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Old 18th December 2012, 11:08   #166
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

@tsk1979 : Hey have you gone to sleep under the starry milky way??? Waiting for the W.E.'s adventures.
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Old 18th December 2012, 23:26   #167
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

A fantastic travelogue -- very gripping write-up and mind-blowingly awesome photographs. Came across this travelogue today and was fascinated. The night shots, especially of the heavens, are extraordinary. Would like to see a snap of your photo equipment.

Looking for'd to the remaining part of your travelogue.
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Old 19th December 2012, 12:19   #168
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Default Day 10 #1: The Elephants slumber

-6 degree C. That is what my made in china green colored thermometer is telling me. The white elephant is a bit more optimistic, telling me its -4 degree C.
Its 8am in the morning now, the sun is shining brightly, and I watching the yellow glow plug light on the console.

Glow plug, off, glow plug off, glow plug, off, glow plug.... crank crank crank.

The engine turns and turns, and all that comes out of the Exhaust is unburnt diesel. On the bright side, the BG additive has kept diesel liquid.

However, the engine block has caught a cold. Why? You may ask.

Well its simple. In my panic, I had forgotten to tuck her in. No tarp on the bonnet grill, and now she is frozen solid.

I open the engine bay, and decide to add coolant, lets see how much coolant the leak has lost in those 30+ kms of run.

Well about a liter and a half later, ice crystals float to the top of the radiator.

I try cranking for fifteen minutes more. Give 5 second cranks, 10 second cranks, and even 20 second cranks. But the WE refuses to wake up.

So with bonnet up, and the engine basking in the sun, we go to have breakfast. I am sure it was delicious, but I have lost all my appetite, and I kind of stuff myself.

Again, my wife is much calmer, and she tells me, we will see all we came to see, we will go to Kyun Tso. If not the WE, something else will take us.

Well that "something else" is a Tata 207 dual cab pickup. The caretaker of the Hanle observatory guest house also runs a home stay, and he is the owner of the 207. For 2000 bucks he will take us to Kyun Tso, and bring us back.

Thirty minutes later, I retry the start.
the sun has worked, the elephant wakes up, and now she settles to a clattery smokey idle.

The agenda today is simple, first we go to the BRO workshop, and see what they can do, and then we will go on from there.

So with the sun shining bright, and cold winds blowing, we enter the 124 RCC compound.
The thing about BRO is that there is no formality, there is no "gate", there is nobody asking too many questions, except one "How can we help you".

We meet their chief tech "Harbhajan Singh, from Pathankot" and he tells us, do not worry. Take your cab, and leave the WE here, we will fix it by evening.

We show him the leaking pipe, or was it pipes? and then we are back at the guest house.

The 207 is ready. For the first time in our lives we will take a cab for touring. Third trip to ladakh, trips to USA, trip to Europe, trips to Himalayas, Goa and trips to coorg, we have never ever sat in a cab.

And now, on a fine autumn, or is it winter... morning we are sitting inside an old buy sturdy Tata 207, ready to Go to the twin lakes of Kyun Tso.

Like my wife told me, we will see what we came to see, elephant or no elephant.....
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Old 19th December 2012, 13:40   #169
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Brilliant expedition and amazing narration as I catch up with the writeup - some of the routes we saw were still being made in Oct 2010.

The ADC of Leh is a sensible lady if you do explain clearly - she does understand who are there for travel responsibly and not for roaming and bulldozing their rides into China for a bragging forum picture. She was the one that gave us permission for Koyoul and Fukche and which in turn facilitated the journey to Demchok.

Waiting for the Kyun Tso travel -- had to abort it 2010 and since then it has been somehow calling us!

Last edited by adc : 19th December 2012 at 13:52.
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Old 19th December 2012, 23:16   #170
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

adc heaping praise on ADC! First one on this forum. WE makes your life so very interesting tsk1979!!
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Old 19th December 2012, 23:42   #171
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Default Day 10 #2: The truck

The sun is high in the sky.
Its noon after all.

And we are bouncing. Bouncing very badly. The thing we are sitting is a Tata 207 crew cab. It is supposed to carry a couple of tonnes of cargo. When its not carrying cargo, it gets bouncy.
Pretty bouncy.

The leaf springs were made for just one purpose
"Withstand any overload the user bestows upon the vehicle".

Comfort? Whats that
Right quality? Whats that
Handling? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

But the thing is, this 138000+kms done vehicle is running, while the white elephant is sitting.

