The highest motor-able road in the world is reached by a road from Leh that snakes its way out of the valley . The views get better and better the higher you get, and more of the Indus valley comes into view. The lush green chunk of human civilization is a stark contrast to the rough inhospitable desert-mountain landscape it sits in. Snowy Himalayan peaks line the horizon.
Eventually the nice paved road disappears and mud and rocks appear. Besides a few rough sections and some stream crossings, it doesn’t get too bad (as long as the slopes stay solid and don’t slide down). Some of the drop offs get pretty steep. The first layer of clouds are left behind and the pass is just a short distance further.
You can see the roads carved into the landscape below, which are a testament to the incredible work that Borderland Roads Organization does.
Snow starts to appear and the wild drop-offs get even spookier.
And as easy as that you reach the Khardung La, the highest motor-able road in the world at 18,380 ft (5,602m) The air is so thin that you lose your breath just walking around
Prayer flags are strung thickly all over the place. A memorial recognizes all the men who lost their lives building the incredible road for us.
Everyone at the top wanted their picture with my bike.
Even the Indian soldiers were having a good time playing around.
Waiting on the other side of the pass is a gnarly road that takes you down down down. The top section is super sketchy with enough room for one vehicle at a time.
After a soaking wet ride down, you reach the start of the Nubra Valley. An incredible area
Following a river leads you into the beauty.
The contrast of colors is awesome with the green vegetation against the orange-brown rock.
I ended up in Diskit at a friendly families guesthouse.
On the steep slopes next to the village are the Diskit monastery and gompa built into the rock.
The views over the Nubra Valley are incredible up there. Sunset is the perfect time to look out over the vastness.
Unfortunately I had to head back to Leh after only one night. It would be easy to melt into the surroundings for an extended period of time. The clusters of morning clouds and mountains reflected off the crisp flat water.
Riding these roads is an adventure and rock slides are always in the back of my mind. I try not to think about a chunk of earth breaking off and tumbling across the road as I pass by. Most of the time you don’t have much of an exit plan since there’s nothing but a river hundreds of feet below next to you.
Beauty comes in many forms in this rough inhospitable landscape.
Heading back towards the pass, the weather broke and the sun peeked through. On the way in I couldn’t see much because of the heavy rain, but now it presented itself.
It was kind of sad to see it go behind me and leave it behind. So much more exploring I’d love to do out there in those remote areas.
Coming back down to Leh was a bit of an adventure since it was mid-day. The road had had some small slides and long lines of vehicles piled up. Luckily I can sneak by a lot of that stuff most the time. It was a gorgeous day back down in the Ladakh Valley. A massive new gompa is being built up above town.
This is the view from the Leh Palace, which is a former royal palace. The construction was started in 1553 by Tsewang Namgyal, the founder of the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh. This region has some energy and magic to it that leaves you in awe.
A slice of Buddhism tucked away between the Hindus and Muslims.