With Khardung La turning into a busy highway filled with regular tourists, adventure riders have started looking for more challenging places to ride to. I had to actually stand in a line to take a picture of my boys at the Khardung La pass sign board.
One name that has cropped up is Umling La, a high altitude pass which connects the remote villages of Chisumle and Demchok near the border with China. According to a Border Roads Organization (BRO) document:
“Construction of road Chisumle – Demchock in Sourthern Ladakh to Cl-9 specification is under progress. Formation cutting of 5.181 Kms has been executed near Umling La Pass during FY 2016-17. Once completed, road C-D will be the highest motorable road in the world crossing Umling La Pass at 19300 Ft higher than Leh – Khardung La road with crosses Khardung La at 18380 Ft.”
The nice thing about Umling La is that it is pretty far from Manali or Leh. So I’m expecting it to be ignored by tourists like how they ignore Marsimik La, a mountain pass that’s actually higher than Khardung La, but access to which is tightly controlled by the Indian army due to its proximity to the disputed border with China.