Khardung La: Seriously High High-Altitude Cycling

Difficulty Level: 197

Ascent: 1944 meters over 40 kms.

Khardung La is the highest motorable road in the word. You rise to 5355 meters. The road condition is great, but the altitude is worry. The lack of oxygen in the air evident. The difficulty level that is calculated is misleading because the cycling difficulty level equation adds a similar factor for 1000 and above. However, you might agree that riding at 1000+ meters is substantially than riding at 4000+ meters!

Elevation Profile of Khardung La, Leh, Ladhakh, India

Elevation Profile of Khardung La, Leh, Ladhakh, India

The gradient is mostly consistent over 40 kms. This is fascinating route. There are many cyclists and runners who have taken challenge. Even a Formula 1 team took it up. You read more about their success here… Since this is a cycling focused site, here is a picture of someone who successfully tamed the Khardung La. Actually, she tamed it 3 times in 2 days…crazy…or maybe just the appeal of seriously high altitude cycling.


Cycling Road Condition

The road is quite good, no not road bike good, but a Hybrid can easily take up this challenge.

The following video shows you the state of the roads in August 2013.


Plan for the Khardung La Cycling Trip

To take this Himalayan challenge, you need to fly yourself and your bike to Leh, which is in Ladhak. Depending on your fitness levels, this pass can be done in 4 to 6 hours of seriously hard cycling. Yes, a support car would be useful, but not really necessary. Since this Himalayan cycling trip can also be accessed from Manali (2000+ meters), you can actually ride from Manali to Leh. Read more about the Rohtang La that you’ll encounter from here.

More Information

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