Duration : 13 Days / 12 Nights
Destinations : Manali to Khardongla Pass
The suppositions: You must be a very good biker, the high passes are not technical unpretending. The road is to 80% paved and the distances are not too long. A support car carries your luggage, so you can enjoy the great Himalayan range at the best views. The best time is 10. June-30 September.
You go with a bus from Delhi through the hill-landscape of Himachal Pradesh into the valley of Kulu and the Beas River along into the small town of Manali(2000m) Here you can stroll through the streets how you want for yourself. Overnight-stay in a hotel (2 nights)
The mountain bikes will be settled up, and now you go on a first reconnaissance-trip: A forest hides a temple, called Hidimba Devi, out of wood with remarkable carving. Later you drive steeply up to "Old Manali", a picturesque village close to the ruins of the Fortress Mandakot. Along the Beas River you will find the hot sources of Vashist.
You are biking on the highest road of the world. This trip through the "alpine" forest to the Rothang La serves for your acclimatization. After the last village, called Kothi, many serpentines bring you to the Rohalla Falls and after a big turn into a small valley you reach the camp where you stay overnight (3000m). Now the cook spoils you with his arts. However it could be raining there, because in this height the weather changes. Day-Performance: 35 km, 5 hours.
In many serpentines and over green pastures, it goes to the Rothang La, 4060m. There you can enjoy the view over the glacier summits of Spiti, and the mountains of Ladakh. It’s fantastic! Now you enjoy the downhill of about 1000 height-meters to the village of Khoksar. There is the first check post, but you need not a permit. You are now in Lahaul-Valley. In softly up and down, you reach Tandi, the campsite at the place, where the rivers Chandra and Bhaga comes together. (2800m). Day -Performance 75 km, 5 hours.
You start early morning into the canyon and come to Keylong, the capital city of Lahaul-Valley. Prayer flags and Mani walls clarify for you that you are in a Tibetan- Buddhist culture-area. Four monasteries surrounding in the former capital of Lahaul invite you for sightseeing. The monastery of Kardung shines at the opposite hillside in the sun. After a powerful uphill in the afternoon you reach at the camp Jispa (3200m).
Now the wood border is behind you, passing Darcha (3235m), in a big river-landscape, you reach Patseo (3650m) on a comfortable half-stage. You start your trip intentionally quietly, in because of the adaptation of height. There you get a lot of fresh tea, because much drinking is very important during the acclimatization. Day- performance 32 km, 3 hours.
The Baralacha La, 4670m, is the first key-position on this demanding tour. The timberline remains behind, the landscape becomes balder. The height of this pass is a crossing- point of archaic caravan-ways. Three rivers rise from here: Bhaga, Chandra and one of the brooks of Zanskar, which will follow you from now on at your way in direction northwards to Indus. You have crossed the weather- difference of the Himalayan. You are very proud that you have managed this without help of the car, which accompanies you. Now, the indented mountains of Ladakh and Ruphsu are in front of you. Campsite in Sarchu at the Zanskar River. The cook there pampers you with original Indian or Nepalese food. The comfortable tents will give you a gently night. This day you pushed up your bike 1800 height meters and finished 55km. You need 6-8 hours, that’s a regular time.
Early morning you start the strongest steppe. First you go approximately 38 km very flat till you come to the Gataloops. The next 800 height meters you push up your bike in many serpentines. Then you reach Nakee La 5050m. A short downhill (250m) and the last ascent bring you to the Lachalung La 5150m. On the pass travelers have established Manis out of stones, which should appease the mountain- demons. The wind cancels over the colorful prayer-flags. You are acclimatized well, and so also the Lachalung La 5150m, does not cause any problems in you. Over you pile the rocks of the Trans himalaya. They roll through a bizarre canyon, until in Pang the second arm of the Zanskar is reached, the Zara Chu. Immediately beside a control- station you will stay for camping in the tents there, 4500m. You are hungry and you enjoy the Tibetan food-Momo, Noodles with Beans, Pancakes with Jam, Dal with Rice, and so on. Day-Performance 84 km, 7-9 hours.
You slept well in the Jute-tent. After breakfast, you start slowly at a short ascent to the Mora Plain 4700, one of the Rupshu typical, waterless high deserts. There only lives poor Changpa -Nomads, which reach even 5600m high pastures with their yaks, sheep’s and goats. In interesting excursion, you bump over unfixed tracks to a clear source that bubbles between mountain-backs from green pastures. Further to Tsokar, a no-flowing-off salt lake. That is eaten by a sweet twin lake, and in its mineral wealth almost suffocates. Rust and strip-goose are in this paradise equally at home, as the Tibetan gull. Few years ago people have transported the precious salt with goat stoves into the endless corners of Ladakh. It is a fantastic panorama! Campsite near the lakes. Day performance: 57 km, 4 hours.
Only the Taklang La, 5303m separates you from the Indus-Valley. In a far swinging back, soft traverse, the street wins the saddle before debling, 4800m. You can see it as a thin line at the steep hillside. Also like the audacious turning of the old caravan-way, from prayer-masons. In three hours you are above and will be rewarded with a wonderful view on the mountains of Karakorum. It’s a stormy corner and you stay only for a short time on the pass. After taking some pictures, you have a gently downhill till Üpshi, 56 km, without treating! The street is in very good competition and you reach the camp in the romantically canyon of the Gya-River in 2 hours.
Its cold on morning in the shadow of the canyon. We start early to the Indus-Valley. We follow the green wideness till a hidden valley. In a short uphill, 7 km, we reach the monastery of Hemis. There we have sightseeing and in the restaurant our second breakfast. Past midday we are on the last trip to Leh, we pass the monasteries of Stakna, Thikse, Shey, and its time enough, to make a short visit. A last ascent, 300m, will bring you to Leh. There are many guesthouses and restaurants.
You slept very well in the clean bed, now you have time to make a sightseeing and shopping in Leh. It’s fantastic here; they have on market all kinds of fruits, what you missed in the past tense. It is warm in the sun, you enjoy at a black coffee and Donates in one of many shops. You go by bike to the monastery of Sankar, the Shanti Stupa, and the Tsenmo Hill.
With less luggage you start early morning to the highest motor able pass of the world , the Kardung La 5606m. The ascent begins at 3540m and end by 5603m. There are 46 km. Behind Leh you leave the last small village, Ganglass 4000m, then you reach 2 hours later the check post in South Pullu. Only 14 km separate you from the summit. You need 3 hours to the pass. The view along the street is always fantastic, on Kardung La; you get fresh tea or Maggie noodle soup. There is also the highest Gompa, you can make a visit. The reward of the day is a fantastic downhill to Leh. This journey is very strenuous and sometimes depend on the weather. You need a technical perfect bike, a fully is the best. You sleep often in a tent with a sleeping bag. Check your cameras and batteries.