Part 3 of Day 7.. Continued..
The KTop was just 2 kilometers away and we are stuck in what can conveniently be called us the world highest traffic jam. There was a long queue of 4 wheelers including a good number of tempo travelers as well. Initially we were unsure of what had caused the jam. The weather was at its worst gory with the temperature dropping well below minus. The road was wide enough only for one heavy vehicle to pass. The corners of the road was covered under thick snow. We managed to over take the parked vehicles from the sides and let me tell you it was not as easy task, with the bikes loosing traction it was very easy for us to slip and fall. We barely managed to reach a point were it was impossible to move further for obvious reasons. We had no other option but to stand and wait for the roads to open.
The temperature was dipping further and the intensity of the snow had increased. We could see water droplets freezing down to ice. It was definitely a unique experience to be standing under snow for hours with roads blocked and no where to go. With so many people stranded there the oxygen levels started to deplete and I could feel difference in my breathing. Aamir was trying to find out what was causing the jam and returned with Intel. The top was closed down due to thick ice on the road and the vehicles were being directed to return. Our hopes crashed to the grounds when we learnt that we need to turn back and head to Leh.
We turned back with no other option left and started to descend slowly. Aamir could not feel his fingers and wanted to quickly move down. Rajesh and I wanted to take it slow as our bikes had slid on ice a couple of times already. The weather was getting fiercer and just then my bike stops. I try to start it multiple times but it wont start. I am at 18000 feet above sea level and my bike is just stalled. Every effort of bringing it back to life failed. Rajesh suggested
that he would go ahead and get some help. Rajesh vanished in the fog ahead and I was left their all alone still trying to fire the bike. I left the bike to its self and lighted a cigg hoping Rajesh will come back with some help. After I was done with what I had started, I tried firing the bike again and to my luck it started this time. I wasted no time and started moving forward. The so called waterproof gloves had drenched completely with no part of my hands dry. Even my riding gloves were all wet by now. The woolen socks was not helping much and I was hardly able to feel my legs.
The bike was not in its full power and I could make out that it was acting such due to lack of oxygen for the combustion of fuel. After some 5 kms, I saw Rajesh's bike parked beside what looked like a small hut, which I had completely missed while ascending. I parked my bike beside Rajesh's and stepped into the hut, it was actually an Army hut with some kind of an apparatus which was keeping the small room warm. Rajesh was happily warming himself standing in front of it. I too joined him. An army jawan, from Haryana was kind enough to offer me a hot cup of tea and some biscuits. I was feeling much better in the warm room while the snow continued outside. I did not want to stay there for a long time and just wanted to descend as soon as possible so that I bike runs as usual again.
Rajesh wanted to spend some more time warming himself there and I let me enjoy it and pushed on. My bike fired at first attempt and I moved forward. Reached South Pullu only to find Aamir and a couple of other guys who were from Mumbai trying to make a fire. On looking at me, Aamir was overjoyed as he was worried on not seeing us for long. I informed him about Rajesh and ran into the wet canteen to get a hot cup of tea again. The steaming hot cup of tea only felt like Luke warm and I gulped it in one sip. I later joined Aamir and the Mumbaikars in making some fire and we did succeed in the attempt. A lonely birdie South Pullu after the descend View from the Wet Canteen View from the Wet Canteen My Ride My Ride, snowed out It continued to snow The Wet Canteen The Roads further. Notice the Ice on the road
The fire was not making any good as the cold winds were blowing with an intensity now. After a while Rajesh arrived, cold and shivering and we helped him getting warm in front of the fire we had made. After Rajesh felt a little better and had something, we decided to descend further and reach Leh as soon as possible as the weather was only getting worst. We put off the fire as there were nobody apart from us three and a couple of locals left there and started our descend.
This time I took the lead as my bike's performance was back to normal and the ice on the roads were also melting as we were descending. After some 15 kms of descend the ice was completely cleared and the roads started to get better again. The rains had taken over the snow at this altitude and it was raining quite heavily. I reached a certain point of the road from where Leh town was only 12 kms and parked to wait for regrouping.
After some 10 minutes, saw Aamir and Rajesh coming towards me. First Aamir crossed and slowed down and I gestured him to keep moving and I shall catch up and he zoomed off on the tarmac. Next was Rajesh and by the time he would cross me I was already on the bike trying to start it and it just would not oblige. Multiple tries but the bike would not fire up. Rajesh came to my rescue and we tried to start the bike engaging the gear, no go..!!! So I rode Rajesh's bike and towed my bike for 12 kms to reach the Leh city. Aamir was no were in site and we decided to get the bike tested before going to the hotel. After a little bit of investigation and asking around for a good mechanic, we found a workshop, Juma Motors. The guy was adamant and asked me to come back tomorrow morning as it was his closing time. I told him that I had towed the bike for 12 kms as it would not start. Then he checked the bike, cleaned the spark plug and did all that it took to fire the bike back to life again. He informed me that there was some tuning job to be done and asked me to come in the morning tomorrow and get it done. He did not take a rupee and just asked us to come back in the morning.
Rajesh and me finally made it back to the hotel and found Aamir missing. We were informed that he had gone looking for us. We unpacked the luggage and straight away slipped into warmer clothes again and waited for Aamir to return. Aamir had actually gone to the market to get himself some soup and we thought he was looking for us. lol.
Once Aamir was back, we had no mood of going out for dinner again and ordered dinner to our room. We had some good dinner and a hot cup of tea and called it a day.
All in all, it was a great experience to have rode up to the top and back with so many incidents to cherish for many more years to come. To be Continued...