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Kashmir Season Comes To An Abrupt End: All Kashmir Treks Called Off
By Swathi Chatrapathy
Two days ago, the Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir, issued a security advisory aimed at all tourists in the valley, suggesting that they cut down their stay and leave the state immediately.
In light of the current situation, we are calling off all our Kashmir treks this year, 2019.
This would mean the Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar and Warwan Valley treks.
The past two days in the valley have been chaotic. Tourists are being evacuated from everywhere (Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam, etc) to Srinagar or Jammu, and further out of the state. Numerous army vehicles are seen taking to the highways. Evacuations have been happening in the middle of the night.
As disheartening as it is, we don’t believe things will come back to normal soon. Even though things look fairly calm in regions like Srinagar and Gulmarg, we will be following protocol.
Listen to this voice note from our founder about the situation in Kashmir:
Arjun Majumdar, Indiahikes founder, shares a quick note on what is happening in Kashmir and our take on it.
Status of our treks
We’re sharing the status of our treks in three parts.
- Of the trekkers who have finished their treks and returned to the base camps
- Of the trekkers who are currently on the Kashmir Great Lakes and Tarsar Marsar treks
- Of the situation of future Kashmir treks
Trekkers who have finished their treks and returned
Trekkers to Kashmir Great Lakes, who left on 27th July and 28th July are back in Srinagar. Many of them have already boarded their flights back home. The rest are safely accommodated in Srinagar, waiting for their flights.
The Tarsar Marsar team of August 1st have left Aru and will be reaching Srinagar soon. Those who have flight tickets will be flying out from Srinagar, and those who have opted to take the road to Jammu will be doing so.
Trekkers who are currently on their treks
The team that left to Kashmir Great Lakes on 29th July is returning today. “We are being escorted by soldiers of the Indian army. They have promised to take us safely to Srinagar,” says Devang Thapliyal, one of our Senior most Trek Leaders, who is with the team right now. They will reach Srinagar late in the afternoon.
The team that left to Kashmir Great Lakes on 1st Aug is returning from an incomplete trek (from Nichnai Pass). They are expected to reach Sonamarg at 6 pm and further to Srinagar by 10 pm.
All trekkers on the slopes are safe. Our Trek Leaders and Operations teams are with them constantly. Our Trek Coordinators are in constant touch with the teams. So rest assured that they are safe.
All tourists expected to leave the Valley by 7th August
The government has sent instructions that all tourists must leave the Valley before 7th. So anyone with later tickets, will have to reschedule their flights to leave earlier from the valley.
Most airlines have been refunding cancelled flight tickets so far. We believe and hope they will continue to do so under pressure from the government.
What happens to trekkers who have signed up for future Kashmir Treks
We have a heavy heart saying this, but we will not be running any more Kashmir treks this year. We do not believe the situation will return to normal any time soon.
So starting August 4th, we are calling off all our treks in Kashmir, all the way till the end of September.
Being trekkers ourselves, we understand the heart-break of not being able to trek after so much preparation. And we don’t want that to happen to any of you.
We are opening special dates to three treks to accommodate Kashmir trekkers — Pin Bhaba Pass, Hampta Pass and Brahmatal.
This has not come easy, with most of our teams and equipment being in Kashmir. But we are doing everything we can to make a smooth transition for trekkers from Kashmir to Himachal and Uttarakhand treks.
Special dates to Pin Bhaba Pass (Suitable for KGL trekkers)
Pin Bhaba Pass is one of our tougher treks, at par with Kashmir Great Lakes. It is perhaps one of the only treks that can compare to the drama and colours of Kashmir Great Lakes. From the lush greenery of Kinnaur, it climbs up to 16,105 ft, cuts across the Pin Bhaba Pass and enters the stark deserts of Spiti.
If you had signed up and prepared for Kashmir Great Lakes, this trek is a great alternative.
These are the dates we have opened up:
- 9th Aug to 16th Aug
- 11th Aug to 19th Aug
- 19th Aug to 27th Aug
- 24th Aug to 1st Sept
- 31st Aug to 8th Sept
- 7th Sept to 15th Sept
To read more about the Pin Bhaba Pass, head over to the detailed trek page.
Special dates to Hampta Pass (Suitable for Tarsar Marsar trekkers)
Hampta Pass is a trek that needs no introduction. It is one of our most popular treks in Himachal and not without reason. It crosses over from the greenery of Kullu to the dramatic cliffs of Lahaul.
In terms of difficulty, this trek is at par with Tarsar Marsar. If you had signed up for Tarsar Marsar, we have opened special dates to Hampta Pass for you.
Here are the special dates:
- 13th Aug – 18th Aug
- 20th Aug – 25th Aug
- 27th Aug – 1st Sept
- 3rd Sept – 8th Sept
- 10th Sept – 15th Sept
- 16th Sept – 21st Sept
To read more about Hampta Pass, check the detailed trek page here.
Special dates to Brahmatal (Suitable for both)
We have introduced special dates to Brahmatal as well. Brahmatal is one of our most rewarding summit climbs — it gives you terrific views of two of trekkers’ favourite mountains, Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti.
Brahmatal would make for a great alternative to both, Tarsar Marsar and Kashmir Great Lakes. It’s a notch easier than both the treks.
Here are the special dates to Brahmatal:
- 11th Aug – 16th Aug
- 18th Aug – 23rd Aug
- 25th Aug – 30th Aug
- 1st Sept – 6th Sept
- 8th Sept – 13th Sept
For more information about Brahmatal, check our page on Brahmatal here.
Tell us your decision over email
If you choose any of these treks, we will send you the balance payment, or send you a link to pay the balance, depending on the trek fee.
Having said that, all our treks are open to Kashmir trekkers. If you choose any of our other upcoming treks, we will try to accommodate you, even if the batches are full. So feel free to go through our other treks on this page.
If you still wish to cancel your trek, we will give you a full refund, minus the insurance charges (~Rs 125).
Please get in touch with your Trek Coordinator with your decision over email. Please stick to email strictly, we will not be able to manage phone calls, since we are talking about 600+ trekkers here.
We hope you choose to trek and not miss out on the mountains this season.
We would like to end this update with a shout out to all our Kashmir trekkers so far, for being patient and accommodative. Our slope team and office team have also been working round the clock to make any change in schedule possible. We hope your spirit of trekking stays alive.
We are here to help if you need anything. Drop in a comment, give us a call, or write to us.
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