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Spanafrican Adventures's Blog

The latest news on Spanafrican Adventures operations.

Day 4: The descent to Chamba

Lush and bountiful we relished most of the 113km down from 4400m to Chamba some 3000m below!


The next morning, we headed down a seemingly never-ending 113km to the more tropical climes of Chamba. Despite a rainy start we enjoyed having gravity on our side and whizzed through at least 5 vegetation zones: high altitude, flower meadows, alpine, deciduous forest and sub-tropical. Although downhill (mostly) it took a good 7hrs30 of surprisingly hard work. I have always found cycling at lower altitudes much tougher as  besides the much hotter temperatures, the humidity is so high and feels a lot harder than cycling higher, in 02-thin air at cooler, drier temps.

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Day 3: Finally, Crossing Sach Pass (4400m)

Just over half way, another 14km would take me 3hrs to finally summit Sach!

This is the toughest and most epic pass I have ever cycled. Although not as high as many of the other himalayan passes, Sach is steep! So steep that in many instances I resorted to pushing. It took me 7hrs30 to cycle 32km of up from 2200m to 44oom, (although the total days ride was actually 8hr30  (58km) taking into account the first 11km were downhill and then the 14km descent to the police check point over the other side).  While it was supremely tough it was also utterly stunning, and therefore will remain one of my favourites.

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Day 2 - to the Sach Pass (Udaipur to Kilar)

Leaving Udaipur we cycled through magnificent pine forests

For sure this must be one of the most beautiful routes that I have ever cycled.  It took us almost 8hrs to ride the 80km to Kilar for a number of reasons: really tough terrain of unmetaled, stony roads and scenery that we simply had to stop for, every couple of kilometres. The road slithered and climbed along the ever narrowing and harrowing Chandrabhagga river valley.

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Day 1 - On the way to the Sach (Saach) Pass

A few kilometres after Keylong we left the Manali Leh highway and followed the mighty Chandrabhagga river (2400m) which cuts through the spectacular Pangi valley.

The Sach (Saach) pass, one of the lesser known passes in Himachal Pradesh has always had a certain allure since friends Cass and Cara had cycled it 6 years before. They had rated it as the most beautiful and challenging they had ever cycled (and they really know the Himalayas). With a bit of back tracking from Leh, we set-off from Keylong and followed the confluence of the Chandra (moon) and Bhagga (sun) rivers which form the great Chandrabhagga (or Chenab) river which flows into Pakistan.

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Meeting old and new friends on the Manali Leh Highway

Insect-like Janet, negotiates her way down the Baralacha-la pass to the plains of Sarcchu where Chumikgiarsa village occurs dot-like beneath a crumbling mass of mountain.

There is always something to look forward to when returning. It may be small changes, like roadside flowers that you had never noticed before. There is also something comforting  in that nothing has changed either, in this case, no mountains have been moved! Then there is the anticipation of meeting old friends again and meeting new ones too.

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