There are lots of confusions and questions around trekking like, when will the trekking start? What all will be the precautions to be taken? Will it get more expensive? Will it be safe to trek? Which company to trust? Things to keep in mind before booking with a company?.. and many more like this. It is a fact that trekking in India is one of the most popular adventure activities which means many people’s earnings are also dependent on this popular outdoor activity/trip.

In the prevailing COVID 19 situation, nobody in their capacity could give concrete foolproof answers, including me. To make life easier for everybody, I have tried to address a few of these uncertainties, from my own experience and from what I have understood after analyzing and speaking with experts in the industry.

1. When will the trekking start? 


Irrespective of the lockdown status of different states and the aircraft or trains starting services, trekking operations can be started as soon as the Government gives a nod for tourism activities. It also depends upon when governments of Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir, Ladakh, North Eastern States , or the Western Ghats States like Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra releases their individual advisories for trekking operation and start welcoming the trekkers. These states have the most popular trekking trails like Chadar trek, Sar Pass trek, Hampta Pass trek, Kedarkantha trek, Sandakphu trek etc., respective state governments consent is very important before trekking starts. Whichever state first decides to open their doors for trekkers and rolls out the SOPs and policies, trekking activities will start there with people starting to come.

2. Who will trek First? 

Ideally, the one who can drive up to the trek start point in an own or private vehicle from their home would be the safer and first lot. Followed by the people who fly down and drive up to the trek start point in a private vehicle. Slowly and gradually when things get better and the COVID-19 contamination worry reduces, more people will be trekking on different slopes. 

3. What are the precautions to be taken by the trekkers? 

The trekkers need to take all the necessary precautions advised by the government and shared by the trek operator without any fail. Adding to that few important and general precautions suggested are 

  • Travel to the trek start point in an own or private vehicle rather than in public transport or shared vehicle
  • Carry your own camping gears(Tent, Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Mat, Sleeping Liner, Water bottle, etc) and cutleries(Plate, Spoon, Mug, Fork)
  • Sign up for private treks or the treks with small group sizes of 10 to 12 people. 
  • Priority to be given to the company’s quality in operating treks safely and following the SOPs rather than the pricing where safety could be jeopardized. 
  • Trekkers need to focus on quality rather than just only the price.

4. What will be the major precautionary steps taken by the companies? 

The trekking companies must follow all the general measures advised by the respective governments and the specific trekking operation related measures advised by organizations like ATOAI(Adventure Tour Operators Association of India). The major measures are likely to be and not limited to what is mentioned below. 

  • The company must have all the transactions and paper works done online to minimize direct human contacts. 
  • The company should have the capacity to arrange sanitized private vehicles, for transfers from trek start point and endpoint. 
  • The company must be willing to operate treks for private groups of families or close friends rather than groups of unknown people.
  • The treks must have small group sizes, ideally not more than 10 to 12 participants in each group.
  • The company must check and record the temperature of every trekker and staff daily, using non-contact thermometers. The data must be made easily accessible to everybody in the team.
  • The oxygen level of every trekker and the staff must be checked and recorded daily.
  • An evacuation plan followed by a quarantine strategy must be in place in case any member of the team is found to have an abnormal temperature or oxygen levels.
  • The company must ask the trekkers to bring their own tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag and cutleries. Sanitizing these gears everyday and every time after use may not be practically possible in the wilderness but at the same time mandatory in case used by different people on different days. By owning gears and using it personally reduces the chances of contamination.
  • The company must provide adequate support and information to the trekkers regarding all the precautions to be taken and about the SOPs.
  • The company must provide adequate support in selecting and purchase of equipment. 
  • The company should provide proper solutions to sanitize the cutlery after every use. 
  • The kitchen tent and dining area must be well sanitized before and after every use. 

Must Read: Positive Evolution in Indian Adventure Travel Post COVID 19

5. Will the trek become more expensive? 


Answer to this is quite simple and straightforward ‘Yes‘. If the trek needs to be safe, sanitized, sustainable for the environment and at the same time the trekkers get fun-filled deeper value added adventure experience, the price would definitely spike up. The real question to ask is, is it really worth going outdoors compromising the safety of the people at your service and your own? What about the sustainability of nature? Who will carry back all those extra trash you are taking up in those pristine nature to keep oneself safe from one another? When the number of people in a group reduces for the safety and sustainability, the overheads are not decreasing like the cost of the support staff or the vehicle transferring the group. So it’s obvious that when the cost will be divided between the smaller number of people individual costs go a little higher side.

Another important thing to consider is, the guides and all the trekking staff across the country have been jobless since lockdown. People going on trek is their only source of income. After such a long gap of non employment, the trekkers getting back to slopes is their only hope. In this situation, squeezing their livelihood for the trekkers benefit may not be the right way forward. When the trekkers start looking for deals and cheaper options a crazy price war gets triggered, which ultimately boils down to squeezing the trekking staff’s remuneration or cutting the corners by compromising the safety or hiring less experienced or qualified staff.

6. Which Company to trust? 

This is a tricky question and mostly dependent on many factors and your gut feel. But as a rule of thumb, top points you can refer to make the process easy are below. Go with the company or the operator who 

  • Can show you a track record of safe and value added trek operations through previous customer feedback or reviews in reputed domains like TripAdvisor or Google.
  • Voluntarily share the SOP’s and safety precautions followed by them to ensure safe and sustainable trek operations
  • Ensure a small group sized and private trek departures
  • Has the expertise, knowledge and advised you to opt for less popular and beautiful trails over the crowded famous trails
  • Provides or advises you to opt for adventure insurance as a default option or mandatory for the trek
  • Proactively provides you all the latest government or governing body advisories and ensure it to be followed
  • Not offering illogical discounts and deals which could boil down in compromising the safety.



