Khardung La - Highest motorable mountain pass
Although it is mentioned in many places, including signposted, as the highest motorable pass in the world. This is not really true and probably a mistake made by the Guinness Book of Records. The indication of some 5,602 m / 18,380 ft, is just not correct. It reaches 5,359 m (17,582 ft) high as measured by Catalonian experts and confirmed by many GPS. The honour of the highest may belong to several other passes in the country, like Semo La or possibly another one in Bolivia. It depends on what you understand with motorable. Some of the others are either in a very remote and hardly accessible area, not open to the public as is the case with an Indian military pass or is just not motorable at all due to landslides. With accepting Khardung La, making it the highest motorable pass, taking out “World’s” we compromise a little as it has a historic importance and already many people have reached the top with that illusion and we like to keep that intact for all Mostpointers.
The historical aspect of the Khardung La is that it forms part of the major caravan route from Leh to Kashgar in Central Asia. Thousands of camels and horses took this route each year. Actually you can still see some Bactrian camels at Hunder, north of the pass. It is also a road with strategic importance because of the sometimes tense relation between India and China. Therefore the road is daily maintained by the army as small landslides and avalanches are common.
Although the route can be made a very long one, the typical MOSTPOINT is relatively short, 39.7 km / 24.7 mi, covering the part that runs from Leh, the capital of Ladakh ("land of high passes"), the Jammu & Kashmir state of India, to the the top. The road then continues to the Nubra and Shyok valley but many cyclists turn around and go back to Leh.
It is also a real favourite among motorists as the pass cuts through the mountain peak offering great views of Leh and the mountains that surround the valley.
On top you will also find what claims to be the highest cafetería in the world.