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Why do trekkers get carried away with off-season treks?


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Of late, there’s an increasing trend I’m noticing amongst trekkers. They want to do challenging treks, above 14,000-15,000 ft. I love that people are taking on such adventures!

But what is not ok is that many of them are opting to do these treks in the off-season, at any whimsical time of the year. 

They’re considering treks like Goechala, Rupin Pass, Pangarchulla, etc. in winter months of December, January and February. These are typically treks that have a 2-4 month window in the entire year when they can be done safely. And yet, here are trekkers asking us if they can do it in peak winter months. 

I was wondering why this trend exists in our country. 

I notice two things at play here. 

First, there’s a sense of bravado in the way trekkers look at these treks. They look at it as a novel adventure that very few people have successfully achieved. It’s very similar to this fever of chasing higher altitudes that had gripped a large number of trekkers. Thankfully, that is a disappearing trend now. 

Second is that even organisations are putting across off-season treks as a “tempting challenge” and glamorous adventure that can be attempted by regular trekkers. They are normalising it to such an extent that there is gross misinformation about the success-rate and safety of such expeditions. 

Two instances that demonstrate why off-season treks are not worth it:

I was in conversation with a friend who went to Goechala in the first week of December 2020. Goechala is a high mountain pass in Sikkim, climbing up to 15,100 ft.

Even before he went, I thought it was ridiculous to go in such a wrong season. I was also worried for him. The Goechala trek is notorious for severe winters and high chances of HAPE. During these off seasons there is almost no one else on the trek. If in trouble, evacuation and rescue are almost impossible. He was not trekking with Indiahikes so that worried me further. How safe would he be? 

Once he came back, he confirmed my thoughts. 

Out of a team of around 12, only 3-4 of them made it to View Point 1, the final destination on the Goechala trek. The rest of them could not make it. 

I was not surprised.  

Goechala is not a December trek by any stretch of imagination. It becomes bitterly cold, the terrain gets very dry, water becomes scarce and frozen, the snow in the upper reaches can be very hard to manage. 

“Additionally, you’re climbing to 15,100 ft. Not the 12,000 ft of our regular winter treks. In that bone-chilling winter, your body struggles to acclimatise to such altitudes. If you are hit by AMS / HAPE, evacuation is near-impossible from a trek like Goechala,” shares Arjun Majumdar, the founder and CEO of Indiahikes.

This video will give you an idea of what Goechala is like in December. 

At the end of the day, it’s simply not a trek you do in the wrong season. 

Another instance… 

Another trekker I was talking to went on the Pangarchulla trek in December. Frankly, I was in disbelief when I first heard him say December. 

Pangarchulla is a high summit climb, at roughly 15,000 ft. Amongst all our high altitude treks, Pangarchulla has the shortest window when it’s accessible — only the month of April. Before April, there’s too much residual winter snow and the climb gets very technical. After April, the boulders on the trail get exposed, making it very risky. 

So when he said December, I was a bit at my wits end. Even our most qualified Trek Leaders would think twice about venturing out to Pangarchulla in December. 

Again, as expected, not one member of the team of 12-13 made it to the Pangarchulla peak. Out of the whole lot, only 2-3 of them made it to mini Pangarchulla, which is a false peak. It’s the same as climbing a bit higher than Kuari Pass and returning.

Now, these are just two trekkers’ stories. 

They are regular trekkers like you and me, not people who are technically qualified or skilled to scale a Himalayan peak in winter. 

“It’s true, even Everest is climbed in winters. It is attempted by professionals with years of practice behind them. But for regular people with no experience / technical skills, a trek in the wrong season is not being adventurous. It is being foolhardy," says Sandhya UC, the co-founder of Indiahikes.

I don’t know how many more trekkers are falling into this trap of being enticed by challenging treks in the wrong seasons. 

This is where I have a bone to pick with trekkers.

I must admit that a few years ago, trekkers did not have access to information about trekking. They did not know what weather to expect, what was the best time to do a certain trek. They would often pick the wrong treks in the wrong seasons.

But now, when there is so much information available, why not research a bit before you sign up for a Himalayan trek? 

Just a handful of trekkers actually research the trek they are going on. Most of them blindly trust the organisation to run treks at the right time — often to their own peril. More and more organisers are keen to cash in on the holiday season rather than choose a trek that is appropriate for a trekker. 

