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Old 25th May 2013, 04:32   #91
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 4: Darcha [11,020 ft] - Patseo [12,500 ft] - ZingZing Bar [14,050 ft] : 34 km [approx.]


Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zzbar.jpg

September 26, 2012, Wednesday: I wake up to the same great weather that is still now holding on this late Sept. as I start towards ZingZing Bar, which would be the base for the ride to Baralacha la the next day. Intend to stay in the lone dhaba that is supposedly still functioning as per the truck drivers at Darcha.




Sunny but with a super cold breeze blowing. After the staple breakfast of maggi, omelets and a double cup of tea, set off around 8 am. I should reach well in time before sundown; the early start just in case the lone dhaba decided to wind up today; would have to locate an area, pitch tent and setup the kerosene stove for Maggi "dinner".
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar3.jpg


Immediately leaving Darcha the slow gradient switchback starts.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar4.jpg


Soon as I start the first climb, come across this group of ladies waiting for the local Sumo for Keylong. As I cross them, one of them ask:
Q: Kitna door jana hai? A: Leh! // Q: Akele ho? A: Ha. // Toh, Bus me jao!!!

A video printscreen of the ladies group as I cycle towards them
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar32.jpg



The last of the green vegetation is at Darcha. A remarkable change of landscape is seen after Darcha
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar6.jpg


The long, nagging gradients of that hill immediately after leaving Darcha.
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The bird's eye view of Darcha as I cycle up the switchback gradients.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar5.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar35.jpg



The cold wind by itself was not much of a problem while cycling due to the constant strenuous activity. However, the strong headwind made progress difficult on alternate levels of switchbacks, i.e., once the wind was behind me but as the switchback turned I was cycling to it.


A stop here as to see and click the last view of Darcha Sumdo as the road now turns left towards Patseo. In the Ladakhi language, Sumdo means confluence.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar12.jpg


DARCHA: Situated at the junction of Yotche nullah and the Zangskar chhu which takes off from the Shinkun la. Both these nullahs meet with the main river Bhaga at this place. The valley broadens out from Darcha.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar11.jpg




Towards Patseo, 9 km from the top of the switchbacks. It is now a slow downhill, though not pedal free, to a flat run
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar14.jpg




The only "traffic" seen till then.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar17.jpg



The good tarmac gives way to the dirt track with loose gravels as a stream crosses over it.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar18.jpg



Which of course calls for a break and a photo op. The blue liquid bottle seen on the frame is no energy drink, but kerosene.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar19.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar20.jpg



The tarmac returns back after that stream crossing
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Just before Patseo is the man-made lake of Deepak tal at 14,000 feet. In season times, at least one tent accommodation is available here. Patseo thus also forms the base for the next day ride to Baralacha la. End-Sept there is no one.


Deepak tal - the brilliant colours of sky, earth and water captivates...
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar23.jpg


...as I spend almost half hour over here going down to the water.
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It was now time to move on and Patseo signboard soon comes up. I expected the Patseo army camp or at least a settlement over here and but see just a signboard. In fact I missed the PWD board itself. A diversion from here takes one to PWD guest house and as such can be missed. Patseo has no electricty or phone connection.
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Immediately after Patseo, the terrain still more changes itself to the barren yet magical Ladakh landscape. The raging river Bagha seen at Tandi or Keylong over here is a clear blue stream. A stop and a click here again for quite sometime - the last of the greens and beginnings of browns.
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Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar29.jpg



There should have been an Army camp over here somewhere; I had enquired over at the checkpost of Darcha that it is still there. Patseo signboard has come and gone. Soon notice at a distance barrack-shaped buildings - the transit army camp. It has been almost 3 hours of total solitude bicycling as I start riding towards the Patseo transit army camp.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar30.jpg



contd...

Last edited by adc : 25th May 2013 at 05:01.
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Old 25th May 2013, 19:54   #92
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 5: Darcha [11,020 ft] - Patseo [12,500 ft] - ZingZing Bar [14,050 ft] : 34 km [approx.] ...contd.



As I approach the Army Transit camp of Patseo, find that a high altitude game of cricket is in progress among the faujis.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar61.jpg



Stop to click here and watch a bit of the the game; soon an introductory talk soon ensues with the nearest fielderand myself - our conversation language soon turns to Bengali as we discover we incidentally come from the same State of W Bengal; he being a resident of Kharaghpur.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar60.jpg


The best of what happens is that he takes me to his barrack, and offers me to take some Gatorade - never expected to have this over here.



