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Old 21st October 2009, 11:33   #46
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Hmmm, the best part coming up (soon) I hope

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
The thing I was talking about! Smooth black tarmac. 1km before and 1km after the pass. In a rare display of Generosity BRO decided to tarmac 2kms of the pass. Normally at all passes good roads go upto 5kms before the pass, and then restart 5kms after the pass. Here they wanted it to be the other way round.
Man, I don't believe my eyes. Amazing that they've done it up now, just before the Pass will be closed & buried in snow for 5 months! So its back to Square One when the road opens up. Nevertheless - looks real good!
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Old 21st October 2009, 11:51   #47
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Default Kunzum

Unlike the Pile of Dead bodies, this one was all white. The Western disturbance had been generous here. That lone truck was the only vehicle we saw coming down, and that was before the snowfall began.
Looking at the surroundings, it seemed it had been snowing for 1 hour at most, and already, snow was getting thick, and the track slippery
The sign said "Do a round of the temple" before proceeding, and we decided to oblige
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The road to Kunzum shrine. Its the most colorful pass we had ever seen. Prayer flags all around. From Kunzum you can take a 5-6kms trek to Chandertaal if you wish so.
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The Shrine and the large prayer flags
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Since it had started snowing only from past hour or so, many places on road did not have snow. But it will change within minuts
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Look at the snow fall
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The flags. This was a riot of color!
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We were all alone up there. Nobody coming up, or going down. In a few minutes if this snowfall continued, climbing uphill will become impossible. This snowfall was much thicker than what we had encountered at Rohtang in May. It was a blizzard.

We decided to proceed towards C'taal quickly, as that road may also close down. We hoped that the lower altitudes will be spared.

But it was not to be. As we slowly started descending, the snowfall got much heavier. It was a blessing in disguise.
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The soft snow meant the tires got more tracktion and sliding was limited
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My foot was going in full 2-3 inches on the road
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This means 2-3 inches in an hour. After a foot of snow, not even 4WD vehicles will climb up.

A few more pics. Instead of the light small sleet kind of snowfall, now it was all big snowfalkes, falling like cotton
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This is the road. When we came up, we could still see surface, now there was a good 2 inches on it
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Looking down it was clear, that the mud track we came up was now white. Snowfall was happening down below
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This road had been devoid of snow at this point, now its half an inch of snowfall here too,within minutes
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Infact, snowfall had almost reached the valley down below
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But chandertaal was our aim, and we trudged on to the fork
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TO BE CONT.........
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Old 21st October 2009, 11:59   #48
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Ok i have decided...the next time i speak to my boss i am gonna ask him if there is an opening in Delhi or still better in Chandigarh.

tsk i am gonna kill u

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 21st October 2009 at 12:01.
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Old 21st October 2009, 12:09   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
But chandertaal was our aim, and we trudged on to the fork

TO BE CONT.........
Chandertaal on a good day is challenging given the narrow track and hairpin turns where one has to reverse and then go forward. Trying to tackle it in snow should be mildly interesting to say the least and clinically insane to say the most .

The reason for going around the temple is local legend that if one does not do it, there may be an accident. Every car/bus on that route does the circuit around it before proceeding further. So it is a good thing that you did circle it.
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Old 21st October 2009, 12:14   #50
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@Tanveer: While I must comment with the obligatory "Amazing" I must also say this - Extremely foolhardy and dangerous. No snow chains, No back up vehicle and you were wanting to go to Chandrataal - off the "main" road on which at this time of the year traffic is nil - with snow falling. If I loved my life - or better yet my wife - I would not do this in this fashion. Do it yes but with safety also i mind.

Now that this is out of the way looking forward to the complete illustrated travelogue.

Last edited by sudev : 21st October 2009 at 12:15.
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Old 21st October 2009, 12:19   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
@Tanveer: While I must comment with the obligatory "Amazing" I must also say this - Extremely foolhardy and dangerous. No snow chains, No back up vehicle and you were wanting to go to Chandrataal - off the "main" road on which at this time of the year traffic is nil - with snow falling. If I loved my life - or better yet my wife - I would not do this in this fashion. Do it yes but with safety also i mind.

