High Roads News Sticky , 2015

SRINAGAR-LEH UPDATE , NOVEMBER 12th : Srinagar-Kargil open in alternate direction , every second day.

Srinagar , November 6th : eleven CRPF police wounded in grenade attack. Expect tense situation until Modis visit is over.

November 5th : heavy snowfall in Drass , Kargil & the Zoji La, Srinagar-Leh road closed.

OCTOBER 26TH : MAJOR EARTHQUAKE IN AFGHANISTAN , hundreds of dead , shakes northern India – so far material damages only on the Indian side. Sad day in an already torn nation.

October 24th : Rohtang La now beyond the tipping point , subzero both day and night. The snowfall predicted in the coming days will be around for a long while.

September 24th : online permits introduced for day visits to the Rohtang La at himachal.nic.in Daily quotas :

500 commercial Manali vehicles
100 commercial Himachal vehicles
100 out of state commercial vehicles
300 private vehicles

Himachal Pradesh , September 22nd : first snowfall over the Rohtang , Baralacha and Kunzum La. Open roads.

Himachal Pradesh , August 31st : eighteen dies as a local bus plummets down to the Sutlej river bank near Rekong Peo on the NH22/Hindustan-Tibet road. In a case of spectacular bad timing bus drivers in Una district shut down all traffic the same day as a protest against proposed new road safety legislation.


  • Jammu-Srinagar road OUT
  • impressive rains in Himachal , Mandi bus station under a lot of water
  • high and fast water in all Ladakhi rivers after days of continous rain
  • trekkers airlifted from Markha trek
  • Himachal weather forecast : more rain all coming five days
  • Leh , Srinagar , Kargil weather forecast : cloudy to sunny coming days

Manali Standoff , take two ( July 9th ) : NGT new hearing set to July 16th. July 6th : National Green Tribunal shut down all tourist activities at the Rohtang after previous court orders have been flaunted ( five thousand vehicles yesterday vs the permitted one thousand etc ) – and  dock the pay of a number of Manali officials until changes are made. SAACH PASS OPENS , JULY 4th : this means finally all four routes to Leh are open. SPITI UPDATE , JUNE 25TH : Manali-Kaza still officially closed ( i.e. no buses yet ) , despite all contrary rumors. Bad , bad conditions from Gramphu and eastwards with snow and slush. Heavy rain predicted , also on the Shimla/Kinnaur route. J&K and Himachal weather update , June 23rd : monsoon kickoff , heavy to very heavy rain predicted coming days. Manali , May 26th : Supreme Court upholds the ruling of the National Green Tribunal : max 1000 vehicles per day to the Rohtang La , and a two tier tax on regular vs diesel vehicles. LADAKHI INROADS : JUNE 13TH : MANALI-LEH OPENS , 2015 : cfirmed on official Leh site , all vehicles , June 16th Light traffic only , still not confirmed from Le. Weather coming days : thunder , rain and some clouds. Interesting days. June 6th : Border Roads reaches the Baralacha La . Remaining road to be cleared Baralacha La to Sarchu , Leh-Sarchu already open. June 3rd : Rohtang weather coming days : snow and rain. + 4 degrees lowest nights in Keylong , still just under zero at the Rohtang. May 28th : Manali Taxi Union strike ends : same traffic limitations to the Rohtang , taxes on hold  until June 8th. May 26 : Snowfall over the Rohtang and in Keylong (!) takes out the road again. Manali , May 22nd : Supreme Court rejects Manali Taxi Unions plea for a stop to the traffic limitations to the Rohtang  La & diesel tax. Full hearing May  26th. Manali , May 20th : very calm days on the road below the snowline , with the NGT cap  and taxi union strike. See separate post below. When the traffic over the Rohtang resumes : 1) no traffic on Tuesdays , same procedure as every year , only Border Roads  maintenance 2) second priority HRTC buses for Lahaul , and eventually Leh . 3) third priority Rohtang day trippers , only 1000 vehicles per day , and the new diesel tax. Manali-Leh , May 15th : Rothang La open for cars , not buses . Open road from Keylong to Darcha. Temperatures still dancing just above/below the freezing point at the Rohtang La : still time for more avalanches. May 11h  : HRTC buses now running from Koksar ( north side of the Rohtang ) up to Key long . May 4th :  Rohtang cleared from Manali beyond Marhi  up to Rani Nullah  , i.e. six kilometers from Rohtang top. On the north side the bulldozers have grinded to a halt , after using up all the stockpiled fuel. Fuel to be airlifted in. Srinagar-Leh fully open , May 25th Srinagar-Leh OPEN  , May 8th : Light vehicles only first , buses and trucks to follow after more work by the BRO. Fresh veggies for all  – congrats ! May 2nd : first crossings of the Zoji La – on foot. April 18th : Zoji La cleared almost cleared now , from both sides. Borders Roads new goal to open within a week .Weather forecast coming days : mix of clouds , some more snow at the high end of the road, and later sunny . ZANSKAR : Kargil-Padum road open SPITI  UPDATE June 23rd : some second and third hand reports of the Kunzum La now opened , no details. June 7th : open road  Shimla-Kaza-Losar , BRO has ( one report so far ) reached the Kunzum La.  . Manali-Kaza still closed after Batal . NEPAL , MAY 12th : NEW 7+ EARTHQUAKE, epicenter 68 klicks west of Namche Bazaar. Friendship Highway from Kathmandu to Lhasa out already after the first earthquake – massive destruction in Kodari

22 thoughts on “High Roads News Sticky , 2015

  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.

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