Lossar – Batal (over the Kunzum La, 4550m)

30.9 km, 7.15 kph, 802 km so far.

A big day today – over the Kunzum La at 4550m. Highest so far and, because I’m not planning on the Manali-Leh ride with its 5300m passes, this will be the highest of the trip.

It’s uphill so this is probably the last I see of Brian for a while…






Getting close to the top. It won’t be too soon!



A couple of trucks coming the other way; not much truck traffic, mainly tourist and local taxis and the daily buses in each direction.


Made it, but with a lot of pushing. Breathing is fine but my legs don’t like these long climbs on rough roads :(


The HTDC bus does a clockwise circuit of the mani wall and chortens:


It’s very windy and cool. But a nice place so I spent an hour and a half just enjoying being here.




Downhill to Batal now. Better keep the jacket on.




Batal. At last. This is our accommodation for the night. Not quite Home Sweet Home but it’ll do just fine. A dog came in to shelter from the wind (or the other dogs, perhaps) and growled when I tried to relocate him to the floor. He was gone in the morning.





I asked the couple who run the dhaba whether the young woman who was working non-stop peeling and chopping vegetables, making chapattis, fetching and carrying, was their daughter. “No, my son’s wife” was the reply.

“Daughter-in-law” the young woman added. With the barest hint of resentment.



  1. Dave, loving your posts and pics from this journey……I certainly aspire to be able to do this sort of bike trip when my kids have flown the nest in …er, maybe about 15 years, but great to see it’s more than possible at any vintage! I went Manali to Leh (by bus) about 13 years ago and always wanted to get into Spiti, so thanks for the inspiration.

    • I had to do the same wait. My daughter is at university and my son starts in September. They’re both into climbing and travel so we have lots we can do together. I’m 62 in a month so, as far as this type of cycling goes, I figure I’m good for another ten years. In fact, it might take me ten years to get in shape ;)

  2. Great Trip, Dave !
    Just one question, when you & Brian travel through these barren land – wilderness…don’t you have the fear of wild animal encounters & if yes, then what precautions do you take to avoid them. Do you
    carry some arms to safeguard yourselves.

    • No wild animals, not even mosquitoes! Just sheep, goats, yaks, dogs. And the dogs seem fairly restrained and unfazed by the old whitie on the bike.

  3. Hi..very nice and informative post.
    I would like to know if im visiting kunzum la fm manali using a hptc bus in the early mornin, whr will i stay at night? Since i wd be visiting chandratal also. Shd i trek fm kunzum la to chandratal or kunzum to batal and thn to chandratal spendin thr night in batal.
    Is it better to carry own tents & fooding ?
    Pls share ur opinion.



    • I’d probably get off the bus at the Kunzum La and trek from there. I imagine that the trail is nicer than hiking the road from Batal. If you’re heading west, you could always take the road down to Batal on the way out.
      I understand that there are tents and bedding you can rent at the lake. Accommodation in Batal is very basic. I wouldn’t take a tent but a sleeping bag wouldn’t be a bad idea. You shouldn’t need cooking gear or food.

  4. Hi Dave, for a 62 year-old, you are surely fit, though I am sorry to see that you suffered fr blood in your urine (same as me, and my doctor can’t seem to put his finger on my problem – my hiking goes on though).

    I stumble on your blog a year late as only now I am planning to do a day hike to Chandratal fr Kunzum La come this August. I am a casual hiker. My plan is similar to Pujan, except that I wish to stay a night in Kunzum La instead of Batal. During your one and a half hour in Kunzum La, did you notice any lodging there?

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