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Old 1st March 2015, 14:36   #16
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Great trip. Hope to do Sandakphu this summer with my Black Beast :-)
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Old 2nd March 2015, 13:56   #17
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Great travelogue as usual, rated 5 stars. When I called you I was at Baiguney and the visit to Sandakphu sounded tempting, but there was time constraint. Moreover I am not sure if I should take the Thar to Sandkphu or not with its unpredictable auto hub lock. I should change it to fixed flange before attempting. But then Marengo is doing without any issue.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 15:08   #18
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Well written travelogue! Deserves 5 stars!

Driving on those hard ice is always a big challenge. I had the experience of vehicles drifting to sides. Those sharp bends are difficult, especially while descending. Did you face any challenges there?
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Old 2nd March 2015, 21:19   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.sinha View Post
Great trip. Hope to do Sandakphu this summer with my Black Beast :-)
All the best, will be waiting eagerly to hear from you. However, coming to think of it, Summers might not be ideal to visit Sandakphu, because the chances of weather being clear is almost nil and the trail will be less challenging (apart from the probability of rain maybe).

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Moreover I am not sure if I should take the Thar to Sandkphu or not with its unpredictable auto hub lock.
Thanks!

However, Please tell us more about this unpredictability!

I am helping you with the pictures of this simple arrangement. Point to where could it go wrong (if proper engagement process is followed)

Sandakphu (erstwhile land of Land Rovers) reloaded!-dsc_0006.jpg

Sandakphu (erstwhile land of Land Rovers) reloaded!-dsc_0005.jpg

Sandakphu (erstwhile land of Land Rovers) reloaded!-dsc_0007.jpg


In your own words.

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Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
But then Marengo is doing without any issue.
And add that, Marengo has now seen about 110 thousand Kms flow past underneath him. Also seen quite a bit of offroad usage.

Besides, if these ALH's were so unpredictable and fragile, Mahindra wouldn't have stuck to them.

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Originally Posted by LoneRidder View Post
Those sharp bends are difficult, especially while descending. Did you face any challenges there?
Thanks!

Yes, I did document the challenges in the 2nd post, refer below!


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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Soon it was time to unwillingly head back through the deadly switchbacks.


However, this was probably the trickiest bit of the whole trip, the descent. Like last time, even this time, on the way up, we were able to negotiate the switchbacks one-shot, without having to reverse on any. But on the way down, it was again a different and difficult story.



The right turns were not a problem, as you could precisely place the wheels visually, but the left turns like the one below, were tricky. Besides, this time my Navigator was a 9yr old!!



The problem is, on turns like this (left turn), when the vehicle is perpendicular to the road, the front section is sloping right to left, and the rear, left to right. So while taking the turn, for a bit, the front left gets airborne and then due to the engine weight drops down, causing the rear right to lift up and probably, helped by the angular momentum and the slope of the road ahead a propensity to overturn on the left side.

The only solution is to stay a little outside of the turn, away from the inside apex, but here, the space also is limited.

Coincidentally, on this very turn, all that I have typed above had occurred (apart from the overturning bit - only because I dropped the front left end real real slow). Last time, I think, this hairpin had more width on the apex.


I would say, going to Sandakphu is one story, coming back, a different one. So a suggestion to all, who plan to drive there, is to assign more time to the descent, its much more critical and dangerous than the ascent.

Soon we were at Kalipokhri, the black water lake!
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Old 4th March 2015, 14:55   #20
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Marengo has now seen about 110 thousand Kms flow past underneath him. Also seen quite a bit of offroad usage.

Besides, if these ALH's were so unpredictable and fragile, Mahindra wouldn't have stuck to them.
Wonderful travelogue. Makes me want to drive up there too. Pity it's a long trip out of Delhi, and would eat up too much leave. As far as the auto-locking hubs go, Fox is now at 1.75 lakh km, but I've had one replaced (cost Rs. 13k). It failed because of a dramatic left front wheel bearing failure that lead to the whole hub, seizing up. This was at around 1.40 lakh km. No issues with it otherwise. My recent 4x4 usage was in the snow at Narkanda (same Republic day weekend) and it worked brilliantly.
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Old 13th March 2015, 18:09   #21
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I have myself taken my Ikon 1.6 Nxt (a front wheel drive down to Roack Gardens). Infact that time the roads were worse. The road from Ghoom Monastery is very very steep, steeper than Pankhabari. However, I have seen Santro's Matiz's and Alto's take this road, probably not so heavily loaded.

