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Old 6th March 2014, 18:16   #16
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Default re: (Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway

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Originally Posted by shipnil View Post
Beautiful log Tanveer!

Tell me one thing, how do you identify which one is road and which one is edge of the hill when you drive through such a thick layer of snow? And even in October you had starting problems with the elephant, so what did you do in such deep winter? Any special precautions?
If you see the pics you will see there are snow walls on the side due to snow cutter throwing snow. So the flat part in the middle is usually the road.
However near Rohtang, it can be tricky. The road till Marhi is tarred, which is good. So underneath you have solid base.
Beyond Marhi you can have deep craters in the middle of the road.
We once ended in such a crater as the ice broke. Had to rock back and forth.

A BRO gypsy almost overturned in the same crater. Thankfully. the workers came running, and literally lifted her out of the ditch

Regarding starting troubles, min temp here was only -2. Ladakh was -10.

Moreover, safari has trouble when you have low temparatures + high altitude. With just low temperatures even -8 is manageable, as we saw in Gangotri last winters.
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Old 6th March 2014, 20:46   #17
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Default re: (Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway

wonderful.Well written and pictures perfectly suit the narration, so much that, I felt i am there experiencing it !

Glad to know safari is really a capable car as I often hear people complaining about it more than appreciating its plus points.

I feel like buying a safari storme right away. Will they launch the Ladakh edition? I am wondering!
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Old 7th March 2014, 08:53   #18
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Default re: (Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway

Fantastic.

Some curiosity.
Did you drive or atleast did you experiment driving in 4X2 mode with snow chains? Did you find it possible to drive on this stretch that way even for some distance? Could a Safari 4X2 or Duster have done this with similar situation, with or without chains?
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Old 7th March 2014, 10:54   #19
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Default re: (Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway

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Originally Posted by parsh View Post
Fantastic.

Some curiosity.
Did you drive or atleast did you experiment driving in 4X2 mode with snow chains? Did you find it possible to drive on this stretch that way even for some distance? Could a Safari 4X2 or Duster have done this with similar situation, with or without chains?
a 2WD with chains would do fine in straight line. But when doing U turns on the narrow road, 4WD was a must.
Later when we went to 3000m+ with solid ice, we had chains on rear and cables on front wheels, and I needed every bit of traction. Just chains on rear and no 4WD would have been very tricky because of the hard ice. U turn would have been impossible!
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Old 7th March 2014, 13:44   #20
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Default

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
a 2WD with chains would do fine in straight line. But when doing U turns on the narrow road, 4WD was a must.
Later when we went to 3000m+ with solid ice, we had chains on rear and cables on front wheels, and I needed every bit of traction. Just chains on rear and no 4WD would have been very tricky because of the hard ice. U turn would have been impossible!
And how do you think Duster would have behaved provided it's FWD, with snow chains in the front. During my trip to Sikkim where I also encountered enough snow, I felt if I had Snow chains at that time I would have not stuck at any place.
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Old 7th March 2014, 14:22   #21
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Default re: (Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway

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Originally Posted by gurha View Post
And how do you think Duster would have behaved provided it's FWD, with snow chains in the front. During my trip to Sikkim where I also encountered enough snow, I felt if I had Snow chains at that time I would have not stuck at any place.
Quite decent. Safari can do deeper snow due to higher average GC, but for normal snow you encounter, snow chains(or cables on FWD) would have been good enough for your trip.
For low clearance vehicles(low wheel clearance with components) snow cables are better as they do not foul brake lines etc., Thats why I used cables in front and chains in rear.
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Old 7th March 2014, 14:38   #22
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Default Day 2 #7: To the pavilion

We spent some more time here
Clicking and clicking!
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-20140301_131600xl.jpg

(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-20140301_131605xl.jpg

White white and all white
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-20140301_131608xl.jpg

(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005844xl.jpg

(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005845xl.jpg

(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005847xl.jpg

Ahead down below is kothi
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005848xl.jpg

The snowfall takes a break
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005850xl.jpg

Even the sun makes a guest appearance
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005853xl.jpg

