Trans Himalayan Experience With 480KM Ultra Run

in travelfeed •  7 months ago 

For the last several years, I have been going to Leh from Manali and after visiting so many times this place has never bored me. Every time this place has made me feel new. Even this time I had a similar feeling, so friends here is my experience of Leh from Manali.


This time again I got a chance to go with "The Hell Race's" annual event The Hell Ultra 480 km. This is an annual race in which the runner has to cover 480 km in 120 hours by foot. The race starts from Manali and ends in Leh.

My work was to do photography at this event. The first day was spent in car, we drives about 600 km in 14 hours. While the temperature in Delhi was 48 degrees, we reached the temperature of 8 degrees. This time there is a lot of change in the weather under which only 4000 meters snowfall is happening across the entire Himalayas.


On the second day, we made preparations for the vertical kilometre, this race itself is the only vertical race in entire India. 20 runners Participated in the race, I did the route marking and photography work.

On the third day all of us reached the Manali Mall Road to start the Hell Ultra 480 km, the race started at 10 pm, in which 7 runners participated. There were 7 support vehicles with two Volunteers in every car . At 7 a.m., the runner crossed the first mountain pass on the Manali-Leh highway, which is named Rohtang Pass (3950 meters). It was very difficult to reach, rain continued all the way, and when rain stopped, snowfall started. Seven runners were shivering from the cold, due to bad weather, a runner quit at Rohtang Pass.


The rays of sun rising in the morning resurrected all, now only six runners were left in the race and all were moving fast towards their respective cut-offs. Under the first time frame, all have to cover a distance of 135 km that too in just 22 hours. By observing the beauty of Lahaul Valley, all the runners reached Keylong before the cut off. Two runners took two hours break here, the other three runner went ahead.

Our car was running with lead runner. Lead runner took 2 hours rest at the Jispa. All the runner's medical check-up took place in which all was found good. Now everyone was moving towards the second mountain pass again in the light of day.


Baralacha pass (4950m) was more scary this time, there was continuous snowfall and there were about 40 feet of high walls of snow which kept the temperature at minus 10 degrees. Here Runner arrived at noon. Crossing this pass between bad weather was a great achievement for all. The next station was the Sarchu, where everyone had to reach. The second cut off was on Sarchu, under the second cut off, the runner should cover the distance of 242 km in 50 hours. By the end of the night at 11 o'clock, all the runner reached Sarchu, where they decided to take two hours nap after eating food. All of them start running at 1 a.m., not sure how one can run for 50 hours continuously, at the same height where the oxygen level is only 40-50%.


The third day begins with a strong sun rays and strong wind. Runner who left at night now reached on third mountain pass. Its name is Nakee La, whose height is 15547 ft above sea level. Most volunteers went to "whiskey nallah", where all had lunch. Runner also came here gradually and started walking back after having a hot meal, now the next challenge in front of the runners was standing. This means the fourth mountain pass of Manali-Leh Highway, which is named Lachungla. By the evening, only two runner crossed the fourth pass. The height of Lachung La is 166616 ft.


With the rest of the Volunteer I reached the next station Pang (4500m), we are going to stay here tonight but runner are not. At 2 o'clock last runner crossed the pang. The last runner decided to not move forward after reaching the More Planes. The runner of Indian origin had ankle swelling, due to which he had to quit. Everyone respected his decision.
350 kilometres have been completed, now only 130 kilometres of race is left. Only 4 out of 7 runners are progressing slowly. We were also going to cross the last pass of this highway with the runners.


The weather was very bad for the past two days, even today when runner reached nearby, snow started with a sharp storm. At 5 o'clock in the evening, 2 runners crossed the Tanglung La Pass. This altitude of this pass is 17582 feet from the sea level, this mountain pass is considered to be the world's second motor-able pass. It was 11 of the night and there was still snowfall on the pass, two runners were stranded between the 7-hour snowfall, after which both of them had crossed the pass and decided not to proceed further. The temperature was at -12 degree at night, the oxygen level was very low and two runner quit.


Seven runners had started running from Manali, after 380 kilometres, five runners had to stop. Now only 2 runners were in the race. Both were slowly moving towards the finish line. Now the race was just 50 km left and time was only 10 hours left. By now it was decided that at least 2 finishes will be there this time. The last 3 editions have only one finisher in this event.


After putting everything on hold, finally the first runner reached Shanti Stupa at 3 p.m. The runner of this Indian origin took 113 hours 36 minutes and 50 seconds to complete 480 kilometres. The second runner took 118 hours.
So, the 2019 edition was finished with 2 finishers.



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Wow..Boss...Namaskar and Pranam for this wonderful pictures. Number of pictures are less than what I expected especially when comparing with the the many travel blogs in steemit that too curated by well known team like curie, ocd etc. But the phrase Small is beautiful is absolutely matches with the post.

I know the beauty of Himalayas, I had been to most of the places except Leh, Ladakh to be frank but I could never get a snap like this. And it is not a mean thing for anyone to cover such distance in those special climate. And I am sure you might had more beautiful snaps than these one whioch you posted and your eyes might had captured 100 times more than these in your mind..

4th and 5th photo really needs special applause. I am looking forward to more such posts.

Cheers buddy... Take care

Aha...What a brilliant words, thank you very much for visiting here sir.
I am glad that you have already visited India. May be next time you should try Leh. I have clicked thousands of photos of trans Himalayas, and you have already been mentioned that photos can not show what we saw by naked eyes.
I am not a guy who think or write in English language but still I do just to share my experience and the beauty of Himalayas. I am feeling honored that Curie and ocd resteemed this blog.
Pranam, Namaste and blessings from Lord Himalaya.

