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Old 7th December 2010, 20:44   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Awesome pics and narration, that road looks dangerous. How did the wagon r fare in rohtang?
Thanks. Yes in mud and slush, these roads are indeed dangerous. The advantage of Wagon R was its weight. Even i was curious to see how it crossed the final patch, but was far behind. But it must had been really effort taking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Completely hooked. Pictures are excellent and the narration even better. Yes the roads are treacherous around Rohtang and made even worse by slush and stupid drivers. Good going mate, keep them coming.
Thanks a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nimbleguru View Post
Amazing snaps there Kandisa. The jeep in particular looks fabulous !!...
Even I'm wondering about the low ground clearance vehicles in the convoy ? Imagine what would happen to my FIGO with it's infamously low GC

Stupid question :
Where/how do you get those stickers ?
Thanks for the appreciation. GC was not a very big problem except at few places, but off course one had to be cautious enough. More problematic was the loss in traction due to the muddy roads, add to that the sharp inclines at many of the places. As per Figo, well people have done this route in all sorts of vehicles; so it can be done in Figo as well. But i feel the skills required to drive a normal car in these stretches are immense. In front of us few rohtang bound Altos and 800s were skidding in a dangerous manner in some of the inclines where there were hardly any roads. For a 1st timer, that is really scary. Thank god, i was driving the jeep and getting a 4 wheel drive support. Midway up Rohtang a DL number Indica was stranded and the bumpers of the vehicle got totally dislodged from the body! About the stickers, well you will get those automatically if you are in a 'Self Drive Expedition' journey. Sanjay was the man to get the stickers made and these were of very high quality.

Meanwhile here are few more pics between Manali and Jispa:

At the start of Rohtang road
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A snap of the jeep taken by Sanjay from his LC
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Another snap of the stretches enroute Rohtang
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Road condition was dismal as usual during the descent towards khoksar
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The dhaba at khoksar
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Sanjay's nano expedition sticker was all over.
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Halt at Tandi at 9 o'clock at night
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Old 8th December 2010, 07:47   #32
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Thumbs up great journey !

This thread seems to be another one of those Leh Classics. I will be following the thread closely. (Ah. some more of office productive time lost).
I am also planning to do the Leh Circuit next year in May/ June. And hopefully will be able to join some convoy from Delhi. I have been reading through the Leh threads for quite a few months now, however yours is a very unique experience doing it in an open jeep (well almost). I will myself buy a new SUV as soon as I return to India next year and your thread would surely help me in taking a well informed decision.
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Old 8th December 2010, 07:54   #33
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Day 4: Jispa to Leh (Part I)
---------------------------

Being on the road (or should i say no road!) for more than 15 hours is not that common a phenomena for us and that too when me driving the Jeep. Quite logically we were dead tired and what was badly needed was a complete rest (read as proper sleep). But it was not to be. To avoid the discomforts at Sarchu we already had planned to make it to Leh from Jispa in a single day without any halt in between. And to make that happen we had to start early.
So in spite of utter unwillingness, we had to leave the bed at 4.30 in the morning and the body was indicating all the signals that the break was not sufficient. The windows of the guest house room opened towards the river side and the early morning view was stunningly beautiful. And it was so calm and quiet. After getting ready when we came outside,we were more impressed. At the same time we were repenting for not making it to Jispa in daylight and spend some good time lazying around the beautiful setting.

The early morning view from the room of the guest house:
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Jeep & Gypsy in the 'parking lot'
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Guest house
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And its extension,taken in FZ; we had the dinner here
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The beautiful road of Jispa
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The jeep feeling at home
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The Jeepers
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The mandatory check on the oil and stuffs in the jeep revealed that the engine oil level has gone below the half pointer. We were slightly surprised as the condition of the engine was new and the consumption of oil was bit too much! Anyways we thought to put some oil later as engine oil was one of the few things I forgot at the last moment!