Whatever happens trekking will be one adventure sport which will catch up really fast, as soon as the situation gets better. There lies a huge responsibility on the companies operating trekking and equal responsibility upon the trekkers. By now all of us must have understood the importance of nature and keeping it intact for our future. Sustainable operations of trekking is inevitable, when we say sustainable it must be giving value added rich experiences to the trekkers without adding further damage to the ecosystem and the local culture or the people. 

The trash issue may arise in the post COVID – 19 scenario trek operations due to the extra usages of disposable masks, hand sanitizers, gloves and many other personal protection equipment. Trekkers and the companies must take this additional responsibility of bringing these non-biodegradable materials back from and dispose off the right way. It will also be great if reusable personal protection equipment is used over the disposable and non-biodegradable.

COVID- 19, may give humans one more chance to make things right towards nature, so let us utilize this opportunity in the right way to re-live and re-nurture this world into a better one for our future generations. 

COVID -19 pandemics have brought devastation in the World economy and disastrous effect on the travel industry. When the whole world is fighting to come out of this, COVID -19 is successfully establishing it’s strong empire over humanity. We, humans, are one among the greatest survivors of all living creatures, even this will be survived by us with our strong capability of evolving and transforming for better.

Indian adventure travel was needing a major restructuring and remodelling long back. As Shannon Stowell, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) President says “We have the opportunity to enact change that perhaps we never felt the freedom to do before, If there was ever a time to rebuild right, the world has the opportunity.” Indian adventure and travel industry should take this as an opportunity to make things right. It’s high time that we start to make our great outdoors a place for sustainable tourism activities. It’s a widely accepted fact that adventure is going to be the major travel solution preferred by people post this world pandemic. This is the best time for the Indians to start learning, understanding and making adventure and outdoor travel part of their lifestyle.

Explore Adventure Trips in India

So let’s look into some positive adaptations we can plug into our regular adventure travel. These will help us progress towards making adventure travel positively evolve and become part of our regular new normal lifestyle post-pandemic

1. Own Personal Camping Gear


As we all are super excited to go out as soon as the pandemic situation relaxes. The first thing travellers would be willing to do is to travel to the nearby camping locations, in nature’s adobe. Which may not require travel in public transportation like air or train. Even though the camping company would be doing everything for the safety and hygiene of the campers, having their own gear helps to be more confident and less worried about sanitation and hygiene. Having your own camping gear like a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat etc will make travel easier and less stressful since these gears will be of personal use the chances of contamination become feeble. Personal camping gears is a good investment which can be reused on all the upcoming camping trips to other destinations as well. If gears are given proper care, it will last for years and having your camping gear makes travel much safer, hygienic and economical.

2. Own Crockeries

Post this pandemic situation, the biggest worry in the back of mind while eating in a campsite would be about the hygiene of the crockeries used. An alternative solution could be using disposable crockery, which can become a disaster when it comes to waste management in the wilderness. The sustainable and safe solution is carrying your own reusable crockery (Plate, Spork, Lunchbox and Bowl). This will be your personal which can be reused after washing, on your every trip to wilderness and nature for years.

3. Campsites for self camping


It is commonly agreed by the industry experts that post-pandemic, people would prefer to travel in small groups composed of close family members or friends in their vehicles or privately hired vehicles. When the camping gear and crockery are easily accessible and owned, then self camping would be the best way to be safe and away from the crowd. The concept of camping will evolve for better and many open campsites will emerge to cater to the need. Many of the previously operated assisted camps would also open up their space for people to camp on their own.

4. Explore More Outdoor Activities



Most surveys reveal that post-pandemic people would want to go to open less crowded places in a small group. This would be possible only by involving in an outdoor adventure like trekking, camping, kayaking, scuba diving, paragliding, surfing etc. Gyms, Swimming pools and cinema halls will be of less popular options.

Explore Popular Treks in India

Exploring more and different adventure sports will give an idea which sport suits the best for each individual. Once that is understood it is obvious to take that particular sport seriously and make it part of life. Having command over an adventure sport allows exploring more remote and beautiful places in the world away from the crowd and chaos. There are many sports to explore and to develop command over it, like, mountaineering, rock climbing, trekking, kayaking, sailing, paragliding, scuba diving just to name a few.

5. RV (Recreational Vehicle) or Campervan Culture

People ready to travel once it’s safe would prefer RV’s if it’s readily available and its associated logistics are in place. RV’s give a sense of adventure and safety, as once sanitised and cleaned properly the whole trip can be covered worry less. Being a private vehicle external contamination is very minimal and the stress of choosing different hygienic accommodation, in different destinations of a trip becomes irrelevant. The culture of RV touring which was not popular in India will soon catch up. It would be a very convenient option for both domestic travellers and later even for international travellers.

6. Watersports To Get Popular


India, though having diverse geographical and climatic features, watersports did not catch up with general travellers to its full potential. When travelling becomes safe again, people would love to go to less crowded places closer to their home avoiding public transportation. For people living in many parts of our country water bodies would be more viable options than the mountains. Rivers, lakes, backwaters, lagoons, ocean and beaches viable for watersports will be the preferred travel destinations. Adventure sports with easy or short learning curves would get popular very soon. Paddlesports like, Stand Up Paddling, Kayaking, Canoeing and rafting would likely get more attraction followed by surfing, sailing and scuba diving.