We have never ever interacted with locals on our trip. Its always a small talk about weather, conditions etc.,
However, riding the taxi give you a lot of time to chat.

The first thing I ask about is the Kiangs. The kyun Tso stretch used to be full of them, but now they have vanished.
Well, no worries, due to the winter approaching they have gone to higher pastures, as all the lower pastures are eaten by the goat and sheep herds owned by Changpas

Neverthless, I scount the landscape, trying to find a lone specimen.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6572_lrxl.jpg

BTW, did you know that chinese Eat Kiangs. So if you approach them on foot they run away, but with vehicles they are more welcoming. Many who have migrated to safer India, now do not go back towards china

Well patience pays... Here are the Kiangs
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6574_lrxl.jpg

In june 2010, these slopes had herds running around, but today, its just a pair here or there
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6575_lrxl.jpg

The route to Kyun Tso involves no mountain pass, but you climb steadily, gaining an altitude of 1000mts over 35 odd kms

As it gets higher it gets rocky
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6576_lrxl.jpg

The only respite my back gets from the constant pounding is the photography breaks.

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6578_lrxl.jpg

As we proceed, I realize its good I am in the 207. Its higher in GC than the safari, yet we were hitting bottoming out. Sonam informs me that this year August saw lot of heavy rain in the area, so the road got washed out. So they drove their trucks on the mountain side, and the road automatically got made.

And now the 207 is hitting its diff here and there.

Some slopes have grass, yet others are dry and barren. Thankfully, the sky is not fully blue, there are clouds to break the monotony
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6580_lrxl.jpg

We spot another resident of these parts. The high altitude rat
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6582_lrxl.jpg

As we near the lakes, a glacier comes into view, and guess whats this in the foreground.
Goat dropping. A very precious commodity here
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6583_lrxl.jpg

As we trudge on the better tracks, I can hold the camera steady enough even when we are moving
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6584_lrxl.jpg

Closeup of the glacier
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6586_lrxl.jpg

The track starts levelling out. We are nearing the lovely lakes, and its almost 2pm
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6587_lrxl.jpg

This place is probably the only place above 5000mts here where you will find so much grass.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6589_lrxl.jpg

But we are not here to eat grass... We are here for the Kyun Tso. And little after 2pm, we are here, one of our favorite lakes, Kyun Tso I !!

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6590_lrxl.jpg

Last edited by tsk1979 : 20th December 2012 at 00:24.
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Old 19th December 2012, 23:44   #172
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Brilliant expedition and amazing narration as I catch up with the writeup - some of the routes we saw were still being made in Oct 2010.

The ADC of Leh is a sensible lady if you do explain clearly - she does understand who are there for travel responsibly and not for roaming and bulldozing their rides into China for a bragging forum picture. She was the one that gave us permission for Koyoul and Fukche and which in turn facilitated the journey to Demchok.

Waiting for the Kyun Tso travel -- had to abort it 2010 and since then it has been somehow calling us!
Thanks adc. The Kakasang La route should be done by early next year. So no more hair rasing experiences. I guess next year you should go to Kyun Tso. If your phone had been in coverage area, you could have hitched a ride with us

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
adc heaping praise on ADC! First one on this forum. WE makes your life so very interesting tsk1979!!
Yes, a little too interesting for comfort
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Old 20th December 2012, 10:46   #173
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Brilliant gripping narration! Waiting for the remaining parts.


PS: I have the seen pics of Kyun Tso taken by you on an other forum. I am a big fan of your pics and an even bigger fan your narration style.
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Old 20th December 2012, 11:31   #174
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Really awesome narration and photographs. Even I travelled to Leh Ladakh but the boring way - Flight. I am really interested to travel again by road as it seems to be super awesome Buddy, please let me know if there was any additional paper work or permissions prior to travel on road with your own vechile?

thanks and regards,
Joshu
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Old 20th December 2012, 11:51   #175
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuthomas View Post
Really awesome narration and photographs. Even I travelled to Leh Ladakh but the boring way - Flight. I am really interested to travel again by road as it seems to be super awesome Buddy, please let me know if there was any additional paper work or permissions prior to travel on road with your own vechile?

thanks and regards,
Joshu
No additional paper work. Just for visiting places like Pangong etc., you need permits, so flight or reach by road, same paper work
Srinagar Leh and Manali leh roads do not require permits.
One thing though. If you plan to cross Rohtang from Manali side, you need permit from Manali SDM office if your car does not have Himachal Pradesh Number plates
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Old 20th December 2012, 12:45   #176
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Default Day 10 #3: The 8th lake

Kyun Tso.
Not many have even heard its name. Even fewer venture out to this lovely lake. And its not hard to see why.
Its high. 5000+ meters above sea level.
It does not lie on any major route
The track leading to it is moodier than an elephant in heat.
One season its perfect, doable by any high GC vehicle, and then the next season its all rocks, and higher than high GC is needed.
You can get away without 4wd, however, you cannot get away without Ground clearance.

