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highest paved highway in the world?

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Postby John Duffield » Mon May 10, 2010 12:18 am

jrbrenvt wrote:Image

If this sign were correct this might be it. I would call it more of a road then a "highway" though. It was paved from what I recall (it was 2007 when I was there). Not to mention everyone in my group who had an altimeter were reading in the mid 17K's... But fun sign nonetheless. The altimeter readings seem to be backed up by the wikipedia page for Khardung La. I am quite sure this road exists for Indian military purposes but tourists make use of it as well.


+1

Here's a photo I lensed last year in the Khardung La. You can see an Indian military convoy moving through it. Kickass bike descent. Over 5600 meters.

Image
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Postby butitsadryheat » Mon May 10, 2010 12:35 am

mrchad9 wrote:
Diego Sahagún wrote:
butitsadryheat wrote:
Diego Sahagún wrote:That's not a paved highway (?)


He wrote:I'm referring to the highest highway, not highest paved pass or small stretch of road, in the world.

Change the thread title then

Agree w Diego. Seems to be about highest paved highway. And the last sentence is saying that just bc it's paved isn't enough, it still needs to be a highway.


Not my thread to change the title. I was responding to the question he asked in the initial post. To me it doesn't really matter what the title of the thread is, if the author of the thread asked a detailed question, that said it didn't necessarily have to be paved. I pointed to an example of an unpaved highway that crossed over passes of approx 5400m. He authored the thread...he can call it what he wants.
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Postby mrchad9 » Mon May 10, 2010 2:48 am

butitsadryheat wrote:Not my thread to change the title. I was responding to the question he asked in the initial post. To me it doesn't really matter what the title of the thread is, if the author of the thread asked a detailed question, that said it didn't necessarily have to be paved. I pointed to an example of an unpaved highway that crossed over passes of approx 5400m. He authored the thread...he can call it what he wants.

I guess I should have said, that last sentence could be read in either of two ways, either it doesn't have to be paved, or it does but must be a highway. Michael is the only one who can clarify, and I doubt he proofed and analyzed it to the extent we've discussed it. And for my part at least, didn't mean to imply that you should change the title, only Michael can.

It doesn't really matter anyway. In fact, should feel free to discuss paved, unpaved, whatever kind of road... No reason folks need to be bound by the initial wording. I think we are perhaps violently agreeing with that.

Back to the point, I have no idea what is the highest one. It is a bit interesting to me that it is so unknown/uncertain/debatable.
Last edited by mrchad9 on Mon May 10, 2010 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Bruno » Mon May 10, 2010 2:54 am

Scott wrote:Paved highways:
The highway between La Paz Bolivia and Arica Chile was paved some years ago. It's highpoint is supposedly 5030 meters (~16,500 feet)

This road between La Paz and Arica (for peladoboton, this is the same road as you mentioned) was paved in the mid-90ies, but doesn't reach 5030m. The highest point is about 4500m, as alrady mentioned by Baarb.

Scott wrote:Paved highways:
What about the road to the North Everest Base Camp? Didn't China pave that one for the Olympics? If so, that would put it at 5360 meters (17,590 feet). I don't know if it would be considered to be a highway though.

No, the 100km stretch from the Friendship Highway to Everest BC was never paved, unlike what had been announced. The highest point at Pang La is anyway not 5360m, but only 5210m. So it is still lower than Gyatso La (5260m) and Tanggu La (5230m), which were paved years before the Everest BC road was upgraded.

Scott wrote:[b]Unpaved highways/roads:

Supposedly, the new main road between Adagua Peru and Arequipa reaches 5500 meters (18,000+ feet) east of Coropuna, but the road isn't on any maps, so this is hard to verify and looking at the map, personally I am somewhat skeptical.

I'm also very skeptical... In any case Semo La (5565m) mentioned above is higher. Even if the road would be marked on a map, I would not trust the altitude wihtout GPS and/or SRTM data. Tanggu La can for example be found with an altitude of 5700m on certain maps, while the correct altitude is 5230m.


Scott wrote:[b]Unpaved highways/roads:

Aucanquilcha Bolivia has the highest unpaved road that I know of. The road reaches 6050 meters (19,849 feet), but since the mine near the summit closed, rockslides have blocked the road at 5500 meters (18,044 feet), but some people still mountain bike it!