7. Awareness of Outdoor and Adventure activities

In the new normal life post-pandemic, when outdoor activities and adventure travel become the popular way of travel, the awareness around adventure ethos and sustainable travel operations become very important. There would be lots of awareness generation by every organisation related to adventure travel, which in turn make the whole concept more popular.

Adventure Travel in India will evolve for better

Now, it may not be clear when exactly is it going to be safe to start travelling or when exactly it will be the new normal for adventure travel. But one thing is clear, adventure being closest to nature and most of the time far away from crowded places, this is the one kind of travel which can be carried out with much confidence. As it says, “Survival of the Fittest”, the survival of this industry also depends on how fast the industry is evolving to become the fittest to receive the guests by giving them safe, hygienic and deeper adventure experience. It is also imperative that the outdoor and adventure companies do all it takes for the guest safety and to provide confidence to the travellers so that they can entrust their life and travel dreams to them.

When travel becomes safe and we are on the other side of this pandemic, sustainable and ethical travel needs to be the priority of both traveller and travel company. Every adventure operator’s priority needs to be the traveller’s safety and providing meaningful experiences. The mass tourism with hundreds of people on a trail or a campsite has to be replaced with smaller closed groups who can appreciate nature and the adventure activity itself. The pricing of the adventures must reflect the quality, safety and value addition in an experience rather than just being a deal; conscious understanding of this must be there with both the traveller and the adventure company.

Trekking poles are important equipment for an efficient and seamless trekking experience. Many times, the purpose of it is underestimated and people shy to use it, not knowing the actual purpose and the gains of it. This article will help you to understand the purpose and benefits of using trekking poles, understand the different parts of a pole and the best practice of using it to your benefit.

Benefits of Using Trekking Pole

  1. It makes walking much easier and seamless, assists you to balance better in those uneven terrains, with better stability and grip. Having poles on each hand brings in four touchpoints on the ground giving you more confidence and support.
  2. Trekking Poles help reduce the stress and fatigue developed on the knee joints and muscles, developed during the uphill and downhill trek.
  3. It can come very handy is crossing streams and wading water
  4. It is a proven fact that by using trekking poles your upper body muscles get worked out including biceps and triceps beyond the aerobic activity of trekking itself
  5. Last but not the least, it can also be used to build shelters or support your tent as a pole.


Different Types & Features of A Trekking Pole

Trekking poles come in different built types with varied features, most common types are adjustable, non-adjustable and foldable. Depending upon your usage, brand and type you select, the poles come with interesting features like shock absorbers and camera mounts. One thing to keep in mind is every additional feature comes with a weight and price added to it.


The height of the pole can be adjusted to enhance stability and balance in different terrains. Generally, pole length is shortened when going uphill and extended when going downhill.


These are usually the lightest type, as the length of the pole is fixed, and it cannot be adjusted. This type of trekking pole comes handy for those people who indulge in activities that need a constant height throughout the activity. 


These are not like the adjustable poles, which slide into themselves; these function similar to that of tent poles and are best for packing light. It’s a favourite for ultra-marathon runners.


Parts of a Trekking Pole


The strap is a loop which helps you in securely holding the grip. Depending upon the brand and quality of the pole, it comes with and without padding. A strap with padding supports your wrist far better and gives you good comfort. 


The grip is the place where you hold the trekking pole. It is usually made of plastic, foam, rubber and cork. The grips also come in many shapes and sizes to fit different hand types. It is better to try the grip before you purchase for better comfort. Cork & foam gives better grip as it does not slip once your hands are wet or sweating, it also costs comparatively higher than all the other materials. Plastic is the most economical grip but it does not meet the complete purpose. A grip made of a combination of cork and rubber would be a good choice for an all-season trekking pole.


Shaft makes up the major portion of a trekking pole and contributes the maximum weight. Shafts are usually made of either aluminium or composite materials of carbon. Aluminium poles are more durable and economical on the other hand the carbon fibre poles are expensive and super light. The carbon fibre made poles are more susceptible to breakage than aluminium poles under high stress. 


The trekking poles usually come with a small trekking basket which is removable. It can be substituted with a larger basket for walking on powder snow or muddy terrain.


This is the portion that interacts with the ground. It usually comes with a plastic body and a metal point. The metal points are typically made of hardened steel or carbide, both are harder than the rock which allows the pole to bite better on a rock or icy patch giving extra stability. The tips come with a removable rubber cap that covers the sharp metal tip, this can come handy while carrying the poles in a backpack or when the poles are used in pavements and indoors to protect the surface from scars.


Locking Mechanisms of a Trekking Pole

Every trekking pole comes with a locking mechanism irrespective of whether it’s an adjustable one or not, to keep the pole from snapping its length while on a trek. However, the locking system in adjustable poles also helps in adjusting the length of the pole as per the need. Different types of locking mechanisms are internal, external, push-button and combination lock.

Internal / Twist Locking 

This system uses a screw set up to expand or shorten the shaft segments. This system is comparatively stronger and durable.

External Lever Locking

This type of locking comes with an external lever like a clamp to lock the segments of shafts. When using the pole wearing gloves, this locking system comes much handy and easier.

