Road trip guide: Conquering the Depsang La

Depsang La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5.376m (17,637ft) above the sea level, located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of the country.

Depsang La

The pass is located at the Line of Actual Control that separates the Indian- and Chinese-controlled regions. The road to the summit is gravel, rocky, tippy and bumpy at times. It’s impassable in winters. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. It has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards, and driving under these conditions, can be extremely challenging. It is subject to winter snowfalls with such a high summit altitude, and the road can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow.

Do not take this drive if you have respiratory problems or any type of heart condition. Notorius lack of oxygen that tests the organisms and a high degree of steepness. Most people feel altitude sickness at around 2,500-2,800 meters. Extremely low oxygen for engine combustion. The high elevation with its risk of altitude sickness, weather concerns, steep road grade, and overall inaccessibility make the pass dangerous and summit trips difficult. 4x4 required. The road is narrow and heavily used by military vehicles.