Sunday 31 August 2014

Day 7 : Leh - Khardung-La - Diskit - Hunder (Nubra Valley)

Day 7 : Events (Aug 21)
  • Morning 8:30 am had an appointment for my bullet check-up with Mohan Sharma
  • The bullet battery had drained out completely and had to push start it on a slope near the hotel in Leh
  • After getting the bike checked (didn't find any issue with Battery) headed to Nubra
  • Passed Khardung-La and stopped for photos (yet to get hold of the photos of me riding)
  • Headed to Diskit and then to Hunder
  • Put a tent near the River in Hunder (Nubra Valley) and spent the rest of the night at the river bank and mostly inside the tent. It was an awesome experience
Leh - Khardung-La - Diskit - Hunder (Nubra Valley)

Road condition:
Leh till Khardung-La : Good...Bad...Worse...Freezing Cold...Low Oxygen...Worst...Sigh, you get used to it and then 'Hey I can see a Sign Board' :)

Once you are on the top at the KL, do what you do (take photos, etc) and better start descending again (soon,) either towards Leh or towards Nubra Valley. I chose to move toward the latter one. Standing at the pass for a long time in the extreme cold and low pressure may cause discomfort or worse AMS. So avoid goofing around on any of the passes for longer, unless you are very comfortable at high altitudes and cold places.

Khardung-La till the base of the mountains (towards Nubra Valley):
Worst than what you might have seen while coming up to Khardung-La from the Leh side. But the good news is, once you make it through to the planes on Nubra's side, the exotic view of sand dunes and beautiful golden mountains would more than makeup for the trouble you faced on the way. This region has been my favorite part of this trip and the struggle to reach here was totally worth it. 

As you climb up from Leh to Khardungla, the temperature will drop drastically and I was shivering inside my jacket with thermal liners and winter riding gloves (both I had shopped in the UK, which is a cold country btw). I was using a half-face helmet and was using a buff as a face mask all through. During this climb, my face was exposed to the cold breeze and chill factor and by the time I reached the top, my skin felt like paper. Dry, crisp, thin, and white due to dryness. It was difficult, once I took off the gloves for operating the camera.

As you climb down from Khardung-La towards Nubra (or even towards Leh), the altitude drops and it feels more normal (relaxing) to breathe. Sunlight gives enough warmth and the temperature is also in a decent range, say 15-17 degrees C (I guess).

Fuel Stops:
Rs 600 / 79 pl = 7.5 Ltrs

Don't remember seeing (or even hearing) about a petrol bunk in Nubra Valley. So you should've tanked up in Leh while leaving for Khardung-La. That's what I did.

At a roundabout in Leh, just before starting the journey for the day.

Another drool-worthy view, I just couldn't ride through without stopping for a picture.

A view of Khardung-La.

5 out of the team of 6 made it here. Not easy I tell you. Now I have a lot of respect for anyone who has attempted this route.

I wanted to send Dad a pic of his bike on the highest motorable road in the world and am glad I could do it while the bike still has the original registration plate:)

I believe!

Himalayan Yak! I tried whistling to get its attention, and when it finally turned, I didn't get any positive vibes :P So I just stopped doing that nonsense.

Some fellow riders pass through. Yellow JK number plates are of rented (hired) motorcycles.

Sameer posing as a Ninja in the freezing temperature:D This checkpost is after crossing Khardung-La and we had some chow mein with egg here. The taste was horrible, but some hot food saved our lives after the KL ordeal.

See the terrain and color of the mountains here and notice the gradual change as we get deeper into the Nubra Valley.

Sand storm on the river bank, but it appears as if it's on the water's surface.

Beautiful view of a golden mountain.

A typical view of the region, which is also known as the 'Cold Desert'.

Sunset view in the 'Cold Desert'.

When the sun hides behind the mountains, the whole valley is engulfed in darkness and with fading sunlight, its warmth fades away.

Another straight stretch.

Ahem! With my scratched DSLR screen protector, I couldn't make out the sharpness, so it's not the best possible shot. Still, that's all I have for this trip:)

Sunset view in Nubra Valley

Inside the tent. After a long day's ride, we three set up the tent to crash for the night, on the bank of Shyok River

Few visits to the mechanic shops and a bit of fooling around inside the city, before I left for Khardung-La and then off to Nubra Valley.

Night Halt:
Place                : Hunder, Nubra Valley
Accommodation : Tent, On Shyok river bank
Cost per room    : Free (may have to pay local authority a small amount like 100 bucks per tent)
Tent Capacity   : 5 people OR Like we used it for 3 people + luggage for 3 riders
Other Details     :
- The whole area is full of various tourist agencies that provide tents and food at a cost
- It was not necessary to go through them, so we put up our own tent after enquiring from a few local people
- Food can be arranged from nearby restaurants before 8 pm (which cost us appx 500 bucks for 3 people)
- A warm sleeping bag and thermals should be enough to manage the temperature at night
- One dude who owns a resort on the river bank told us, he owns the cold desert area, so we can pick any spot and just pay him a fair amount. Glad we didn't fall for that :D

View the Main Post for this ride

No comments: