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Old 21 Oct 2009
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Ladakh Timing

Hi all,

Wondering if any experts on the North of India could give me some advice. I am planning a trip from Australia - Singapore to India ending up in Leh but i've had to push my departure back due to my brother deciding to get married.
Originally my plan was to leave in April but now it look like I won't be leaving until the end of June. What is the latest time one can visit Leh and surrounds before it gets snowed in?
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Old 21 Oct 2009
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i was there (on sri nagar- leh-manali route) on late august-early september 2007. roads were dry everywhere, except for khardung la and rotang la (both snowing). officially the manali-leh road is open from mid-july to mid-september
only, but a spanyard friend of mine rode it at the beginning of october(2007), wich it means it depend by weather conditions. so i think the first period is more raining and glaciers melting as for a huge amount of water crossings. i never met rain along my himalayan ride except for few drops in leh. less rain, less troubles i say. rotang la is a pain in the a** : it is usually raining in the valley and snowing on the top if you're coming from north in the afternoon.
and the downhill towards manali full of mud, it was'nt so fun for me...

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Old 21 Oct 2009
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Hi there,
We enjoy the Ladakh experience around the end of June. If you leave Daramsala around then, and head either towards Pathantop, then on to Srinigar, to Sonmarg, Lamayuru, then Leh, and down to Manali. Yes, you will encounter a few wetish roads, possibly a drop of snow but not much. You can head up there as late as end September or so. Hope that helps..
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Old 22 Oct 2009
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Thanks for the feedback. It's greatly appreciated. I'll be pushing it closer to October but was afraid it would be impossible and would need to rearrange my schedule. I'm just trying to avoid snow on the road. By the sounds of things October is still doable then so I'll leave it at that.
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Old 22 Oct 2009
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Greetings from a sunny and warm New Delhi. I did that trip in July and the road was passable yet very wet in places. A friend of mine has just returned to Delhi (yesterday) from Manali. He was unable to get his Honda varadero up to the Rhotung pass due to the snow. Think the best time (from experience) is June July August. I was thinking about riding to Leh on my well equipped transalp having just arrived from the Uk (Index) but think it'll have to wait for another year. Enjoy your trip. Simon
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Old 22 Oct 2009
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Hmmm... doesn't sound good. I may have to alter my route a bit. Thanks
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Old 27 Oct 2009
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I'm in Shimla now having just come down from Leh via Spiti and my understaNDING IS THAT THE SOUTHERN PAsSES (rhotang, Kunzum, baracha) catch southern rain as snow - but northern passes Lachlung, Tanglang La are much drier (as is all of LAdakh of course). Some days I've been riding in t shirt and shorts in Oct over 4500.
November starts snow in Leh they told me and winters are getting less snowy anyway. Plus you can always get out of Leh west via Srinigar as this strategic road is always kept open/cleared.

We had a sprinkle of snow at tso kar (4600?), -10 on baracha la morning and a bit more snow in kaza, but it was just a cold snap. we've had no rain though as dnicoletti says the manali-rhotang section gets most of it and mud and lories too so we carried on east to spiti.
However, for the last two years a pile of snow out of the south in Sept has caused chaos on rhotang and kunzum - only to clear later.

AFAIU, another thing worth clarifying: "passes are closed" sept/oct/nov 15 (relating to rho/kunz/bara a local told me) only means the army is not obliged to rescue you after these dates off the relevant passes - but if all is clear the traffic keeps running.

Leh and around is great. After a few days we wondered why we ever left?!


Added later:

In the old days i.e 1960's to 1970's the road was "officially closed' at Keylong on September 15 as it used to snow heavily on Baralacha la by then and there was no mechanised snow clearing ...not even a motorable road + they dismantled the bridges from Koksar upwards.

The government still sticks to this and the DC Keylong's letter to us always tells us that the road is closed after September 15 thereby absolving him of any responsibility to clear the road incase the Raid gets stuck!

Actually, the rescue , whatever little, comes from the Army and they close Patseo and Pang by about the end of October every year.
Almost always, the weather is clear through half of November, so barring ice freezing the shady corners the road remains through. No facilities though of any kind after end October (like dhabas or tyre repair etc.)
After this period its fly into Leh and out as both axis are closed. However large regions of Ladakh still remain open for driving; mainly towards Changthang and Khardung La; which is kept open all year round.
Chang la closes and opens intermittently. Tanglang La will open only in March of the next year.

Regarding the BRO...they close up by November 1st week on the Leh Manali road.

There you have it.


This is NOT a handbook

Last edited by Chris Scott; 4 Nov 2009 at 10:29. Reason: clarification on road closures
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