Push Button Locking

In this mechanism, the button gets snapped in a socket and locks itself. To unlock the button needs to be pushed and the shaft segment needs to slide in or out to snap the button in the next socket.  This kind of mechanism may be challenging to operate with gloves on.

Combination Locking

In this type, the pole may come with a combination of different locking mechanisms to improve the strength and efficiency. For example, a particular pole may have a lever lock on the upper shaft and twist-lock in the lower segments of shafts.


Right Usage of Trekking Pole

Single or Double?

It is a proven fact that using a pair of trekking poles is much more beneficial than using just one trekking staff (It’s called “Trekking Staff” when a single trekking pole is used). A trekking staff can be conveniently used when the trek is on a relatively flat surface with very little luggage. It is strongly recommended to use a pair of trekking poles when trekking on uneven terrain with heavy backpacks.

Using The strap

The strap needs to be used properly for a comfortable trekking experience. First, adjust the loop for the hand to be put through the strap from below and bring it down to run between the thumb and the fingers and back of the hand.

Right Height

While trekking on the flat terrain the height of the trekking pole should be such that, when holding it the elbow must be bent at a right angle. When going uphill reduce the height by about 5 to 10cms and going downhill reduces the height by 5 to 10cms. 


Trekking poles are going to be useful and handy gear which can make your trekking trip more comfortable. Choosing the right one hugely depends on your budget and usage. 

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”― Edwin Louis Cole

When we venture out into the wilderness for our biggest adventures, we should also keep in mind that it involves a certain amount of risk. Some serious risk which can even put you in crazy emergencies. But that is what an adventure is all about, right? These emergencies can be handled, if we are well prepared for such uncertainties both mentally, physically and with good knowledge.

Here in this article, I am going to share a few basics which you have to be aware of in case you get into any kind of emergency. In recent times, adventure and venturing into the outdoors have become a lifestyle for many in this part of the world. In every way getting closer to nature and loving adventure is one of the best and nurturing habits one can develop. At the same time, there is much news of lots of accidents and incidents which could have easily been avoided with better preparedness.

Must Read: 7 Principles to Follow for Environment-friendly Adventure



So let’s dive into some tips to handle emergencies!

In case you get into a tricky situation while you were exploring the great outdoors, the first thing you got to do is S.T.O.P

S Stop wherever you are or whatever you are doing. If safe enough best is to Sit and take a deep breath

T Think, what actually happened, where you came from, what you were doing, where or which direction you were destined to go and any important instruction given by the guide which can come useful here in this situation. Having a healthy mind and positive thought process is the most important trait for a successful survivor.

O Observe your surroundings, check for any imminent danger if any, look out for anything favourable or for anything that can be of any help. Observe carefully if you are injured and anything or everything you have with you that can help.

P Plan an efficient strategy for survival in case help doesn’t come immediately. The strategy should be simple and effective, it should be planned in a way that will not have to overexert yourself more than what you can.

After S.T.O.P., Time To Execute The Plan

A normal human in an outdoor setting can generally survive for

03 Minutes without Air

03 Hours without Shelter

03 Days without Water

30 Days without Food

That means, soon after the STOP you need to start action keeping the above points in priority. considering you can breathe easily and plenty of air is available, let’s focus on the next immediate requirements. It is a good practice to leave some kind of traces on the way of your movement, this will help the search and rescue to find you faster and efficiently.

Must Read: Lessons of Survival from a Storm on Mount Everest



In simple language, shelter is to protect you from the harsh elements of nature or imminent dangers which may include but not limited to, sun, heat, cold, rain, snow, wild animals, insects, etc. Strong direct sun with high temperatures can give heat strokes and severe dehydration, the same way very low temperature mixed with wind rain or snow can lead to severe hypothermia in no time.  

The first part of the shelter is your clothing or what you are wearing, do you have a good hat to protect you from direct sunlight? Are you wearing enough layers of clothing to protect from cold and wind? Good shoes to protect your feet from uneven terrain. Once sure about the clothing, it’s time to find a good place to camp or spend the night. If it’s too sunny and you are in an open place then you need to find shade immediately. A good campsite would have easy accessibility to water, it would be a safe place from dangers like a landslide, flash floods, avalanche, or even wildlife. It should also be in such a place that search and rescue can easily identify and reach. It may not be practically easy or possible to find the ideal campsite in a survival scenario, but finding the best possible improves your chances of survival multi-folds.

Fire-Fire has many uses, it can act as a shelter, protection from wildlife and it can also help you in cooking food or purifying water by boiling it. It also gives you warmth in cold conditions and helps you in drying your wet clothing or shoes. Fire is an integral part of survival, the smoke from the fire can also be used to signal the search and rescue. You can make fire using the fire pack in your emergency kit.



Now, water is a tricky part, you have to continuously drink water at regular intervals to keep dehydration at bay. Water must be treated well before consumption, waterborne infections can be fatal in survival conditions. Water can be treated using the chlorine and iodine water purification tablets in your emergency kit or filter it with a clean cloth and boil it. There is no better way than boiling water to purify. It kills all three microbes like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, which usually causes diseases. If you are at an altitude above 2000 meter then water needs to boil for a minimum of 3 minutes and 1 minute for lower altitudes.



There are many edible plants, fruits, and roots which can be eaten in the wilderness, you should always read and understand about those plants in the particular area, before venturing into an adventure. Hunt down your food using traps or other hunting methods if you feel it’s achievable. You can even make a makeshift fishing hook using the safety pins from the emergency kit and try your luck. The easiest way to have food in the initial days of your survival until the help arrives or you find an alternate method of getting food, is to utilize the emergency food reserve brought with you.  Whatever, the method you are using to find food, the important thing to keep in mind is always eating judiciously and keeping in mind, that the particular food should not make you sick.


