Himalayan trip: altitude profile

I’ve prepared the altitude profile of the upcoming Himalayan biking trip. This is the cycling expedition that we about to undertake with my brother. The trip will involve getting to the highest road pass in the world first, then going back down, well, almost to the sea level. It may sound like a huge downhill, but there are plenty of uphills to get through the passes along the way. Serious altitudes all along. To get to the start of the route, one needs to cycle up first, and this is going to be the initial test. Getting to Khardung La and out of Leh, are going to be the tough, and will need to be taken slow, due to the altitudes involved.

It is going to be serious and it is hard to judge of what will and what will not be possible. Lots depends on the weather and our ability to acclimatize. The altitude acclimatization might take the most of the first half of the trip. There are a number of challenges and even though the plan is pretty ambitious, we may adjust it subject to the conditions and circumstances.

Overall, the plan is to get from Khardung La all the way to Agra, 1100km away, exploring the Ladakh and other northern Indian states (among them, Himchal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh). The majority of time however, will be spent in Ladakh. The initial two passes, Khardung La and Taglang La are the toughest in terms of altitude change. Both will be done from Leh, which will be a de facto start of the journey (we flying there with your bicycles from New Delhi). Even though all the other passes are at lower altitudes, they still provide their own challenges, especially if there are snow falls. The Ladakh area is a semi desert and we counting on weather to help us through. (note, I still haven’t found what is the name of our “Last pass”, so it is just a code name).


Cycling in Ladakh. The ultimate cycling with gods.

2 thoughts on “Himalayan trip: altitude profile

  1. Hannes

    looks like a challenging trip. enjoy and keep safe, do you know by any chance how bad the traffic is on these roads? and what the ‘usual’ wind conditions are? I mean wind is always the worst – you loose so much energy fighting it (my experience in NZ – where the height profiles are at http://runkeeper.com/user/hannesm).

    Enjoy the trip,


    1. mariusz Post author

      Thanks. Pretty challenging but at the same ultimate altitude cycling adventure. Many things against us: the altitude, season, weather, and political situation. The wind might be an obstacle, but I’m worried more about the chill factor and the snow. The area around Leh should be dry: semi-desert, very low annual rainfall, and now dry season. Further south towards the Indian plains, there is more snowfall, and some of the passes might be closed for the winter season already. We’ll see. I’ll take GPS and collect the route trace. I will report on winds once we experience them. Have not read anything “unusual” in any guide or report so probably the “usual” mountain changeable weather conditions.

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