For all those wanderers who travel without a plan, you must note that Spiti Valley is not that place where you can pack your bags and just land there. You have to carefully plan each aspect of your travel, especially your clothing and food during winters. If you do not take the cold weather seriously, you will unarguably land in a serious condition. And yes, you have to be a crazy traveler to bear below freezing temperature in Spiti. Find out what you can expect in the valley where the temperature falls around -35 degrees at its peak, though it may fall even lower.
Expect closure of roads for a week or a month
Though the authorities try their best to keep the roads open around the year, there are times when they cannot help but stop transportation for a week or a month. Therefore, you must leave for Spiti only when you don’t have any significant task to do at home.
Expect ice, a lot of it
Driving on snowclad roads is an entirely different task than driving in rain or heated roads; the cars skid a lot on snowy and curvy roads. You have to be experienced enough to drive on snow-clad roads because applying hard breaks can lead your car in a totally different direction than you expect. Moreover, you may not find any mechanic in the mountains, or the one you spot may be capable of performing only necessary technicalities.
Expect only basic amenities
Most hotels and homestays are closed during winters, which means you cannot book anything in advance. You have to reach the Spiti Valley and find the available homestay that is ready to provide you with basic food. You may discover essential commodities, but not cold drinks, water bottles, and mechanics.
Expect toilets without water
Because water freezes in the pipes during winters, there is no chance that you will find running water in taps in toilets or washrooms. You have to do your daily business in dry pits or traditional Indian commodes where mud is used to bury the human feces. You can wash your face or hands a couple of times during the day, but only with boiled water. Keep your expectations low concerning water, which means you must not go to Spiti if you are habitual of a daily bath.
Expect below freezing temperatures
Since you do not belong to the hills, you may feel your bones freezing at a temperature below -35 or -40 degrees. You must protect your body with layers of heavy woolen clothes. Invest in warm shoes meant for snowy mountains because you will not be able to sense your toes otherwise.
Expect frozen liquids and fuel in the vehicle
Each pipe in your car will have frozen liquids, and the fuel will freeze as well. You need to keep a cloth on the engine to protect it from freezing. You may have to turn on the ignition many times while driving because of inadequate fuel supply to the motor. You may have to wake up during the night to turn on the car for 15-20 minutes so that it does not freeze during the night.
It is not easy to drive a car or use the scarce public transport during extreme winters in Spiti Valley. While commuting from one point to the other, the buses may stop before the danger zone. You may have to cross the risky region on food and board another bus that picks up the passengers and drops them to another point. It is common to witness uncommon scenarios during winters in Spiti Valley, and you must brace yourself with immense courage to bear the tremendous cold.