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Himalaya, there is no words to expressits majestic beauty that changes from place and time to time. Amazing gift God to Universe. Your Photos were really having high quality.

What you could do is that select all good and variety snaps and post it as a series.

Have a good day, Cheers

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Well said Himalaya is precious gird from God to us. I can think about the series concept. Thanks for suggesting. Namaste

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What a race! I would be death after first 10 km I guess. Those two guys are immortal :D The conditions sound so bad and they still made it. Are there any prizes involved or is it just to prove yourself that you can do it? I wonder how long it takes them to recover from this adventure.

Your photos are spectacular but this is nothing new :)

Thank you for sharing and have a lovely day!

Hey @delishtreats welcome here.
Even I can die to cover such distance. By the way both were training for this event since 2 years that too above 4000 meters altitude. We have noticed that this time Himalaya is behaving totally different.
There are no prize money involve in this, yeah off course they just wanted to finish this task for their selves. I think they need few months to recover from 480km.
Have a nice day you too, greetings from Himalayas.

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The two runners gave him everything! Do you know how much is 480 km? TOO MUCH, the photos are spectacular, congratulations on the publication. Greetings and hugs:) x

Thanks for visit @iamsaray
I know it a huge number bit still they achieved it. Namaste from Himalayas.

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hi @himalayanwomb
A M A Z I N G !! setting aside that the Himalayas is one of my great travel dreams, your post is truly extraordinary !! but how do they invent these races? I knew the tuk tuk race: have you ever seen it? I would like to participate so much !! If I'm not indiscreet, can I ask you how you found this job? and how does volunteering work for this event ??
congratulations for the beautiful photos and for your curie rating

Namaste @road2horizon
They invented because the Himalayas is here, and nowadays we Indians are taking help of Himalayas to train ourselves.
Tuk tuk race is there, I saw one in June month, sharing one pic of that. I am the part of The Hell Race core team, that's why I got it. You can also join this event as volunteer next year.
Blessings from Himalayas.

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Here is the photo of tuk tuk ride

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really?? I'm not kidding. can i keep your contact and write you? I don't know when, if the next one or between two ... but I'll be there !! I'm so happy to have met you here !!!!! beautiful tuk tuk :-))) love love

Yes you can join as volunteer in next edition. The Hell Race team every year ask for volunteers and many experienced person came to help in the event. So why not you. The event took place on every year in June month around second week.
You can keep my contact else I can share my personal mobile number. Accordingly you can plan your visit to India. If you need any other info please let me know.

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you're very kind!! it is a precious contact, and it's a big opportunity to can work with local people !! thank you so much .-))

See you soon...

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What a great adventure you had. Going through these beautiful and beautiful landscapes and enjoying healthy competition is an enviable adventure. Seeing the photos causes me to be there as well and to be able to witness the competition. I loved this post @himalayanwomb. A big hug.

Namaste @samueldc
Thanks for visiting here. Himalayas always amaze everyone and the views remain breathtaking always. Well said there are lot to explore.
Greetings from Himalayas.

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Hi himalayanwomb,

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wow Himalayanwomb, lovely post. Amazing pictures there, I am also from India. Been to Manali but not to Leh ever, it is in my list and I wish to visit through bike only. Hoping it would come true in future sometime,thank you making me more tempted and congrats on your curie mate :):)

Hey @vibesforlife, thank you for paying visit here. We are Indians and every Indian should visit Leh at least once. The entire valley felt like some another planet. Visiting Leh since 2014 and since then watching tons of motorbikers, may be soon I see you on road.
Blessings and Namaste

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Yeah I have heard the other planet factor, see you one day there :):)

Thanks a lot for your explanations and presentation... we didn’t know yet of the run. Nice pictures and the deep knowledge: it’s a hard challenge. ..maybe we will find somebody who wants to be a spartan...

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There is one Indian ultra athlet who has participated in Spartan. This event is not so popular due to less marketing and small budget. But still organisers are doing their best.

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You are right, many events are more a business then a sport event. And be sure, we like more the challenges and events where a spirit is, not a company who wants earn money for itself.
We like your point of view. And we are watching you 😎🖖.

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Very well said, but in India no one is able to make money from running because the community is so small here. We are giving our best to give best trails of Himalayas in budget.
Have a good day

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When you make long post, you get good better make a good post every day....rather than posting a single image post.....your persistence is paying off.....Steem On👍

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Very well said, I was also thinking about it that after sharing good quality photos why the quality work is not getting noticed. Will try to write a long post.

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If you want to share good photos..then do share on @ntopaz writing few description of the place....hopefully you will get good response as compaired to what you getting currently...but do post regularly...and tagging other photograph communiyy

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Thanks for suggestion. Is @ntopaz is an app?. I post daily one post, in that I include one photo with short description about the pic.

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Not a mobile app but Steem Dapp you can use mobile browser...and post photo / photos and details

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Thanks again, will check it. 🙏

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Really impressive, all the images and the stories.
These people deserve a statue in every village. This is crazy stuff.
Running 42 km under nice weather is seen as the most amazing feat in sports. What these people do at this hellish race (especially given the no so hellish temperatures) makes Pheidippides' legendary feat fade in comparison.

Thank you @hlezama for visiting.
Very well said what others has already done big achievements in their life.
Namaste and blessings from Himalayas

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Wish I could find a picture of how bad the snowfall and the storm was 😆 but I don't think you should put yourself and the camera in danger to capture the moment😉

Thanks God.. you are still having fun with the runners anyway😊 I was thinking of you when I heard about 6 himalayan hikers missing at the end of May, but I know you're not there.

Yeah well said, on such terrain in trans Himalayas the weather itself is a beast. It is still snowing on 4500 meters.
I was on the mountains that time. Feeling sad for all of them. May RIP.
How are you doing nowadays?

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