning from there, crossed Sach Pass & Khillar & halted for the night at "cliff hanger" Tyari (same tea shop where we had our lunch), on his way to Kishtwar, Srinagar & Leh. There is a huge boulder fallen on the road ahead of Tyari and he expects it to be blasted and cleared before noon today so that he can forge ahead. His conditions were more hostile than ours, since it has been raining in the region & the climb up from Chamba side can be slushier & more difficult too. Yes, he is on a 2WD Scorpio too - you may remember his Ladakh trip last year when he got stuck in the snow in Wari la - and he is accompanied by a friend
By goodness, I hope he comes out unscathed without much issues. These must be trying times there with mudflat all over at the places in latest pics. Does that mean he had to literally camp out there in his scorp on road waiting for clearing? How does one know when the help will arrive in this case? How does the news of this blockade go up to the concerned authorities? Are there constant patrols on the way?
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Old 24th August 2012, 12:51   #208
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By goodness, I hope he comes out unscathed without much issues. These must be trying times there with mudflat all over at the places in latest pics. Does that mean he had to literally camp out there in his scorp on road waiting for clearing? How does one know when the help will arrive in this case? How does the news of this blockade go up to the concerned authorities? Are there constant patrols on the way?
The road clearing crew is posted at strategic locations where there are frequent land slides. In any case, they patrol the roads daily to pick up stones that may have tumbled onto the road from the top. Avicorp reports that the big boulder that has fallen down into the road will be blasted first, then the bits will be shoved down into the Valley below & the road cleared.
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Old 24th August 2012, 12:57   #209
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KHILLAR TO CHAMBA SECTOR


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If the first 120 kms took us 8 hours +, the next 75 took 6!
Did we take any breaks – well, I guess we took 30 minutes off at Bogotu Check Post to register with the cops & have a cuppa, and another 20 minutes at Satrundi CP too.

For the rest, it was steady driving in second & third gears, slipping into first whenever we had to climb one of those sharp hair pin curves or encountered slush & rocky surfaces.

Having crossed the Alwar Bridge across the River Chandra Bhaga at 245 pm (15 minutes earlier, compared with our IPHE 2011 timings on this same sector), we slipped & ran 30 minutes late by the time we reached Bogotu CP & 45 minutes at Bairavgad.

What was the difference from last year? We were earlier in the summer (last time we did this in end-Aug), but on Jul 24, there was lots of snow all around – but none on the road – and since there had hardly been any rains this year, so conditions were mostly dry, although the flowers were sprouting from the mountain sides in some places – micro climate changes, as Lalu put it.

We knew the total stretch was uninhabited and had to reach “somewhere” for the night’s stay, whether it is the Satrundi CP, Bairavgad or Tissa. I was not keen on going on till Chamba (which is a large town, also has a HPTDC hotel) like last year since the next day, we had to turn off some 30 kms before Chamba, so it was pointless to go & come back just to spend the night.

After the initial cliff hanger sections, and some thickly forested stretches, we started climbing – some slushy places too – encountering first waterfalls on the road & then the glaciers. The glaciers were huge this time, but none of them blocking the road. Agent VInod tried to throw some snow balls at me, but luckily I survived that onslaught. Lalu tried to climb up one of the caves leading under the glacier, but looks like he found it too cold or warm, so he retreated back to the car.

As usual, we encountered no traffic, not even the customary 2-3 jeep-taxis that ply daily between Chamba & Khillar. The road workers are at their works stations, clearing the roads as they do every day during the summer, one has to sympathise with them for the conditions they have to endure. But thanks to their untiring efforts, this road built some 12 years ago is kept running round the clock during the 4-5 months of the summer before it shuts down in the winter snows (sometime in Nov).

Happily, the waterfalls on the road were all benign, posing no problems, but the Scorpio & Madam Safari did get some scrubbing as they went under the water. Last years’s “step” point under the water fall was not bad this time, and we easily climbed up.

When I saw the glaciers & snow walls on the road, I heaved a sigh of relief – I had foolishly assured Lalu before the trip that we would see snow during this trip, not being sure of course! Lalu appeared to be satiated with all the snow walls that we drove through, although I did hear him muttering that he wanted the Scorpio’s Yokos to also crunch some of the snow/ ice on the road!

Bogotu Check Post – that is the only “settlement” between Khillar & Sach Pass, assuming you can call a group of 2-3 cops & 4-5 tea shop guys a settlement! Well, if you run late, I guess you can stay in one of the two tea shops here. But we were not so late, it was only 5 pm, lots of light, no fog & clear weather, although we kept anxiously surveying the black clouds in the Chamba Valley side for signs of rain & trouble.

Somewhere after Bogotu CP, there was this slope where the Scorpio slipped & stalled as it tried to climb up on the rubble & sharp large boulders in the middle of the road. Need not have worried – backed up a little to a slightly less steep ground & started all over again. “Bhooth” Ground came & went, it was snowier than last year.

Sach Pass at 6 pm – place was pleasant, not cold at all, we spent a few minutes clicking the customary photos & then we were off down the mountain sides into the Chamba Valley, saying good bye to Pangi Valley. Now this being no more the rain-shadow area, there was some rain, lots of slush on the road & mild fog. It is always more difficult to climb up from Chamba to Sach Pass than vice versa and we had been the most anxious about the prospective difficulties in this sector.

Satrundi Check Post. Lovely sunset. Registration at this point. Videographed by the cops like what happened in Sansari CP in the morning. Enquired around, can we stay here in the tea shop tent. No positive answer, so we decided to move on. Second cuppa tea. We were luckier this time, there was lots of day light still, hardly any fog & we could see the beautiful green landscapes – contrasting with the brownness of Pangi Valley – as we descended into one of the beautiful regions of Himachal Pradesh. Lots of flowers too. Fragrance of “thazham poo” (as they call it in Malayalam) plant.

Barivagad at 820 pm. We visited the PWD Rest House first, a lovely building atop the hill, but they did not have a room to spare. Pointed us to Rakesh ji’s “hotel” in the “market”, which turned out to be a tea-shop restaurant a few hundred metres away, surrounded by 3 houses. Rooms were decent, we haggled & decided to stay there. Dinner was good. Mobile connectivity restored after a full day of black-out.

This day was 197 kms in 14.5 hours, very much the target fulfilled.

The next day is going to be another exciting day too....
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Old 24th August 2012, 13:09   #210
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

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1.Why did HVK's scorpio got stuck or lost momentum there? Tyres lost grip?
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
It was a steep slope.
There was rubble in the ascent, so could not gather full speed.
There were a few sharp large rocks in the road & I had to swerve to avoid hitting the under-carriage.
At one point, I was going too slow, I lost power & stalled.
I had to reverse down the slope to some level ground to start the climb again.
The Safari had the advantage of "looking over the shoulders of the giant", having seen me already do the climb. But he also managed to smartly go over the very rocks that I was jittery about & trying to avoid.
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The roads were slushy due to the rains
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
...he is on a 2WD Scorpio too...
Enough of 2wd, HVK? Preserving clutch and brakes, saving suspension, and the rest of it... now when do we see you use a 4wd (albeit not with low range) to its fullest, without worrying about the expenses that might be incurred with a burnt clutch and ripped out underbody? Lalu, are you going to accompany HVK again?
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I have to do another trip to see your 700th!!????? So be it............

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 24th August 2012 at 13:15.
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