New Tour: Sach Pass

On the way up…

Most people who come to Northern India want to ride from Manali to Leh. But there’s so much other great riding nearby that’s quieter, more off the beaten track, and isn’t quite so tough. With this in mind, we’d really like to run a tour across the lesser known Sach Pass next summer.

Here’s an outline:

The trip will be 15 days long, and cross two big passes (4000m+). Terrain’s a mix of paved and unpaved surfaces – so think roughstuff touring rather than mtb’ing. Although it’s an absolutely fantastic ride, the fact that no-one knows about it means there’s very little information on the web. Which makes it harder for us to get a group together; so this post is to gauge what kind of reaction you have. We rode it last year (a little late in the season, mind) and posted some pictures.

What we love about about crossing the Sach Pass is the extraordinary variety of geography and culture it emcompasses, over a relatively small distance. From the greeny lushness of the Kullu Valley, to the drier climes of Buddhist Lahaul, to the all-but-empty Pangi Valley. After crossing the wonderfully rugged Sach Pass, there’s even a 100km descent (that’s right) south to temple-packed Chamba. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s the most beautiful pass we’ve ridden in Northern India. The last stop is Dharamsala, home of the HH Dalai Lama and all things Tibetan. It’s a challenging ride with plenty of climbing – but overall altitudes are a little lower, so it’s easier to get your head around.

The best time of the year to do this trip is mid September to mid October: after the monsoon, but before the snow. The dates we’re suggesting are the 18th Sept to 2nd October. The price will be around £750, all in. We’ll run it as a minimal, jeep supported trip, with Norboo our cook on hand to rustle up our evening feasts and Phunchok to carry our gear. We’ll camp most of the time, with some guesthouses too. Unlike our Spiti ride, the route isn’t technical (from an mtb point of view) – though we’d recommend mountain bikes or touring bikes with wider tyres for the very mixed conditions.

Please let us know what you think…

Sach Pass


9 Responses to “New Tour: Sach Pass”

  1. 1 steve rooney November 14, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    i like the look of this tour
    hopefully a thorn nomad will cope

  2. 2 Alex November 21, 2006 at 8:14 pm

    Looks like an amazing trip, I like the idea of a more laid-back backcountry road/track tour. What sort of rough mileage / climbing are you looking at on average? I know some people “chilled out” is anothers “epic” 🙂


  3. 3 otbiking November 25, 2006 at 6:01 pm

    A nomad would do just fine. Maybe fit some bigger tyres to help smooth out the rougher sections, but much of it is on tarmac – albeit Indian in quality…

    Distances can be a bit deceptive in this part of the world, as riding at altitude is a whole away from riding back home. We’ll get some numbers up on the site, but they’ll be similar to our other tours – averaging about 50km a day. Climbing isn’t generally more 1200m over a day.

    Although it’s certainly a challenging tour (as they all tend to be in this neck of the woods), I’d say that anyone who either rides regularly or does a lot of outdoorsey/keep fit stuff would be just fine. It’s not quite as high in altitude as some, which helps too, and there isn’t a medley of passes, like on Manali-Leh. The scenery is BIG though, and at times, the road conditions are tough. Maybe the best way of describing it would be a ‘chilled out epic’ (-;

  4. 4 otbiking November 25, 2006 at 6:03 pm


    I’d leave the singlespeed at home. But a 29er would be spot on (-:

  5. 5 Ron & Annette McCartan November 27, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Cass and Cara
    I left a message earlier but here goes again! Tour of Ladakh was wonderful. It gave Annette and I a lust for more! – without the coughing and with new ‘bombers’. If The Sach Pass doesn’t come to pass (no pun intended) we’ll be pedalling independently from Leh to Manali in late August early September. Your trips are great for anyone seeking adventure – well done
    Ron and Annette

  6. 6 Christian January 15, 2007 at 1:01 pm


    me and my girlfriend did the Sach pass last summer – inspired by your pictures.
    It was surely the highlight in India of our bike trip, altough very rough. I just can recommend it!


  7. 7 Konstantin Shemyak July 24, 2008 at 9:11 am

    I wonder is it possible to cycle the pass without camping gear, i.e. relying on accommodation places… Planning a solo ride in Kinnaur-Spiti, and climbing Sach pass in the end looks so tempting. How far apart are the “last” and “first” villages on eastern and western sides of the pass?

    Thank you in advance,


  1. 1 Provisional Dates for 2007 « out there biking: the blog Trackback on November 3, 2006 at 12:18 pm
  2. 2 Confirmed Dates 2007. The lines are open! « out there biking: the blog Trackback on December 16, 2006 at 10:22 pm

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