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Old 15th June 2013, 23:27   #166
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

This undoubtedly is an epic trip that you undertook. Hats off to the unwavering spirit. You're writing skills are fantastic. You're reliving those wonderful memories and in a fantastic way. Thank you so much for this travelogue and I'm glued to it. Karmen rider's kayaking and this trip are the best travelogues I've read in T-Bhp so far !!
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Old 15th June 2013, 23:59   #167
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

This is the best post of this travelogue so far.
As I kept reading, I started thinking that it wasn't that difficult after all. Few months of practice, a top $$ cycle - and that's about it.

Not really!
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Old 16th June 2013, 20:27   #168
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Sweet mother of god!! At 5:41 pm, October 3, 2012, Tanglang la. At 5:56 pm I start rolling towards Rumtse, some 30 odd km from here. This was now thriller cinema stuff, downhill the speed is around 25-30 kmph or so, the truck behind showing the road now lighted adequately with its big headlights.
Hello ADC,

While reading through your last post, I actually wondered whether I am reading a thriller novel or hearing a thriller movie story from a friend.
I mean its simply unbelievable. You start 30 km ride from Tanglang La at 6 pm on a cold (October) winter evening. Then a Truck / Sumo lighting the road ahead & you pedaling your bicycle at 25 - 30 kmph. Finally you reaching Rumtse at 8 pm. I don't think I have read something more exciting than the narration in this thread. Right from your preparations to day one at Manali where you left your camera tripod to get rid of extra 2.5 kgs to people advising you to turn back this thread has been thoroughly nail-biting.

Sincere thanks to you, ADC for motivating lesser mortals like us to atleast live before we die. Hope to see you personally someday & take some tips on how to truly live.

Regards,
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Old 16th June 2013, 20:52   #169
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Just don't know what to say......

This is too good to be true. All adjectives fail here.

As a Fauji, i can only think of 21 Gun salutes to you Dada!!!

Thanks for sharing and inspiring others to follow your footsteps.
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Old 16th June 2013, 22:58   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Day 13: Tso Kar [15,000 ft] - Tanglang la [17,480 ft] - Rumste [14,100 ft]: 78 km. contd..

... with no inkling of how much still left...

contd...
I agree with Sen2009 that this is indeed the best post so far. Not that others are any less exciting! I'm gushing superlatives here, but you deserve every bit of it. Waiting for the next installment with bated breath.
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Old 17th June 2013, 00:29   #171
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I was so impressed by this thread that I did the below:

Day 1: motorbike trip from Delhi to Manali
Day 2: cycle ride from Gulaba (26 km before Rohtang) to Rohtang to Jagatsukh (via Solang valley) - 100 kms in 10 hrs.
Day 3: Motorbike trip back to Delhi (via Naina Devi & Anandpur Sahib).

It was a crazy 3 day trip and included 36 (12+10+14) hours of saddle time in 3 days over 1350 (600+100+650) kms! But I had to do it after going through this thread to temporarily settle the cycle itch.

Manali to Leh on cycle is on soon!!
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Old 17th June 2013, 13:20   #172
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 14: Rumste [14,100 ft] - Upshi - Karu - Leh [11,560 ft]: 70 km




The last stage of the Manali-Leh cycling ride, around 70 km. The downhill continues till Upshi and then further to the Karu with some ups and downs, and then an continuous slight uphill to Leh.
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October 4, 2012. Early morning at 8 am, at Rumtse homestay, I get acquainted to a young cyclist of Rumtse. His Atlas cycle can be seen on the right side, covered with a blanket.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh9.jpg



A jolly kid, he on seeing my cycle was also eager to show his Atlas bicycle. He uses it for going to school and to roam around here and there. When I ask him about what he likes about cycling out here in this mountains, he surmises up in these beautiful words: "Cycle me sab scenery aiste aiste dikta hai. Gari me sab jaldi chal jata hai". Video ps images.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh3.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh5.jpg




A goodbye to kids and Rumtse, at 8:15 am I finally start on the last leg of this 500 km journey.
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Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh11.jpg



From Rumtse starts quite a few of BRO messages on the yellow marker slabs. Other then the common ones like "Don't be a Gama in the land of Lama" "Be gentle on my curves" these are some of the unique ones. All video ps cropped images




Indian traffic says left is right, Right is wrong!
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh13.jpg


Kind of tongue twister - "Worse it comes with no warning, Prevent it by careful driving. Juley!"
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh12.jpg



And this one is my favourite - A gem of a line. Someone give me a good translation of this, would put it in on our website as an opening line!

