Kalam Snowcross February 2nd to 4th, 2013
Snow Rally Cross Timings
- Asad Marwat ? Pajero Evolution 1:44:44
- Hassan Asad ? Pajero 2.8 1:46.01
- NN ? TLC FZ100 1:46:55
- Ali Zafar ? LR Defender 1:47.07
- Shabab Haider ? TLC FZ80 1:55:82
- Zeeshan ? <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Toyota</st1:place></st1:City> Prado 1:56:29
- Rao Hamid ? Pajero 2.5 1:56:47
- Zeb Chaudhry ? Wrangler 1KZ 2.04:51
- Nomi 1234 ? Nissan Patrol 4.2 2.05.06
- Imran Ahmed ? <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Toyota</st1:place></st1:City> Surf 2LT 2.06.01
- Salman ? LC II 1KZ 2.07:32
- Hasan Rana ? Pajero V6 3000 2:16:19
- Aurangzeb ? TLC HZ80 2:22:19
- Hayzin ? Nissan Patrol 4.2 2:23:84
- Jehanzeb ? TLC60 2:25:80
- DeeDee ? BeeMog 2:29:30
- Yousaf Niazi ? RKR 2F 2:34:38
- Nauman ? Pajero Mini 660 DNF
Write-up by Hayzin
Just when you think one insanely wild ride is over, in comes the next. It was that time of the year again when Islamabad Jeep Club's annual snow rally was due. With only a few weeks to prepare ourselves and our vehicles, everyone stepped on the gas as far as gearing up was concerned. The plan was to leave <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Islamabad</st1:place></st1:City> on the 2nd of Feb and be back by the 4th. The location, Kalam. We had all been studying the weather forecasts for the area and there was tons of rain and snow expected with temperatures as low as -12 degrees Celsius. Of course this only excited us more.<o:p></o:p>
Every time we return from one of these trips and slide back into what most perceive to be a 'normal life', we feel thankful for the experiences and the beautiful outdoors that are not owned by man. Most people do not get the chance to zoom out and see things differently. The Islamabad Jeep Club as some may know, also contributes to the localities it discovers. In Kalam, a school has been set up by IJC's own initiative and bridges have been constructed from personal funds.
<o:p></o:p>All members were to assemble at the <st1:place w:st="on">Toll Plaza</st1:place> on M2 Motorway by 8am sharp. Sure enough, one by one, all the jeeps started pulling in. As soon as all were accounted for, we all stood in a circle and prayed for our trip to be safe and for there to be TONS AND TONS of snow...we would all recall this prayer soon enough :)<o:p></o:p>
<st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Lahore</st1:place></st1:City> later on. <o:p></o:p>
In typical IJC style, our convoy set out for Kalam. The plan was to push on till Mingora for lunch and then proceed to Kalam. We were about 14 vehicles and the count went up to 18; we were joined by Team Unimog/4x4 Engaged members from
<st1:place w:st="on">Asia</st1:place>'. The traffic was nuts and our convoy started having gaps. We reached Mingora and stopped for the usual kebabs and naan lunch. Finally after fuel top-up we moved towards Kalam. Our friend Capt Hamid travelling with Zeb had arranged a lovely Hi Tea at Khawaza Khela EME barracks. Thankyou Kaptaan Sb! We also came across some very interesting 4X4s, and 6X6s in the Barracks.
Progress was a little slow as we entered Batkhela; what is described as one of the 'longest bazaars in
By the time we approached Behrain it was getting dark and something was not right...there was no damn snow!!! Everyone on the radios started letting out their frustrations...last year the same spot was covered in white...from this point on, everyone started silently praying for snow. We reached our hotel around 8pm. There were signs of snow but not enough to make waves in. Everyone retired after dinner with hopes of waking to a white wonderland in the morning.
