Transhimalaya is het verhaal van drie mannen (Claude Balsiger, Martin Bissig & Thomas Wäspe) met een heel bijzonder idee. Zij willen in het holst van de winter naar de Himalaya voor een intesieve tocht te voet, per fiets en op de ski’s. Het startpunt van de reis is Leh (India) om vervolgens richting Manali (India) te trekken. Dit betekent een trip van 500 kilometer in afwisselend terrein met temperaturen die kunnen dalen tot 30 graden onder nul. Bekijk hieronder alle afleveringen van deze expeditie in de spectaculaire webserie van Vaude.
It’s February 9, 2013, and the streets of Leh are covered with every possible color. The last days of the Leh festival have begun. Crowds of people push their way through the narrow streets; the city is alive. While the prayer flags dance in the wind, it’s the last day in civilization for Claude, Martin and Thomas for a while. Final preparations are made before taking off to Padum on their bikes. It’s the quiet before the storm. What is waiting for the three is still unclear. The only thing they know for sure: a one-of-a-kind story is about to begin.
Two days have passed and the 1st stage takes an icy turn. During winter, the Zanskar River is frozen on most parts. A layer of ice, 30 cm thick, covers the raging river. A few parts however are still open. Utmost concentration is needed. At this time of the year, the Zanskar also has a second face: Chaddar, the street of ice. Each step breaks through the top layer of ice as if it were glass; a challenge for Claude and his bike.
The ice is thin and breaks in some places. For the locals, nothing new and yet a constant risk for all. Not unlike a tightrope act. In addition, the nights are as cold as hell and every breath painful. The mood is not the best, and the goal not anywhere in sight.
After a day of rest in Padum, Claude, Martin and Thomas set off for Raru. 15 cm of newly fallen snow and the sun beating down on their heads. The rising temperatures cause the snow to stick to the sled; Claude’s comment: “It’s like pulling a tractor tire behind me!” Every step forward is like two steps back. After long deliberation, they decide to leave the sled behind. The goal that day: to reach the Mone monastery before nightfall.
Energies are spent and Thomas has become sick. The mountain forces the three to their knees. Tundup, their local guide, offers his house in Kuru as a refuge where they can rest and renew their energy. Thomas’ health, however, further deteriorates. Hours turn into days, and doubts run rampant whether the expedition will be successful at all.
While Thomas hopes for a speedy recovery, large avalanches shake the surrounding mountain slopes. A new plan must be found. Tundup recommends the path through the Shingo La Pass. From this point on, he can no longer accompany the three and yet it’s still over 100 kilometers to Manali. Claude, Martin and Thomas are now on their own.