At Indiahikes, our first priority is to ensure a trek is always safe, yet adventurous. But it must never, ever put a trekker’s life at risk. 

But not all organisations look into these aspects. 

That’s why I’m not ok with a blind approach towards trekking, when trekkers don’t research their treks, especially the more difficult ones like Goechala, Rupin Pass, Pangarchulla and others.

It could quickly turn out to be the most dangerous decision of their lives.

On a different note... 

I wish organisations would also be more considerate towards trekkers. Listing out dates in totally wrong seasons is not fair to trekkers, especially when they know that the majority of them are not likely to successfully complete the trek. 

Especially luring them with talks about “less crowd” and “high adventure.” They even go on to say that the winter cold in these treks are similar to those experienced in treks like Kedarkantha or Brahmatal in winter. 

Unfortunately, it is not. Above 14,000 feet the temperature is many times colder than at 11,000 feet. Also, these are not short treks like Kedarkantha or Brahmatal. These are difficult treks with long walking hours — easily 8-9 hours of trekking, perhaps in deep snow. In winter, long exposure to such cold can lead to serious cases of hypothermia. People die out of hypothermia. 

There is a difference between running treks and running at any cost. 

In conclusion...

Trekking is a transformative journey for your mind, body and spirit. A successful trek can leave you deeply touched inside. It can impact your well being to an extent we cannot imagine.

But a trek in the wrong season can mean an incomplete trek, injuries, altitude sickness and even fatalities. It’s a thin line between adventure and a devil-may-care attitude. 

I wonder if you agree with me? 

I would really like to hear your thoughts about this. Share it in the section below. 
 

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I fully agree with you. I read so many fatalities on treks these days. It’s quite evident that they are not fully prepared, don’t have the correct support staff, and land up in a dangerous situation. The recent accident of NIM shows it can happen to the most experienced people. Safety is paramount. No compromise on that. Going with a good team, being physically fit, good experienced support staff is a must. 

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Thanks for this sane voice of concern and caution. I am deeply grateful to India Hikes for making trekking safely accessible for enthusiasts like me. I have found the courage to start trekking because i feel secure with IH. You guys are dependable and responsible!

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Not fully in agreement with IH philosophy on this topic. Trekking is a great sport with multiple facets - enjoying nature, camaraderie, the views, self reflection, challenge, solitude etc. So one needs to consider all these aspects when making decisions on treks. By definition, what are called off-seasons treks come with additional challenges, which you have described well. Inherently - easy become moderate, moderate becomes difficult and difficult becomes difficult +. In this matter, I think it is the responsibility of both trekker and trekking outfit to be fully aware and be well prepared of this aspects. With full awareness of the added uncertainties and risks, if trekker is well prepared and goes in with that mindset, I see no harm in it. Moreover it teaches some of the real challenges in decision making in the mountains. On the positive side, it offers a much more fulfilling wilderness experience,  adventure and solitude compared to the crowds in 'in-season' treks. So saying no to off season treks as a blanket recommendation is unfortunate and short sighted. Go in fully aware of what you are getting into, be extra prepared, be willing to turn back, change plans if circumstances change (all of these are true for in season treks too - Have heard enough stories of surprises in regular season also). I have trekked Goechala in the second half of December and thoroughly enjoyed it - after having to cancel one year due to heavy snowfall. 

Small addendum to the above post. Two IH treks I have been to: Kuari pass - Easy and Pin Bhabha - Difficult. In the former 8/22 had to drop off - In the latter - 12/12 completed. For me the big learning is that trekkers need to be well informed, well prepared. If not, it doesn't matter if it is regular season or off-season - experience will be bad, people will not complete it, and they are taking on risks .

And trekkers going with the right attitude of the experience itself will not necessarily view not reaching the top most point or view point as a failure - the journey itself matters. After all, high altitude trekking is not just a vacation to see views and take photos - it is an adventure. "Adventure" implies "risks which need to be managed". So with all due respect to IH, I find your point of view on this very disappointing (and very narrow). 

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 Adventure is the spice of life and such sense of adventure surely needs an outlet, But, an outlet  bourne out of good information and an accurate risk assessment that has been made by the trekker  himself.l/herself.

The information available to him is crucial and critical in his ability to make a correct assessment with regards to a particular treck in a particular  season.

This ability to take an informed decision is based only on the correct understanding of his own ability , information being provided by the organising company and the facilities being provided by a trekking company( paramedical, evacuation facilities, etc) .