So we head down. We will venture up again
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005855xl.jpg

But for now its back to the parking... and fitting the cables on front tires
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-20140301_150459xl.jpg

The hotel staff have cleared the parking
And then this guy comes....
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-20140301_151643xl.jpg



Front tires have snow cables? Check
Rear tires have snow chains? Check
Did he just destroy one hour of snow clearing work done by the hotel staff? check
The road has snow? Nope



The snow cutter has exposed black tarmac.
Well.... lets look at the bright side. Maybe we can actually reach Gulaba...? Can we.....
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Old 7th March 2014, 16:51   #23
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Default Day 2 #8 : Up again... to GULABA!!!

I know what you are planning to do. I guess will just wait here, thanks but no thanks..Says the dog. I can even see the smirk on his face
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005860xl.jpg

So what are we planning to do?
Well its simple. With the snow cutter making a round, we are sure we are not going to be blocked a couple of hairpins away from the hydro plant. This time we can probably go all the way to Gulaba.

Yes Gulaba. The cliff jump point, where in season hundreds of tourists entrust their lives to totally untrained para-glider pilots. Lemme tell you the a secret. Even we have do it a couple of times. Scary stuff, I tell you.

Gulaba is also the point of the first of the major manali leh jams, due to haphazard parking. Some say, Manali Leh highway leading to Rohtang is too narrow, that is why we have jams. I saw, make it 8 lane, each side, and you will still have jams. Never underestimate the power of a haphazardly parked tourist vehicle.

In the core of a fission bomb atoms break, and then a chain reaction start. Same theory here. All you need is 1 or 2, and then its nuclear.

We start, and then stop. The RHS cable comes off. Damn. The inner fastner is not fastened properly.
The vehicle is at an odd angle getting out to the road from the parking lot. Looks like we need to reverse to the parking lot.

Krrrrrr the rear tire spins with its chains sparking on concrete of the parking lot, and the RHS front tire just spins silently on ice. Back and forth we manage to get up on the parking lot.

So what did we learn today? On hard concrete or stone, chains offer no grip. We also learn they spark. And we also learn they are very very tough.

So we park, put the cable on the ground, and drive onto it. Easier installation. After all tugs done, its time to move.

To Gulaba, where traffic jams last hours, and haphazard parking creates traffic meltdown.
But, for the first time that is not whats worrying me. Heck, that is not even in my thoughts.

What is worrying me is the god awful racket. Clack clack from the front. Clang clang clang from the rear.
Its deafening.
And its there because we are driving with snow chains and snow cables on hard black top tarmac.

The cutter has literally vacuumed the snow away.
Only the heavens can provide respite now.

Till then we decide to slowly proceed. Chains and cables can be used on hard roads at slow speed. Some say 30mph!. We are doing a measly 15mph, so it should be okay.

The weather is packed up, with clouds everywhere, but snowfall has not started yet. But altitude helps here. As we climb a few hairpins, the black tarmac gives away to hard ice. The snow cutter has removed the soft piled snow, but underneath the hard ice is unyielding, packed to solid rock by months of deep freeze

Then comes gulaba, and the black tarmac vanishes. There is a nice U turn point here, but the road ahead is doable.

With no chains, we would have been sliding and slipping on the ice, but this time, they just cut through, and we keep proceeding. We cross the hairpin, and are almost a km ahead of Gulaba, when we have to stop.

Guess what?
This is bulldozer clear zone. So there are ice blocks 3-4 feet in length lying all over the road. I get down, and kick some, but they do not budge. About 50 meters ahead I can see the snow bank which is about 4-5 feet high. Forget chains, even matt tracks are not going to help here.

(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005862xl.jpg

So, we can take the U turn, and then take of chains to ride smoothly on cleared roads. But the Himalayas have other ideas, and it starts to snow. Really really heavily.
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-20140301_160537xl.jpg

Yay!
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-20140301_160541xl.jpg

But there is a problem.
You guessed it?
U turn.

Where to take a U turn. As you can see the road is barely wide enough for the safari.