Here is Sanjoy, the Army jawan from Kharaghpur, W Bengal. Seen also is an army jawan from Rourkella.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar62.jpg



From pesta to cadbury bars to biscuits to bottles of Gatorade. In fact I had refuse any more as this would increase the bicycle gross weight, already having taken some 3 L of Gatorade. This then reminds me of the way army folks gave us fruits and packaged juice at Loma, neary Nyoma, while going towards Fukche and Koyoul of Changthang during our Oct 2010 trip.

A video printscreen shot of Sanjoy at Patseo Army transit camp
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After some 20+ mts of a wonderful stop here, and thanking the faujis again, it is time to move on. Another great experience to remember. The transit army camp will stay here for less than month, till the first major snowfall at Baralacha la .
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Good tarred road had a few sections were now gravel and stones
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Towards Zingzingbar, one could now really feel the oxygen deprived air at this altitude.
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Moving forward I see this motorcycle guy standstill; he had passed me by while I was at Patseo.
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Again an excuse for a stop and click; he was waiting for his other friends to catch up from the Darcha side.

Through our brief conversation, find out that they are para-gliders, carrying their own equipment! Analyzing the temperature, thermals, weather dynamics they would start paragliding at that particular location - the last they did was near Tandi bridge. A video printscreen of the rider+paraglider.
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A bye to him and I move on towards ZZbar. The landscape brilliant. Though the strain is quite heavy in this rarefied air but the gradient still quite manageable
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Amazing colours and vistas, River Bagha is a narrow stream at this high altitude.
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And then I get the "shot of the trip". Brilliant snow mountains over at the background and a definite stop here. Though have decided to do less of these shelf-shot image antics as quite a bit of time is spent doing all these, but then with a background like this...
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And more brilliance takes mind away from the greater and greater fatigue as I progress towards ZZ Bar.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar41.jpg



Also see some of the first of the "human faces" seen a plenty at Sarchu
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar47.jpg



As I progress further, I see Zingzing bar, a road building camp of BRO, and from a distance see a dhaba too. Very happy to see the dhaba and thus do not have to go through the process of pitching the tent. But still I am somewhat confused as did not expect ZZ Bar to come so soon. The strain has been big but it was unlike he way I was expecting it or have known of it.
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As I stop over at this dhaba and have talk with the owner, he informs me that this is also ZZ bar but it is "Lower" Zingzing bar. This has me confounded, never have I heard such a thing or do recollect reading anything like this in Ladakh travelogues - A place, which in the best of times [season months] may have around max 50 or so people; has another end of it 7-8 km away, i.e. upper Zingzingbar.

Also came to know the Italian who I met twice in this journey till now, was here last night. Felt somewhat good to think that then I was not doing that bad and was in fact right on correct schedule. The dhaba owner hough advised me that since right now it is 1:30 in the afternoon, I have enough time to reach Upper Zingzingbar and stay over there - a dhaba is still open out there; moreover the best being that tomorrow, on the big Baralachala ride, will have less 7-8 km of high altitude pedalling.
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Mountain Knight [Trek 4300 D] at Lower Zingzingbar
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar55.jpg


All over this Manali-Leh road one comes across entrepreneurs - people who have left their home to set up business over here - providing for much needed shelter and food. They run the business for 5-6 months of the year in this hostile and unpredictable weather and environment, migrating again back again to their home lands as the winter closes all the passes; some employ themselves again and some just while away their time waiting to return back again next season. They are also a kind of adventurists of a different nature.




And this includes this couple too, migrating from Nepal to here in lower ZZB, and in another 5-6 days they will be rounding up the tent and going back to their place. But then a lunch is in the order right now, and hot Maggi and omelets soon follow.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar56.jpg



Some 30 mts later and after a great gossip with the owner couple, which included what name they should give to the this dhaba as it is still unnamed and they exclaiming that I have enough of things on my bicycle to start a dhaba [!] , it is time to move on to Upper Zingzingbar.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar57.jpg




The fact that there is upper and lower nomenclature of a place, which by itself is so tiny that one could even miss it driving fast, was quite kind of amusing to me. As I start I thought to myself, lets then see what kind of a "happening place" then is Upper ZZB, some 7-8 km away.