Few photos here and there and we started the journey with the promise that sometime or other I am going to come back to Jispa and stay only here for few days. The awesome tarmac road ended very soon and soon we were near Darcha. Few minutes before the bridge, Sanjay suddenly were honking from behind and i stopped. He came and asked what about some little 4 wheel driving fun. Hell yes, i told and followed the LC. In stead of taking the road and going over the bridge, we took the unpaved road going downwards towards the stream. Sanjay was ahead and seeing the LC in action, i was assured that the water level was not that high. So i followed and had my 1st proper water-offroading experience. Though when the Jeep was crossing it, i could feel that the current was not that subtle.

Start of the water trail, spot the jeep!
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The LC in the front during water crossing
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And the jeep
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Sanjay recorded the entire episode from inside the LC through the sunroof and it was one of the best videos of the jeep from the trip. Here are the two videos:





After this small diversion, we soon rejoined the main road and it had started drizzling by then. 10 minutes later there was a small jam because of a truck breaking down. But it was cleared within half an hour. Trucks were coming continuously from the opposite direction, often at turns with narrow patch of road. And i had the initial experiences of reversing few times by the side of the drop! One notable instance was about an Army Stallion coming from the opposite direction. In stead of reversing, the driver put the right side of the truck on the slope in a semi-tilted position, and it was a stance to watch! The drizzle continued and the overall surroundings were kind of gloomy and i really didn't like that. Also i thought may be after Keylong, Jispa it wouldn't rain that much. Water crossings on the road became frequent and here is one of those, video taken from the FZ:



The increased water intake was forcing frequent loo breaks and the innovative shower tent came to the rescue of the females. Just to make a note, this particular thing was one of the most useful things in the Leh journey and i think anyone going with females to these kind of places should buy a stuff like this. I remember hvkumar once told that one usual problem with females accompanying you in the Leh trip is that they usually dont want to take water because of the loo thing and it makes them more vulnerable to AMS. With a tent like this, that problem is well taken care of. A big thanks to Rahul for carrying this stuff.

The Deepak tal & Suraj tal were all covered in mist and fog and looking drastically different than what they use to in sunshine. After sometime, while taking a break, Sanjay told that the overall rate of progress was really slow and we need to keep the pace up a bit. Needless to mention, i was primarily responsible for this as i was driving bit too carefully taking some extra margins and particularly when the jeep steering was not that precise in the turns. Not to mention the rarefied level of oxygen had started the effect on the carb engine. It was decided that Mandeep would drive the jeep for now and Rahul, the Cedia. The altitude gain was visibly felt and breathings were not normal anymore. We switched to 4 wheel drive low and the jeep was climbing the loops in 3rd-4th gear in good speed thanks to some spirited driving by Mandeep.

Suraj Taal
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Patsio
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LC on the way to Barlachla
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Surroundings were covered with mist and fog, the worst kind of weather in this route
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After half an hour or so, we saw the fuel gauge of the jeep going down and stopped to fuel up the tank. It was quite a task putting petrol from the jerrycans. Soon we reached Barlacha la and the drizzle was going pretty strong.

A video of the jeep enroute barlacha la:




And reached Barlacha la finally
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Old 8th December 2010, 12:24   #34
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

Great Going buddy, i'm totally hooked. Just a question, where did the cedia and the gypsy go. I can only see the jeep and LC. Curious to know, how did the cedia manage the terrain where 4L was required.
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Old 8th December 2010, 12:54   #35
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

What tha, in the 'Start of the water trail', that Jeep looks as it's about to commit Hara-Kiri! How high did the water reach?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kandisa View Post
Few photos here and there and we started the journey with the promise that sometime or other I am going to come back to Jispa and stay only here for few days.
I read you bro. It's a terrifically beautiful place. I guess one can spend days sitting on the banks of Jispa river, taking hikes in them mountains & contemplating what's ahead. Next time, I'm planning to do the Jispa-Leh stretch in at least a week, just hope I get the huge number of holidays I am looking for.

Fantastic stuff, awaiting more!

EDIT: Never driven a 4X4 vehicle, but just wanted to inquire, how does a Petrol Jeep fare in comparison to a diesel Jeep viz a viz Torque?

