High Roads News Sticky , 2014

July 24, 2011

Srinagar-Leh update , December 1st : dry road practically all the way , Snowy landscape starting a few klicks before Sonmarg. Eleven hours nonstop from Srinagar , beautiful ride.

Himachal update , November 10th : Kunzum La out after heavy snowfall , Manali-Leh now also shown as closed on the official Leh Council site.

Manali-Leh road October 13th : Border Roads aims to keep Manali-Leh open in to December , at the same time as the Rohtang goes subzero daytime also , and the snow buildup can start . A few inches of snow in the latest road report , interesting to see how the weather will cooperate with this goal.

Moderate snowfall over the Rohtang La and Kunzum La forces Raid de Himalya rally to pause , October 8th.

J&K update , October 8th : partial train service in the Vale , all major roads working.
September 16th : receding water levels in Srinagar , but still major parts under water. Jammu-Srinagar road opened today . Army supplies being re-routed via Manali , expect heavy traffic.

J&K weather update, September 6th: fifty bridges and hundreds of kilometers of road under water , Srinagar waterlogged and Jhelum river continues to rise. Srinagar airport road under a meter of water.Class three and four ( highest ) weather warnings from India Met Department for the coming days.

September 1st : first snow in Himachal : light dustings of snow over the Rohtang La and Baralacha La on the Manali-Leh road , and on the Kunzum La to Kaza/Spiti. This will burn away soon , night temperatures at the Rohtang still well over zero.

Saach Pass opens , 2014 : open road to Pangi Valley July 9th

Himachal weather update , July 26th: Slow monsoon so far with two thirds of normal rain levels in Kullu/Manali region , and one fiftth in Lahaul and Spiti : good roads and bad crops..

Ladakh Inroads Updates 2014 : June 25th: . Buses coming in from Manali , road officially open for all vehicles.
Manali-Leh Opens ,June 3rd 2014 : IANS quotes BRO official saying road finally cleared Monday , and now running.

Open road up to Keylong first on May 3rd , when first HRTC buses were sent off from Manali.
Srinagar-Leh finally cleared May 16th ; . See last comment from Leh :

Okay, now it’s real, Zoji-La is open and we’re eating fresh fruit in Ladakh on 16 May 2014! ..

Last heavy snowfall April 26th , over ten meters of snow in the pass.Open road beyond Sonmarg. Border Roads have given up their earlier goal of opening the road by the end of the month , no promises before elections May 7th either.
Two Ladakhis dies in attempt to cross the Zoji La on foot March 8th.

Karakoram Highway closed , opening earliest April ( as in this happening for the first time ever last year. )

Nathu La closed , expected opening in May.

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  1. This year there has been a lot of snow in Ladakh so you can expect the road opening date 2012 to be on the later end of the possible spectrum.

    It’s been cloudy most of the time from Dec 2011 through Feb 2012, which often means snow on the high passes. And it has actually snowed down here in Leh area several times this winter, which is unusual.

  2. hey……i am planning to go backpacking to leh and walk it off mostly can you help me a bit by providing your route map and any other necessary advice and all plz

    • Click around on IndiaMike.com because vistet doesn’t provide a guidebook or route map.

  3. Hey Vistet, please add “September” to your security update for Kashmir strikes about the Innocence of Muslims video protests.

  4. Hey, surprising and good news on 30 March 2013! Vegetables arrived in Leh over Zoji-La from Kashmir a couple of days ago! It’s only ponies so far, but vehicles usually come through a week or two later.

    But then today the sky was dark all day, and there was actually thunder in the afternoon, so maybe it snowed on the passes again…

  5. Vistet, I need quick advice.

    Tomorrow AM I’m flying Delhi Leh for 2 days.

    I’m 63 and travelling with 2 fourty year olds.

    Should we take Diamox to avoid being wiped out on our 2 days in Leh?

    I flew Lima to Cusco a few years ago and had the most ripping headache for around 8 hours.

    Please share your advice.


    Govinda Swami

    • My advice would be to

      (1) always decide on medication with a doc , preferably a travel doc
      (2) follow the advice from the specialist docs in the field : medicate for any flyins to 3000+ meters , esp. when you’ve had symptoms before.

      Statistically your two friends are also at slightly higher risk for altitude sickness , being under fifty.

      • Thank you for your advice, we all took Diamox.

        Regards … Govinda

  6. Hi Vistet, im planning a trip to Leh July 2014 with 2 friends. We are all in our mid-40s. My friends are pretty healthy people but im slightly asthmatic, underweight, with low blood pressure n high pulse rate ( abt 85/min at rest). My chief concern is AMS so i plan to take Diamox n drink sufficient water ( will try not to over-drink) but i am wondering if there are other ways i can prevent headaches n AMS when i get to Leh since i still have about 8 months to prepare. Would flying via Srinagar help with the acclimatization? Im not totally comfortable with road trips in India, cos of hazardous conditions and motion sickness on bumpy roads so would appreciate any other options you suggest..

    Thanks very much!!! Doris

    • Sorry for not answering earlier , the first reason being that I was behind The Great Firewall in the tibetan regions Kham and Amdo ( China ) when this came in.

      Staying in Srinagar or anywhere else below 2000 meters won’t help in acclimatization ( Sherpas based in Kathmandu also get AMS , I saw one striking example at Gosaikhund ) , but one or two nights in Gulmarg will be a positive factor , even more so if you include a ride up to Affarwat with the gondola , two hundred meters higher than Leh.
      Another positive factor is spending the first night(s) lower than Leh , in Ule Tokpo or Alchi – see my “vertical maps ” post.

      Re asthma ( background info only , discuss this with your doc ) : asthmatics generally do well , sometimes even better at altitude. There were asthmatics working on the construction of the railway to Lhasa , and they had a lot less problems than the overweight category. You will have to deal with very dry air , and a lot of dust esp. on road trips , a face mask or even just breathing thru a scarf might help a bit with this. Hotels/guesthouses with a nice garden is always a plus ( also tend to have better food ) , obviously they will have better air than a hotel facing a busy road – and all of central Leh will have a lot of traffic nowadays with the season in full swing.

      • Thank you very much Vistet for the reply!! Definitely makes me feel better abt the upcoming trip :) All the best in yr trips!!!

  7. All of Ladakh is still suffering from shortages and lack of vegetables and fruit, because both roads are STILL not open! The current rumour is that Zoji-La will open tomorrow, but it’s been “probably opening tomorrow” for the past two weeks! It’s already 40 days later than last year, so everybody used up all their supplies already.

    • Zoji-La opened on 10 May but then closed again on the 11th. 300 trucks came in but all their fresh fruit and vegetables were devoured immediately and the shortages continue! Current rumour is it will open on 18 May.

      Thanks for your sympathy!

  8. i hope the morning news are half solid rumors , wish you all fresh veggies soon ( I take a sympathy beer every year the road opens )

  9. Okay, now it’s real, Zoji-La is open and we’re eating fresh fruit in Ladakh on 16 May 2014! There were serious shortages recently, of fuel, vegetables, fruit, and general items in shops.

  10. Manali-Leh road reopens after six months


  11. There was a flash flood in Gya (Ladakh end of the Manali road) in early August 2014, but I don’t know if it affected the road. It was an anomaly and people say it wasn’t related to any local weather. They think maybe a glacial lake burst open or something.

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