There is no  denying that   a high altitudeI trek in winters is more riskier  and can become life-threatening .   I believe that risk appetite is something that should be left to the trekker and the responsibility of providing honest information about the dangers involved should be with the trekking  company.


Unlike  mountaineering, trekking is not considered a sport that needs specialised training. While this may be okay for low altitude easy  treks, the same may not be the case for high altitude treks. . This risk no doubt will depend upon the fitness level of the trekkers, but the risk surely exists.

Commercial needs of a business cannot override the ethical responsibility of organisers in providing correct information to a potential trekkers who may who may not be aware about the dangers of high altitude trekking. 

All trekkers are always free to pursue their passions of exploring  nature, but it is essential to  ensure that all trekkers have the relevant information at hand to make an informed decision. 

 

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Everyone treks for a reason. Some want to experience the peace and develop perspectives at the same time, wanting a sense of achievement and accomplishment. When we complete a trek, it’s natural that it gives a “high” thus motivating you challenge yourself again. It’s natural to think of doing something unique after couple of treks. 
I agree that with the amount of trek info available, it’s better to stick to the safety plan and do what is feasible/recommended. But, at the same time, we could still prepare ourself with information about any off season treks. This seems to be in line with IH’s view- every trek is different and has a different experience every season. Not everyone would be willing to risk it, but, those who are, will know what to expect.

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4 hours ago, Swathi Chatrapathy said:

Of late, there’s an increasing trend I’m noticing amongst trekkers. They want to do challenging treks, above 14,000-15,000 ft. I love that people are taking on such adventures!

But what is not ok is that many of them are opting to do these treks in the off-season, at any whimsical time of the year. 

They’re considering treks like Goechala, Rupin Pass, Pangarchulla, etc. in winter months of December, January and February. These are typically treks that have a 2-4 month window in the entire year when they can be done safely. And yet, here are trekkers asking us if they can do it in peak winter months. 

I was wondering why this trend exists in our country. 

I notice two things at play here. 

First, there’s a sense of bravado in the way trekkers look at these treks. They look at it as a novel adventure that very few people have successfully achieved. It’s very similar to this fever of chasing higher altitudes that had gripped a large number of trekkers. Thankfully, that is a disappearing trend now. 

Second is that even organisations are putting across off-season treks as a “tempting challenge” and glamorous adventure that can be attempted by regular trekkers. They are normalising it to such an extent that there is gross misinformation about the success-rate and safety of such expeditions. 

Two instances that demonstrate why off-season treks are not worth it:

I was in conversation with a friend who went to Goechala in the first week of December 2020. Goechala is a high mountain pass in Sikkim, climbing up to 15,100 ft.

Even before he went, I thought it was ridiculous to go in such a wrong season. I was also worried for him. The Goechala trek is notorious for severe winters and high chances of HAPE. During these off seasons there is almost no one else on the trek. If in trouble, evacuation and rescue are almost impossible. He was not trekking with Indiahikes so that worried me further. How safe would he be? 

Once he came back, he confirmed my thoughts. 

Out of a team of around 12, only 3-4 of them made it to View Point 1, the final destination on the Goechala trek. The rest of them could not make it. 

I was not surprised.  

Goechala is not a December trek by any stretch of imagination. It becomes bitterly cold, the terrain gets very dry, water becomes scarce and frozen, the snow in the upper reaches can be very hard to manage. 

“Additionally, you’re climbing to 15,100 ft. Not the 12,000 ft of our regular winter treks. In that bone-chilling winter, your body struggles to acclimatise to such altitudes. If you are hit by AMS / HAPE, evacuation is near-impossible from a trek like Goechala,” shares Arjun Majumdar, the founder and CEO of Indiahikes.

At the end of the day, it’s simply not a trek you do in the wrong season. 

Another instance… 

Another trekker I was talking to went on the Pangarchulla trek in December. Frankly, I was in disbelief when I first heard him say December. 

Pangarchulla is a high summit climb, at roughly 15,000 ft. Amongst all our high altitude treks, Pangarchulla has the shortest window when it’s accessible — only the month of April. Before April, there’s too much residual winter snow and the climb gets very technical. After April, the boulders on the trail get exposed, making it very risky. 

So when he said December, I was a bit at my wits end. Even our most qualified Trek Leaders would think twice about venturing out to Pangarchulla in December. 