Last edited by lordofgondor : 8th December 2010 at 12:57.
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Old 8th December 2010, 12:59   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivmarwaha View Post
Great Going buddy, i'm totally hooked. Just a question, where did the cedia and the gypsy go. I can only see the jeep and LC. Curious to know, how did the cedia manage the terrain where 4L was required.
Hi,
cedia was behind the jeep and lc,gypsy and wagon r were around couple of turns ahead of us.Cedia to my experience,is one of the most sort out car chassis,braking,handling wise,there was no need for 4L,as the progress was slow and the was raining cats and dogs on slippery path,4L and top gear with pedal to metal will increase your average speeds on hills with less chances of going side ways instead,you get more traction and speed on high altitude when oxygen is also playing its role,so more you change gears,more you loose time and speed,in 4l you can still maintain good speeds.

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Old 8th December 2010, 13:04   #37
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

The start of water trail looks scary, did the water level was actually that high or is it just the front draft due to the impact of the front bumper? The drive in the fog looks beautiful and tempting.
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Old 8th December 2010, 13:57   #38
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

Hey water off road was cool, you need to be aware of whats underneath to attempt such thing i guess. Weather looks too bleak till now, really appreciate your efforts in a soft top jeep.

Did the water get inside when you did that off roading?
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Old 8th December 2010, 14:33   #39
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

Been reading a lot on similar expedition but this one seems to be quite different given the weather and road conditions..
The beautiful Suraj/Deepak Tal lakes are almost invisible due to mist.
Hope you get to see better views ahead..
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Old 8th December 2010, 15:53   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akaush View Post
This thread seems to be another one of those Leh Classics. I will be following the thread closely. (Ah. some more of office productive time lost).
I am also planning to do the Leh Circuit next year in May/ June. And hopefully will be able to join some convoy from Delhi. I have been reading through the Leh threads for quite a few months now, however yours is a very unique experience doing it in an open jeep (well almost). I will myself buy a new SUV as soon as I return to India next year and your thread would surely help me in taking a well informed decision.
Well thanks a lot, i don't know whether it will be in the category of classic threads as there have been few really extra-ordinary threads on Leh in the forum containing breathtaking photographs. But definitely it is unique and very different because of the 'JEEP THING' as we use to say. All the best for your new SUV purchase and future trip to ladakh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shivmarwaha View Post
Great Going buddy, i'm totally hooked. Just a question, where did the cedia and the gypsy go. I can only see the jeep and LC. Curious to know, how did the cedia manage the terrain where 4L was required.
Thanks man. The Gypsy and Wagon-R as Mandeep has already mentioned, were a couple of turns ahead and Cedia was just behind. Actually only Sanjay and Me took the plunge to go through the 'water-diversion', other vehicles went through the normal road for obvious reasons. Gypsy probably would have attempted, but it already went ahead when we were trying the stretch. The reason of switching to 4L in the jeep has already been explained by 'renegade'. The rarefied air had a much worse effect on the carb engine of the jeep than on the other mpfi petrol engines. 4 wheel drive was not a must on the roads for the modern cars. But i must say again, driving the Cedia or the Wagon R through the difficult patches of Rohtang does need some really really good skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
What tha, in the 'Start of the water trail', that Jeep looks as it's about to commit Hara-Kiri! How high did the water reach?
Wish the pic was taken from a good camera! The water level was a bit higher than the front bumper, but when the jeep took the plunge, it went even higher for some moments, when the pic was taken.

Quote:
..I read you bro. It's a terrifically beautiful place. I guess one can spend days sitting on the banks of Jispa river, taking hikes in them mountains & contemplating what's ahead. Next time, I'm planning to do the Jispa-Leh stretch in at least a week, just hope I get the huge number of holidays I am looking for. Fantastic stuff, awaiting more!
Thanks mate and yes can't agree more; indeed this place is pure bliss for relaxation and enjoying the beauties around. If you can really afford to do the Jispa-Leh even in a week, i will consider you as a damn lucky person.

