It had been another chilly night and with the construction workers starting their day early, the crews were up with the larks. As the cars started to leave the ‘anything but’ Grand Hotel of Western Post, Tim Wilkinson and Steph Duckworth’s Range Rover was suffering from a leak from the power assisted steering pump. As the rest of the crews departed, sweeps Gary Oliver and Gary Pickard stayed behind to try and sort the Camel’s issues.
For the rest, it was on to the first climb of the day, Qui-la pass, which sat some 44km into the route at 5089m and showcased the mountain range on the horizon.
On the way to the next climb of 5248m, we saw wild deer and a black eared eagle as we visited the King Tiger Hot Springs, where we were greeted by the smell of sulphur and the resident locals who live nearby.
From there, it was on to the Takyel Tso lake, which was still half frozen from the winter, with the snow creating interesting patterns around the shoreline.
Wild antelope and deer joined us on our journey to the highest pass to date on the Trans-Himalayan Adventure, standing at 5566m high, the Sangmo-La.
We stopped for a late lunch in the town of Tsochen where many crews were sharing stories of the wonderful wildlife they had seen including a wolf on the prowl.
It was from there, our crews made their way to the first of three campsites down a gravel track that included muddy ruts and rough terrain until the road widened and opened up to reveal the multi-coloured tents next to the clear blue lake.
On the way into the camp, Car 20 – the Mercedes 280SL of Richard Cunningham and Paddy Walker had clutch problems, while Phillip and Yvonne Haslam’s Jaguar XK120, Car 15, ruptured its fuel tank.
The Wilkinson’s Alvis was forced into a ditch by an over enthusiastic local but luckily Adrian and Barbara Shooter were close by to tow them back onto the road.
As the sweeps set about fixing the problems, Rudi Friedrichs took one of the agents to the nearest petrol station some 60km each way, to bring fuel to refill Phillip’s tank.
As the sun went down, the wind howled through the camp and destroyed the dining tent although everyone seemed happy to hang out at ‘Nikki’s Bar’ which was a makeshift table in the middle of the cars.
Retreating to their tents and snuggling into their sleeping bags, the crews prepared themselves for a chilly night, an early start and the promise of the toughest day of the whole event…