Driving JDM Automobiles To five,000m On The Tibetan Plateau

What’s the very best altitude a human has pushed a automobile to? Whereas there will not be a definitive reply, in 2021 a Lamborghini Urus made it to five,882 meters in India.

In August this yr, my buddies and I arrived in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Area. From right here, we started our journey round Tibet in eight JDM vehicles. A number of the vehicles have modified engines and tuning work, and none of us knew what would occur at excessive altitude. There was just one strategy to discover out…


As quickly as we arrived in Lhasa, we left town to discover Tibet’s treasures, specifically the Himalayas and the lakes. We couldn’t wait to get there.


As soon as we left town, we noticed grasslands, residents in Tibetan clothes and their cattle. Due to the 4,000 meter altitude, August here’s a bit chilly. The clouds are like one thing out of a Miyazaki animation.


After passing by means of a kilometer-long tunnel, every part modified. We entered a valley and it began raining. A number of the road-facing mountain partitions have been lined with iron nets to stop falling rocks from damaging automobiles under. It was far more harmful than it appears within the footage, with the moist and winding roads nothing in need of treacherous.


After a protracted drive we arrived at a temple with white-walled buildings and distinctive sample decorations.


It’s all a part of the deep and profound Tibetan tradition.


Earlier than dusk, we stuffed up all our vehicles with fuel. To see snow-capped mountains as quickly as attainable the subsequent day, we needed to drive 200 kilometers at night time. This was fairly difficult as a result of some locations didn’t have avenue lights, and we couldn’t see rocks and potholes on the highway.


At this level, the proprietor of the Supra sadly needed to drop out of the journey as a result of pulmonary edema, a severe type of altitude illness the place fluid collects within the lungs’ air sacs making it extraordinarily tough to breathe. It’s one thing that may occur to anybody. Our pal needed to instantly return to a decrease altitude space, in any other case he could be in grave hazard. For our security, we carried bottled oxygen for the remainder of the journey.


We anticipated to succeed in 5,300 meters on at the present time, so it was a climbing journey, like driving in the direction of the clouds.


You at all times must be on the look out and able to take evasive motion on these roads, and the proprietor of the FL5 Civic Sort R discovered it the arduous approach after a collision with one other automobile. Fortunately, nobody was harm and the Honda’s harm was solely superficial.


Alongside the best way, we handed homes with Tibetan writing on them and free-roaming goats. Our vehicles and the animals collectively was fairly a sight.

Taking these photographs at 5,300 meters was extraordinarily tiring as a result of the air was very skinny. Even in the event you walked slowly, you ended up panting and shortly had a headache due to the dearth of oxygen. You’ll be able to see that we have been already larger than most Himalayan peaks at this location, making it one of many greatest locations to view Mount Everest from.


Later, we witnessed a gorgeous scene: the world’s highest mountain – 8,848 meters above sea degree – had damaged free from the darkish clouds. By sundown, there was a crimson glow forged upon on Everest’s majestic peak. It was so big, nearly twice as excessive as every other snow-capped mountain we might see.


A number of days later, we began to descend the mountain and head in the direction of different lakes and snow mountains. It’s arduous to say why, however I at all times really feel that photographing JDM efficiency vehicles on downhill winding roads is such a cool factor. You could have an irresistible sense of velocity and impression.


After a protracted drive, we approached one other snow mountain, which our two Hondas from completely different eras sprinted in the direction of. When the F20C’s VTEC kicked in, the valley echoed with some candy consumption and exhaust sounds.


On one other day, we visited ‘Ghost Lake’ – our nickname for it. Its official title is Rakshas, which can be a part of Tibetan tradition. I’m undecided why it appears this manner, however the lake’s water shade was merely wonderful.


This distinctive geological formation is positioned in Zhada Earth Forest Nationwide Geopark. Right here, we additionally encountered numerous goats and cattle on the highway, all belonging to Tibetan residents. The animals didn’t appear all that fazed by our vehicles, so I used to be capable of take these photographs surrounded by them.


Not lengthy after, the Honda S2000’s radiator was sadly punctured by a rock on the mountain highway. In no-man’s land, at an altitude of 4,600 meters and with no 4G sign, we needed to disassemble and restore it on the spot, which was an expertise in itself.


We spent 15 days on this journey to Tibet, overlaying 4,000 kilometers alongside the best way. The best altitude we reached was 5,481 meters, with a mean altitude of 4,500 meters for the complete highway journey.


On the final day, we met two Tibetan kids who appeared solely 16 or 17 years previous. They have been dwelling with their households on the grassland over 5,000 meters above sea degree, coaching horses for competitions. They have been very concerned with our vehicles – particularly the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX – and requested me to report this particular second for them – and us.


I’m honored to have the ability to share this expertise with everybody. Alongside the best way, many individuals expressed their love for JDM vehicles, that are hardly ever seen in Tibet. Our lives could also be completely different, however our love for vehicles is similar. I can extremely suggest a go to to Tibet, China. It really is a fantastic place.

Stannum (SN431) Zhang

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