Bhagwan salamat rakhe sadak banane walo ko
Bilkul beghar kar diya gari chalane walo ko
- what words!
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh1.jpg



contd..

Last edited by adc : 17th June 2013 at 13:35.
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Old 17th June 2013, 13:53   #173
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

We should have arranged for a team of camera persons to record your entire adventure on video. It would have so aptly captured all the emotions involved in completing this unique feat. And we have not even started our trek of Stok Kangri .

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
And this one is my favourite - A gem of a line. Someone give me a good translation of this, would put it in on our website as an opening line!

Bhagwan salamat rakhe sadak banane walo ko
Bilkul beghar kar diya gari chalane walo ko
- what words!
Attachment 1098362



contd..
We will take a shot at it this evening when we meet. Hope you can make it today.
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Old 17th June 2013, 13:55   #174
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 14: Rumste - Leh ...contd.


Today is a much more "saner" day than what had been yesterday. The downhill that started after Tanglang la continues till Upshi, although not that big. Here from Rumtse, enjoying a downhill - at the 30 sec mark, "dodging a cow by ringing the cycle bell!"




Lato and beyond, these areas were most affected by the August 2010 flash floods. Purple rocks and shale stones give this landscape this colour.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh14.jpg


Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh15.jpg


"Welcome to Leh" This one though before Upshi, the actual town still some kms away.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh7.jpg


The yellow marker slab says "First view of Indus and Ladakh valley"
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh17.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh19.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh20.jpg



And the journey continues beyond Upshi towards Karu for Leh. From Upshi, a branch road goes off towards Tso Moriri and further to interior Changthang areas.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh21.jpg


And my interactions continues, with from curious Army men to BRO guys. All quite amused to see a cyclist slowly riding towards Leh
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh22.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh23.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh8.jpg


contd..

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 17th June 2013 at 14:21.
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Old 17th June 2013, 14:44   #175
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 14: Rumste - Leh ...contd.


From Upshi, descending to Karu. Great tarmac, brilliant weather, and a great day to cycle - it is quite cold though with a slight wind blowing.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh24.jpg


At the Karu cross roads, one road branches off towards Chang la for the journey to Pangong Lake.
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And then one of the most favourite photography spot on this road towards Leh - Stakna monastery seen at a distance, on the banks of river Indus.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh28.jpg



Quote:
Stakna Monastery or Stakna Gompa is a Buddhist monastery of the Drugpa sect in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India, 21 or 25 kilometres from Leh on the right bank of the Indus River.

It was founded in the late 16th century by a Bhutanese scholar and saint, Chosje Jamyang Palkar. The name, literally meaning 'tiger's nose' was given because it was built on a hill shaped like a tiger's nose. Of note is a sacred Arya Avalokitesvara statue from Kamrup, Assam. Stakna has a residence of approximately 30 monks. - Wikipedia
At Stakna monastery view point on the Leh road.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh29.jpg




Stakna again - This one B/W from our October 2010 trip
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And still one more -- Stakna in February 2012 from the Zanskar Chadar winter trek (A Royal Enfield Bullet ride, a Flight and a sub-zero Ice Trek! [Zanskar Chadar trek]) travel
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh41.jpg



Beyond Upshi and Karu, one does get to see some of the barren mountains again though greenery starts to predominate more and more.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh27.jpg


Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh30.jpg


From Karu it is now a constant uphill to Leh. Thikse monastery comes up then some 20 km from Leh. The numerous hanging wires does slightly mar the images.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh31.jpg

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Quote:
Thikse Gompa or Thikse Monastery (also transliterated from Ladakhi as Tikse, Tiksey or Thiksey) (thiksok Nambar tak pe ling) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) sect, located on top of a hill, approximately 19 kilometres east of Leh in Ladakh, India. It is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet and is the largest gompa in central Ladakh. More at Wikipedia
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh44.jpg



contd..