So starts our long 300m reverse gear to find a spot, and we do find a spot. Deep snow.
After a 7 point turn. Yes, 7 times we had to go back and forth, we have the white elephant pointing downwards.
(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005865xl.jpg

(Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway-d70005864xl.jpg

Its taken us 20 minutes for this entire circus. But we are pointing downwards.
Snowfall is getting heavy, so no more pesky black tarmac folks.

I decide to make a snow cable review video


Do I sound breathless? Oh yea. 3000m+, ice cold winds, and every breath saps you of energy. Manali Leh highway has never looked this beautiful.
The Himalayas are full of surprises, but I doubt we have gotten one so pleasant!
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Old 7th March 2014, 21:18   #24
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Default Re: (Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway

Very nice video and a greta trip, hope to see more soon as I have the same snow chains for my Thar (ordered from Amazon US), and used it to climb uphill 6kms in 2-3 ft of fresh snow.
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Old 7th March 2014, 23:56   #25
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Default Re: (Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway

Very beautiful pictures and a great log. Truly inspiring. When i get a bit older and have my own car i'll definitely try this.
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Old 8th March 2014, 01:20   #26
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Default Re: (Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway

Dude, Mr. Tsk, I wonder what'll happen to the travelogues forum on team-bhp if you quit writing here. You are the KING of Himalayan hills. If Sam Kapasi was covered by certain media for his Yeti blog, It is unfair you have gone unoticed unless you preferred it. There are two kinds of Tata safari in the country. First is yours and the second is what Tata makes for the rest of us.

Staying glued for the updates. Thank you for the joy you bring here.
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Old 8th March 2014, 03:19   #27
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Default Maybe this could be the way to go for offroad extremists like us....food for thought!

Found out that some Crazy Yanks went and built this. But after I watched the Video of how this system works, gotta say...they're our kinda' crazy!!

They call it
'Track N Go'






Still think all that snow could stop us once we get our 4X4's kitted out with this?
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Old 8th March 2014, 19:15   #28
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Default Re: Maybe this could be the way to go for offroad extremists like us....food for thou

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Originally Posted by saviouravenger View Post
Found out that some Crazy Yanks went and built this. But after I watched the Video of how this system works, gotta say...they're our kinda' crazy!!

They call it
'Track N Go'


Still think all that snow could stop us once we get our 4X4's kitted out with this?

From what I know, vehicles with caterpillar tracks cant be driven on public roads.

And out of curiosity, how do you steer when you have these contraptions on?
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Old 8th March 2014, 20:42   #29
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Default Re: Maybe this could be the way to go for offroad extremists like us....food for thou

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Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain View Post
From what I know, vehicles with caterpillar tracks cant be driven on public roads.

And out of curiosity, how do you steer when you have these contraptions on?

That's the beauty of this concept. You lug these around in your boot or rooftop carrier whilst going to places with heavy snow fall or for OTR's. When you need them, simply place them in front of the tires & climb on using the two supplied loading ramps and lock the tires into place. Presto! You are now ready to decimate most types of terrain. No need to wait for the BRO snow cutters.

As per the manufacturer's website, they claim that on hard surfaces the vehicle can reach up to 60 kmph, while on snow speed varies from 15 to 40 kmph.

As for steering, they turn when you turn the tires. If you check the 'Track N Go' video on you tube, you will agree that they pose no problems unless you are trying to turn the tires whilst the vehicle is stationary - and most of us would agree that its best not turn the tires whilst the vehicle is stationary anyway.

Now if only I could get my hands on a Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6X6 & kit it out with this system......THAT would make one hell of a travelogue!
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Old 8th March 2014, 22:23   #30
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Default Re: (Un)Chained Melody - 36 Hours of Snow, and the Manali Leh Highway

Uncleared sections of Rohtang entail about 40 feet high snow walls. Nothing can scale those. Forget track and go, even hard core matt tracks won't work there.
Infact, even snow cutters do not know where to cut. A very old veteran leads the way and tells the engineers how to cut.
Otherwise they can start cutting at a point where there is no road.
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