The Border Roads Organisation of India has built the world’s highest road ‘Umlingla Pass’ in eastern Ladakh, at a height of 19,300 feet, according to a government statement released yesterday.
Umling La Pass will be more challenging for drivers than the famous Khardung La Pass. According to the Defence Ministry, the temperature at this pass can drop to as much as -40 degrees Celsius during the peak winter season.
Also, the oxygen level at this altitude is about 50% less than at normal places, making it very difficult for anyone to stay here for too long.
According to the ministry’s statement, the BRO has built a 52-kilometer black-top road across Umlingla Pass, breaking the previous record for a road in Bolivia linking to the volcano Uturuncu at 18,953 feet.
“Umlingla Pass is now connected with a blacktop road to enhance socio-economic conditions and promote tourism in Ladakh,” the government said.
“It will prove to be a boon to the local population as it offers an alternate direct route connecting Chisumle and Demchok from Leh, ” it mentioned.
To put that into perspective, most big commercial airplanes travel at an altitude of 30,000 feet or more, so this road is more than half that.
Infrastructure development in such a severe and difficult environment is exceedingly difficult.
The road was built at a greater elevation than the Mount Everest Base Camps in Nepal, where the South Base Camp is at 17,598 feet and the North Base Camp is at 16,900 feet.
The road was built at a considerably higher height than the Siachen Glacier, which stands at 17,700 feet.
The Khardung La Pass near Leh is 17,582 feet above sea level.