All along this 500 km high mountain journey there are some gradients that a cyclist will forever remember. And in that context, a cyclist will ever remember the difference between Upper and Lower of a place called ZingzingBar.


contd..

Last edited by adc : 25th May 2013 at 20:23.
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Old 25th May 2013, 20:42   #93
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
And then I get the "shot of the trip".
adc da, your shot of the trip made my day! It was too good. I am in awe that you took such a trip alone which I wouldn't have thought to do alone in a car also.

I look forward every day to get new updates in this thread. Please do not take any break. Keep it coming.

BTW, how did you keep busy all this while like you used to just take in the scenery or you had some kind of music on through earphones?
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Old 27th May 2013, 13:13   #94
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 5: Darcha [11,020 ft] - Patseo [12,500 ft] - ZingZing Bar [14,050 ft] : 34 km [approx.] ...contd.


I am now thus headed to Upper Zingzingbar, which is the proper Zingzingbar that we know. The gradients of that long zigzag road track of the hill of Darcha and climbing to a new gradient base, the road to Patseo and then to the road making camp of BRO at lower ZZB is quite okay, nothing big inclines. Strenuous may be but not overwhelming, considering that just some 20-25 km out from here lies the 16+ k feet height pass. But that changes from Lower ZZB, the gradient gets more serious and accentuated.


On towards upper ZZB from lower ZZB
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Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar82.jpg


The road building camp and the dhaba of lower ZZB as left behind from the turn of the first switchback
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar73.jpg


River Bagha as it flows down from its origin, Deepak Tal, some few kms ahead.
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The BRO office camp in one of the switchbacks.
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" When the going gets tough, the tough gets going" - the BRO board says. From Lower ZZB one enters a new zone of gradients, much more tough and tiring.
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And that BRO office camp from top after covering a few switchbacks.
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I stop often, the 7 km from lower ZZB is like an unexpected toil.
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and of course for some great views of the barren mountains
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Dust from the distant BRO road work camp of Lower ZZB as seen from the top of another switchback as I gain height towards upper ZZB
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Killingsarai, another unique name, beyond Baralachala top - some 31 km from here
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-darcha-zingzingbar84.jpg


The climb continues as I stop often. The rarefied air has me breathing heavy - frequent stops are needed.
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Just as I almost enter upper ZZB, there is another surprise on this absolutely lonely road. A lone mechanic of trucks has a camp about 1 km down from upper ZZB even at this late Sept.
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A final turn as upper ZZB comes up
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That mechanic shop is around 1 km from upper ZZB as seen here.
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There is a lone dhaba standing at upper ZZB, run by a couple from Nepal. They are in the process of winding up and would be gone in another 4-5 days max.
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But for now I get a bed. The dhaba sleeping area as seen.
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Finally then at upper ZZB. These last 7 km was tough, as if one enters a new zone of gradients after lower ZZB.
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Most surprisingly I get lemon tea out here, a much needed cup of it after hard day's climb and travel.
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End Sept., ZZB it is super cold, night temperatures fall down to or just below zero. Plus adding to the chill, is the biting wind.


The dhaba sure does have some uncommon food considering the place, cucumber and fried karela were unexpected. Video printscreen shots.
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Early dinner at 7 pm of rice, rajma and karela fry. Seen here - a BRO labourer, the dhaba owner from Nepal, and myself.
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By bed at 8 pm. Super cold as I pile up almost 3 blankets on top of me. The day has been tough particularly the last 7 km of gradients and rarefied air. Baralacha la is 18 km or so from here. It is a big day tomorrow, but then curiously enough I feel much more confident. Ladakh is at the doorstep; tomorrow's ride will take me to Sarchu - the day I finally enter Ladakh from Himachal.


contd..

Last edited by adc : 27th May 2013 at 13:27.
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Old 27th May 2013, 15:48   #95
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Awesome write up and super awesome story. I remember the climb from Zinzing Bar to Baralacha La. (upper Zing Zing that is). And if I remember correctly, the gradient that starts from the ZZ dhaba region is unlike any other seen so far on the Ladakh route.

And all 18 Kilometers of it. Going to be very tough I am sure. But I feel that you'll be able to do it.. :-) Don't worry, get a nice sleep under them blankets. You'll need lots of energy tomorrow.