Quote:
....EDIT: Never driven a 4X4 vehicle, but just wanted to inquire, how does a Petrol Jeep fare in comparison to a diesel Jeep viz a viz Torque?
Ah, though i don't 've any experience with diesel jeeps, but there is a common complaint against the petrol jeep about its lack of 'low end torque'. But some people have test driven my jeep after engine ovehaul and fitment of automech header and magnaflow premuffler and their feelings were the jeep does have some good torque. Mandeep, an experienced offroader and veteran with jeeps, also feels so. From our personal experience, this jeep has done everything done by the diesel jeeps in the normal OTRs whenever we went. I have sat in diesel jeeps very few times and the rattles/vibrations/noise were enough to direct me on the petrol way. Btw, by diesel i was referring to the diesel engines existing in the Mahindra jeeps till date. With the launch of Mahindra Thar, the perspective may change drastically as it is coming with a CRde engine belonging to new engine family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
The start of water trail looks scary, did the water level was actually that high or is it just the front draft due to the impact of the front bumper? The drive in the fog looks beautiful and tempting.
Even i was also scared after seeing the video! Yes the actual level was not that high and it appeared more due to the impact of the front bumper. But still it was well above the front bumper (remember the jeep is running on 31" tyres) and the current was also pretty strong. Well, i know some people like the misty and foggy weather in the hills (including my better half) but tell you what this type of weather coupled with the low level of oxygen was very demotivating for me. Not to mention, this was not an ideal setting at all for taking some good pictures of the landscapes this area is famous for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Hey water off road was cool, you need to be aware of whats underneath to attempt such thing i guess. Weather looks too bleak till now, really appreciate your efforts in a soft top jeep.

Did the water get inside when you did that off roading?
Thanks. There were two reasons why i opted to go through that patch. Firstly, Sanjay knew this part, being a Raid De Himalaya veteran and secondly he first crossed it and then i followed. So i took the plunge after becoming sure that i was not going to any unknown zone, otherwise i always stay away from water! And the water level was lower than the floor of the jeep, so it didn't go inside the jeep. Weather was at its worst since we had started from Manali. Driving through this stretch amidst rain, fog and usual cold was really difficult and even so in the jeep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MohsinRoadster View Post
Been reading a lot on similar expedition but this one seems to be quite different given the weather and road conditions..
The beautiful Suraj/Deepak Tal lakes are almost invisible due to mist.
Hope you get to see better views ahead..
In fact i saw hundreds of photographs of this route in other travelogues, but never expected a scene like this. Probably thats the beauty of this journey, there are always so many uncertainties.

Quote:
..Hope you get to see better views ahead..
How i wish your wishes were true!

Last edited by Kandisa : 8th December 2010 at 15:57. Reason: addition
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Old 9th December 2010, 10:49   #41
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Jispa To Leh Part II
--------------------
At Barlacha La:

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The effect of the altitude was clearly felt and after the quick photo-session we started the descent and things started getting slightly easier. The haziness in the surroundings reduced to some extent and the approach towards Bharatpur was opening up new vistas, though there was no sunshine as such. The small group of tents were visible from the distance. Few cyclists were preparing to camp near the tents. Few pics around the Bharatpur stretch:

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The continuous water intake was on, so were the frequency of loo breaks. Soon we decided to take a brief pause and parked vehicles by the side of he road. The feel of the surrounding landscapes were so very different. And i had the 1st sighting of a marmot quite at a distant for a very brief moment. So no chance to capture the cute species. The drizzle came back few minutes after we started towards Sarchu.
And the cloud formation in the distant sky was giving the hint that situation was not going to improve during the journey ahead. Amidst cold and drizzle we finally reached the tent habitation of Sarchu. Rows of tents in the flat ground with red and green coloured cover were looking amazingly beautiful. Remembering the stories about Sarchu, i was guessing how it could feel at night in this kind of a place in a tent set-up. We had already decided to take the long break at Pang, so no stoppage at Sarchu. Few snaps enroute Sarchu:

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Jeep was looking very different in this type of natural set-up

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Conditions of the roads were slightly improved as we started the ascent of Gata loops. The shortcuts branching out from the main road were amazing and few times we were tempted to try few of those, but didn't do that finally as we were not very sure how the climbs would be towards the top end which were not visible.Not to mention routes were slippery due to rain, better to try during the descent. It feels amazing when one looks down towards the loops below and seeing vehicles climbing through the zig zag curves in a synchro. The climbs seemed to be never ending. Here is a video:



And few pics

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Gata loops ended finally and came the Nakeela & Lachulung La.