Again, as expected, not one member of the team of 12-13 made it to the Pangarchulla peak. Out of the whole lot, only 2-3 of them made it to mini Pangarchulla, which is a false peak. It’s the same as climbing a bit higher than Kuari Pass and returning.

Now, these are just two trekkers’ stories. 

They are regular trekkers like you and me, not people who are technically qualified or skilled to scale a Himalayan peak in winter. 

“It’s true, even Everest is climbed in winters. It is attempted by professionals with years of practice behind them. But for regular people with no experience / technical skills, a trek in the wrong season is not being adventurous. It is being foolhardy," says Sandhya UC, the co-founder of Indiahikes.

I don’t know how many more trekkers are falling into this trap of being enticed by challenging treks in the wrong seasons. 

This is where I have a bone to pick with trekkers.

I must admit that a few years ago, trekkers did not have access to information about trekking. They did not know what weather to expect, what was the best time to do a certain trek. They would often pick the wrong treks in the wrong seasons.

But now, when there is so much information available, why not research a bit before you sign up for a Himalayan trek? 

Just a handful of trekkers actually research the trek they are going on. Most of them blindly trust the organisation to run treks at the right time — often to their own peril. More and more organisers are keen to cash in on the holiday season rather than choose a trek that is appropriate for a trekker. 

At Indiahikes, our first priority is to ensure a trek is always safe, yet adventurous. But it must never, ever put a trekker’s life at risk. 

But not all organisations look into these aspects. 

That’s why I’m not ok with a blind approach towards trekking, when trekkers don’t research their treks, especially the more difficult ones like Goechala, Rupin Pass, Pangarchulla and others.

It could quickly turn out to be the most dangerous decision of their lives.

On a different note... 

I wish organisations would also be more considerate towards trekkers. Listing out dates in totally wrong seasons is not fair to trekkers, especially when they know that the majority of them are not likely to successfully complete the trek. 

Especially luring them with talks about “less crowd” and “high adventure.” They even go on to say that the winter cold in these treks are similar to those experienced in treks like Kedarkantha or Brahmatal in winter. 

Unfortunately, it is not. Above 14,000 feet the temperature is many times colder than at 11,000 feet. Also, these are not short treks like Kedarkantha or Brahmatal. These are difficult treks with long walking hours — easily 8-9 hours of trekking, perhaps in deep snow. In winter, long exposure to such cold can lead to serious cases of hypothermia. People die out of hypothermia. 

There is a difference between running treks and running at any cost. 

In conclusion...

Trekking is a transformative journey for your mind, body and spirit. A successful trek can leave you deeply touched inside. It can impact your well being to an extent we cannot imagine.

But a trek in the wrong season can mean an incomplete trek, injuries, altitude sickness and even fatalities. It’s a thin line between adventure and a devil-may-care attitude. 

I wonder if you agree with me? 

I would really like to hear your thoughts about this. Share it in the section below. 
 

Do you mean all seasonal treks are safe and  successful?  Yes you are right off seasonal treks are risky.

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5 hours ago, Swathi Chatrapathy said:

Of late, there’s an increasing trend I’m noticing amongst trekkers. They want to do challenging treks, above 14,000-15,000 ft. I love that people are taking on such adventures!

But what is not ok is that many of them are opting to do these treks in the off-season, at any whimsical time of the year. 

They’re considering treks like Goechala, Rupin Pass, Pangarchulla, etc. in winter months of December, January and February. These are typically treks that have a 2-4 month window in the entire year when they can be done safely. And yet, here are trekkers asking us if they can do it in peak winter months. 

I was wondering why this trend exists in our country. 

I notice two things at play here. 

First, there’s a sense of bravado in the way trekkers look at these treks. They look at it as a novel adventure that very few people have successfully achieved. It’s very similar to this fever of chasing higher altitudes that had gripped a large number of trekkers. Thankfully, that is a disappearing trend now. 

Second is that even organisations are putting across off-season treks as a “tempting challenge” and glamorous adventure that can be attempted by regular trekkers. They are normalising it to such an extent that there is gross misinformation about the success-rate and safety of such expeditions. 

Two instances that demonstrate why off-season treks are not worth it:

I was in conversation with a friend who went to Goechala in the first week of December 2020. Goechala is a high mountain pass in Sikkim, climbing up to 15,100 ft.