Our affair with this lake started way back in 2009. On our first trip to Ladakh, Kyun Tso was a blue speck on google earth.

All we knew about the lake was that it was reachable. Had seen pictures of some biker with the lake in the background.
Where to go was easy, I had the latitude and longitude keyed in. But how to go was the tricky part.

So on our first ladakh trip in 2009 september, we tried to go from Hanle direct, but chickened out before Punguk. The rains had made the track marshy, and we were not really "veterans.. as they say" then.

I had little confidence in the elephant, and even lesser in my own driving.
Neverthless, on the way back to Mahe, we again tried to approach from Nidar village side, but the track was blocked due to a landslide.

So in 2009 we had to do without seeing Kyun Tso.
In 2010, the resolve was stronger, and the confidence level was higher.

Armed with GPS coordinates, and directions as the crow flies, we ventured out in search of Kyun Tso. We did not find it first, and ended up on a flat high tabletop mountain, which was an experience in itself.

See where we ended up in 2010


But instead of turning back, we pushed on, and our persistance was rewarded. At that time we knew, whenever we come to Ladakh again, the trip would be incomplete without Kyun Tso.

So here we were, two years later, standing at the banks of Kyun Tso, the 8th lake of our trip.

Behind us where the white elephant was supposed to be parked, as always, now stood an old truck
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6591_lrxl.jpg

In June 2010, the lake had been partially frozen, but now, it was still liquid. However, with temp below zero even with sun shining high, the banks were icing up. Within days it would be frozen
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6592_lrxl.jpg

In June 2010, we were along here, but now, there were birds for company
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6595_lrxl.jpg

Thanks to the lake, you will find grass all around. Its brown now, but its there. Normally, in Ladakh, above 5000 you seldom find any vegetation
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6597_lrxl.jpg

Like other ladakh lakes, Kyun Tso decides what it wants to show you. Today it showed us green
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6602_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6604_lrxl.jpg

And from certain angles you can catch a hint of blue
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6605_lrxl.jpg

The 207 owner, Sonam joined us, and told us how they picnic here when they go to Chumur for the monastery festival.
Nevertheless, the grassy flat makes it an ideal picnic spot.

So this time also, he asks us, how about lunch here, and then we can simply head back.

"Head back?" I ask. "What about the second Kyun Tso"?
And then I see an expression starting with shock, and ending with awe. "Is there a second Kyun Tso?"....

Last edited by tsk1979 : 20th December 2012 at 12:47.
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Old 20th December 2012, 14:39   #177
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Wow tsk your story telling is absolutely brilliant and really .

Have been following this from the word go and every time you pause, it is a thriller with a suspense lurking around the corner. Ever tried script writing?

That said I guess travelling to these places does not end with one trip, you get hooked on and on and on again till you keep returning back. One of our favourite destinations is Sikkim and we plan all the time to return to the place and we also have an unfinished agenda and yes of course it is a majestic lake again right at the tip of North Sikkim - Gurudongmar @ 18k.

Coming back to the topic will do these as soon as I acquire a ride which is powered on all wheels. Till then will keep planning and looking at such awesome TLs such as your!
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Old 20th December 2012, 20:17   #178
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

AWESOME Tanveer Bhai, There is no way I can look at other threads or websites until I finish your post. You have the ability to tie down the reader to your writing and thats something very few writers possess.

Thanks for sharing the detailed information and photos. Take a bow bhai.
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Old 20th December 2012, 23:51   #179
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Brilliant stuff !! After GD sir's travelogue this is the one that I love to read the most. Excellent narration and awesome pictures. Thank you again . You've shown us Leh and beyond like no one else
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Old 28th December 2012, 10:46   #180
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Wats up tsk with the TL. Every day doesn't go without checking for the updates of your thread but it seems like it has taken a break instead of Running Fast.

Anyway waiting for the next burst and set of pics that would make my day. Cheers and Happy new year!
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