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Old 9th December 2010, 12:05   #42
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Posting few more photos of the journey so far. Not even once we were able to have a sunny atmosphere for some good photography. There was no sign of blue sky and the distinct shades of the nature were not that prominent at all. Overall the mood of the nature was gloomy and dull.
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Old 9th December 2010, 13:52   #43
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Jispa to Leh continued....
-------------------------
Pang was not supposed to be very far away now. But conditions of the road deteriorated drastically very soon. Streams were flowing in full flow in couple of places and roads were non-existent. But what struck me even more was the changed landcape. Mighty mountains and the unique natural formations curved out over the years looked absolutely surreal. Though i 've seen the same in photos many a times but experiencing the same in person was something can't be described in words. The final water crossing few kms away from Pang was really bad. The water flow was strong, there were small & big boulders all around and it was really tricky for the smaller vehicles or the ones with low GC. Jeep with its 31" Bighorn tyres and the 4wd low, crossed it effortlessly. What followed afterwards is a completely muddy track somewhat similar to Rohtang. Mandeep was in a rally mode and drove past the stretch in a whizz.
So we finally reached Pang and everyone was desperate to stretch the body and take some good rest. Sanjay came soon and announced that we would take a break for around an hour. Picked up a tent and the seating area was already drenched. So all of us went inside leaving shoes and occupied the sleeping zone. Maggi and tea was ordered and this was going to be our 1st official food stop apart from the packed breakfast from the Jispa guest house.

A video of the journey enroute Pang




And some photos

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And few pics taken from Rahul's FZ

Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group-2.jpg

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Old 9th December 2010, 14:03   #44
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

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Originally Posted by Kandisa View Post
Not even once we were able to have a sunny atmosphere for some good photography. There was no sign of blue sky and the distinct shades of the nature were not that prominent at all. Overall the mood of the nature was gloomy and dull.
The photographs with those clouds all around give a fresh look to the stretch. With no sunshine it must have been darn cold I believe. I really can't imagine how cold a night in Sarchu would have been! I can't help jumping the gun, so here it goes; did you encounter snowfall anywhere before getting to Leh?

The Jeep keeps looking better as the journey progresses! From what I have read in some Ladakh travelogues, it can be kinda dicey taking shortcuts on the loops unless one's familiar with the terrain.

EDIT:

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Originally Posted by Kandisa View Post
The final water crossing few kms away from Pang was really bad. The water flow was strong, there were small & big boulders all around and it was really tricky for the smaller vehicles or the ones with low GC. Jeep with its 31" Bighorn tyres and the 4wd low, crossed it effortlessly.
This must have been Kangla Jal. And the pic dsc07200.jpg really takes the cake!

Last edited by lordofgondor : 9th December 2010 at 14:09.
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Old 9th December 2010, 14:38   #45
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

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Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
The photographs with those clouds all around give a fresh look to the stretch. With no sunshine it must have been darn cold I believe. I really can't imagine how cold a night in Sarchu would have been! I can't help jumping the gun, so here it goes; did you encounter snowfall anywhere before getting to Leh?
Seeing this area in a weather like this was indeed different. After all we are habituated with seeing the usual bright vistas of this route in the travelogues. Yes it was pretty cold even in the month of July. Thankfully we were equipped properly as we knew that the soft top jeep was not going to give much of protection from the outside environment. We hardly saw anyone/ any vehicles in the Sarchu tents when we were passing by. No doubt staying there at night would have been a really uphill task.
And sorry to disappoint you, but we were not blessed with snowfall anywhere in the Manali-Leh stretch.

Quote:
The Jeep keeps looking better as the journey progresses! From what I have read in some Ladakh travelogues, it can be kinda dicey taking shortcuts on the loops unless one's familiar with the terrain.
Thanks. Well the shortcuts could have been attempted in the downhill journey but not in the uphill, as i also have heard that there are always some surprises awaiting. At few places even the start of the shortcuts were really really steep.

Quote:
EDIT:This must have been Kangla Jal. And the pic dsc07200.jpg really takes the cake!
Oh yes, now i remember the name. This is quite a common name among the travellers i guess. Thanks for the appreciation of the pic. Actually i wish there were more snaps of the jeep travelling through the mountains taken from other vehicles. But there were very few chances like that.
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