<o:p></o:p>We woke in the morning, desperately hoping to see our 4x4s covered in white, like last year, but it looked like it had barely snowed at night. After breakfast, everyone started their engines and made preparations to head to the ground where the rally would take place. When we got to the ground, we were pleased to see a decent amount of snow, but there was room for more...much more. Ali's LR Defender set out to mark the track with sticks and cones for the race. As we waited our turns, it started to snow around noon. A decent crowd of locals had gathered to watch the show. From this point on, the snow did not let up for the entire trip...our prayers were answered and you could feel the energy build up within the team. <o:p></o:p>
<st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Lahore</st1:place></st1:City>.<o:p></o:p>
After the races, once Asad Marwat announced on the radio 'everyone go crazy' our 4x4 brothers all had smiles on their faces and were racing through the snow like kids in a playground. Now this felt like a Snow Cross to remember! We played around for a bit, then cleaned up the track. A small ceremony was conducted by our special guest from FM89, Wes Malik. He seemed to have enjoyed this trip thoroughly as well. It was his first tour with IJC. Prizes were distributed to the top 3 ranking drivers and Nazim Saab. Giveaways were also presented to our fellow off-roaders from
<st1:place w:st="on">nakar Valley</st1:place> and later to the forest area, both, completely covered in white. A treacherous drive but truly breath taking sight. A cake was cut after some playing around on the slopes. It started to get dark, so we made our way back to the hotel. A good day it was and we all retired to our rooms to rest up for the long way back home. A wild day awaited us.<o:p></o:p>
We returned to the hotel for lunch and were back on the road again to enjoy the snow. We proceeded to A
Time to go home. Sadly. It felt like there was more to come but we had no idea what it was. We looked out of our room window at 6am and to our shear delight, there was about 3 feet plus snow all around and It took us all a few seconds recognize our vehicle owing to massive amount of snow! All people slowly started making their way to the doors of their jeeps, it started to dawn upon us that just to get ourselves out of the hotel would be a challenge. A challenge we were ever ready to take on....the IJC Snow Cross just got even better. It had snowed non stop all night and the build up was shocking. We prayed a little too hard this time :)<o:p></o:p>
The path to the main road was a huge obstacle and there was some serious communication and planning needed to get everyone out. IJC has always been disciplined and well organized and despite all the diverse personalities within the group, we always come together when in a situation. A family.
Around 9am, snow chains were strapped on for those who had them and one by one, we made our way out onto the main road. This took a while to do. The snow did not let up for hours. What would take us 20 mins to cover on road, took us over 3 hours as a snail's pace of 10-15kmph. The terrain was tricky no doubt. Few did not have snow chains, so the tire pressure was lowered down from 30psi to somewhere around 16psi, it worked.
<st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bahrain</st1:place></st1:country-region>. There were some hold ups along the way. Mani's Surf got stuck for a bit, along with a few other minor sticky situations but all were recovered successfully. As we inched towards Behrain, the snow got heavier. The road was slippery and the 4x4s were literally dancing around on the track. Where cellphone signals do not exist (usually everywhere we go) the ham radios are a blessing, an absolute essential tool to carry. It had been a few hours since we had departed and progress was slow, yet we all embraced it and everyone would comment on how this was the craziest snow cross IJC has ever had. A real extreme weather system had built up and we were in the middle of it all! Apparently it was raining and snowing all over the country. We reached Madyan around 5pm and stopped for lunch. After hours of concentrated driving, a break was welcomed. As we regrouped, we caught up on who went through what. Snow chains were broken, tyres got punctured, but all taken in stride. There was still a long way to go and after a quick bite, we pushed on for Mingora. It was dark and snowing till we touched Mingora. We made one more stop for green tea before climbing Malakand Top and then it was all non-stop to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Islamabad</st1:City></st1:place>. <o:p></o:p>
Zeb bhai (Black ops) in his Wrangler, took the lead and quite literally paved the way for the rest of the group all the way till
Soon enough, we reached the M2 Motorway and home seemed closer. By now, it was past midnight and we had been on the road since 9am in the morning. The rain forced some of us to maintain a slower pace on the highway. In the end, it was myself, Asad Marwat, Shabab, NN and Aurangzeb on the road to home.
Overall, a great trip, one for the books. It was agreed by all that this was one of wildest snow trips ever and I think Day 3 was the highlight of it all. New skills and lessons learned no doubt. The purpose of our trips to these areas has always been the same: To show people that <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Pakistan</st1:place></st1:country-region> is a beautiful country and where most may think that these areas are not safe for touring, they are if you respect the localities. The people in these areas depend on tourism to make ends meet and there is no reason why the citizens of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Pakistan</st1:place></st1:country-region> should stop getting out of their comfort zones to explore these amazing places.
Would like to thank all the participants of this superb event for writing yet another success story. God bless.
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