Day 7 Leh - Khardung La. The D-day
Day 7 (July 14, 2012)
So today was the D-day, today we had planned to do cross the world's highest motor-able road, Khardung La (18,380 ft). It was the ultimate for the Ducati Monster. I was nervous but not that worried as the bike had already proved to be handling the high altitude with ease. But still this is Khardung La we are talking about. We got the permits from DC office, met my old time friend Rigzin at the office who accompanied us in our first trip in Leh. Got a quick wash done on the bike and we were good to go. Khardung la is 42 kms from leh and we had not planned to beyond the pass itself. Hence we carried only the tank bag containing the camera, some basic spares and water bottles to keep ourselves hydrated.
We had a lot of time for the ride to the top hence took leisure breaks and photos. Road was pretty smooth till south pullu. Monster was showing signs of resistance due to the altitude but nothing alarming. The actual test starts only when we cross south pullu till the top. That is where the actual adventure resides..
The road was broken all the way till the top. Moreen kept the camera inside and she recorded video using mobile for the whole one hour which we will be uploading after we are done with the pictures. It was a tough ride till the top with the altitude, water streams, and a slush filled segment. A couple of times Moreen had to get down as we didn't want to take risk.
And thankfully we didn't fall down anywhere.
Monster struggled a little bit towards the end but never gave up. Had to de-clutch at some places as with pillion it became difficult to climb the ascent. The aftermarket air filter had helped a lot. Monster was short of breath but never out of it.
It took quite a lot from me too as it was hard to balance the bike with moreen as pillion and broken roads and the steep ascent. But at the end we reached the top. I was so happy to be here with Moreen and with my monster.
We had free lemon tea there, spoke to some people there, clicked some pics and started our way back..
We started back to Leh after spending some time and clicked photos whenever we liked to since we had the full day with us. Moreen had not touched snow before, she got down and enjoyed the snow at the side of the road. There were rough patches and I was a little tired to cross the patch with Moreen sitting on the bike. Moreen used to get down and would click photos.
She has captured a lot of videos during this segment which I will upload later.
Finally we came back to our hotel and were very happy to be achieving the feat. Probably the first Ducati Monster 796 to be climbing the world's highest motorable road.
Next day we had Pangong Tso (Lake) on our schedule and in that road stands tall the mighty Chang La (17, 582 ft). Details of which later...