Marsimik La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5.590m (18,339ft) above the sea level, located in northern India’s Jammu and Kashmir state. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of the country.
Located in the Chang-Chemno Range, the road to the summit, also known as Marsimek La, has disastrous conditions and only 4wheel drives are allowed with competent driver. The road up is partly paved. The mettle road soon turns to dust and then to rubble and this is where you need to be really careful. The track to Marsimek La was built in 1983 under the supervision of Sonam Paljore, an Everester. There is also a small temple called "Chak Mandir" which has a picture of Lord Shiva.
Starting from Pangong Lake, the ascent is 31.04 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.290 meters. The average percentage is 4.1 %. The track will challlenge you with the steep slopes (towards the last few kms), loose soil and lots of sharp stones and big rocks all around. And with rareified air, your car will run out of breath. Nearing the top of the pass, the roads are even worse as the loose sharp stones give way to larger rocks that will make the ride a nightmare on a two-wheeler. No special military permit is required. However, the Protected Area Permit for foreigners does not include access to the pass so there is no way for anyone who is not an Indian citizen and resident to drive up there.
The road is impassable in winters. If your car is not properly prepared, it will not have enough power to do the climb, and especially considering that the track is very steep, and rough. The zone is a hostile, barren land. Make sure you leave enough time to make the journey back down in daylight.
Pic: Ashutosh Adkar