Keep in mind that survival conditions are very much demanding both mentally and physically. It is always the mental strength that keeps you going even when your body gives up. Being optimistic and thinking about the happy moments you are going to have soon after surviving this condition, is what can keep you running. Once the above things are in place and you know you are safe, start finding ways to reach out for help. Very soon you will be in safety and back to civilization.

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills

Trekking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world. In India, the number of people trekking to the Himalayas is increasing year after year. There are many new exciting routes getting opened every year, as the popular trails are getting more and more crowded. It is one such activity which can be mastered quickly and every time you go to those mountains you starve for more.

There are few mistakes which most of the people take lightly in their treks and learn them in a very hard way, most of the time even hurting or injuring themselves. Here in this guide, we will discuss those simple mistakes and how to avoid them easily to have a wonderful trekking experience every time you go to the mountains.

Explore: Popular Treks in India


1. Underestimating Altitude

Yes, altitude and the problems related to it are real. The biggest mistake we make is we underestimate this hidden danger. Also most of the time the confusion is how much altitude is high altitude? The end result of this confusion and underestimation is usually ending up to AMS which completely ruins the overall trekking experience and sometimes even aggravates fatal situations like HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) or HACE(High Altitude Cerebral Edema).


How to Avoid?

Many people show symptoms of AMS even at 1200m/3960ft, and many get acclimatised very fast even at 3500m/11550ft. Acclimatization is completely dependent on person to person and the physical wellness of an individual at a particular point in time. Few simple practices which can avoid AMS, in case you are directly flying into a high altitude place, like Leh in India, Lhasa in Tibet or even Bogota in Columbia, are taking complete rest for 24 to 48 hrs and drinking lots of fluids. An ideal height gain while trekking above 3000m/10000ft is 300m/1000ft of sleeping altitude in a day and a rest day every third day. As a rule of thumb climb high and sleep low for better acclimatization. 

Altitude scale:
High altitude: 2438m/8000ft – 3658m/12000ft
Very high altitude: 3658m/12000ft – 5487m/18000ft
Extremely high altitude: 5500m+ m /18000ft+ ft

Must Read: What are the important steps to take to Acclimatize better?


2. Hypothermia & Frostbite

It doesn’t need to be a winter trek to worry about the cold weather and the risks associated with it. Depending on where you are trekking, it can be cold throughout the year, which can make you feel colder, uncomfortable and give you serious illness associated with it. To top it up the mountain weather can be very unpredictable and risky.

How to avoid?

Proper clothing in the proper way combined with the right food and hydration is the success mantra to keep hypothermia and frostbite away. When I accurately say proper clothing, I mean a three-part layering system. A base layer with good wicking properties to wick perspiration away from your skin, a mid-layer that insulates you from cold and an outer shell layer to protect from rain and wind. By layering, you can be comfortable throughout the trek by removing and adding the layers to avoid overheating or getting colder. The layers have to be loose and comfortable by avoiding very tight dresses. Cotton must be strictly avoided and has to be replaced by synthetic or wool. Cotton has the lowest wicking properties and takes the longest time to dry in case of getting wet.

Extremities of the body like ear, nose, cheeks, fingers, and toes are more prone to frostbite when exposed to sub-zero temperatures and cold wind. Protect your hand by wearing fleece gloves as inner and waterproof/windproof shell gloves as outer layer, neck, nose, and cheek by neck gaiters, ears using a headband or a balaclava. Protect your feet by a good quality worn in shoes along with synthetic or woollen socks inside. It’s a good practice to take care of your feet every day after the hike, back in the camp by cleaning, drying and changing wet socks. 

Your body needs more energy to fight against the cold, so it’s equally important to nourish your body with healthy food and fluids. You may not feel like eating or drinking in cold conditions, so it’s a good practice to keep some energy giving munchies and water within reach to keep nibbling and sipping regularly throughout the day.

Must Read: How to Prepare for a High Altitude Trek

3. Wearing Improper Dress

Many trekkers tend to wear too much cotton or denim. I have seen trekkers struggling to complete a trek in tight jeans, fully wet after a river crossing. Some even dare the extreme cold with thick leather jackets.


How to avoid?

There is a misconception that jeans are warm since it is a thick material. The basic thing to understand is denim is mostly 100% cotton. A jeanswear once wet will never dry properly during the entire trek which can lead to hypothermic situations. Also changing jeans is not easy and quick, as it is for trekking pants. Jeans are a complete no when it comes to outdoors, it can be a killer dress, as it also restricts movement compared to a good synthetic trekking pant. 

A leather jacket cannot be an alternative for a down jacket or an insulating layer. It can come handy as a windcheater but considering the weight of the material, it’s better to avoid it and have a proper breathable wind/rain cheater for trekking. It’s always layering, one single layer of the jacket will not protect you from the bone-chilling cold in the mountains.

4. Blisters or Shoe Bite

Blisters are one of the most common problems seen while trekking, a few hours down the trek and you’re already suffering to walk due to blisters and shoe bite. 


How to avoid?

Major reasons behind blisters are wearing new shoes before the break-in, shoes of not the right fit or size, socks with low or no wicking properties. When you walk for long hours your feet start to swell and sweat, the sweat makes the socks wet and stick to the skin which in turn starts to rub against the inside of your shoes to create blisters.