Now that this is out of the way looking forward to the complete illustrated travelogue.
LOL Sudev, its just looks more dangerous. Trust me, on all our Jaunts to to remote lakes, like our Kyun Tso attempt, if at any stage we feel trail is slippery, or dangerous, we go back.
We take little risk.
Wait for the next episode
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Old 21st October 2009, 12:21   #52
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Fantastic pics. Wonder how many places there are to see just in this part of India..
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Old 21st October 2009, 12:24   #53
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Tsk, great travelogue. it needs real guts to there at this time. Great photos too.
In couple of shots there is no road, all ice. How you were able to manage it.

I did a rohtang in mid august, it was so slippery on hairpins, my beast had a tough time climbing at couple of places.
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Old 21st October 2009, 12:26   #54
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Default The Road to Chandertaal

This was our destination.
As we descended 8kms, we could see mild snow falling, but the chandertaal track was still clean.
Slowly, I turned the car on the narrow trail, and boy! It way narrow. Narrower than the narrowest tracks we have driven on.
I shifted to 4L just to be on the safe side. In second gear 4L gives you tremendous engine braking.
The trail was all rocky, with rocks on road, and if you go close to side, rocks fall down.
Extremely scary.
And then came a huge waterfall. It was in the process of freezing, but due to its size, weather had not conquered it yet.
the temp guage, inspite of the engine heat, went to 1 degree C

Just after the water crossing, we knew we were not going forward. We had come merely 2kms and the road had defeated us.

Even the white elephant cannot negotiate this

Rocks on road.
first small 20-30kg rocks, followed by huge boulders in the background. Forget driving, this was not even walkable
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To reinforce the decision of turning back quickly, its started snowing here also. till now this track had been dry, but standing there I could literally feel the chill through the bones. Temp was falling rather fast
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Look at ice forming on the bumper. wherever we splashed water, it hung as icicles from the bumper
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The waterfall was big, yet it had started freezing right in front of our eyes
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All this was cool, but there was a big problem. How to reverse the safari, which had the turning radius of an oil tanker
The answer was the waterfall. 4L and reverse is a potent combo, and I started reversing into the waterfall. Since it was mountain side, it would be okay.
The mammoth took 2 reversing attempts to turn around.

The road Chandertaal had defeated us
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What is it with hidden lakes and defeat. Getting used to it, I must say.
This lake will be done some day by us, most probably on foot from Kunzum(as long as its less than 6kms)

For now, its was time to run to Khoksar

TO BE CONT............
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Old 21st October 2009, 12:45   #55
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Tanveer, nice write up and brilliant pictures, you were mentioning that it was really very cold, sitting in the comforts of my office i just feel the chill on my bones with your superb narration. It really is great that you had left the elephant and went into the cold to take these pictures. Just one word "EXCELLENT". Looking forward to more from you!
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Old 21st October 2009, 13:00   #56
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Superb pics man. Tested man and machine to the limit i guess. Waiting for the rest of the writeup and pics.
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Old 21st October 2009, 13:25   #57
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We too were so lucky to see snow at KunZum La, but not like you did.
You had snow all over the road also!
Chandratal road defeated us too. We could hardly do 1KM and we saw a large pile of snow on the road. HVK had to come reverse almost 300m on that narrow road. I would have never dared to do that.
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Old 21st October 2009, 13:29   #58
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This pile of snow you saw, slid down into the valley, and along with it brought a shower of rocks.
We earlier thought PWD deliberately did it, but they told us later, that it was not them, but the snow slide which caused rocks on road.
It will be cleared next year after Kunzum reopens.
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Old 21st October 2009, 13:30   #59
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Subscribed to thread.

Tanveer, man I really envy you. So many trips back to back. Hats off to you!
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Old 21st October 2009, 13:35   #60
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Hey bro, I feel so good for you and at the same time kinda envy you . Albeit Chandratal wasn't reached, but you got to see the Lahaul valley during the snowfall bliss. Nothing like a cliffhanger of a drive to curb the daredevil inside.

Hope you get to visit Chandratal soon, unless well I'll hold on to my horses till you complete. As usual, awesome photographs and great writeup. Splendid stuff!

I keep dreaming about doing the Kinnaur, Spiti, Lahaul, Ladakh, Kashmir circuit so much. Keep waiting for the time when I can get a months leave. *sigh*

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