Even before he went, I thought it was ridiculous to go in such a wrong season. I was also worried for him. The Goechala trek is notorious for severe winters and high chances of HAPE. During these off seasons there is almost no one else on the trek. If in trouble, evacuation and rescue are almost impossible. He was not trekking with Indiahikes so that worried me further. How safe would he be? 

Once he came back, he confirmed my thoughts. 

Out of a team of around 12, only 3-4 of them made it to View Point 1, the final destination on the Goechala trek. The rest of them could not make it. 

I was not surprised.  

Goechala is not a December trek by any stretch of imagination. It becomes bitterly cold, the terrain gets very dry, water becomes scarce and frozen, the snow in the upper reaches can be very hard to manage. 

“Additionally, you’re climbing to 15,100 ft. Not the 12,000 ft of our regular winter treks. In that bone-chilling winter, your body struggles to acclimatise to such altitudes. If you are hit by AMS / HAPE, evacuation is near-impossible from a trek like Goechala,” shares Arjun Majumdar, the founder and CEO of Indiahikes.

At the end of the day, it’s simply not a trek you do in the wrong season. 

Another instance… 

Another trekker I was talking to went on the Pangarchulla trek in December. Frankly, I was in disbelief when I first heard him say December. 

Pangarchulla is a high summit climb, at roughly 15,000 ft. Amongst all our high altitude treks, Pangarchulla has the shortest window when it’s accessible — only the month of April. Before April, there’s too much residual winter snow and the climb gets very technical. After April, the boulders on the trail get exposed, making it very risky. 

So when he said December, I was a bit at my wits end. Even our most qualified Trek Leaders would think twice about venturing out to Pangarchulla in December. 

Again, as expected, not one member of the team of 12-13 made it to the Pangarchulla peak. Out of the whole lot, only 2-3 of them made it to mini Pangarchulla, which is a false peak. It’s the same as climbing a bit higher than Kuari Pass and returning.

Now, these are just two trekkers’ stories. 

They are regular trekkers like you and me, not people who are technically qualified or skilled to scale a Himalayan peak in winter. 

“It’s true, even Everest is climbed in winters. It is attempted by professionals with years of practice behind them. But for regular people with no experience / technical skills, a trek in the wrong season is not being adventurous. It is being foolhardy," says Sandhya UC, the co-founder of Indiahikes.

I don’t know how many more trekkers are falling into this trap of being enticed by challenging treks in the wrong seasons. 

This is where I have a bone to pick with trekkers.

I must admit that a few years ago, trekkers did not have access to information about trekking. They did not know what weather to expect, what was the best time to do a certain trek. They would often pick the wrong treks in the wrong seasons.

But now, when there is so much information available, why not research a bit before you sign up for a Himalayan trek? 

Just a handful of trekkers actually research the trek they are going on. Most of them blindly trust the organisation to run treks at the right time — often to their own peril. More and more organisers are keen to cash in on the holiday season rather than choose a trek that is appropriate for a trekker. 

At Indiahikes, our first priority is to ensure a trek is always safe, yet adventurous. But it must never, ever put a trekker’s life at risk. 

But not all organisations look into these aspects. 

That’s why I’m not ok with a blind approach towards trekking, when trekkers don’t research their treks, especially the more difficult ones like Goechala, Rupin Pass, Pangarchulla and others.

It could quickly turn out to be the most dangerous decision of their lives.

On a different note... 

I wish organisations would also be more considerate towards trekkers. Listing out dates in totally wrong seasons is not fair to trekkers, especially when they know that the majority of them are not likely to successfully complete the trek. 

Especially luring them with talks about “less crowd” and “high adventure.” They even go on to say that the winter cold in these treks are similar to those experienced in treks like Kedarkantha or Brahmatal in winter. 

Unfortunately, it is not. Above 14,000 feet the temperature is many times colder than at 11,000 feet. Also, these are not short treks like Kedarkantha or Brahmatal. These are difficult treks with long walking hours — easily 8-9 hours of trekking, perhaps in deep snow. In winter, long exposure to such cold can lead to serious cases of hypothermia. People die out of hypothermia. 

There is a difference between running treks and running at any cost. 

In conclusion...

Trekking is a transformative journey for your mind, body and spirit. A successful trek can leave you deeply touched inside. It can impact your well being to an extent we cannot imagine.

But a trek in the wrong season can mean an incomplete trek, injuries, altitude sickness and even fatalities. It’s a thin line between adventure and a devil-may-care attitude. 

