High Roads News Sticky , 2015 (archive)

( updates right now from behind the Great Firewall , less
snappy )

DECEMBER 21st , LADAKH SNOWLOCKED : Srinagar-Leh closed , and BRO retreats from Marhi ( south side of the Rohtang La ) and Koksar (north) . No fresh veggies in Leh for a couple of months..

December 16th : Rohtang cleared from Manali , northern slope down to Koksar to be cleared by tomorrow.

December 12th : heavy snowfall closes the Rohtang La . Eleven centimeters of snow in Keylong & Kalpa. Light snowfall over the Kunzum La @ Saach Pass.

Heavy snowfall takes out Srinagar-Jammu-Leh road and Leh airport for a day , December 11th. Twenty inches of snow in Gulmarg.

Srinagar-Jammu road , December 8th : two militants killed , four wounded in confrontation close to Srinagar : two police , one tourist , one local .

Himachal weather update , November 27th : HP receivs a brief kiss of snow at the 2000 meter level ( Shimla , Manali etc ) . Day and nigh temperatures still above zero . One cm of snow in Keylong.

MANALI-LEH CLOSED , NOVEMBER 15th.
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.

FLOODINGS IN LADAKH , JAMMU AND KASHMIR , HIMACHAL PRADESH AUGUST 8th :

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/Dram

High Roads News Sticky , 2016

( 2015 sticky archived , see the sticky category)

January 4th : Srinagar-Leh closes.

JANUARY 1st , 2017 : Historic first , Srinagar-Leh still open .

MANALI-LEH UPDATE , NOVEMBER 2 : Manali-Leh now show  as closed on the official Leh site , leh.nic.in , after first heavy snowfall traps Manali day tourists at the Rohtang La. Temperatures at top still dancing just above/below zero , permanent snow build up uncertain. See also this post on the October 15th rumor.

Manali-Leh , Manali-Kaza update , October 12th : first snow over the Rohtang & Kunzum La , night temperatures just below zero at four thousand meters.

J&K security update ( see also post below ) , October 2 : Baramulla army base under attack , two attackers and one soldier dead at first reports.

October 1st : all curfews lifted .

September 30th : partial curfew in Srinagar to prevent the announced protests at Lal Chowk. Protest schedule prolonged to October 6th.

September 17th : massive protests in Srinagar after eleven year old found shot dead.

September 16th : Reinforcements : Two more batallions arrive in Kashmir.

September 13th : two dead ( Shopian & Bandipor ) , one hundred plus wounded as Eid starts. Widespread curfews.

September 7th : Kulgam school on fire as CRPF breaks up protest rally , ninety wounded.

September 3rd : one dead , seventy wounded .

September  2 : 18 year old drowns in Jhelum river , Srinagar, while being chased by CRPF .

August 31st : one dead , 150 wounded and a parliament members house torched as remaining curfews ( but not downtown Srinagar )  are lifted . Strike extended to September 8th.

August 30 : seventy wounded in clashes over J&K.

August 29th/day 52 : curfews lifted in most of Kashmir, separatists calls for continued strike until September 1st. Ninety wounded  in clashes at the end of the day.

August 21st / day 44 : sixtyseventh fatality : teargas shell kills protester in Srinagar.

August 20th : partial restoration of phone services , mobile internet still out . Oil tankers on new strike , citing numerous attacks against vehicles and drivers ,  cutting fuel deliveries – including to security forces.

August 15th : CRPF battalion commander killed , eight soldiers wounded  in Srinagar  on Indepedence Day .

August 10th ,  reinforcements : CRPF sends in 85 more companies to J&K

August 6th : three dead , 360 wounded in clashes on Friday and Saturday.

Telluride , August 4th : World Conference on Wilderness & Mountain Medicine ( joint conference of International Society for Mountain Medicine and Wilderness Medical Society  ) ends – stand by for exciting news ..

J&K security update , August 4th : partial curfew in Srinagar, and Anantnag , Baramullah etc.

July 29th : 100+ wounded in J&K clashes.

July 27th : renewed curfew in Srinagar.

July 26th : curfew lifted all over Kashmir , except Anatnag in the south. Fourteen wounded , one dead . Protesters and police in Srinagar exchange teargas and stones.

July 20th : twelfth day of curfew . Printed newspapers re-appearing tomorrow.   Oil tankers on eight day of strike , refusing to supply the Vale and Ladakh after attacks on vehicles & drivers.

July 17th : Delhi sends reinforcements , twenty CRPF companies , i.e. 2500+ men.

July 15th : curfew extended over the weekend , now in all ten Kashmiri districts . Total casualties now 40 dead , 1500+ wounded.

July 11th : Amarnath yantra resumes under heavy security measures. Fifteen police wounded in Srinagar grenade attack.

July 10th : major unrest after the killing of militant leader. Civilians attacking police stations ( and tossing one police car in to Jhelum river , one drowned ) , police attacking ambulances , and more.  Twenty dead , and a lot more wounded.Partial curfew in Srinagar.

