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 roads of the country.

Depsang La

The pass lies along the Line of Actual Control, dividing the territories administered by India and China. The path to the peak consists of gravel and rocks, often uneven and rough. During winter, it becomes impassable. Avoid traveling along this route in severe weather conditions. Snowslides, intense snowfall, and landslides are potential hazards, particularly risky due to icy patches. Renowned for its perilous nature, the pass is notorious for unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards, making driving exceptionally difficult. With its elevated summit, the pass is susceptible to heavy winter snowfall, leading to closures when the road is obstructed by snow.
Avoid undertaking this journey if you suffer from respiratory issues or any cardiac ailments. The infamously low oxygen levels strain the body and coupled with the steep incline, altitude sickness typically afflicts individuals at altitudes between 2,500 to 2,800 meters. Engine combustion faces significant challenges due to the scarcity of oxygen at such high elevations. The pass presents dangers and poses difficulties for summit expeditions due to its elevated position, altitude-related health risks, unpredictable weather conditions, steep gradients, and overall remote location. A 4x4 vehicle is mandatory as the narrow road sees frequent use by military convoys.