I wonder if you agree with me? 

I would really like to hear your thoughts about this. Share it in the section below. 
 

I slightly beg to differ. I still think, there is an information asymmetry. There are only a few national park websites, printed guides or even trekking organizations that properly highlight the ideal conditions/seasons to do a given trek, contain color-coded trail maps, what to expect on a hike etc. 

I wish there are more 'Lonely Planet Guide' style printed booklets/literature with maps properly describing a trail, that you can read to plan ahead and just carry on your hike.  Other than some travellogues, I don't know of any major publisher or self-published author who has created such interesting booklets e.g. on Goechala pass trek, Rupin Pass trek. 

 

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2 hours ago, Dhruthi said:

Everyone treks for a reason. Some want to experience the peace and develop perspectives at the same time, wanting a sense of achievement and accomplishment. When we complete a trek, it’s natural that it gives a “high” thus motivating you challenge yourself again. It’s natural to think of doing something unique after couple of treks. 
I agree that with the amount of trek info available, it’s better to stick to the safety plan and do what is feasible/recommended. But, at the same time, we could still prepare ourself with information about any off season treks. This seems to be in line with IH’s view- every trek is different and has a different experience every season. Not everyone would be willing to risk it, but, those who are, will know what to expect.

Your view is very rightly the balanced approach needed and to be honest these days if you want to research there is enough information out there. I watch countless videos on YouTube and read blogs and opinions before making my decisions.  However, IH view seems to be very slanted in this matter and almost paints off-season treks as a bad thing. It is only as bad as how unprepared/unaware trekkers are. I just wish they were more balanced in their approach on this topic.

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I totally agree with your thoughts Swathi. Trekking is not just a travelling for fun, but it is a lifetime experience and it can turn into a lifetime lesson if you're lucky to be safe after trekking during an unfavourable season.  A big No for the trekk to the areas where it is unfavourable during a particular season.

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Right now, I feel there is an explosion of information even for a subject like trekking in the Himalayas. That adds to confusion. If One trek agency says a trek is ok in December, the other says it should not be attempted. Research on the internet surely will provide temperature and rainfall charts and maybe even a detailed account of the topography of the trek. However, to untrained and inexperienced person, all these would be beyond understanding as he/she would not be able to glean the necessary information from the plethora of available information. By "necessary" I mean the information that would be useful for a lay person to understand whether a given trek would be doable in a given season or not. Add to the fact, differing physical and psychological capabilities of different trekkers. 

Why not create a database of different treks (one that IH already has in place) and add to it the months that these should be attempted (again, IH has this) and the months that these treks MUST NOT be attempted with detailed reasoning for such assessment?! Further, that assessment should be open for public comments. With inputs from seasoned trekkers, I guess, it would be an enriching exercise.

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Many adventure sports depend on the weather. 

Skydiving, Surfing, River Rafting, Skiing, Paragliding, Scuba diving, Snorkeling, and Trekking.

It is important to know when the weather can turn the adventure into a life threatening situation. We rely heavily on organizations to guide us, and I think that's a great thing.

In 2015, I went rafting for the first time ever in Zanskar River in Ladakh (I later learned that it is the second toughest river in India for rafting). It contained Grade 4 rapids. With no education and a lot of excitement, I went for it. I fell into the tumultous rapid and despite having a life jacket, I could barely manage to breathe for 4-5 minutes. The water tossed and turned me around and pushed me inside, only to bring me to the surface for a split second before I got shoved in again, by the sheer force of the current. The temperature of the water was 3 or 4 degrees Celsius. The rescue guard arrived after 7 minutes - but it took me almost 6 years after that to completely get over my fear of water and be able to swim again, without gasping for breath. If I knew that this was even a possibility, I would've perhaps never gone rafting.

Ever since then, I have mainly reserved adventure sports only for whenever I travel abroad. Organizations there are usually systematic and responsible. They provide information, top notch equipment and are proactive in canceling adventures when the weather is not favourable. Indiahikes gives me that comfort when it comes to Himalayan trekking.

As loving and nurturing as nature can be, it is sometimes the most brutal force and no human can stand a chance against certain situations. Keeping this in mind, of course, every individual is free to do as they please!