As a rule of thumb, never wear a new pair of shoes for the first time on a trek. In case you need new boots for the upcoming trek, ensure to plan and buy it well in advance to break in properly before the actual trek. Always choose shoes of the correct size and fit, wear shoes and do trail inside the store itself to self check the comfortability before buying. Try to keep your feet as dry as possible and wear good quality socks with wicking properties like woollen or synthetic so that it wicks the sweat away from your skin.

5. Cramps & Fatigue

Cramps, feeling tired, dizziness and fatigue is not an unusual thing while trekking. Many even have to discontinue the trek or become impossible to enjoy the whole experience due to this. Most of the time the reason behind this is dehydration and losing too many minerals.

How to avoid?

A person is said to be dehydrated when the fluid loss from the body is more than the intake. During a trek depending upon the place and difficulty fluid loss happens through your breathing, urination, and sweating. In colder places with high elevation, every time you breathe or sweat the dry air absorbs more moisture from it. The more you sweat and urinate, the more you lose fluids and minerals along with it, eventually leaving you dehydrated.

A wide-mouth water bottle or a hydration bladder is a must for any trek. Hydration system may get a little cranky in cold conditions but is a great alternative for bottles. Continuous supply of water is the mantra, a healthy human will need approximately half a litre of water for every hour of moderate trekking. Mixing water with little rehydration salts (electrolytes) or by nibbling some healthy snacks in between along with water will compensate your mineral and fluid loss from the body. A well-hydrated body copes well with tiredness, muscle fatigue and acclimated much better and faster. Keep a close watch on your urine colour it should be always pale, if not that means you are not hydrating well.

6. Packing Too Much – Heavy Backpack

In every group of trekkers, you can see a few struggling to even carry their own backpacks because of being too heavy. Few struggles just because it’s not packed well or the backpack is not the right one for the particular trek. The funny part is, after all this struggle by the end of the trek they realise they have not used even 10% of what they have packed.

How to avoid?

Carry only what is most necessary, the pair of dress you are wearing plus 1 spare t-Shirt and a lower is enough to handle a 2-week long trek. Pack only the most essentials needed, to layer yourself, you seldom need an extra pair.  Purchase a backpack specially designed for trekking, other normal ones do not serve the purpose well. A 50L trekking backpack is enough to pack everything needed, including the sleeping bag for a person on a 2-week trek. Carrying a light backpack will help you to enjoy the trek more efficiently and comfortably.

7. Avoiding Trekking Poles

Many consider trekking poles as an additional burden and underestimates its purpose. Few feel using a trekking pole can affect their style status and others may think them to be inferior.

How to avoid?

In fact, a trekking pole serves a lot of purposes and can be a life saviour by providing stability in rough and tough terrains. It acts as a third leg and reduces the stress on your knees significantly. It can be a trusted buddy in the tricky river crossings and daunting downhills. Having a trekking pole makes your trekking experience very much enjoyable and less tiring.

8. Packing Too Many Toiletries

Wet wipes that can last a lifetime, a complete makeup kit, deodorant, big shampoo bottles, hair conditioners, complete shaving kit, and a big tube of toothpaste; just to name a few contents in a rookie trekkers kit of toiletries. They mostly have very urban reasonings for packing all this, not realising the fact that they would rarely be using any of this during the trek.

How to avoid?

The fact is, you do not need a large number of toiletries on a trek. A small tube of soap, a similar quantity of toothpaste, a small sunscreen lotion, a toothbrush and a toilet roll is all you want to survive a trek. Every other material would just increase the unwanted weight of your backpack. Wet wipes are not biodegradable and are very heavy, they are strictly not to be used on a trek. Above everything, these non-essential things just increase the weight of your backpack and eat up the much-required space for the essential items. 

9.Starting Late And Speeding The Pace

One thing you notice in the trekking group is that the morning starts always gets late. You can see a few already ready with the backpack to start the trek and few still packing the bags or having breakfast. After a late start, it is a race to reach the destination on time.

How to avoid?

In the mountains, the valleys get dark earlier than in the plains as the Sun goes behind the mountains much before the actual sunset. Leaving late in the morning means you have already lost a fair amount of daylight, which means you will have to speed up your paces unwantedly just to reach the campsite before dark. Trekking in darkness is no fun and it gets very cold as soon as the Sun goes behind the mountains. 

It is ideal to pack and leave the camp as early as possible so that you have enough time to trek in the daytime. This will help you to walk at your comfortable pace with enough rest and time to appreciate nature. For a good trekking experience, it is advised to walk at a comfortable steady pace by avoiding unwanted speeding up or running, which can get you tired and worn out very fast.

10. Not Using Sunscreen And Sunglasses

A common habit noticed in many trekkers is that they shy out to use sunscreen and sunglasses. There is an ignorant thought process that the dark skins do not need sunscreens, the result is sunburns and skin irritations. In snow and icy conditions not using sunglasses can even bring temporary loss of vision called snow blindness.

How to avoid?

The UV rays are very strong up in the mountains and unfortunately, they don’t know to distinguish white skin from the dark. UV rays directly on the skin can create severe irritations and burns. It is advised to use sunscreen generously on every place where the skin is exposed. Also for effective protection, it is good to reapply whenever the cream gets visibly worn away from the skin.

