Saturday, 8 August 2015

Day 3 Naggar to Sarchu ( 235kms )

Day 3 Naggar to Sarchu ( 235kms )

Here's a map so that you have some idea of where this trip took us. Delhi to Pathankot only because when the others headed for Delhi, I went on my little sidetrip to Dalhousie.

Up at 3 and supposed to be gone by four but we lapse into I A A time and it’s a late start. However it’s still dark and the drizzle and the goat track road are challenging. We pass down narrow roads (by passing Manali) and try and get through the herds of goats that are being moved along the road. We have our first casualty – one of the guys who is riding a 220cc locally made bike, with a pillion. He tries to climb out of the lower centre part of a bridge onto the wheel tracks with predictable results. Apparently, he’s new to biking and hasn’t the required road skills, so he packs it in there and then and gets into the support vehicle. He’s paid the required amount to secure both of them a place in it and one of the support boys takes over the bike. I see him only once again on the bike and that’s on one of the easier sections.

This is National Highway 21 between Manali and Sarchu (not quite the M7)

And another view of the road (and not as soft as it might look)

The climb up on to the Rohtang Pass comprises a lot of long section switchbacks which just keep doubling back with sharp corners to get us up in height, 4290m.

We reach the top and I'm relieved to find that despite the quick ascent from 1800 to 3970m (13050') , I don't feel affected by A S, just the fingertip tingling sensation that often accompanies the use of Diamox.
It's time for a chai, the ritual stopping at the dhabbas that we will do everyday.

I wonder what is under all these tarps but find out that they’re quad bikes. Apparently it’s a novelty for Indians to come up and get around in the snow.

Today’s distance is only 235kms and  I remember thinking, when looking at the ride schedule in Australia, that it seemed a short stretch, but now….
We are climbing up to the Baralach La, but on the way have to try and get up this water filled cutting and end up pushing bikes through the freezing water. My boots fill up and after while my feet are really cold. I should have put glad bags over my socks. 

That’s about 150mm of water flowing down the cut over slippery boulders.
Yes, and it’s still NH 21
We climb up and over the Baralacha La (16040'-  4890m) so having got to it and feeling no AMS symptoms, I’m happy.

It’s starting to snow, or it could be sleet so it’s very cold and we have to stop at a dhabba, run by friendly Tibetan women who sell chai and food. As you can see, they have stone end walls and when the oncoming winter necessitates their closing down, the roof is removed. Note the nice doonas and cushions and they didn't jack up when some riders got beneath them in their dirty gear.
I drop down on to what looks like a couch thing but find that it’s a rectangle of rocks covered with mats.  Very comfy. These were lovely women.

I’m feeling cold and a bit nackered and it shows.

At least I have good warm riding gear, esp the Firstgear rain jacket which I got while in the US, which covers my mesh jacket and being bright yellow, will hopefully be helpful in saving me from being wiped out by the guys who think that my side of the road belongs to them.

In an e mail I asked Akarsh about bringing wet weather gear but he said not to bother – “It doesn’t rain up there”.

Hullo.  There seems to be a level of dampness today.

We get to the Sarchu tent camp, before dark but at 4290 m, ( 14,070') it’s going to be a cold night. One of the doctors looks to be in a bad way and collapses onto the bed in our tent without even pulling off his boots. We leave him there but later on, Madan, one of the ride organisers, comes over and tells him that he has to come to dinner and the briefing, trying to pull the blankets off him. Buda merely pulls them back over his head so we burst out laughing, but it’s more serious than anyone realizes, as we find out at Leh. Dinner is an all Indian menu affair and I’m past eating. Go to bed with a padded jerkin and a fibre filled jacket on. Jebez, my tentmate, has less warm gear and uses one of those chemical warmer pads during the night.  Says it works well.


  1. Nice man... Keep them flowing please..

  2. Yeah....i almost forget that comfy bed. Lol

  3. Yeah....i almost forget that comfy bed. Lol

  4. Yeah....i almost forget that comfy bed. Lol

  5. Good work. Looking forward to hear more...

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  7. Mr. White and his Chemical formula to give you an adrenaline rush is on now friends :) hahahha....nice to read this and remember the moments...hope you are doing good and looking forward to read more.

  8. Please, keep up the good work. These pages are one way trip to re-live those memories. :)

  9. 😄 😄. . 👍👍..David. .
    what does the heading mean. ...just as "afraid "..or it has some other meaning. ? 😆..