Winter Cycling in Ladakh - Leh - Pangong - Khardung La - Leh

Chander Kaher

New Member
Might KhardungLa is surely MIGHTY, takes best out of you .... ( Pic from Video)


Down towards Leh. Looking up to K-Top from leh side ( Pic from Video), very slippery road , like ice sheet with dumps ...


My digital temperature meter stuck at -16 from south pullu. Temp at K-TOP was lower ... below -23C,


Finally reached Leh, thanks to Mr. Tashi for a wonderful stay and food.


Chander Kaher

New Member


Cycle : MTB Cannondale Trail 6 , 12KG


  • 2 Down feather jackets ( but used one at a time, it was enough)
  • 1 Warm flees Jacket
  • 1 Sweater wool (thin)
  • 3 Thick Cotton full sleeves T-shirts
  • 3 Standard Running T-Shirts (Decathlon)
  • 4 Warm Pair of Socks (Decathlon)
  • 1 Leg warmer (Decathlon)
  • 1 Jeans
  • Neck Warmer (Decathlon)
  • 2 High-Quality warm Caps
  • 2 Balaclava ( but not used)
  • 2 Basic woolen Gloves
  • 1 pair of Warm Gloves (rated -20C and worn along with basic gloves for layering)
  • 1 pair of Trekking shoes (rated - 20C, Decathlon – 4 Star warmth)
1 DSLR Camera

Medical Kit

Weight of Items mentioned above: 5-6 KG

Tent: Weight 1.2KG ( Backup, not used)

Water Bottles:

  • 2 kg Insulated water Bottle (with 1-liter water)
  • 1 kg plastic water bottle (with 1-liter water)

1.2 kg Sleeping Bag - Down feather (-20C)

Home-Made Energy Food: Mix of Carb+protein+butteroil +nuts +fats, aka Mithai. 100g=600-700 cal , Total 2KG

Carrying weight 12-13KG.

Trip Statistic:

  • Route: Leh - Sakti - ChangLa - Durbuk - Pangong Lake - Phobrang -Shyok - Khalsar - Diskit - Khardung La - Leh
  • Total Distance covered: 457 km
  • Total Ascent: 8100 mt
  • Total Descent: 8100mt
  • Highest elevation: 5400 mt (KhardungLa is debatable 5680 mt)
  • No. Of days: 8 (21 - 26th Dec cycling, 20-27th Total Duration)
  • Temperature Experienced: Day -3°C to -22°C (Cycling), Night -10°C to -21°C(sleeping at warm place @ 10C)

Mobile Connectivity :

  • Airtel 4G at Leh, Karu, Sakti

  • BSNL at Durbuk, Tangtse, Khalsar

Luckily no problem with cycle during this trip.

What is different in Winters:

Landscape :

  • All landscape is either brown or white, not a blade of green grass.
  • If there is water, it is frozen like a rock.
  • If you are flying from Delhi, you feel and see freshness from AQI of 350 at Delhi to 0 at Leh.

Leh and around:

  • Life looks normal at Leh and around but very few tourists and locals.
  • 90% of shops/hotels are closed compared to July-August
  • Food options are very limited, but you relish almost everything if you do what I did every day

  • You need to make sure that you book your stay (guest house) and talk to the person for facilities.
  • Very basic facilities are available, except for one or two expensive hotels.
  • Going beyond Leh, make sure that you have confirmed your stay, nearly all guesthouses and hotels are closed.

Taxi: Available

Challenges compared to Summer cycling

  • The body need to overwork to maintain body temperature in addition to peddling
  • Very cold air to breathe which is very painful (may lead to frostbites). Covering the face reduces airflow which in turn reduces oxygen volume, which is already at 70%-50%.
  • Inhaling cold air makes your inner body cold. The body needs extra effort to maintain body temp.
  • Risk of frostbites at hand and foot when there is no sun, at passes, or downhill with the windchill factor.
  • -Roads are icy near passes, which are sometimes impossible to cycle or walk, need crampons.
  • In case of emergency, help may be delayed due to less/no traffic during winters.
  • Days are very short max. 9-10 hr daylight, compared to 14hr in summer. You will have to plan your stay very carefully and delays can be very very risky.

What you Get

  • Different and beautiful Landscape.
  • If you love solitude, it is a lot there, hardly any tourists and very few locals.
  • No traffic on roads, you can be on your own whole day
  • Lots of Adrenaline
  • Know locals better and wonderful experience to know them better to learn a lot about there simplicity, kind, helpful and loving nature.

rajkumar. r

UNBELIEVABLE.....Really a True Adventure...Ladakh in Winter & that too in a Cycle . And Solo Riding. Again I Think it as UNBELIEVABLE.... HATS OFF to you...