Detour to the Indus (via Tso Kar)

Due to the floods and mudslides in Ladakh, we were forced to change our route and add another 100 odd kilometres onto the trip. The route we had expected to follow would have taken us over 5300m Taglang-la pass, however once over this pass,  some 20km or so of road had been completely washed away. We diverted around Tso Kar and crossed the 5000m Polo Konga Pass instead, passing high summer grazing camps and then dropped down to the swollen and flooded, murky Indus River. The nice thing about this route was that Carlos and I were able to see a new area, one that actually requires a permit, however due to the circumstances there was no other option but for vehicles to use this route. Once we joined the Indus River at  Mahe we followed it for 150km all the way to Leh.

A kidnapable munchkin, could have easily taken her home (on the way over the Polo Konga Pass near Tso Kar)
The stunning Tso Kar Salt wetland at 4600m is the breeding ground of numerous specialised birds such as the endangered Black-headed Crane and the Bar headed geese. When we cycled past the waters were teaming with wetland fowl, I only wished I had some binocs and that there was a bird expert amoungst us.
From here we passed Tso Kar village, the first proper village we had seen in about 4 days
....and started a gradual climb up the Polo Konga pass, leaving Tso Kar behind us (Cath, me , Ant)
Roadside munchkins greeted us from their high altitude summer camps. Villagers from valleys below, often spend most of the summer grazing their yaks and goats in the high altitude pastures where smatterings of green can be found.
Polo Konga Pass (5000m)
It was here we hung Justin's prayer flags (he was to have been here with us on this very trip). And he was in spirit.

Reading special messages
Justin's prayer flagsRemembering Justin
The Polo Konga (Justin's) Pass
An incredible descent to Sumdho
...to arrive at steaming, sulphurous springs
Inder and some littlies from Sumdho
Old Boy from Sumdho. I gave him 3 boiled eggs I had saved, my french toast lunch and some Good day butter biscuits. It was Xmas lunch indeed!

Bridget Ringdahl

Pedaling has been natural to me since the tender age of three. Cycling is practical, fun, it gets you to the corner café, across countries, continents, keeps you fit and is by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly transport option around, being virtually carbon neutral.

I live in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal which is great cycling country, within 10 minutes I can be bouncing along some of the finest single tracks in the province.

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One thought on “Detour to the Indus (via Tso Kar)
  • Fascinating. My frineds and I just returned from riding across the Alps. The Himalayas have always inspired me. I am keen to visit there next year. Dick

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