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Old 23rd November 2016, 13:57   #46
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Default Re: Travlogue add on posts....

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
Day 7 Tongul-Rangdum-Pensi La-Padum continued…
Awesome post and pics there again, Anshuman.

Apart from dimming sunlight in the evening, another reason we had to turn back towards Padum that day after going miles and miles of exploration was lack of any human contact in that region. We had left the local population and villages too far behind and the mountains were looking not too intact. It was an unnerving feeling and we even spotted minor landslides from top of a mountain on our side of road only. The basic behavior of landslides is that they start off very small stone coming down from the top and can gain massive momentum in no time due to cascading effect of gravity, taking along bigger chunks of mountains.

We began to realize the gravity of the situation a bit slowly, we were in a very remote location and if there was a landslide in that area that could block our way back to Padum, it would have meant that we could have been stuck for hours (possibly days) in that region before anyone would have been able to contact us. There was absolutely ZERO traffic/human movement on that section, none other than us, zilch!

A very good decision we made there, to turn around and reach Padum before it got dark; but man what amazing vistas, long and long stretches of blissful drive.
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Old 24th November 2016, 11:53   #47
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Default Re: Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner

Here are a few pics from my end, of the journey so far... nothing splendid as Anshuman's gear, these are quick iPhone clicks.

Both cars on its way to Sach Pass. Do notice the GoPro on top of Fortuner through which we recorded our Sach Pass Drive video.
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Anshuman getting some fresh ice for our icebox.
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At Sach Pass vantage point.
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A few pics from the time we were waiting for landslide on the road to be cleared on our way to Killer from Sach Pass.
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As mentioned, here is a Panorama shot at top of Shingo La Pass.
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The Altitude reading at Shingo La Pass from my watch: 15600 ft. Please ignore the temp reading, the reading is 22.9 degree Celsius due to being on my hand for long. The real temperature there at the top must have been 12-13 degrees.
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A few shots from the Drive from Jispa to Pang.
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At Tanglang La top.
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Fortuner at Thiksey Monastery
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At the banks of Indus River on our way to Kargil.
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On our way to Zanskar Valley
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Anshuman taking down the Hella 3003 lights and taping down the wiring.
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A bit of solitude and soaking up the views at Pensi La.
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Here are a few pics from Toyota Workshop at Kargil, we had to replace the coolant after the car heatup incident.
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-211.jpg

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Old 30th November 2016, 11:59   #48
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Default Re: Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner

BTW, slightly off-topic from the thread, here is an interesting info I found about the Mercedes Expedition Truck we saw in Leh.

The truck in question is a Mercedes 1017 ex Bundeswehr, belongs to Ellen & Perry Rodan. their website here

Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160804_072639.jpg

The mods list on this truck as per them,
  • Engine optimized for more torque and power by Rüdiger Schramm
  • Longest of the 4 possible ratios Vmax 120km / h Consumption at 85km / under 20 liters / 100km (axles converted)
  • Air intake raised
  • Spring packages new and reinforced
  • Tires on front axle 13 x 22.5 on aluminum rims rear 425/65 x 22.5 on steel rims
  • Freewheel hubs on the front axle
  • 500 liters of water
  • 400 liters of diesel
  • Webasto Airtop heater 3500
  • Eberspächer D5WS Water heater with heat exchanger and radiators
  • 800 watt solar on the roof
  • 2.5 KW Honda generator
  • Rear garage can be lowered



What amazing way to travel across the continents! Three cheers to both of them and their spirit!
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Old 30th November 2016, 14:19   #49
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Default Day 8: Padum - Drang Drung Glacier - Rangdum - Kargil - Lamayuru

Day 8: Padum - Drang Drung Glacier - Rangdum - Kargil - Lamayuru

This was going to be a long day for us in terms of driving time. While the driving distance was less than 350 kms in total, it was the same Zanskar Valley unpaved road torture that we were taking back to Kargil.

Our hotel room in Padum. It was nice to have a cozy bed, good food and hot water for shower. The room was done up nicely too. All wooden interiors looked awesome.

