Last week, thanks to an order by the Forest Department, we had shifted all December batches of Har Ki Dun to Kuari Pass. A lot of trekkers were unconvinced about this trek as a good back up to Har Ki Dun. However, after much debate, trekkers are starting to see what a gem of a trek Kuari Pass is!
Latest reviews by Kuari Pass trekkers
“Being a regular trekker with Indiahikes, I impulsively decided to go to Kuari Pass with my nephew. Turns out that it was the perfect trek for my nephew to start off with. The difficulty level was not too high for him and at the same time, it didn’t remove the challenge of high altitude for me.
And the views on this trek are to die for! Over the past two years, I’ve done several treks like Buran Ghati, Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Deoriatal, Goechala. But I have ever seen such 360 degree views on any other trek! There’s a bouquet of mountains that constantly surrounds you. Hathi Ghoda, Dunagiri, Nanda Devi – these are peaks I have seen from afar on other treks; but on the Kuari Pass trek, they were like my companions throughout.
The trek leader Chaitan and his coordination with the team was superb. The new upgrade this time was the Health Card. Chaitan and team regularly monitored our oxygen levels, blood pressure and pulse rate readings. There was a feeling of safety in every trekker’s mind, which I believe is really essential on a high altitude trek.” says Prateek Goyal, a seasoned trekker.
Here is a picture that Prateek sent in from his trek.
View of Garhwal mountains from Kuari Pass
Ayushi Saxena, on the other hand, was a first time trekker. Here’s what she has to say.
“Kuari Pass was a great trek. It was my first trek at high altitude. Half way through the trek, I thought I couldn’t make it. But the trek leaders and technical guides really helped me. The whole experience was enthralling,” says Ayushi Saxena.
Speaking to several other trekkers, we hear that the Chitrakantha campsite is a killer campsite! “It’s in a large clearing in the forest and the setting is great! The views at night from this campsite are something to look out for,” says Siddharth Rathod, another seasoned trekker, who loves going on solo treks.
There were 11 trekkers in this batch, all of whom made it to the summit. “All trekkers did exceptionally well. They were all fit, so we maintained good timing everyday. All trekkers are back safe at Joshimath,” says Indrajit, our Trek Leader who led the batch.
Meanwhile, the disallowing of treks in the Har Ki Dun region has affected the local folk adversely, leaving them without many job options in winter.
There was a news article in Rashtriya Sahara on 6th December regarding the same. You can take a look at the clipping here. To give you a gist of it, it says that the Mountaineering Association and the local folk from Dehradun have appealed to the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat to allow trekking in the region in winter.
What will come out of it is yet to be seen.
No snow yet, but there are signs
According to our latest update, it is snowing at Wan, which is the base of Roopkund, at approximately 8,000 ft. It shouldn’t be long before it starts to snow on the other trails as well.
Also, our trekkers could see verglas on the Kedarkantha trail – a clear sign that temperatures are ever decreasing.
Verglas on a stream en route the Kedarkantha summit
Updates from the first winter batch of Kedarkantha
Our first trek to Kedarkantha in winter began on December 3rd. Out of 26 trekkers in the batch, 6 of them returned to the base camp due to high Blood Pressure. One trekker had to descend due to signs of Acute Mountain Sickness.
Tents at the Hargaon campsite surrounded by Pine trees
View of Swargarohini and Bandarpoonch from Kedarkantha summit
Live updates from current Sandakphu batch
From the Sandakphu trek, we have the luxury of receiving live updates, thanks to good connectivity. In the ongoing batch to Sandakphu that started on 4th December, trekkers have amazed their trek leader with their fitness levels. They showed great interest in safety sessions carried out by Trek Leader Dushyant. Safety sessions include instructions on usage of Oxygen cylinder and LSDs (Life Saving Drugs) as well as the protocol that needs to be followed in the event of an evacuation.
There was one trekker who had to descend due to high Blood Pressure. Daily blood pressure reading is now a mandatory element in our revamped safety process.
New Safety Protocols in action
Indiahikes has always pioneered the way trekking is done in India. This is true especially when it comes to setting Safety standards. With the tightening of safety protocols, several questions have risen. Despite the overall favorable response to the introduction of eligibility criteria for trekkers, some doubts remain.
In a three series article, Indiahikes founder Arjun Majumdar puts all your concerns to rest. The first two of which address Mental preparation for Treks and The Need to take Safety on Treks more seriously. Read through these to understand the need and reason behind the newly introduced rules. In his next article, Arjun will be putting down the safety measures that Indiahikes has introduced in detail.
Apart from the safety aspect, another thing that is running full-fledged is the Green Trails initiative.
Green Trails work
Waste segregation at campsites has become a routine. One that is strictly followed by both staff and trekkers. The segregated waste is then reprocessed or transported to waste management systems like clock work. Leaving the campsites untouched as they were before trekkers set foot is the motto.
Waste segregation bags on the Kedarkantha trek with clear instructions for users to follow
Another effort that we have brought in is using ash instead of dish washing liquid. This is greatly reducing the amount of chemicals that go into the soil through liquid soaps or soap bars.
A trekker uses ash to clean his dish on the Kedarkantha trek
While our treks are running smooth on the slopes, it wouldn’t happen if not for effective work from the back-end folk. Let’s see what is happening in our Bangalore office.
Trek with Swathi
To help trekkers prepare for their winter treks, Swathi recently shot a video at Decathlon. It covers exactly what layers you will need for Kuari Pass, Kedarkantha, Deoriatal, Sandakphu or Brahmatal trek. Watch the video to learn exactly what layers to choose.
On the Hiking Club front, 36 Canadian International School exchange students from Denmark went on the Makalidurga Trek. Coming from a different cultural background, they were happy to learn about temples and the history of the fort they visited.
Students pose at the fort ruins atop Makalidurga PC: Mukesh Jain
The same school will be going on the Kuari Pass trek early next year! They have already begun preparing for it!
If you want to start a Hiking Club in your school/college, write to us at email@example.com.
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