Silk Trail Expedition 2013 Nears the Finish

Last month we featured an exciting project that just might be the future of overlanding. Land Rover, in an effort to confirm the viability of a diesel-hybrid platform, set out from Solihull, UK in the hopes of driving all the way to Mumbai, India. To achieve that end, the team would traverse 12 countries and navigate some of the world’s most challenging roads and mountain passes. Ambitious as that project sounded a month ago, the proof is now in the proverbial pudding as the Silk Trail Expedition rolls ever closer to their final destination.

The last two weeks have been the most challenging for the expedition with eight days spent crossing Kyrgyzstan before conquering some of the highest roads in the world to reach the border areas between China and Nepal. Having attained a maximum altitude of almost 18,000 feet, the team is now through Kashgar, one of China’s westernmost and remote cities, and Mumbai is within easy reach.

As expeditions go, it has been a tremendous success and it’s not even over yet. The diesel-hybrid Range Rovers, relatively unaffected by altitude, have carried their heavy loads with ease. With engineers carefully evaluating all of the performance data, this demanding real-world test has shown the technology behind these innovative trucks is ready for market, and certainly capable of a proper overland adventure.

As adventurers, and unabashed fans of the Land Rover brand, it’s exciting to see new Rovers being developed and tested in a manner that best represents the legacy of the brand. Next stop Mumbai.

We’ve been following this expedition with a great deal of excitement. Just last week, Overland Journal’s own Chris Collard boarded a plane to meet up with the team for the final leg into Mumbai. You can read about this expedition in the an upcoming issue of Overland Journal.

Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.