That's the road we came..
..and that's where, we were heading
The excitement was not the same as I had while approaching K-Top, but just thought we were lucky to be driving through snow for the 2nd time.
It was around 10:30 and we were very hungry. We ate whatever we could find in our food bag.
The roads were clear. So far, no sighting of a human.
Then we found them. How I wish, they had warned us about, what laid ahead. Btw
, what do they get to eat in the snow?
Dint find anyone inside or outside that lorry. Looked like some construction work on that bridge.
There were no tracks and the roads were covered with snow. Uncle asked, if I want to go back but going back to Khalsar would be about 90 odd Kms and another 90 odd to Leh. I said we will go a little further and see how it goes.
We did quite well for the first 2 or 3 curves. However, the steeper it got, I had to accelerate a little and the car swerved to the right and the left rear, mightly close to the edge.
I had to dig out a stone to support the rear tyre and had to clear the snow in my bear-hands. Uncle tried to help me and in a few minutes had a headache. I somehow managed to find a stone and we went a little further.
After another curve, got stuck in the snow. The rear wheels spun on the icy surface was digging a hole. I had to reverse and find a stone to cover the hole. Somehow managed to pull it out and after one more curve, got stuck again.
It looked like, I was almost on the top, however the harder I tried, the car was swerving more towards the side.
The track that we left.
Stuck in snow at 17000 ft.
(This is the place where I took the picture, that I posted on the first page, first post)
Tried absolutely everything I could think of :
1. Reversed the car a little, tried gaining some speed, but was scared to go towards the extreme right and kept getting stuck in the hole I drilled, with wheel spin.
2. Covered the hole with a stone and tried again, but kept slipping
3. Found two bigger stones and gave support to both rear tyres, no go
4. Tried clearing the snow using my boots and removed some using my hand.
5. I thought, I was slowly revving the engine, but I dint realize it had gone upto to the 4000 mark (rpm)
6. Black smoke all over the place and the smell of unburnt fuel, scared me more, thinking I would conk some critical component.
7. The fuel indicator needle was at the half way mark and it had gone down, almost till the red. So, I had lost around 12 to 13 ltrs of fuel.
So, sat on a rock thinking what to do. I was hoping that some vehicle would pass by. Worst case, I had to walk to Shakti to get some help but I was scared to do that, leaving uncle alone in the car.
I decided to plan the next league of the journey :
1. I had about 45 ltrs of fuel in the cans and around 18 to 20 ltrs in the car.
2. To Pangong, I had to go through Chang la and I was scared, there would be snow as well
3. Tsaga la towards Hanle and Namachang la towards Tso Moriri
4. To skip all 3 and head to Leh, but I could not reverse the car
5. To skip everything and head to Manali, as I was not sure if the fuel I had was sufficient. This idea did hurt a little.
With snow as my company at 17K ft, there was not much of help.
After agonizingly spending over an hour, (now more than 2 hours, since this drama started) I saw two guys walking down from the top, carrying shovels. It was a sight, I'll never ever forget. There was a truck right behind them and few other guys from GREF helped in clearing the path. I could not stop thanking them.
The scariest experience of this trip. Worst, I was just one curve away from the top.
Shakti, was around 30Kms and took me a couple of hours to reach. Found a hotel and had some maggi. Gave uncle tablets and made him rest.
Filled up the tank and cleaned the cans as much as I could. It was already 3:30PM and I had to decide, whether to go Pangong or not.
Called and spoke to Kumar sir. Told him the story and asked for assistance to plan ahead. He said, not many people are aware about Tsaga la and best to be avoided. So, I thought I'll skip Pangong as well and head to Kaza, instead of Manali. However, he said it would have snowed there too.
Took some time and thought will take another chance at the snow. Decided to go to Pangong and to my bad luck, nobody in the village knew, the status of the roads.
Asked uncle if he can sleep in the car and we had to go another 100Kms. He said he was feeling a little better and agreed to come, instead of staying in Shakti.
After climbing up a few kms, saw an army truck. Stopped him and asked the road condition. He said, the snow has been cleared and it is safe to go. I was so relieved to hear that and tried making it to Lukung asap
However, the tar roads ended abruptly and the trade mark ladakhi style road began. I gave everything I could and finally reached Lukung at 7:30 PM.
Just a few pics I managed to click.