Nobody wants to get blind in the middle of an interesting and challenging trek. Snow blindness can be very painful and burning with red eyes, in other words, it’s just sunburned eyes. Snow reflects more than 80% of the UV rays and in high altitudes, the sun’s UV rays are stronger than in lower places. It is very important and mandatory to wear good quality dark coloured sunglasses, covering the complete eyes, every time you are in the mountains during daylight.

11. Forgetting The Essential Medicine and Menstrual  Products


I have seen trekkers reaching the remote villages high up in the mountains and realising that they have left their medicines back in the home. 

In the middle of the trek, a lady comes up to the guide and asks help to arrange a sanitary pad for her friend as they never expected the periods during the trek.

How to avoid

Understand most of your prescription medicines, especially the specific brands may not be easily available outside your own city. The remote mountain towns would rarely have a pharmacist who keeps all kinds of medicines. Even if you find one, it is near impossible for him to procure the medicine, as per your need, before you leave for your trek. It is imperative that you have all your prescription medicines carried with you from your home. Always carry a little extra, so that in case your trip gets delayed due to any unforeseen circumstances you are not running out of your much-needed medicines. It is also a good habit to carry a small simple personal first aid kit, always while on the trek. 

As a rule of thumb, always expect to get your periods while on the trek. Keeping this in mind, make it a practice to carry menstrual products which may also include the medications if any, to be taken with on every trek. Even if you do not get your periods on the trek, it’s good to have, as you can always share it with the person in need.


“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln


There are many simple mistakes like the few topics mentioned above, which people make in treks mostly due to ignorance or because of lack of guidance. In the mountains even simple mistakes can be fatal, it is important that you read a lot, understand and discuss with experts, to prepare yourself well before venturing out or signing up for adventures. That will ensure a safe, enjoyable and memorable experience.

An extremely glamorous trek, Chadar Trek is one for the adrenaline-junkies that like to go all in or all out. Trekking in Ladakh have gained immense popularity in recent years, and Chadar trek has become a favorite amongst Indians and travelers from other parts of the world. For me, it was 8 years back when I did Chadar Trek for the first time. Down the line, this little gorge now gets 20 times more people than those days. The trek is open for a small window of just 45 to 50 days, usually from 1st of January till 20th of February, depending upon the solid formation of Chadar – the ice carpet.

Also, Leh government along with ALTOA, (All Ladakh Tour Operators Association) now have come up with safe operating standards. The trek will run safely as it has been implemented with strict adherence of rules and regulations. Therefore, train your sights below for an on-ground experience of Chadar Trek. Find comprehensive details about the temperature, accommodation, the actual trek, food and some essential pro tips to execute the trek with finesse.

  1. Arrival, acclimatization and permits – 03 Day
  2. Actual trek – 05 Days
  3. Back in Leh and departure – 01 Day

Day 01 – Arrival and rest

Chadar Trek
Chadar Trek

With a group of 8 people including me, we arrived at Leh via an early morning flight from Delhi. From the airport, we took a cab to the guest house on our own (As airport pick up was not part of the package) and reached at around 0830 hrs. Soon after reaching the guest house we were asked to complete the registration process which included insurance form, 3 passport size photo to be given along with a copy of the Identity and Address proof (voter’s card, passport or Aadhar card) and signing the indemnity form.

Post a cup of tea and breakfast, some of us wanted to rest as we were having a slight headache, so we went to our respective rooms. All of us were awoken by 1400 hrs for lunch. We had ordered good vegetarian food from the guest house on extra payment as the food in Leh was not included in the package we opted. My partner and other two guys were having a severe headache along with nausea and they opted out from having lunch. They were given warm water and were asked to take rest.

In the evening, we had to take her to the hospital due to severe hypoxia and AMS symptoms. The hospital was super cozy, clean and highly organized. The doctor admitted her for 2 HRS and administered oxygen and prescribed some medicines. Her health improved drastically after oxygen administration, after which we returned to our guest house by late at night.

Day 02 – Acclimatization walk

chadar trek

After waking up to a fresh morning, all of us were fit with no signs of AMS. Post a scrumptious meal of breakfast, a long and exhaustive briefing was given which comprised important points like

  1. How to acclimatize easily
  2. Protection from elements
  3. Demonstration of cloth layering
  4. Principles of Leave No Trace policy
  5. Women hygiene and safety
  6. A brief idea of what to pack during the trek.

Then we were led to Shanti Stupa for an acclimatization walk. Took some photos there and headed back to Leh market to have lunch and do other purchase. Some of us even had to take photos as they were not carrying one, few went to buy some chocolates and others to get a pair of gumboot. Later, we decided to have our dinner in the guest house and went for a sound sleep.

Day 03 – Permit day

chadar trek

Today’s morning after breakfast we all started our walk to TIC (Tourism Information Center) in Leh. By around 1000 hrs we reached TIC. First, we had to show our boarding pass to the insurance company (ASC 360) along with the 100% accurate and complete insurance form which we had filled on Day01. After verifying and entering all our details into their computer, they gave us a medical form which had to be filled by us, and certified by the doctor and the medical team sitting on the adjacent room. Once in the medical room, we have to pay them Rs. 200/- for the medical check-up.

They will check your BP, and oxygen level first and then once you meet the doctor he will just casually ask a couple of questions regarding your previous health history in a very jolly way. If everything is normal, you are good to go! You get a stamp “APPROVED” on the form. Now with this form, you get back to the insurance office where they issue an insurance card, on the payment of Rs. 2000/- per person. It covers your emergency medical check-ups, emergency evacuation and many more. Now with the insurance card and the list of all the people in your group, you go to the ALTOA desk where they provide you with the following permits after paying the respective fees.