Aucanquilcha is in Chile, not Bolivia. Bolivia also used to have a very high mining road close to 6000m on Cerro Uturuncu (6008m), reaching the upper slope of the vulcano to an old sulphur mine. However, this road is out of use since the 90ies.
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Postby Bruno » Mon May 10, 2010 3:16 am

Lolli wrote:Corax would likely know, this bicycle trip graph is from his webpage. It seems as a pretty high one, but if highest?

Image


Fantastic graph!

I guess Corax is now climbing somewhere in the Puna de Atacama, so let me try to explain the graph, which is basically showing the same as I explained in my first post:

1) From Zhangmu until between Nyalam & Saga. This is the Friendship Highway, or Road G318. Pass 5185m in the graph is Thong La, for which I gave an altitude of 5146m in my previous post.

2) From between Nyalam & Saga until Saga. This is a shortcut passing right at the foot of Shisha Pangma, which allows to connect the Friendship Highway with road G219 (the "official" Xinjiang-Tibet Highway). This shortcut is used by all tour groups and Indian pilgrims on route to Kailash, but has no pass over 5000m. The road is currently upgraded, and will be asphalted to provide an alternative to the current Friendship Highway, as it will cross the border in Kyirong. Highest point is Ma La (Jakhyung) at around 5240m, so slightly lower than Gyatso La.

3) From Saga until Raga (not written on the graph). About 60km stretch along road G219, towards Lhatse.

4) Fron Raga until Gertse. Road S206, which has the highest motorable pass in the world in what we can call a "highway". P5585m on Corax's graph is Semo La, sometimes given at 5565m. I personnally had 5569m.

5) From Gertse until Ali. Road S301, also known as the northern road. Several small passes on the plateau, but none above 5000m

6) From Ali until Yecheng. This is on Road G219, the famous Xinjiang - Tibet Highway.
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Postby Bruno » Mon May 10, 2010 3:21 am

John Duffield wrote:
jrbrenvt wrote:Image

If this sign were correct this might be it. I would call it more of a road then a "highway" though. It was paved from what I recall (it was 2007 when I was there). Not to mention everyone in my group who had an altimeter were reading in the mid 17K's... But fun sign nonetheless. The altimeter readings seem to be backed up by the wikipedia page for Khardung La. I am quite sure this road exists for Indian military purposes but tourists make use of it as well.


+1

Here's a photo I lensed last year in the Khardung La. You can see an Indian military convoy moving through it. Kickass bike descent. Over 5600 meters.

Image

Khardung La as the highest motorable road is an old joke. It is not 5'600m high, but only about 5'350m. Check the following links for more details:

http://www.viewfinderpanoramas.org/highestpass.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khardung_La
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Postby Scott » Mon May 10, 2010 3:48 am

This road between La Paz and Arica (for peladoboton, this is the same road as you mentioned) was paved in the mid-90ies, but doesn't reach 5030m. The highest point is about 4500m, as alrady mentioned by Baarb.


I have one map that shows it at 5030 meters and one map that shows it as 5000 meters at Paso Tambo Quemado, but maps in that part of the world can't be taken at face value (which is why I always post the words "supposedly" when talking about elevations!).

Anyway, a google search says 4680 meters.

http://www.thisischile.cl/Map.aspx?id=1 ... bo-quemado

The probem with maps in parts of the Andes or Asia is that elevations on maps seem to run all over the place. This seems to be true in most of the Andes exluding Ecuador which they stay somewhat consistant (elevations do vary, but usually not by much).

Some of the Argentina maps show the same border peaks several hundred meters higher than the Chili maps do!

The GPS is a good idea, though even that isn't 100% accurate. Probably the best source though.

Anyway, when we climbed Tolima in Colombia, our highway map showed the peak at 5620 meters (18,438 feet), our regional map and map in one climbing guide showed the peak at 5215 meters (17,110 feet) and the topo map and John Biggar's book list the peak at 5274 meters (17,303 meters). We actually got 5365 meters (17,600 feet) on the GPS.

The same inconsistancy is true for that part of Asia, though the highest peaks have somewhat consistant elevations. Elevations in the sections outside the British (and other) surveys seem to be all over the place as well.