June 25th : second attack in a month on police/Army convoy on Jammu-Srinagar road in Pampore : eight CRPF police killed , twentytwo wounded. Armored personell carriers transfered from Chattisgarh region.

Himachal weather , June 9th : fourth day of rain , more to come the next days . Max temperatures between 31 degrees ( Dharamsala )  25 ( Shimla & Kalpa) , twenty-ish in Keylong.

Srinagar-Leh , June 8th : landslide near Sonmarg takes out the road , BRO at work clearing it.

May 23rd : Manali-Leh OPEN

May 23rd : Supreme Court decides on appeal against the NGT regulations at the Rohtang La : no changes , new hearing in two weeks . Taxi union demanded a fivefold increase in allowed traffic , with the ..odd argument that hydro electric power plants generates far more pollution (!).

Rohtang La open for day tours , May 21th

Rohtang La daytours , May 18th : traffic now allowed up to Marhi – with sad ,isolated patches of snow.

May 3rd : really , really official – leh.nic.in roadmarker now shows Srinagar-Leh as open.

May 1st : mangoes in Leh , in a mail from Phey school : “..trucks came too on 1 May and we’re eating mangoes in Ladakh! Hooray!”

image

( The Tribune , May 1st – Amin War )

SRINAGAR-LEH OPENS ON APRIL 30 : it’s official in todays ( April 28th ) news , and the weather forecast looks good.

SRINAGAR-LEH UPDATE , APRIL 25th : Zoji La cleared , BRO expects to have the road fully open ” within a few days ” .

image

(  Zoji La inspection , April 25th – from Ladakh News Service group , Facebook )

MANALI-LEH UPDATE , APRIL 24th : snowfall over the Rohtang , both sides : five centimeters of snow down in Keylong. 350 persons trapped for eight hours near the pass on Sunday , until BRO managed to clear it agagain.

Srinagar , April 15th : fifth civilian death on Friday in the widepread protests in the Vale. Srinagar under partial curfew , including shutdown of internet .

April 10th : 6.8 earthquake in Afghanistan rocks Srinagar, Shimla , Kullu… no word on casualties yet.

MANALI-LEH UPDATE , APRIL 7th : Rohtang La  cleared but not open for traffic yet ,according to BRO. Mixed clouds and snowfall in the weekend  in the weather forecast.

SRINAGAR-LEH UPDATE , APRIL 1st : BRO has cleared the road up to ten kilometers from the Zoji La pass. Nights  still ( barely) subzero at the pass & in Leh.

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KASHMIR WEATHER UPDATE  , MARCH 17th : heavy rains over the Pir Panjal , roads blocked. Thirty centimeters of snow in Sonmarg . More snow over the Zoji la on the Srinagar-Leh road.

HIMACHAL WEATHER UPDATE , MARCH 17th : 45 centimeters of snow in Pangi Valley.        More snow over the Rohtang . Daytime temperatures barely above zero daytime in Keylong , below zero both night and  daytime above four thousand ( i.e. The Rohtang La before Keylong , and nearly all the way  between Keylong and Leh ) . More snow coming in this weekends weather forecast .

HIMACHAL WEATHER UPDATE , MARCH 7th : heavy snowfalls and avalanche warnings in the high passes : 90 cm at the Rohtang La , 35 cm down in Keylong . Snow turning in to sleet and rain in the lower reaches.

HIMACHAL WEATHER UPDATE , MARCH 7th : heavy snowfall over the Rohtang & Kunzum La , 30 cm in Keylong .

Srinagar-Leh update , March 1st : BRO  at work from Sonmarg towards the Zoji La , snow levels between one and three meters. First guess from BRO : work completed up to Leh by the end of the month – this would be nearly two weeks earlier than the record in 2013 . NB : they have been wrong before , many times .

Himachal weather update, February 20th : heavy snowfall above 3000 meters , half meter over the Rohtang La , Kunzum La and Saach pass . Twentyfive cm in Keylong.

Himachal weather update , February : moderate to heavy snowfall in Shimla and over the Rohtang La on the 8 & 14th.

Himachal weather update , January 7th : 30 centimeters of snow at the Rohtang La , 15 centimeters in Keylong , also breaking the long warm spell in Shimla.

January 30th : BRO starts clearing the road from Manali towards the Rohtang , earliest ever.

January  4th :

LADAKH :  SNOWLOCKED  since December 21st , 2015 : Srinagar-Leh closed , and from the Manali end BRO retreats from Marhi ( south side of the Rohtang La ) and Koksar (north) . No fresh veggies in Leh for a couple of months..

NEPAL FUEL CRISIS/EMBARGO : you can get in by land , the usual route via Gorakhpur and Sunauli. Flights run with the airlines that can refuel before landing in Ktm . Little drama for tourists , apart from some price raises.

NEPAL-TIBET : Friendship Highway between Kathmandu and Lhasa still not open after the 2015 earthquakes.

PAKISTAN-XINJIANG/CHINA : Karakoram Highway closed as usual , opening ( earliest ) 1st week April.

SIKKIM-CHINA  : Nathu La closed for the winter , and still not an option either for Indian nationals or angrezis.