  1. Wildlife
  2. ALTOA fees
  3. Environment fees

Boom! Yes! Now you have got your passport to Chadar trek.

It took us almost a full day to get everything cleared from there even though we were the first group to be there for permits. After receiving the permits we went to the market and had an awesome dinner from a local joint called Darjeeling Corner. After some small shopping like nuts, dried fruits and chocolates for the next day trek, we took a cab and reached the guest house. On reaching, there was an exhaustive briefing on how to and what to pack in a backpack for the trek tomorrow. You can also read our blog that states what should one pack for Chadar Trek.

Actual Trek

Day 04 – Drive and trek to Tso Ma Poldar


We got ready by 0700 hrs and had our breakfast by 0730 hrs. The vehicles were ready when we came out, it was 02 tempo travelers. We were all packed while the vehicles were loaded with all the ration and equipment needed. After some photo sessions and briefing, we departed from Leh around 0920 hrs. The drive till Chilling was fast, smooth and beautiful. After that, the drive became challenging, treacherous and scarier yet amazing.

The road was wide enough for a tempo traveler to pass through with its tires just inside the road and part of the body overlooking the deep gorges. The adrenaline rush was building in by just seeing the road and the frozen white Zanskar River beneath. By around noon, we reached Tilad Do. We had a quick tasty hot lunch made by our cooks along with hot black tea. Then, it was time to pack and push towards the first campsite. It was a technical walk of around 3 hours and by 1630 HRS we reached the campsite.

chadar trek

Most noteworthy part of the campsite was that the medical camp was placed next to our camps. The medical camp operated by the insurance company ASC360 had two doctors and a few assistants ready 24*7 for any medical support needed. One of the doctors was supposed to travel to the next campsite and luckily he joined us till the next camp.

Talking about the climate and weather, the temperature here drops dramatically after the sunset. The best remedy to curb the cold was the hot soup prepared by the camp chef that helped us keeping ourselves warm. The dinner was just too tasty and fulfilling. We all went to sleep by around 2100 hrs. It was pretty cozy inside the tent compared to the harsh bone-chilling cold outside. The sleeping bags were double layered and we used a hot water bottle for extra warmth.

Day 05 – Trek from Tso Ma Poldar to Tibb


After a delicious breakfast, we started our trek towards Tibb Cave. It was a long icy walk and by the time we stopped for lunch break, all of us were pretty much comfortable in walking over ice. The landscape was so mesmerizing that sometimes we forgot that we were ice walking over a frozen raging river and water is still flowing beneath at Godspeed. A small mistake can be fatal here.


Chadar Trek - Leh Image Credits:
Chadar Trek – Leh
Image Credits:

Tibb campsite was comparatively colder than Tso Ma Poldar, but by now we were accustomed to the cold. People who still felt cold were founded by the small fire made by the porters.

Day 06 – Trek from Tibb to Narek Waterfall

chadar trek

Today’s trek is significant as today we are going to witness the much-awaited site, the frozen waterfall in Narek. The trek was long but the enthusiasm and energy in the group were very high. The only aim was to reach Narek falls for the classic group photo with the frozen falls as a backdrop. The place where we stopped for lunch, we saw a few young boys taking a dip in the water. We were tempted to do the same however the initial briefing stopped us from doing anything like that.

The excitement and energy in us went exponentially very high as soon as we saw the frozen falls. It is so majestic and indescribable in just mere words. It looked like somebody just waved a magic wand at the waterfall and it went frozen instantly.

Day 07 – Trek from Narek to Tibb


After taking some photos of the falls, we started our walk back towards the road head. The walk back felt longer than it actually was before. We reached our campsite a little later than our actual estimated arrival time.

Day 08 – Trek from Tibb to Shingra Koma and drive to Leh

Chadar Trek

Today, we started earlier than usual as we had to trek till the road head and drive back to civilization in Leh. It was a very emotional moment for everyone to leave the beautiful Chadar behind. We reached Leh by around 1830 hrs, and had our lunch at the road head in Shingra Koma.

Day 09 – Departure from Leh

We had an early morning flight back to Delhi. The other two trekkers in our group also had the same return flight therefore we decided to tag along with them till Airport. Finally, an amazing memorable nine days came to an end. If you ask me what has changed from my previous visit and this one, I would say a lot has changed.

Pro tips

  • Ensure you carry a well broke in waterproof hiking shoes
  • Gumboots is a savior, but not an alternate for hiking boots
  • Layering is the success mantra
  • We do not recommend to use crampons. It needs a good experience to be used accurately. Alternatively, you can use easily available “microspikes
  • Trekking poles can be very helpful on the slippery ice
  • Do not expect the same level of service as the life is harsh there. People serving you are also humans; they do their best to keep you safe and cosy but don’t expect luxury.
  • It takes an initial two to three days to get adjusted to the prevailing cold conditions. Ensure the right clothing and layering and avoid heaters.

Read our other blog ‘Short Guide to Chadar Trek”.

You often have heard a lot of stories about the challenges of Chadar Trek that hinders you from experiencing this magnificent trek. As said, ” Don’t Listen to what they say, go see for yourself”. This trek is unique, one of its kind, and must be experienced by all the adrenaline seekers. So if you are someone who wants to see something rare and surreal, it’s time for a new adventure.