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The restaurant where we had our breakfast before leaving from Padum.
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The view of main street in Parum town. We had decent number of small time hotels, guest houses and restaurants on this street.
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We had a light breakfast (omelette, bread toasts etc) and started our day journey around 8:30 in the morning.
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The no road torture continued as we approached Pensi La on our way back.
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The very first glimpse of Drang Drung Glacier from the road.
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It was sunny towards the Glacier side while clouds had started to come from the other end. We saw the open unused sandy sections and the view of small water body was amazing.
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We decided to get a little adventurous and decided to get as close to the Glacier as we could.
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We both got out of the Fortuner and searched for a trail from which we could descent off-road. We walked around and found an appropriate approach to get off-road.
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Once a track was located, I went to get the car down.
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Here is a quick video of the same.


The approach was not very difficult and the trail was a mix of sliding sand coupled with small to medium size stones.
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A view as we got closer to the Glacier.
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We drove the car as close to the glacier as we could, however there was a huge stream, called Stod River, a tributary of River Zanskar, and its feed lake which was originating from the Glacier. We walked around to find whether we could cross the water body from any sides. With no back up vehicle with us and no human contact in sight, we weren't going to take any chances to drive the Fortuner into water. If we got stuck, it would have meant the whole day going waste and it would have been quite a nightmare to pull a bogged down vehicle in middle of nowhere, since Fortuner is very heavy.

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With no luck finding any way to cross the water stream, we decided to leave the Fortuner there itself and decided to trek up to the glacier.

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Anshuman lacing up his boots for the Glacial walk!
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Last edited by Ace F355 : 30th November 2016 at 22:36.
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Old 30th November 2016, 14:19   #50
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Default Continued...

Day 8: Padum - Drang Drung Glacier - Rangdum - Kargil - Lamayuru - CONTINUED...

The glacier looked pretty close in our sight, however the trek was about 30 mins to reach the snout (Glacier's Foot). We could spot a couple of Icelandic trekkers on Glacier's surface! How long would they take to reach to the summit, a good 23 kms away (YES 23 kilometers, that's the length of Drang Drung's corrie!, it is the 2nd longest glacier in Karakoram Range of Indian Himalayas after Siachen).

Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-aaa_5873.jpg

Trekking, even for 30 minutes at that altitude, was never going to be easy.
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As we got further closer, our hands, face, ears were getting numb due to the chilly winds coming from the Glacier side. Took care of that!
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Here is a quick contest. SPOT THE TREKKERS in the two pics below!
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The view kept better and better!
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A few ponnies that we spotted near Stod River's Stream.
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Moreover, our eyes weren't able to scale down the massive size of the glacier. As we got closer and closer, Drang Drung kept getting larger and larger.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-dsc00257.jpg

Once close enough, we realized that the large stone like structures in the snout were actually MASSIVE chunks of glacial ice.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-dsc00268.jpg

Finally, made it to the Glacier Terminus.
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And started our climb on the Glacier itself!
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Stunning view of the Glacier Head!
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Once we started climbing, we realized the glacier surface was extremely slippery! Our head went huh, why? We had plenty of small stones etc under our boots to provide us needed grip! But we noticed something. The surface under those stones was Solid ICE. Thousands and thousands years old glacial ice. It was as solid as a rock!

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Last edited by Ace F355 : 30th November 2016 at 22:35.
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Old 30th November 2016, 14:19   #51
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Default Continued...

Day 8: Padum - Drang Drung Glacier - Rangdum - Kargil - Lamayuru - CONTINUED...

We obviously didn't want to take unnecessary risks since we had no ice climbing gear with us. Therefore, we decided not to venture too far on the glacier and came down quickly.

Anshuman sat down and enjoyed the amazingly raw beauty of a sight to behold. And if some of you are wondering about the color effect, this is how this picture came out of the camera! The glacier in background is indeed grey and the stone on which Anshuman is sitting has all these natural colors.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-aaa_5887.jpg

I went ahead to have a peak into those wide and huge toes in glacier's foot (Crevasses, as they are called).
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-aaa_5893.jpg

The ice pack in crevasses was slowly turning into small chunks of ice, melting and percolating, to feed Stod River.
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The purist form of water anywhere in the world! Don't you agree!
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I took a small chunk out and went WOW! It was as clear as a crystal!
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We spent some more time, enjoying the scenery.
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However, the clouds from the other side were growing at rapid pace and we could sense the weather was deteriorating very quickly.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-dsc00267.jpg

We decided to make quick move back to our car.
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And started our journey back towards Kargil.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160806_135615.jpg

