Off to the Nubra Valley

For those of you who aren’t on Facebook, or those who just want the long version, here’s the detailed version of our ride over the world’s highest motorable pass, the Khardong La, into the Nubra Valley.On they way up the Khardong La

Safely arrived in the Nubra Valley. What a day.

We climbed the Khardong La without difficulty, and stopped to take pictures.

Less thanLeh 2014 (141) one kilometer into the descent, we punctured. On a hire bike, so no spare tyre, inner tube, or much in the way of tools. And all at 5,000 meters high. Also our phones don’t work in this state, and there isn’t much signal anyway. We were rescued by a group of Enfield riders from Delhi. It took two hours to fix the puncture – not great at this altitude – but we were very fortunate to have their help.Leh 2014 (143)

We continued on our way, only to find the bike wasn’t handling well. All this on mud and rock roads over run by snow melt. I got off at regular intervals, ostensibly to make the bike easier to handle for Martin. In truth I was too scared to stay on. We got stopped for road repairs and found ourselves talking to Tundup Wangail. A native of Nubra, Tundup is a policeman who has been working in Srinagar and Jammu. He had been posted back to Leh and was on his way home to see family near Desket.

Tundup drove me to the army check point at North Pullu, while Martin rode down. There we assessed that the rear tyre wasn’t properly inflated. Tundup found us a pump, and phoned the bike hire people as we were not sure we could continue. They offered to come out, but it would take them three hours from Leh. It was already 4pm and we still had at least 2 hours to ride.

We agreed Martin would ride down to Khardong village – at least it’s Tarmac from North Pullu down, and Tundup would drive me. Martin made great progress and we ended up convoying down to Timor, where the road splits – Sumur one way, Desket the other.

The descent wasn’t without further incident. The road between Khardong and Khalsa is very twisty, narrow, lots of ‘marbles’ and occasionally very broken up. Plus we ran into a sand storm in the valley.

But by the time we reached Timor, we were only 15 kilometers from our destination. And lo! A friend of Tundup turned up at the junction, on his way to Sumur. He offered me a lift and to guide Martin to the camp. We made it. There was the little matter of a couple of fords to cross. Oh and part of the carrying rack on the bike fell off as we arrived at the camp.

We’re going to do the whole ride again in three day’s time. If we’ve recovered.

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