Race Route Description
Refer ROUTE MAP – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27274410
Event Details – https://www.inspireindia.net.in/the-great-himalayan-ultra/
The Race route follows NH1 through spectacular Himalayan mountain landscapes of Ladakh and Kargil regions, in Jammu and Kashmir. Starting from Leh the race route goes south for a small taste of green ladakhi valleys along the brilliant turquoise of the Indus (Sindhu) river, before turning around at Thiksey Monastry on your left. Racers will face their first climb to go past Leh and continue on the highway to Srinagar and shortly after the second climb. After the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib at km 61 the route descends past Magnetic hill and the point where the Zanskar joins in and changes the color of the Indus at a dramatic sangam that is clearly visible on the left from the route.
The road flattens at Nimmoo where you may be able to procure some items, till Basgo where the third climb of about 8 km starts. The route descends again to Saspol 98km, where supplies are available to follow along the Indus for about 40 km. A couple of km after Khalsi the road crosses the Indus, which is on the right for a short while. Then the route turns away from the age old path of the Indus and starts the long climb of 27km to Fotu La the highest point on the race route. After racing past the breathtaking moonland the road goes past Lamayuru monastery where refreshments and few supplies are available.
The route ascends till Fotu La through a barren and exposed landscape that continues, descending with the valley on the left of the road. Caution is advised on this stretch as there is a possibility of a strong cross wind. The road conditions also are not perfect, racers may want to consider switching to an mtb or hybrid. A 7 km climb is followed by an even longer descend to Kargil the lowest point on the race route at 257Km. Crossing a bridge, the route follows the Suru river or it’s tributaries, through narrow valleys flanked by green meandows. The route goes past Kargil War Memorial to reach Dras, the second coldest inhabited place on earth and the turn point for the race. This is truly a race of superlatives!
The route back to Kargil, where the mandatory night halt is arranged is pleasant, rolling gently. Leaving Kargil racers will now face the longest ascent climbing from the lowest point on the race 2600Mts at Kargil to Fotu La top at 4100Mts. This 90 km stretch is the most grueling of the race, but may be eased a little with a tail wind. After Fotu La, the route descends to reach the Indus again, returning the same way to Leh.
- This is a High Altitude mountainous race, as most of the race route remains above 3000Mts, only briefly descending below that altitude. All participants are expected to follow a proper acclimatization schedule.
- A total elevation gain of 10350Mts in 630 kms makes it a tough challenge.
- The climate is extreme, with temperatures reaching both extremes between day and night, in addition to the UV ray exposure making it even more challenging.
- Wind is another factor with a strong headwind getting channeled through the mountain ranges on the way to Drass.
- The remote and barren landscape indicates that availability of everything from fuel to food is very limited.
- The Race is an expensive race for Participants as travel to Leh with crew is a big budgetary expense, mandatory acclimatization is essential requiring racers and crew to spend a lot of time pre-race in Ladakh.
On being asked why she created this race, Divya Tate said, “India has a rich and diverse landscape, and the Himalayas are unbeatable in scale and beauty, especially in Ladakh. We want to create events that will grow into truly international races, showcase the magnificence of our natural and cultural wealth. An extreme race of this kind will certainly attract Ultraracers from all around the world to experience the grandeur of the Himalayas. We are proud to present this extreme challenge to the world.”