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Leaving the amazing Drang Drung behind!
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Soon we saw weather on glacier getting bad to worse.
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We could also see trekkers on the Glacier also descending down, fast!
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A few more pics from the main road, and the glacier in the background.
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A Panorama I took while Anshuman pondered upon how else can we click this amazing view.
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Light drizzles started by the time we were approaching Pensi La.
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Soon the drizzles turned into pouring rainfall, one of the heaviest we saw during this trip. Lasted for approx. 40 minutes only but filled all those dried down streams remaining on our way back to Kargil.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160806_144940.jpg

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Then, something strange happened. I noticed a few droplets of water on the inner side of the windshield! Must have been some minor gap in the seal of windshield. I got worried for a moment, however it was raining heavily and we wanted to cover ground as fast as we could, so we ignored it. Anshuman was of the opinion to get it checked once back in Delhi, however after so many months and so many more torrential monsoon rains here in plains, the windshield never leaked again! EVER! Strange but true!

Last edited by Ace F355 : 30th November 2016 at 22:35.
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Old 30th November 2016, 14:19   #52
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Default Continued...

Day 8: Padum - Drang Drung Glacier - Rangdum - Kargil - Lamayuru - CONTINUED...

We covered rest of the distance towards Rangdum, Parakchik and Kargil as fast as we could. However, the weather had turned very cold and we simply clicked most of these pics below sitting inside the car only.

A quick video of a small stream crossing on our way back.




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Nice smooth tarmac returned as we got closer to Kargil.
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However, it already had gotten dark by the time we reached Kargil, and our stay point for the night was Lamayuru. So, we decided to keep driving and this was first time we had to drive in dark. Unfortunately, our Hella 3003 Aux lights were down and out and on our way to Lamayuru, one of my low beam also went kaput!
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160806_212558_hht.jpg

So, 3 lights out of a total of 6 were done! The road to Zanskar Valley was taking its toll on the car and how! We kept driving and reached Lamayuru around 11:30 PM. Found ourselves a place to crash and wrapped up one of the most exiciting day of the trip!

That's it for now and stay tuned for rest of the story.

Last edited by Ace F355 : 30th November 2016 at 22:35.
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Old 30th November 2016, 19:57   #53
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Default Re: Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner

Wonderful thread. Rated 5*
The pics are just magnificent and the way you have narrated really make one feel, as if he is travelling with you guys! Kudos to you for this brilliant travelogue.
The Leh circuit itself is a challenging terrain and you guys have chosen the roads less traveled ! Hats off to you guys.

I do follow the ownership thread of this Fortuner silently and i must say i have become a fan of this SUV. Its brute and from its stance it makes one believe it can go anywhere ! Off-late i search You-tube too, to see the offroading video's of this Fortuner!

Last edited by Samba : 30th November 2016 at 20:08.
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Old 1st December 2016, 11:05   #54
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Default Re: Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Its brute and from its stance it makes one believe it can go anywhere ! Off-late i search You-tube too, to see the offroading video's of this Fortuner!
You must see this Fortuner in action, it is awesome! Search Anshuman Bishnoi's you tube videos to see what all it does.
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Old 19th December 2016, 10:22   #55
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Default Day 9: Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Khalsar - Shyok - Wari La - Shakti - Karu

Day 9: Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Khalsar - Shyok - Wari La - Shakti - Karu

Our hotel in Lamayuru turned out to be very good choice, we had negotiated good deal with them during previous night. Had hot shower next morning, excellent breakfast and pretty decent speed of Wifi too! We were so tired the previous night that we realized the Wifi availability next morning only.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_070303.jpg

No dedicated parking for Fortuner in this hotel though! Had to be parked by roadside during night.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_091507.jpg

After a filling breakfast early morning, we started our day since we were keen to reach Pangong Tso at the end of the day. Followed NH1 on our way to Leh.

Famous moonscapes on Srinagar-Leh Highway, the Lamayuru Moonland!
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The day was pretty cloudy, however our drive on NH1 was very good... not too much of traffic and we covered ground pretty fast. Anshuman was behind the wheel and we managed to make Fortuner's tires squeal on a couple of sharp hairpins on empty stretches.

