With the tourism to Leh/Ladakh almost dead in 2020, earlier this year, the Border Roads Organisation or BRO announced an early opening of the Manali-Leh highway. Tourists from across India started heading to Leh via Manali. While the roads were open much earlier than the previous years, sudden weather change caused some problems for these travellers.
Here is one such traveller who got stuck due to the bad weather and then became the first Kia Sonet to climb the treacherous Baralach La pass. The video starts from Jispa, where hundreds of tourists and thousands of labourers got stuck due to the student weather change in that region. High snowfall had blocked the mountain passes.
After the Atal Tunnel bypassed the Rohtang La, the Baralach La is the first high altitude pass on the Manali-Leh highway. However, due to the snowfall people got stuck in Jispa and spend a lot of days in that region till the BRO cleaned the roads again to make them fit for vehicular movement.
After getting stuck for days in Jispa, the video shows the journey of climbing the mighty Baralach La and that too at night. The Kia Sonet reaches the ascend of Baralach La at around evening. Post that, the vehicle climbs slowly to the high altitude pass, which is located at more than 16,000 feet above mean sea level and the climb is not easy. The roads are not in the best condition due to the climate of this region throughout the year.
Kia Sonet to Baralach La
Kia Sonet is a front-wheel-drive car and we are not sure about the exact variant of this vehicle. The Sonet in select variants offers multiple traction control based terrain modes like Snow, Mud and Sand. These modes do help in ensuring that the car does not get stuck in tricky situations but experienced drivers do not need such modes.
Nonetheless, during the climb, the speed of the Sonet remain quite slow as the roads start to get covered with snow and as it was quite late in the evening, the temperature starts to drop and the water freezes to become black ice. That is why so many vehicles were getting stuck during the climb. The Sonet, however, seems like had an experienced driver who waited for a clear road ahead before proceeding. With momentum, the Sonet came out of the tricky and slippery situations without any problem whatsoever.
The Baralach La Pass is the first high altitude pass on the Manali-Leh highway. Earlier the Rohtang La was the first pass, however, with the Atal Tunnel bypassing Rohtang, most people who do not take the old route get the Baralach La as the first pass.
Can any car do it?
Any car with a decent amount of ground clearance, good tyres and an experienced driver can go through such situations or even more dramatic situations without a problem. Apart from high altitude passes, the highway to Leh also throws challenges like high speed flowing streams which they call Nullah in the local language.