High Roads News Sticky , 2018

( 2017 sticky archived here )

MANALI-LEH : road closed, rescue posts at Marhi & Koksar closed December . This marks the end of the rescue posts , as the Rohtang tunnel should be operational in 2018. The tunnel work is closed for the winter and the Bailey bridge disconnected , so Lahaulis can still only get out with helicopter for medical emergencies. Work resumes May.
SRINAGAR-LEH : closed since December 14th. Zoji La tunnel project approved , estimated building time seven years. This will be a massive undertaking , ending Ladakhs long winter isolation.


Solidly subzero : Leh now in the -3 to -13 range , Rohtang La -5 to -16 , Kargil down to -20 .

Nights only subzero : Srinagar + 10 to -3 ( banks of Dal Lake frozen a week ago ) , Shimla +13 down to zero , Manali +10 to +1 .

JAM 20 TH : eight police wounded in grenade attack at Pulwama , 40 km from Srinagar.
JAN 11TH : Separatist leaders call for strike on Jan 13th after civilian death in connection to protests in Kulgam district.
JAN 6TH: Four police killed by IED in Sopore , 45 km from Srinagar.

JAN 1ST : Attack against CRPF Camp in Pulwama ( 30 kms from Srinagar ) ends : five soldiers , one militant dead.


31 thoughts on “High Roads News Sticky , 2018

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

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. The Srinagar-Leh road stayed open its latest ever, until about 17 Jan 2015! We bought fresh (well, frostbitten) tomatoes on that day, but I think no more fresh stuff came in after about the 18th.

    Now the big travel news for tourists in Ladakh is that the Chadar Trek is closed since 17 Jan 2015 (and guarded by police so don’t even think about sneaking in). A landslide far upriver in southern Zangskar blocked the river temporarily. If it breaks, it will wash out the Chadar trek area violently.

  10. Just read almost all the comments. Me and my brothers are making plans to visit Rohtang Pass around 18th of April Is it possible any chance we might find the roads open? I don’t know anyone else to ask this thing.

  11. Very informative website.
    Glad to read buses are operating to Keylong. Until what point is the road from Leh to Manali open to? And would it take as much as June 15th (per Indian Newspaper) for the road from Leh to open to Keylong and further to Manali.

  12. We are planning a visit in mid-Ocotber 2015 with children. Any idea if there is snow in Rohtang to play (not looking at actitivies like skiiing, snowboarding as such)?

    • See the sticky post at the top here. First snow was around two weeks ago , but this burns away quickly in the mid day sun. Days are still above freezing point at Rohtang top , nights just below. For permanent snow you need more time well below zero – not yet.

  13. Can you update me on the conditions of Rohtang pass during second week of may (assuming that it will be open by then). I have few elders with me whom I plan to take to Rohtang pass and hence this question. Will there be snow for us to enjoy?

  14. It’s mid-April 2016 and supplies are running short in Leh. A shopkeeper told me a few days ago that he doesn’t expect the Srinagar-Leh road to open till May, but my experience is that it’s completely unpredictable until a few days before it opens, when vegetables come through on donkey back over Zoji La pass.

    • Hi Becky , thanks for the input. I’m hoping the first trucks make it through soon , so I can take my yearly sympathy celebration at the pub here. Sorry for not responding earlier , my Gmail account is broken beyond hope.

  15. Hey There,

    Tks for managing this important source of info.

    Any idea about the road Manali – Leh? Not open for this season yet, when it would open?

    Cheers, tks a lot

  16. Vistet,
    Is there any chance that the Srinagar-Leh road remains open throughout the winter. I am planning to visit Leh in March 2017 from Chennai. If the roads remain open, I would fly to Srinagar and reach Leh by road. Otherwise, Chennai -> Delhi -> Leh which is double the price. Please advice.

  17. Hi Vistet, The Srinagar-Leh road staying open till 1 Jan 2017 is not a “historic first.” It stayed open till 15 Jan 2016 (see my notes above). Bigger news is that a Zangskari retired contracter hired machines himself and pushed through the road from Darcha to Padum this autumn, and drove a jeep through. But it didn’t get covered in the news, I don’t know why. It should be HUGE news for Ladakh and for Zangskar!!!

  18. There have been three stretches of cloudy/rainy/snowy weather in April 2017, which is unusual, so the roads are likely to open late in 2017. Don’t make Zoji-La travel plans before late May.

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