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?!
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.
HIMALAYAN MOTORSPORT ASSOCIATION,
Last edited by Chris Scott; 4 Nov 2009 at 10:29.
Reason: clarification on road closures