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On 10/6/2022 at 5:25 PM, Vimal said:

Not fully in agreement with IH philosophy on this topic. Trekking is a great sport with multiple facets - enjoying nature, camaraderie, the views, self reflection, challenge, solitude etc. So one needs to consider all these aspects when making decisions on treks. By definition, what are called off-seasons treks come with additional challenges, which you have described well. Inherently - easy become moderate, moderate becomes difficult and difficult becomes difficult +. In this matter, I think it is the responsibility of both trekker and trekking outfit to be fully aware and be well prepared of this aspects. With full awareness of the added uncertainties and risks, if trekker is well prepared and goes in with that mindset, I see no harm in it. Moreover it teaches some of the real challenges in decision making in the mountains. On the positive side, it offers a much more fulfilling wilderness experience,  adventure and solitude compared to the crowds in 'in-season' treks. So saying no to off season treks as a blanket recommendation is unfortunate and short sighted. Go in fully aware of what you are getting into, be extra prepared, be willing to turn back, change plans if circumstances change (all of these are true for in season treks too - Have heard enough stories of surprises in regular season also). I have trekked Goechala in the second half of December and thoroughly enjoyed it - after having to cancel one year due to heavy snowfall. 

Small addendum to the above post. Two IH treks I have been to: Kuari pass - Easy and Pin Bhabha - Difficult. In the former 8/22 had to drop off - In the latter - 12/12 completed. For me the big learning is that trekkers need to be well informed, well prepared. If not, it doesn't matter if it is regular season or off-season - experience will be bad, people will not complete it, and they are taking on risks .

And trekkers going with the right attitude of the experience itself will not necessarily view not reaching the top most point or view point as a failure - the journey itself matters. After all, high altitude trekking is not just a vacation to see views and take photos - it is an adventure. "Adventure" implies "risks which need to be managed". So with all due respect to IH, I find your point of view on this very disappointing (and very narrow). 

Hi, the Kuari pass trek you referred to where 8/22 dropped off, was due to what reason you think? 
What was the season? 
I am more curious about this as I am a beginner in the trekking world and am doing kuari pass this month. 
Ila 

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On 10/8/2022 at 12:25 PM, Nandini S said:

Many adventure sports depend on the weather. 

Skydiving, Surfing, River Rafting, Skiing, Paragliding, Scuba diving, Snorkeling, and Trekking.

It is important to know when the weather can turn the adventure into a life threatening situation. We rely heavily on organizations to guide us, and I think that's a great thing.

In 2015, I went rafting for the first time ever in Zanskar River in Ladakh (I later learned that it is the second toughest river in India for rafting). It contained Grade 4 rapids. With no education and a lot of excitement, I went for it. I fell into the tumultous rapid and despite having a life jacket, I could barely manage to breathe for 4-5 minutes. The water tossed and turned me around and pushed me inside, only to bring me to the surface for a split second before I got shoved in again, by the sheer force of the current. The temperature of the water was 3 or 4 degrees Celsius. The rescue guard arrived after 7 minutes - but it took me almost 6 years after that to completely get over my fear of water and be able to swim again, without gasping for breath. If I knew that this was even a possibility, I would've perhaps never gone rafting.

Ever since then, I have mainly reserved adventure sports only for whenever I travel abroad. Organizations there are usually systematic and responsible. They provide information, top notch equipment and are proactive in canceling adventures when the weather is not favourable. Indiahikes gives me that comfort when it comes to Himalayan trekking.

As loving and nurturing as nature can be, it is sometimes the most brutal force and no human can stand a chance against certain situations. Keeping this in mind, of course, every individual is free to do as they please!

Gosh that sounds really traumatic! 

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On 10/10/2022 at 9:38 PM, Ila said:

Hi, the Kuari pass trek you referred to where 8/22 dropped off, was due to what reason you think? 
What was the season? 
I am more curious about this as I am a beginner in the trekking world and am doing kuari pass this month. 
Ila 

They dropped off primarily due to lack of preparedness - had altitude issues at first campsite itself. Due to the 'easy' tag, the tendency is to think that you can wing it. In contrast, have found participants in tough treks, much more prepared, due to the 'hard' tag. This was mid December. As long as you have put in your efforts, fitness wise per the guidelines IH has mentioned you would be fine. Preparing for an easy trek in December, use the guidelines for moderate trek as benchmark. Always better to be extra prepared because weather can be unpredictable. Also listen to your body and take it slow and steady, and let trek leads know early enough in case of any issues. Good luck! 

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