Khardung La is no longer the highest motorable road in the world. It is Umlingla Pass. Khardung La Pass is situated at an altitude of 18,380 feet, while the newly constructed Umlingla Pass is at 19,300 feet. Handful of bikers know about this new pass, and an even fewer number of bikers have managed to conquer it. Sudeep Chakraborty from Airheads shares details about Umlingla Pass with Rushlane.
Airheads is a community of bikers based in Ahmedabad. After months of planning, on 25th August this year, seven of us set out on a journey which would see us ride our bikes on the following route – Ahmedabad – Delhi – Chamba – Sach Pass – Killar – Darcha – Leh – Khardungla – Nubra – Shyok – Pangong – Man, Merak – Chushul – Hanle – Ukdungle – Umling La – Hanle – Debring – Keylong – Manali – Chandigarh – Delhi – Ahmedabad. In this post, I will only talk about Umlingla Pass. A detailed report of our experience will be shared at a later date.
BRO takes motorable roads to new heights. pic.twitter.com/kLix7IswqG
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) November 3, 2017
Umlingla Pass – Where is it and How to reach there
- Umling La is the pass on the new shorter route to Demchok. It has been constructed as a part of Indian Army ‘s drive to provide faster connectivity to the sensitive Demchok zone.
- Umling La was the starred place of our journey. But the road from Hanle via Photi La from northern is not accessible, basically the road isn’t even connected. You have to head south to Ukdungle via Punguk and then east towards Demchok.
- There is an army camp on the main road and there’s a bridge under construction where a nallah flows along. Crossing the nallah to the other side, the road towards Umling starts. It’s another 24 kms from the main road to Umling Top.
- Civilians cannot access Umling La as army camp at the base may not allow you to go. Even if they do under no circumstances can one head to Demchok as you cannot get permission for that place ever. Only when accompanied by an army personnel can a civilian head to Demchok.
- Umling La army will allow but you cannot cross Umling La and descend towards Demchok unless accompanied by an Army personel himself.
- Another word of caution is to keep a good track of your location as there are many dirt roads which can lead to the demarcated indo china border. Going close to the border or crossing it is punishable and you can be arrested. We had at first gone on a wrong trail and ended up reaching an ITBP post which was just 12 kms from border.
- The ITBP guy warned us that had we gone ahead on an unmanned road. We could have crossed into China across the no man’s stretch of 4kms.
Name of the Airheads members who conquered Umlingla Pass and their rides
Sudeep Chakraborty – Ninja 650 (off-road mod)
Prakash Sanjeev – Versys 650
Swaroop Srinivasan – CBR250
Abhinav Joshi – RE STD 500
Kunj Panchal – Thunderbird 350
Vaibhav Vyas – Continental GT (modded for touring)
Biren Patel – Tiger Explorer 1200 XC