Spiti & Kinnaur Archive

Post-Himalayan Apathy…

It’s always ‘challenging’ returning home after a decent adventure but this time seems to have been, or rather ‘is’, particularly difficult. All I can think about it is the mountains – nothing new there – accompanied by a crippling apathy with respect to what passes for normal life. I’m tired too… really deeply tired so haven’t even been able to get it all out of my system with more riding… or paddling for that matter.  Experience says …

A little bit of Delhi

I had a little bit of time in Delhi… I found street photography quite difficult. Despite the obvious potential it is the sort of place that completely overwhelms the senses… the noise, the crowds, the oppressive heat (at least at this time of year), the bad air (apparently now the most polluted city in the world – I was permanently chesty) and one is always fending off the not always welcome attention of the locals.  Consequently relaxing …

Spiti etc

Other than the 60km asphalt cruise down the valley to Kullu the riding for now is essentially over, I’ll be back in the UK next week. Sadly. I am already missing the peace and solitude of the high mountains despite the luxuries on offer here. As I write I’m in Manali, a place I visited 12 years ago on my way north on my bike to Ladakh. The place has changed dramatically, from a sleepy …

The Hindustan-Tibet Highway

‘Highway’ is probably being quite generous, for much of it’s length it is little more than a rough dirt track blasted out of the steep mountainsides and ravaged by landslides and rockfalls. It’s brilliant. A number of times rockfalls dropped within 200m of me… it pays to keep moving and keep your eyes open at times rather than stop and admire the views. In a couple of the most active spots soldiers were posted as …

Transitions…

I’m really happy, got my Inner Line Permit. It had been on my mind a little because I kept hearing and reading all sorts of conflicting information regarding the application. As a solo traveller I would not have been able to get the permit from the government offices in Shimla or Kullu, and even had I been able to get a group of 4 or more together (the rules… apparently) it still depends on the …

Jalori La

Before I left home, and knowing there would be some significant stretches of asphalt, I did have a few brief doubts about whether the Surly ECR was the best tool for this journey… The Jalori La dispelled any remaining doubt about that, from the north side its final 15km or so are rough dirt rising at gradients up to around of 15-17% … the ECR exhibits a somewhat leech-like quality on such terrain, inching upwards …

On the road again (again)

It’s taken me 12 years to return to this part of the world on my bike mainly because of the journey to get here, it’s not a long flight, about 9hrs, but it’s followed by a 14-15hr drive (overnight bus or taxi) from Delhi on some terrible roads to reach the Kullu valley here in Himachel Pradesh. The right season for riding in the mountains also means that Delhi is an uncomfortable place to connect …