Wari La, A Pass to Remember


We loaded around 30 kg of baggage and 70 liters of petrol and started the journey towards Pangong Tso. It would be best if the bike would be describe as a truck. But then why this much load? The plan was to go to Pangong from Diskit via Wari la, distance of around 300 km. Petrol would also assist in further journey. Normally travellers don’t take this road to travel to Pangong. Not sure what are the reasons but the fact that it bypasses Leh could be one of the reasons. So there are talks that Wari la road in not in good condition and is difficult. But then we were out for Ladakh exploration and it was the ideal challenge for us.

First problem was petrol. There was a petrol pump in Diskit but there is no assurance of getting petrol. So we had to carry the petrol from Leh itself. As per many people whom we met, we were carrying a petrol pump itself. Secondly there are no refreshment stops in Wari la for complete stretch of 80 kms as it is seldom visited. But we had enough to meet the whole tour requirement, so no issues on that as well. Thirdly the road condition. It was assumed that generally roads are not good near the passes (There are some exceptions like Tanglang la). We had the idea that around 40 km road was not in good shape and we were prepared for it.

Normally the passes are barren but Wari la was exception. It was green right from the start. We stopped to capture the birds and monastery on the way. Beautiful road, picturesque grasslands, Marmots playing, Yaks grazing; it was altogether a surprisingly pleasant experience. How can this road be less travelled! Road gets bad at the top but that is only 10 km stretch. Rest of the road was in good condition with some amazing landscapes.

We had a break after crossing the top for quick refreshments. At 14400 feet of Wari la we were eating and watching the spectacular Kang Yaze range. This range has four peaks over 19500 feet, KYI, KYII, KYIII, and KYIV. We could also see the Shakti village, our stop before climbing the Chang la.
Chang la is the second highest motorable road at 17585 feet! This was the second pass above 17000 feet for the day. Even ‘diamox’ (medication for high altitude) was not making effect at such heights. We hardly stopped for 5 mins at Chang la top before proceeding for Pangong.

It was dark and was freezing cold with strong breeze as were heading for Pangong. But then it is expected at 14000 feet altitude at night. Shivering in that cold we halted before a small water body. Now what? Judging the depth of water at night was very difficult and getting into it without knowing would be stupidity. After 10 mins of wait, SUV arrived and we got to know the depth. Then we took out shoes and went pass that ice cold water. Legs were immersed in ice cold water, the sensation was lost, had to put over the hot engine to nullify the effect of cold. That activity in the freezing cold was outrageous.

But the journey of Pangong would always be remember for the amazing Wari la.

Note: These are excerpt from the experience of Anusandha Adventures team from Ladakh Exploration. Check Leh Ladakh Exploration for complete video.

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