Great going dude. Keep pedaling.
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Old 27th May 2013, 22:12   #96
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 7: ZingZing Bar [14,050 ft] - Suraj Tal - Baralacha la [16,500 ft] - Bharatpur - Sarchu [14,000 ft] : 45 km [approx.]


Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-sarchu.jpg


Quote:
Now the road hairpins up the stony mountainside to reach the watershed of the Great Himalaya, which it crosses by the famous Bara-lacha-la (4892 meters), a pass possibly unique in having a tri-junction at its summit, with a trail taking off towards the south-east, down the Chandra valley and eventually over into Spiti. The road to Leh carries on in a northerly direction, down past glacial lakelets, following the upper waters of a river, the Yonam, that drains the surrounding mountains but, deep in its trough, can do nothing to temper the prevailing aridity, till it reaches the Chang-pa pasture and camping ground of Sarchu, the take-off point for a truly rugged trek through the mountains to the monastery of Phugtal in Zanskar.

For travelers doing no more then skim on four wheels across this bleak lunar landscape en route from one point to another, the names of the pastures are practically irrelevant, except as they may be the stations chosen by the tea-stall owners to provide some basic services. For the Chang-pa, on the other hand, each grazing ground has its own particular character, since their transhumance follows a strict system of movement from on to another, and they have a keen eye for variations that altogether escape the one-time traveler. ---- Janet Rizvi

It will be a week today, 7 days, from when I have started this eventful journey. And in these 7 days there has been a slow but sure transformation. What was almost despondency and frustration on the first day of pedalling has solidly transformed into a definite determination - the exhaustion has always been there and has only increased but somehow, from somewhere in these 200 km of high altitude bicycling for the last 7 days, an inner strength has sustained the motivation. Now that's the fuzzy funda and the mental part.

What scientifically happens also is that when lowlanders visit high mountains and altitudes, we slowly and surely start adapt to the low oxygen and rarefied air. Bodies begin to produce more red blood cells, the carriers of oxygen in the body. These extra number of cells then help to transport the available oxygen around the body and eventually compensate for decreased oxygen levels. In 7 days it may not be much but still it's up at least a few percent points from before.



Day 7, An early morning rise at 6:15 am on Sept. 27, 2012 and it is a momentous day. A cross over a pass and entering Ladakh from Himachal.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top1.jpg


It has been a super cold night yesterday, even woke up twice in between shivering inspite of 3 blankets and my thermals. Morning i discover the reason why, a whole board missing just beside my bed ; cold air continuously buffeted me all through the night. Two video printscreen shots.
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Water frozen solid in the buckets and cans, it was surely quite below zero yesterday.
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A breakfast of double maggi, double omelets and a double cup of strong lemon tea and the ride starts by 7:30 am. The gradients are now even steeper and with a biting wind blowing across, late Sept, 2012. The positive - great tarmac.
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Inclines gruesome, absolute tiresome, but views awesome.
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The routine simple - gasp, stop, pedal, gasp. At this snow level, the wind is biting and fierce, as the mighty pass nears slowly.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top12.jpg

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Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top22.jpg



Quote:
Suraj Tal or Suraj Tal Lake also called Surya taal, is a sacred body of water, literally means the Lake of the Sun God, and lies just below the Bara-lacha-la pass (4,890m) in the Lahaul and Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh state in India and is the third highest lake in India, and the 21st-highest in the world.

Suraj Tal Lake is the source of Bhaga River which joins the Chandra River downstream at Tandi to form the Chandrabhaga River in Himachal Pradesh territory, and as it enters Jammu and Kashmir it is renamed as the Chenab River. The Bhaga River (a tributary of the Chandrabhaga or Chenab) originates from Surya taal. The other major tributary of the Chandrabhaga, the Chandra originates from the glacier close to the Chandra Taal lake in the Spiti district.
And then I see the lake, Suraj Tal, 3 km below from Baralacha la

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top25.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top28.jpg



Gorgeous, amazing turquoise blue and beautiful. I sit down, mesmerized, alone, not a soul nearby, and some 20 mts goes by.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top29.jpg



The great climb soon continues and then I come across this abandoned structure, somehow ominously it had been once named as Saheed Sainik Bhavan. The howling wind and extreme weather has stripped down most if it.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top33.jpg


And still the pedalling continues, the pass should be near now.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top34.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top38.jpg




Come across the uninhabited Shiv temple, a Bom Bhole shout for that extra charge, the top must be very near now.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top39.jpg



