Xplorearth led a joint ADV-Moto and 4×4 expedition into Spiti at the end of January, 2023. While the incessant roadworks in the region have made Spiti extremely accessible to one and all over the past year or two, the same region in the winter is one of the most extreme areas open to the general public anywhere in the world today! cold desert.

Date : JAN 30- FEB 6, 2023


The group congregated in Shimla for the start of the ride. Registration formalities were complied with, vehicles were checked up and small niggles fixed, and a briefing was provided to all participants about what to expect for the coming days.

The riders set out from the outskirts of Shimla towards Narkanda, and beyond past Rampur Bushahr and to Kalpa for the night. The day was pleasant, but the climb towards Kalpa beyond Rekong Peo was cold and brutal, with the snow on the roads rapidly turning to ice, giving everyone their first taste of the brutal sub-zero temperatures. The cars made it up slowly and surely, but the bikes had to use snow chains to summit the climb, before a lovely dinner and good night’s rest overlooking the Kinner Kailash range! 

The group had an early start post breakfast, with an extremely long and challenging day ahead. The road from Akpa beyond all the way to Nako ahd long, dangerous ice patches and progress was slow and arduous. By the time the group neared Tabo, it was already well into the night with the temperatures nearing -25 degrees! Good sense prevailed and the bikers abandoned their steeds for the day, joining the 4×4 convoy to Kaza. We reached our destination and were greeted by warm lodgings and a lovely home cooked meal before heading to bed! The first night of the real Winter Spiti experience!

Day 3 was the first day of full snow driving, with the group putting on their snow chains and heading off towards Langza for lunch. Winter driving techniques were taught and some of the group members were even lucky enough to spot the rare Snow Leopard on the descent to Kaza! A truly blessed day! We were treated to a dinner comprising the local cuisine including Tingmo and Yak Meat, a fitting end to an absolutely epic day!

Day 4 saw the group break off into two, with the bikers returning to Tabo to complete their ride to Kaza in the daylight, and the 4x4s making their way up to Chicham Bridge and beyond for another day of driving in the snow. The bikers finally experienced the difference between riding on snow and ice unaided, as compared to using grip studs on the second half of the run – truly a once in a lifetime experience for most on two wheels! Everyone made it home in the evening for an early dinner with an early morning start expected the next day.

An early start greeted the group with a long and possibly treacherous day ahead. Mercifully the weather Gods were on our side this year, and the group made it to Tabo without any incident. The amount of snow and ice on the road from there progressively reduced, and the group made good time as we returned to Kalpa for the night, and our first hot showers in days!

The final day of the expedition saw us follow the main road back from Kalpa to Shimla, and civilization. We arrived at our destination just short of sunset, all safe and sound. Certification and celebrations were to follow, before everyone else headed home the following morning.  A group of strangers bound together by an unforgettable experience for life!
Spiti remains a challenging destination despite the progress in roadworks etc. across the region. Doing the circuit in the winter however, is a truly unique experience which cannot be replicated anywhere else! We rate it as the most difficult expedition on our calendar not only for the toll it takes on man and machine, but also because of how far outside ones’ comfort zone it takes the average individual! Truly an experience not to miss out on, an absolutely once in a lifetime trip and we do not say that lightly!

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