What smooth tarmac! Highway - Runway? Tomato Tomato!!!
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-339.jpg

Plenty of Army Convoys spotted! The respect for our boys in uniforms comes by default once you are on this territory! Their dedication is unparalleled to say the least.
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A display piece of artillery, visible from the highway, placed on a very treacherous piece of rock!
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Kept driving on the lonely highway with silent looking mighty mountains in the background.
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Soon we reached the magnetic hill point! Plenty of people there since many first time visitors try it and get amazed. We didn't feel like we should take part in the place's usual rituals.

However, from the main highway, we spotted the place on a nearby hill where many enthusiasts (including fellow moderator tsk1979) have tried to leave their tire marks!



We thought this may be interesting to try out. So, we got off the road and found out a couple of place where we could do it! Some felt easy to conquer, but we were't there for easy, were we!

We went to the side of a mountain and gradient looked steep! And no one has tried here before! I got out of the vehicle while .a decided to attempt!

Here is one of the clips!



We did try the regular ones and could have tried to beat the record of highest point, just by crawling in Fortuner! However, firstly the difficulty was not on its way going up, but in reversing the vehicle in a dead-straight line from that height can be painful and dangerous. Secondly, it looked like someone had gone overboard with their speed and had dug up towards the top end! No prize for guessing that if you get into those potholes, reversing will be even more difficult.

We attempted a couple of hills without taking any unnecessary risk for ourselves and left for Leh after 30 mins or so. A few pics of our attempts below. Fort tire tracks can be recognized basis tire pattern!
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-dsc00295.jpg

Back on the road towards Leh...
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Entered Leh just before 11:30, bought a 40 Lt Plastic Jerry Can for additional diesel that we planned to carry.

Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_112303.jpg

Sealed the can's cap using double layer of condoms! We both knew how bad the awful smell of leaking diesel in a car can be! Protection saves!
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Soon we wrapped up our activities at Leh as quickly as possible and left for Khardung La.
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A view of Leh city in distance, pic taken from the car on our way to Khardung La.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_130119.jpg

Last edited by Ace F355 : 21st December 2016 at 15:35.
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Old 19th December 2016, 10:22   #56
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Default Day 9: Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Khalsar - Shyok - Wari La - Shakti - Karu - CONTINUED...

Day 9: Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Khalsar - Shyok - Wari La - Shakti - Karu - CONTINUED...

Soon we reached our first stoppage on our way to Khardung La. South Pullu Police Post. Submitted the required forms and completed the formalities.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_130753.jpg

Garbage thrown in open nearby South Pullu post!

Will we Indians ever learn?
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Weather towards lower altitudes wasn't looking good!
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A few poor stretches on the way, nothing too serious!
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Well if Swifts/Zens can make it, why not others!
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Approaching Khardung La!
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A customary pic at K-Top
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Weather towards Khalsar also looked turning bad.
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Soon it started raining and the temperatures kept coming down!
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At North Pullu Police Post, completed the formalities.
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The downward stretch towards Khalsar was in pretty bad shape at some points. Although it never mattered to us! Remember we were coming from Zanskar Valley!
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A view of Shyok River while coming down from K-top.
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Reached Khalsar and turned towards Agham.
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_154402.jpg

Some amazing vistas on our way. Sadly, the weather was pretty cold and we enjoyed the views from the car only.
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Atlantis Posing for a few clicks!
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Crossed Agham and continued on our way to Pangong Tso!
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with similar amazing vistas along the way.
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However, as we started getting near Shyok village, the weather finally started taking turn for the worse.

Last edited by Ace F355 : 21st December 2016 at 14:30.
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Old 19th December 2016, 10:22   #57
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Default Day 9: Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Khalsar - Shyok - Wari La - Shakti - Karu - CONTINUED...

Day 9: Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Khalsar - Shyok - Wari La - Shakti - Karu - CONTINUED...

We kept driving hoping the weather will eventually improve and we could make it to Durbuk/Pangong Tso on time... however it kept raining intermittently.

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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_160706.jpg

We could sense the river alongside our way wasn't calm anymore!
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And neither were the mountains!
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Notice the water level under the bridge.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_161253.jpg

We kept up with good pace and wanted to make upto Shyok village as quickly as possible.
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_162304.jpg

We almost made it as per our plan and were really close to Shyok (probably <5 kms away). However, that's where Murphy struck!