And then very soon see the tarmac flattening out, is then it?
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top40.jpg



I shout out Baralacha la, Baralacha la - there is no one to hear or stop, I somehow dance even.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top41.jpg



But then where is the signboard? It is the top. I stop my euphoria. At last a lone truck cross by coming from Sarchu side and I hear and feel a change of gear - an exhaust and puff of black smoke just where the bicycle is - i.e., a change of gear. This must be due to the inclines flattening out also for truck, necessitating the gear change - it must be downhill from now on.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top42.jpg



But still I walk now to visually confirm, if this is actually the top. There is nothing worse than a premature celebration in rarefied air. Indeed it is, the road does continue downwards. The tiresomeness and exhaustion forgotten, my celebration starts again - on top of Baralacha la, at 16,500 feet above sea level, at 12:21 pm on September 27, 2012.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top43.jpg




One may accidentally pass the top momentarily if some one misses to notice the prayer flags. The signboard of Baralacha la was missing.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top47.jpg

The mountains around the pass
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-zzb-b-top44.jpg


Over 20 mts at the top, a wander here and a wander there, it is time now to enjoy the downhill, towards Bharatpur and beyond to the high plains Sarchu.

contd...

Last edited by adc : 27th May 2013 at 22:39.
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Old 28th May 2013, 09:34   #97
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Signboard missing! Well then it's easy to miss out, specially for new comers going in off season. Any idea what may be the reason?
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Old 28th May 2013, 16:30   #98
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 7: ZingZing Bar [14,050 ft] - Suraj Tal - Baralacha la [16,500 ft] - Bharatpur - Sarchu [14,000 ft] : 45 km [approx.]


The downhill finally starts towards Bharatpur and gradually then to the plains of Sarchu. The joys of gravity and zero pedalling, and some magnificent open views. The upper waters of River Yunam by the gorge side. Baralacha la pass acts as a water-divide between the Bhaga river towards Manali side and the Yunam river towards Sarchu side
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing16.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing17.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing18.jpg


Beyond the top, the tarmac was just of acceptable quality with small stones littered in between, soon the small transit truck halt and dhaba stop of Bharatpur comes up.


At Bharatpur, I stop for lunch. In best of times Bharatpur, some 2-3 kms down from the B pass, is a just a collection of few tents or dhabas. As I have double maggis, biscuits and double cups of tea for afternoon meal, I ask the owner why it is named as Bharatpur "City"? Well, when the Baralacha la pass was being made a long time back, tens and thousands of laborers camped here. It then resembled a city! And the name stuck, as such sometimes it even known as Bharatpur City.



The lone Bharatpur dhaba tent stop for maggis and tea - they were in the process of winding down and would be gone in another couple of days.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing19.jpg



The last time I had a talk with home was at Darcha, where the last of the BSNL mobile connection was available. The next phone call as per norm would have been possible only some 4-5 days later after crossing Tanglang la. A group of tourists going towards Darcha stops for some tea at this dhaba. As they ask me about how I am doing with cycle, I also give them Asmita's phone no. - it would be a great help to me if they could just call back to her and say that everything's fine, that B pass has been crossed and reaching Sarchu today. As I came to know some 4 days later, they did call and assure at home - and thanks a ton to these wonderful guys.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing14.jpg


After the quick lunch and a confident nod from the owner that I would be able to get tents with generators [!! - much needed now for camera batteries] at Sarchu, I start from Bharatpur towards Sarchu
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing1.jpg


Zero vegetation, amazing brown shades and the Yunam river basin makes me stop often.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing2.jpg

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The track after Bharatpur has deteriorated considerably. Though downhill, slow progress as sharp stones and gravel dominate.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing7.jpg




Road construction work and zero tarmac later on after Bharatpur.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing9.jpg



Rise of a Machine
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing8.jpg



And the gravel downhill continues towards Sarchu
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing10.jpg



Descending further see some green barracks from a distance....
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing11.jpg


...which turns out to be DETT Killing Sarai [corrupted name of Keylong Sarai?] with a bridge under construction. A military truck comes up from behind and it goes down to the stream and up and continues towards Sarchu. The stream is anwwhere from 2-4 feet deep. From the distance on the rickety bridge see some labourers working, shout out to them and gesture - which side and one shows me the track that goes to the glacial stream. i.e., the way the Army truck went through. This is not good.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing12.jpg


Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing13.jpg



I go up to the bank and stare at fast flowing cold water, the best way through would be still at least 1.5 feet-2 deep at the far stretch. But staring will not move nothing, have to cross it, wading through and pushing the overloaded bicycle along.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing21.jpg


contd...

