The last section of our circuit (before reaching the Manali – Leh Highway) was the upper part of the Lahaul Valley. While passing through Losar – last village before the Kunzum Pass, locals had warned us about the road conditions there. We knew that the road is closed for the traffic and it was only possible for 4WD cars to reach the first settlement on the other side of the pass, but not any further. Anyway, we gave it a try…

Kunzum La

Kunzum pass

The road up to the pass was not easy, so we felt very happy when we finally climbed on 4503m!

Happy

Taking pictures Kunzum pass

Few pictures further we were on the road leading down. It had been cleaned just a few days before we were there. All the winter snow had been melting, so we had to ride in the water all the way down.

Down the pass

Lahaul from Kunzum

Another river to cross

Good thing about being in the mountains is that fresh drinking water is available on every single step. We still had to filter it (it contains tiny particles of the rock that is not very healthy to drink) but we did not have to carry so much all the time.

Water supply

Ok! Here is where the adventure begun! As soon as we passed a small dhaba (restaurant) at the bottom of the valley (slightly over 4000m) we realized, that to get out of the Lahaul area would not be that easy. In front of us we saw numbers of small and big snow fields going all the way to the river…

Frozen road

The only way to cross them, was to push the bikes through.

Mat pushing

Some of them were very steep, so we had to take all luggage off the bikes and carry it over the snow. We could not take all of it at the same time, so we had to go 2-3 times each snowfield.

Brave Anna

Mat on the snow

On the snow

Snow traverse

Crossing the ice obstacles took us over four hours. After a day of pass climbing, river crossing, lack of oxygen and polar-like cycling we were exhausted.

Remaining snow

The next day welcomed us with freezing rain. We realized, that we have to continue on very rough roads…

Lahaul Summer

… that in many cases turned into rivers.

River road

Or were completely blocked by rocks. Do you think a car or a motorcycle could pass it?

That used to be a road

Hard time

Pushing

Crossing rapid streams on that high drained a lot of energy of us. After first few streams of icy cold water we put our sandals on and decided not to take them off until the end of the day.

Crossing a river

Yet another river

After each crossing we hoped that it was the last one. But it was more and more of them, and quite a few of a really bad ones…

Difficult passage

Cycling along the snow wall

Would you imagine that this is Summer in India?

Is this Summer

We made it! As we were informed by the shepherds met on the road and the staff of small dhabas at the end, we were the first cyclists, first vehicles that crossed the valley this year!

Shephard

Tired, but happy and proud we went to bed, hoping that the next day will bring a bit warmer adventures.

Hilleberg Lahaul