We met with a group of BRO workers who were riding motorcycles and were taking back a couple of tourists to Agham. Upon asking, they told us that there was a massive land slide ahead and a complete section of road had washed away with river and it would take BRO to build that road section at least 2 days (they mentioned washed section was 200 meters in length!). We inquired whether it would have been possible by us in our Fortuner to cross that section alongside the river bank. They replied Negative!

It had gotten 4:30 PM Already and going back to Khalsar wasn't going to be any help since this road will not open for 2 days! Should we be going back to Leh? That would have meant crossing Khardung La at night + one complete day wastage!

What should we do??? We kept thinking...

Meanwhile we could saw the river water level kept rising and decided that it was not even worth going to the landslide and evaluate our options for crossing it somehow.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_162428.jpg

Dejected to have come so close to Shyok village and not able to reach, we decided to turn back...
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TO BE CONTINUED...

Last edited by Ace F355 : 21st December 2016 at 15:41.
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Old 19th December 2016, 10:22   #58
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Default Re: Ladakh Travelogue Post

Day 9: Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Khalsar - Shyok - Wari La - Shakti - Karu - CONTINUED...

On our way back to Agham...
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_170426.jpg

And we again got to see a couple of minor landslides! The unnerving feeling of getting stuck in middle of nowhere is not explainable in words...
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_171457.jpg

Anshuman was concentrated at driving, we even skipped a few stones rolling down the mountains into river, over the drive way.
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_173430.jpg

Once back in open, we looked into the GPS and re-evaluated our options for the day.
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_174618.jpg

We realized, from Agham there was another way that would cut the Leh -Chang La - Pangong Tso road; however it was unexplored by both of us in our earlier trips and we weren't sure how this decision will finally turn up because taking this road meant we will have to cross another high-pass, Wari La!!! We decided to take up that gamble and started our drive towards Wari La.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_173454.jpg

The mountains towards Wari La aren't what you would call stable! They are made up of small and mid-size stones with gravel as a binding agent. Sort of perfect types which cause land slide if it starts raining heavily! Thankfully it wasn't raining at that time and we covered the ground very quickly towards Wari La.
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Lo and behold, once we started the climb on steady mountains, it started raining again! Seemed like even the almightly was watching our day progress!
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_182128.jpg

TO BE CONTINUED...

Last edited by Ace F355 : 21st December 2016 at 15:45.
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Default Day 9: Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Khalsar - Shyok - Wari La - Shakti - Karu - CONTINUED...

Day 9: Lamayuru - Leh - Khardung La - Khalsar - Shyok - Wari La - Shakti - Karu - CONTINUED...

We kept making decent progress and enjoyed the scenery from the car itself!



Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_182417.jpg

Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_182438.jpg

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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_183123.jpg

Finally, reached Wari La top. At 5314 meters (~17500 feet), Wari La is nothing short of Khardung La in terms of achievement and the climb is way more interesting.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_183617.jpg

Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_183751.jpg

Raining at the top as well...
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Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-366.jpg

Resulting in pretty chilly weather conditions
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Started our descent and the roads were decent in some patches...
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_190133.jpg

Spotted a few shortcuts and didn't miss anyone of them at all!



Kept driving at soon could see the town Sakti in the valley! We were pretty glad to have decided taking this route.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_190812.jpg

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It had gotten really dark by the time we reached Sakti and were again in dilemma whether we should move to Leh or stay at Karu itself, and save (40+40 kms) of travel time and distance for next day.
Overlanding in Ladakh: Exploring the less explored routes in a Toyota Fortuner-img_20160807_193829.jpg

Went to see accommodation options in Karu, found an okay type place and decided to call it a day!

Another adventurous and exciting day ended well...

Last edited by Ace F355 : 21st December 2016 at 15:25.
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Old 22nd December 2016, 12:03   #60
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Default Day 11: First Half

Day 11 First Half: At Pangong Tso

Once our program for the day was fixed, we drove back to lonely lake side and spent some more quality time.

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At the banks of the lake, pulled our camping chairs out and relaxed. The crisp and cold breeze, the changing colors of Pangong Tso and absolute solitude was really enjoyable.
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Anshuman, after relaxing some time, went ahead for some bird photography on the lake.
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A few clicks of Atlantis as well...
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Last edited by Ace F355 : 23rd December 2016 at 11:16.
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