The Sach Pass is a little used Pass connecting Chamba Valley to Pangi Valley, and eventually to Ladakh. Pangi being a remote valley that is created by the Bhaga river connecting Keylong on the Leh road to the East and Kishtwar to the West. This route makes access to Kashmir and the road to Leh shorter for people travelling from Dharamsala. For now, it being little known and hard to access, it is one of the last few good rides.
The trip from Dharamsala to Bairagarh is 228 Kms. Being a good road most of the way, it is a good ride for Day 1, we left at 07.00 AM and reached Bairagarh by 03.00 PM. You get good roads most of the way and after you cross Chamba, it is a two lane mountain road that will take you all the way to Bairagarh 2200m.
From Dharmsala, you take the road going to pathankot all the way to Nurpur, you will see the turn off for Dalhousie/Chamba, take that road going North. It winds and splits before Chuari, take the road going to Chuari pass called Jot. Cross over and ride towards Chamba city. 3 Kms short is a place called Sultanpur, where you will cross the river and head towards Tissa and finally Bairagarh.
The trip is not long, but it is a little challenging. First, you have to ensure the Pass has been cleared of snow. In mid June the BRO starts clearing the road and depending upon the damage done and the weather they usually open the road in a couple of weeks. Last year, the clearing lasted until early July. So you need to check first.
NOTE: Sultanpur is the last station for fueling this side of the valley, so fill up as you will only get fuel from locals in small village/towns (if you are lucky) and for a higher price. Then head up North until a place called Koti where you take a right to go towards Tissa. The gorge gets narrow and the road winds up into the mountains.
Spend the night, recover and at Sunrise, it is time to make a move. The next target is Satrundi where there is a check post manned by the Himachal Police. The road between Bairagarh and Satrundi is beautiful. It is the ascent to the high mountain pass and you go through thick forests, waterfalls and finally you cross 3000m and the terrain becomes Alpine. It took us 2.5 Hours to ride the 27 Kms to Sach Pass (4305m/14,500 Ft). The road is still under construction and is impossible to ride fast without losing most of your motorcycle to the road!
As usual, Himachal Police are friendly and helpful and after 5 chais each and entering your vehicle and license details, and you are ready to go. Don’t be in a hurry because from this point, the road is rough. Since the stone has been laid as a base for the future road, it is a little tough on the motorcycle and the rider. But the beauty of the terrain is amazing. At the top of the pass you pass some permanent ice and more often that not, get rewarded by a flurry. As you cross over the Pass, the road is nightmarish as it carries on as a half made road all the way to Killar. The road from Killar is prone to landslides, which all of Pangi is. You can stop at Killar, Cherry or where we stopped at a place called Ajog, 20 Kms ahead of Killar. There is a natural water spring here, which was sought after by kings, the camping is awesome.
Next day, a few hours ride is Udaipur and the Trilokinath Temple. The road from Udaipur is amazing! After the ride from hell, you get to open throttle all the way to Keylong, passing apple orchards and large farmed lands. We got delayed by landslides and reached this area late in the evening. Once this road connecting Leh and Kashmir is complete, the journey will be really easy from Dharamshala.
We meet the road to Leh at Keylong. The fuel station at Tandi will be the only fuel station you will see until Leh, so fill up and get some to spare if you can. Between Keylong and Jispa, I would definitely stay at Jispa at either of the places there. Padma Guest House being the best in my opinion. Hot and cold water, good food, tents with bathrooms at 2500 twin sharing. It is a good deal. Also it is a good idea to break journey and take 2 nights here to acclimatize, repair your bikes and get ready for the toughest part ahead. You will be heading out and crossing 4 major passes to reach Leh, so be prepared and rest up.