Front wheel drive here, will have an advantage if you need to reverse up the slope for any reason. At the same time, it will be tricky to restart if you happen to loose momentum (and stop) on the way up. Tata Nano will fare better here!! (Owing to its configuration)
Yes Anirban. The road to rock garden is really very steep (while returning). I do admit that while going downhill I became little afraid whether I may climb back safely. However, today when I visited the rock garden in the morning there was little traffic there and nowhere did I had to stop while climbing. But I had to climb most part of it in first gear.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 27th April 2015 at 11:56. Reason: Fixed broken quote tag.
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Old 17th March 2015, 13:25   #22
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Beautiful articulation and equally nice pictures. Was a pleasure to read! Someday when I have a 4x4, maybe. 5 star from my side.
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Old 10th May 2015, 14:15   #23
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I have a question here. It seems that the path is not slippery as such. So will a hatch with high torque, say polo tdi, or say an automatic hatch, that could multiply the torque on demand, could go to Sandakphu, as long as it has decent, say around, 170 mm ground clearance?

The reason I am asking is, we are planning to drive to North East hills this September, and one of the ideas is taking an AT hatch instead of my safari as safari will probably be too big for those tight roads, and Sandakphu is one place we would definitely like to go.
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Old 10th May 2015, 20:00   #24
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So will a hatch with high torque, say polo tdi, or say an automatic hatch, that could multiply the torque on demand, could go to Sandakphu, as long as it has decent, say around, 170 mm ground clearance?
Maybe you need to pass this test first ?
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Old 13th May 2015, 08:31   #25
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Just completed the Sandakphu trip in my 4WD Scorp during the May 1 weekend. The last 4 kms from Bhikheybhanjan to Sandakphu is just too treacherous and killing. Please don't even dream of attempting this with a 2wd here. Good luck attempting the previous stretch as well. I heard somebody take up a 2wd Duster upto Tumling. That was tough enough and hats off to him (he is a very experienced mountain driver).
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Old 15th May 2015, 08:02   #26
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The last day of the trip began with an intent of injecting a much needed sense of adventure, to an otherwise, laid back..............Travelogue, so we are all safe. Yes we did not see Kanchenjungha, but the Road to Sandakphu is a journey close to nothing, its a world on its own, a connection to one's own inner self probably, a spiritual one maybe. Am not sure either, if someone (probably from the forum or elsewhere, barring the locals) have driven back on this route after dark prior to this.

So thanks for bearing with my ranting on this thread!

One Picture to conclude the TL, taken prior to the blue haze!

Attachment 1344542

Ciao!



Hello 1100D,

Let me put it this way - for my money's worth, this travelogue/photologue is the definitive one & the mother of them all (for this specific locale). The crisp and gripping narrative is in itself a treat and the 'sone pe suhaga' is, of course, the photographs, which capture the essence and the drama of the trip. Words would not convey the full effect of those night snaps through the mist and fog of your return from Kalipokri and Gairibash! Kudos all the way.

We (my wife & I & our two boxers), have been driving around Kumaon for the past almost two decades (Naukuchiatal - far from the madding crowd) and I thought I had seen it all. Your piece proves once & for all, that its never too late to learn!

Best regards,
Shashanka
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Old 15th May 2015, 11:33   #27
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I heard somebody take up a 2wd Duster upto Tumling. That was tough enough and hats off to him (he is a very experienced mountain driver).
Wasn't that our own Himadrimondal?
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Old 11th October 2015, 21:15   #28
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Hi Sir,

Reread your travelogue and it was mesmerizing. I was glued right from the start till it ended. Felt like I did this journey together with you, such details you have covered. Wonder when I'll be able to write like you. The pictures were awesome and the opening picture of your Marengo alongside the train speaks so much! Just can't get over that pic: setting it up as my wallpaper. Those bend require some serious guts, confidence and fearlessness!

OT: Have you driven the new Scorp 4x4 off the road? Is it as capable as Marengo(all older Scorpio 4x4s in general)?

It was a superb experience meeting you today.

Thanks,
Neel
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Old 13th October 2015, 16:44   #29
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Hi Sir,


OT: Have you driven the new Scorp 4x4 off the road? Is it as capable as Marengo(all older Scorpio 4x4s in general)?

It was a superb experience meeting you today.

Thanks,
Neel
Hi Neel

The pleasure was mine in meeting you. Hope you continue your enthusiasm in exploring the world of automobiles, that you do at this early age.

I have not driven the new Scorpio 4x4 scorpio offroad, so cannot give you a first hand report. However based on my assumption Marengo will continue to be marginally better than it on a few counts

1> The Mechanical Locking Differential

2> The softer, longer travel suspension (does help in better articulation and hence grip), this very aspect makes the newer package better onroad than the older one.

3> The electric hub locking arrangement of the present 4x4 which might be suspect in water wading. (The stress is on the word "might"). Am yet to see how this system works.
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Old 13th October 2015, 17:13   #30
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3> The electric hub locking arrangement of the present 4x4 which might be suspect in water wading. (The stress is on the word "might"). Am yet to see how this system works.
It had got submerged in 5 feet water & didn't go kaput

While coming down from the steep climbs, apart from staying in 1st gear, do you use 4L as well to slow the car down? But then turning in 4H itself is a task [car protests] so unsure of how it will be in 4L

This is one aspect which I have never tried and would depend on your input.
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