Last edited by adc : 17th June 2013 at 15:12.
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Old 17th June 2013, 15:58   #176
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Bhagwan salamat rakhe sadak banane walo ko
Bilkul beghar kar diya gari chalane walo ko
- what words!
Mercy on those who construct these roads, oh Lord!
Motorists are now homeless, courtesy those frauds..


ADC, written by our best hindi specialist creative director in office.
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Old 17th June 2013, 16:05   #177
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Mercy on those who construct these roads, oh Lord!
Motorists are now homeless, courtesy those frauds..


ADC, written by our best hindi specialist creative director in office.
I don't think that is the intended meaning.

I feel it is more like.

May God's mercy always shine on the makers of these roads.
They have made wanderers/ nomads of those who drive here.

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Old 17th June 2013, 17:21   #178
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 14: Rumste - Leh ...contd.


Soon also comes Shey Monastery. Shey Palace and chortens as seen from the road.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-shey46.jpg

Quote:
The Shey Monastery or Gompa and the Shey Palace complex are structures located on a hillock in Shey,15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the south of Leh in Ladakh, northern India on the Leh-Manali road. Shey was the summer capital of Ladakh in the past. More from Wikipedia
As Leh approach there will be a sense deja vu for a cyclist. From 14 days, I have been riding in some of the absolutely less populated areas towards here. As Choglamsar and then Leh comes up, it is a kind of a city and town setting back again. The noise, the smoke, the diesel, the traffic [Leh is no more a small off beat town now] pushing you off the tarred road, the trucks and numerous tourist taxis weaving and overtaking. And as an irritant in this urban chaos, a kind of nagging ascent continues till Leh.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh35.jpg


Then at last when I see this board, it does feel good. Stop here to record the entry to Leh - at 4:33 pm, October 4, 2012.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh36.jpg





It has been been a toil all these days on the mountains, it is time for some urban comfort. As Leh comes, it is now time to relax a bit, to get pampered. I want clean linen and towels, wide comfortable bed with clean bed covers, hot water, room service, good food, DTH & internet. I need a good hotel, no budget homestay at least for a day or two!


A km or less from that roundabout when entering Leh, on Old road Sheynam is Hotel Shanti Palace, the same hotel where we stopped on October 2010 trip. A family run hotel, situated almost opposite of The Grand Dragon. On season times it is bit costly above the average rate, but in off season October, we got good rates in 2010. This time too and more so telling them I am on a cycle; the lady owner of course takes some to think, ask me about where's wife and kid? are they too on cycle?!!
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh45.jpg



For dinner a couple of chicken dishes and double plates of momos were ordered, for now as evening snack, good to have chips and tomatoes and chillies in and some black pepper sprinkled on the omelet.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-rumtse-leh40.jpg


I guess any cyclist who has been on this iconic road day in and day out, would finally do this. A look at the full reflection on the mirror and then at the marked difference - almost some 3 kgs lost on the road; skin burnt to charcoal colour, more so around ears and neck area. But that does not matter at all - the content felt now is supreme, the accomplishment sense - big!
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A common thing that I have found in most of the solo cyclists blogs and logs, is a kind of vacuum that is felt as this whole mega travel and accomplishment ends; suddenly there is a realization that tomorrow there is no big ride, there is no action, that the whole travel thing has ended.


But then I had something else coming up, even had two options to start with. And one of them will bring in further more physical toil and strain, more altitude and breathlessness as tenacity and grit gets tested to further new level.



contd..

Last edited by adc : 17th June 2013 at 17:50.
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Old 18th June 2013, 09:48   #179
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

A close friend has written this super short guide to cycling to leh in Outlook traveller this month (http://travel.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?285819). I forwarded him a link to this thread ;-)
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Old 18th June 2013, 13:49   #180
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A couple of months before the fantastic expedition travel of Tanveer [ http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...all-again.html (18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again) ], we had talked on the phone about cold starts and engine protection. From that came to know that he will be around in Ladakh around the same month in October but dates were not discussed as there was no fixed itinerary for both us.

The lakes of Kyun Tso had to be aborted during our late October attempt to Kyun Tso due to weather conditions and as such gave him a vague idea of calling once reaching over there, to tag along with them for the lakes of Kyun Tso. So, this was more of a rough idea, not definite.