Scott wrote:
[b]Unpaved highways/roads:

Supposedly, the new main road between Adagua Peru and Arequipa reaches 5500 meters (18,000+ feet) east of Coropuna, but the road isn't on any maps, so this is hard to verify and looking at the map, personally I am somewhat skeptical.


I'm also very skeptical...


If anyone does find out the true elevation of the road, I'd be interested to add the information to my SP page:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock ... erani.html

I didn't bring a GPS with me. 5500 meters is probably not correct. The old road on the west side of Coropuna reached to about 4800 meters.

Aucanquilcha is in Chile, not Bolivia. Bolivia also used to have a very high mining road close to 6000m on Cerro Uturuncu (6008m), reaching the upper slope of the vulcano to an old sulphur mine. However, this road is out of use since the 90ies.


Right you are. Aucanquilcha is just inside the border.

Any idea how high the road is on Ojos? One book I have says you can drive to just above the Refugio Tejos which is at 5735 meters, but that definately isn't a highway. I haven't been there myself.
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Postby Bruno » Mon May 10, 2010 4:29 am

Scott wrote:Any idea how high the road is on Ojos? One book I have says you can drive to just above the Refugio Tejos which is at 5735 meters, but that definately isn't a highway. I haven't been there myself.

Sorry, no idea about Ojos del Salado. I have been living several years in Bolivia, but never climbed neither in Chile nor Argentina. Hope to go there one day though!
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Postby Scott » Mon May 10, 2010 4:53 am

Sorry, no idea about Ojos del Salado.


I don't know why I didn't think to just check the SP page (by Corax). :oops:

Anyway:

A rough road will take you to the first refugio; Atacama, which is located at 5200m. It is possible to go even higher with the 4x4, some even make it all the way to Refugio Tejos at over 5800m! It is rough and expensive travelling and many people choose to walk the stretch, which takes 3-4 hours.
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Postby butitsadryheat » Mon May 10, 2010 6:47 am

mrchad9 wrote:
butitsadryheat wrote:Not my thread to change the title. I was responding to the question he asked in the initial post. To me it doesn't really matter what the title of the thread is, if the author of the thread asked a detailed question, that said it didn't necessarily have to be paved. I pointed to an example of an unpaved highway that crossed over passes of approx 5400m. He authored the thread...he can call it what he wants.

I guess I should have said, that last sentence could be read in either of two ways, either it doesn't have to be paved, or it does but must be a highway. Michael is the only one who can clarify, and I doubt he proofed and analyzed it to the extent we've discussed it. And for my part at least, didn't mean to imply that you should change the title, only Michael can.

It doesn't really matter anyway. In fact, should feel free to discuss paved, unpaved, whatever kind of road... No reason folks need to be bound by the initial wording. I think we are perhaps violently agreeing with that.

Back to the point, I have no idea what is the highest one. It is a bit interesting to me that it is so unknown/uncertain/debatable.


I think we are in agreement on almost all points! Great topic! :D
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Postby MichaelJ » Mon May 10, 2010 9:10 am

Title should have been highest paved highway in the world. Thanks for all the good beta. As of a week ago, all but about a half mile of the Friendship Highway was paved, with workers toiling away at the last section. Look for a TR in the usual place.
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Postby Diego Sahagún » Mon May 10, 2010 9:55 am

mrchad9 wrote:
Diego Sahagún wrote:
butitsadryheat wrote:
Diego Sahagún wrote:That's not a paved highway (?)


He wrote:I'm referring to the highest highway, not highest paved pass or small stretch of road, in the world.

Change the thread title then

Agree w Diego. Seems to be about highest paved highway. And the last sentence is saying that just bc it's paved isn't enough, it still needs to be a highway.

Since the thread title is not changed, I won't write here.

Bye
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Postby butitsadryheat » Mon May 10, 2010 8:47 pm

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Postby Baarb » Mon May 10, 2010 10:08 pm

Scott wrote:
Sorry, no idea about Ojos del Salado.


I don't know why I didn't think to just check the SP page (by Corax). :oops:

Anyway:

A rough road will take you to the first refugio; Atacama, which is located at 5200m. It is possible to go even higher with the 4x4, some even make it all the way to Refugio Tejos at over 5800m! It is rough and expensive travelling and many people choose to walk the stretch, which takes 3-4 hours.


On the Ojos del Salado theme, the record for driving up there now extends to 6688 m (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojos_del_Salado)
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