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ADV RidesRide DifficultyModerately Hard RideCrossing a 4,000 Meter Himalayan Pass at Eighty Years Old

Crossing a 4,000 Meter Himalayan Pass at Eighty Years Old

A record breaking journey to become the oldest rider to cross Rohtang Pass.

Published on 08.05.2014

It’s a grueling 1,000 meter climb up the high mountain pass in the Himalayas. The air is thin at 4,000 meters, making it hard to breath for both man and machine. The Rohtang Pass in India’s Himachal Pradesh region is one of the highest roads in the world. This Himalayan pass is known for frequent rainfall, land slides and sheer cliffs and is only free of snow during the summer months. The road is covered with boulders and thick mud, making it difficult for motorcycles to travel.

Simon Gandolfi resting on top of Himalayan Pass

Simon Gandolfi resting at the top of Rohtang Pass after breaking the record.

Making it to the summit of this Himalayan Pass would be a huge accomplishment for any motorcyclist. Most riders would only attempt the journey in good physical health and typically ride a 500cc or larger motorcycle. This didn’t stop eighty year old Simon Gandolfi from attempting the pass (and back) on a 125cc Indian made TVS motorcycle. With the assistance of the Motorcycle Expeditions tour company, Simon became the oldest rider ever to make it to the summit of Rohtang Pass. An impressive feat, especially considering he’s suffered two previous heart attacks.

In this video of his attempt, Simon is seen struggling just to get his leg over the little bike (minute 1:54). It’s inspiring to see how he is able to overcome all of the challenges and remain in good spirits. After returning from his hellish journey Simon appears exhausted and a bit rattled, but this doesn’t stop him from considering a future attempt of the 5,400 meter Khardung Pass.


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Author: ADV Pulse Staff
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