Also in the meantime, Stok Kangri summit was also in the loop as this was trekking summit, strenuous but not technical, and more so since I would be in Leh itself, if can complete this too along with the cycle ride.


Both these options were not much concrete before starting, it all depended upon the date upon which I was in Leh. As the start date of cycling got pushed more towards the 3rd week of September and also as I kept my ride days flexible, both options were to be thought of and finalized only on reaching Leh.


As Leh was reached, the first call went out to Mr Abdul Qayoom of www.altitudeadventure.in



We had got acquainted with him in 2010 travel at Nubra and then again he helped me out with a better sleeping bag during the Jan 2012 Chadar trek, though I had gone through a different agency.

And the good news he gave on the night of October 4, 2012, the day I reached Leh was that by some chance Stok Kangri was still open and a fast trek could be done as it can close any time as we enter 2nd week of October.

So Stok it was that was then finalized. Of course later as I come to know Tanveer did try to get in touch with me as I was lost to connection during those days. Also we both had no reason to be in Leh for more than a couple of days and as such that was also a big coincidence that would have to happen.


As said, Stok was open in October. But first a guide has to be found, as this month there are no organized trek groups. And Mr Qayoom said he will be trying to arrange someone and should be possible to do so, but it would take one more day, i.e., I have a day's rest in between. Oct 4 evening I reached, Oct 5 was the rest day, and Oct 6 was the start day for trek.


Stok Kangri at 20,182 feet/6152 mt is highest trekable summit in India. It is an absolutely strenuous trek but one does not need prior technical mountaineering knowledge and training. But at 6+ km above sea level, in that rarefied air, it makes mincemeat of anyone who is not well acclimatized. As such a regular well organized group would have 6-8 days, with some side treks included so that an individual is well acclimatized before summit. The other thing of course at that height is weather and more so in October, Stok is known to have fickle weather.

Anyway, having trekked in Zanskar and previously to Kun base camp in between our interior Kashmir and Zanskar travel, I have to come know that costs are quite less if a local Ladakh agency is used. In fact, all those travel agents and companies that are outside of Ladakh have to use the services of a local travel agent of Leh and Ladakh.

As such the cost increases as the number of steps increase between a trekker and the actual trek agency of Ladakh. Thus when I had a talk with Mr Qayoom who runs altitudeadventure.in, a local Ladakh agency, I got the Stok Kangri at a lesser rate than the established package rates, even in this month of October, to start with. The first big problem was thus solved, much thanks to him. These grass root guys, the small local agencies or persons, don't have much marketing directly outside or a website as such are not known and depend upon another outside agencies outsourced work. For all the help from Mr Qayoom, I polished up his website and also gave some photographs to use on his site.


Next, I was very well acclimatized, having cycled up slowly in all those days from Manali to Leh through high mountains and lands. AMS should not be an issue to start with at least.

Then came the number of days I would go for. Since there was less need of side treks for acclimatization and also since this being the 2nd week of October and thus the Stok route can close down anytime, I chose the shortest possible days as thought I could do in, i.e., Leh - Stok Kangri summit - Leh in 3 nights and 4 days.

The big and only factor however for me was the strain, both mental and physical - whether i would be able to take the toil immediately after all that cycling.


Anyway as said, October 5, was the free day for me as Mr Qayoom took that day to arrange for a guide and supplies.


For me it was a great relaxing day, late rise, fresh after great hot water bath yesterday night, and good food - noon time went outside, just roam around and get a little warmed up and move around in the markets. Had great momos at a nondescript shop at main market - but it is quite well known with the locals


Great momos and yet at a reasonable cost, a local shop, Main market, Leh. There are quite a few great shops where the locals go, at around 1/3rd the price of a established food joint.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-leh2.jpg


Thank them for the great food. Had 3 plates of momos as noon meal along with some non-veg chowmein.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-leh3.jpg


October 5, 2012, the day in between cycling and Stok, was the rest day as a guide and supplies were being arranged for Stok Kangri.


And as I head back to the hotel, get a clear look of the summit of the summit of Stok Kangri. Tomorrow should be up on those inclines, and if weather and myself are okay to summit it in 2 days, i.e., by Oct 8, 2012, and be back at base camp by Oct 9.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-leh1.jpg


contd..

Last edited by adc : 18th June 2013 at 14:16.
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