Last edited by adc : 28th May 2013 at 16:58.
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Old 28th May 2013, 16:42   #99
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

What an experience. Without doubt one the best travelogues I have ever read.
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Old 28th May 2013, 17:19   #100
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Sir ji,

You are superhuman - i respect this TL 100x more than all your safari logs. This is serious effort and perseverance - I would've gotten bored and said, hell with it, by the 7th day!! Hats off -but I seriously cannot understand why you were carrying a 2BHK worth of material (like the stove!) on a bike. You made it far tougher for yourself than it should have been - in my limited understanding!
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Old 28th May 2013, 19:57   #101
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 7: ZingZing Bar [14,050 ft] - Suraj Tal - Baralacha la [16,500 ft] - Bharatpur - Sarchu [14,000 ft] : 45 km [approx.] ...contd.



The thing about travelling solo and alone is the power and joy of uninhibited expressions - whether it be mumbling or talking to yourself as you trudge along or in such hecked up situations cursing and yelling to psyche things out. With a choice words and yells, I try the few metres on the bicycle itself and soon had to get down and push.


Video printscreen shots.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing36.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing37.jpg

Drenched and biting cold wet till knees.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing38.jpg


Having gone through while doing the River Zanskar Chadar winter trek, is that when wet in frigid water, as long as one moves, the effects of coldness or numbness are quite reduced. Circulation is maintained due to movement and as such though discomfort is there, it is not like numbness or frostbite condition. Same here, remove the socks and start pedalling.


Icy stream crossed and back up the track to connect to the road towards Sarchu
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing22.jpg


Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing23.jpg



...and stopping every so and then. This is a different land, dramatic and fascinating.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing24.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing25.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing26.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing27.jpg




The first casualty after some 200+ km of bumps and travel is when the nut area part holding the front mudguard gives way and the front fender sits on the wheel itself.
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With a screwdriver took out the nut of the fender. Both the panniers from the front wheel were removed and then the front wheel. Setting the wheel took time as it was not sitting properly, with me having difficulty in holding the bicycle weight uniformly with the luggage weight at the back.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing29.jpg


The fenders were cheap aftermarkets [both fenders together was Rs 90] one from a local shop here in Kolkata and are actually meant for road bicycles, which were modified at the shop to fit over here. Fenders are must till at least I would say till Darcha as much of the mud and wet dirt are over there - the chain and the gear components are much cleaner with the fenders.



With the front fender removed, it is time to move on again - towards the plains of Sarchu
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing30.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing31.jpg

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Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing33.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing34.jpg



And then it comes - Welcome to the amazing plains of Sarchu.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-b-top-dett-killing35.jpg


contd...

Last edited by adc : 28th May 2013 at 20:14.
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Old 29th May 2013, 01:21   #102
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Confirmed! Totally confirmed that I've done nothing in my life. Apart from visiting these places and taken some acceptable images.

Got the right meaning of the word 'grit' now!

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Day 7, An early morning rise at 6:15 am on Sept. 27, 2012 and it is a momentous day. A cross over a pass and entering Ladakh from Himachal.
Sir, what's this Ladakh bit here? Sorry if I'm sounding like a moron. You can use all your choicest words and what not.
As I know (correct me if I'm wrong) Ladakh as normally known is part of Jammu & Kashmir. J&K starts from the check post after Sarchu.

Or am I missing something big time here?

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 29th May 2013 at 07:59.
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Old 29th May 2013, 07:47   #103
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

adc - Again nice clicks there. Now I feel enlightened, life is not just about flying to some tourist spot spending 3 nights there in most luxuary and flying back! You are teaching us a lot about how adventurerous life can be. Living with what is available.

Did I spot a xylo in the last batch of clicks? Just to sigh and pull my blanket to resume my sleep
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Old 29th May 2013, 11:21   #104
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

A Royal Bengal travel story. Rated 5 star already, cannot do it again.
I am sharing this thread in all my social circles. Long live Team Bhp and long live ADC.
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Old 29th May 2013, 11:36   #105
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

awesome progress Anirban, this is one true journey with some guts :P
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