kinnaur, Spiti valley and Ladakh by bicycle

Massimo

New Member
I'm an Italian cyclist and I'm planning a trip between Shimla and Leh on the Hindustan-Tibet highway.
I wanted to know which parts of the route are generally subject to landslides or flooding during August.
I read in this forum that Kinnaur roads are subject to breaks due to rains. But exactly what part of the path? And what period is most at risk? (July, early August, late August, etc.)
Thank you very much
massimo
 

omega

Active Member
Depends on the monsoons and any blockade can happen anytime. They are cleared soon though and as a cyclist you may even be able to make your way through one :)
 

Admin01

Administrator
July and August are monsoon months, so there are heavy rainfalls in the Northern Plains and in the hills as well. Spiti and Ladakh come in rain shadow area i.e. these aren’t impacted by the monsoon rain and all the rainfall that occurs happens due to western disturbance or local weather buildup.

The entire stretch of Kinnaur is fairly venerable to landslides (in particular between Wangtu to Spello) during the monsoon months. Malling Nallah too is a major trouble spot.

Even though at known trouble spots cleaning crews are permanently stationed to clear any landslides. There are instances when the entire mountainside can slide down into the river, thereby destroying road connectivity for days.

People cross landslide zones on foot to reach the other side and get transport from there when this happens. So technically you should be able to make it across with your cycle as well.

Similarly, the road between Batal and Manali can close down due to landslides. And there have been instances in past when both the routes had been blocked and tourists had to be airlifted from Kaza.

So my suggestion would be to avoid riding in the monsoon months, come to India around mid of June and then you shouldn’t face this sort of issue. If you cannot change your plan, then make sure you’re ready to ride entire day in the rain, because at times it can happen.
 

Massimo

New Member
thanks a lot to everyone.
In fact I knew about the monsoon season. I also know that the best time is June but unfortunately next year I could not go that month: my father will be 90 years old and I have to stay home.

And what about September? Can it happen that it rains a lot yet? And especially: how are the temperatures in Ladakh in September?

As for the rain: although it is annoying to travel with the rain, I am well equipped.

So, if I understand, the road from Shimla to Narkanda (which in any case has a rather hard step, it seems to me) should not have critical traffic problems, isn't it? Is this road paved? do you suggest to take a Bus from Shimla to Kinnaur (let's say Reckong Peo)? Or the Shimla district deserves a visit?

last question, I apologize:
Is Ladakh in June and September too cold?

I'm very sorry for all these questions but before planning trip in details I wanted to be sure of what I will have to deal with.
 
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Rohit Kothari

Super User
thanks a lot to everyone.
In fact I knew about the monsoon season. I also know that the best time is June but unfortunately next year I could not go that month: my father will be 90 years old and I have to stay home.

And what about September? Can it happen that it rains a lot yet? And especially: how are the temperatures in Ladakh in September?

As for the rain: although it is annoying to travel with the rain, I am well equipped.

So, if I understand, the road from Shimla to Narkanda (which in any case has a rather hard step, it seems to me) should not have critical traffic problems, isn't it? Is this road paved? do you suggest to take a Bus from Shimla to Kinnaur (let's say Reckong Peo)? Or the Shimla district deserves a visit?

last question, I apologize:
Is Ladakh in June and September too cold?

I'm very sorry for all these questions but before planning trip in details I wanted to be sure of what I will have to deal with.
Second half of september would be a good time in terms of rain. Although it is still monsoon season but the intensity is gone down by then. You would possibly get clear days even. Nonetheless, monsoons cannot be correctly forecasted and you may get a flurry even that late into monsoon.

Day time temperatures would be pleasant, however night time temperatures will be cold(in spiti and leh). Over high passes night and early morning temperatures can dip to negative.
Traffic on Shimla Narkanda stretch thins up after crossing Kufri. You can take a bus to reckon peo, but as this would be just at the end of the monsoon , you can enjoy and soak in the fresh air and greenery around once you get out of Shimla.

Both Ladakh and Spiti region(which you will cross to reach leh via Kinnaur) are usually dry, have pleasant temperatures during day time, and will have cold nights. As mentioned above, on high passes the temperatures can go to below zero during nights and early mornings and you can even get a light snowfall.
 

Admin01

Administrator
Monsoon should get over by September, while the post-monsoon showers generally continue till the first week of September. So if you’re planning to travel in September, you should be fine for the most part.

The weather in Ladakh starts turning cold in September and the high altitude passes can receive snowfall. However, on the whole, it would still be pleasant and not too cold. It is only at high altitude passes or on the Manali – Leh Highway that the temperature can go down below freezing at night or in case the snowfall occurs during the day. Same is also true for June, though mostly June is hotter.

Shimla district is huge, covers a lot of lower Himachal, and has a lot of touristy as well off-beat places. However, if you’re just traveling from Shimla to Reckong Peo and don’t intend to spend time doing sightseeing or going off the main road. Then it would be a good idea to take the bus till Jeori.

From Jeori you can ride to Sarahan and thereafter to Sangla, Chitkul, Reckong Peo and Kalpa. The entire route is quite scenic, though roads are a mixed bag.
 

Massimo

New Member
Thank you all
Now I understand.
I'm considering the idea of visiting only one of the two regions (Himachal or Ladakh). I think that monsoons and cold season prevents you from visiting the two regions in the same season quietly. Since this year I can only leave in August I think it is best to limit the trip to Ladakh and plan Himachal for another year.
I could start from Srinagar, but maybe in recent times it has returned to being a somewhat dangerous region.
I will try to study a good path.
You are very kind. Probably I'll bother you again in the future, eheh I apologize...
but in return you can ask me information about Italy if someone wants to come here.
best regards
 

Admin01

Administrator
August in Ladakh would be great, though you will face rainfall until Zoji La.

As for Kashmir, yes it can be risky at times, but for tourists and in particular, foreign tourists it is safe unless you get stuck in a protest. Avoid traveling in Kashmir around 15h August, which is the Independence Day of India and generally the time when protests etc. are at their peak.
 
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