Limitless deserts, thriving jungles, prosperous rivers and breathtaking views – with every step you take on the Markha Valley Trek you are introduced to nature, beauty, adventure and a heap of emotions felt never before.

With its trail taking you through the Hemis National Park where there’s a good chance you’ll spot a snow leopard to further heading to tiny Himalayan hamlets with huge parachute tents and a unique Buddhist culture to finally crossing high mountain passes that offer you views so enchanting that you almost never want to leave, the Markha Valley Trek has it all!

So if you’re planning your next trekking adventure, look no further! Here are 5 Unbeatable Reasons to do the Markha Valley Trek this summer.

Explore Diverse Landscapes
Unlike the numerous treks that take you through forests or arid deserts of the region, the Markha Valley trek introduces you to landscapes along flowing rivers, green pastures, scenic valleys, and flourishing national parks, and bone-dry desert expanses. On this trek, you will experience excitement – when you spot a snow leopard; hardship -when you cross stretches of the waist-deep Markha River; peace -when you take a stop at the confluence of Indus and Zinchen Rivers; thrill -when you conquer over 17,000 feet at Kongmaru La Pass.

Trek Ladakh Today
Trek Ladakh Today!

Discover Ancient Buddhist Villages
The Markha Valley Trek takes you through some diverse landscapes and while most of the hike is shadowed by wilderness, there will be days when you will stop by tiny mountain hamlets. Trek through scenic landscapes and pass along river banks; meet the region’s locals and come face-to- face with religious shrines at Lhatos and confront the Mani walls. Mani walls are stone structures that are formed by the compilation of intricately carved stone tablets mostly with the inscription of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ loosely meaning ‘ Hail to the jewel
in the lotus’.

Hike through the villages of Umlung and Hangskar. Much like an eagle nest perched on the tallest tree, the Techa Monastery in Umlung is one of the highest located monasteries and is easily a 1000 years old. Although Umlung offers the comforts of a monastery and a handful of homestays, a visit to Hangskar (the last hamlet in the valley) with its ever welcoming locals and their hot butter tea is a reward in itself. Some of the other villages that you will pass by during the Markha Valley Trek are Spituk, Shingo, and Siku among others.

An Encounter with the Wild
One of the best parts of about the Markha Valley trek is that it takes you through the charming Hemis National Park. Best known for having the highest density of snow leopard in any protected area in the world,
the Hemis National Park with its large population of rare species of wildlife is arguably one of the best parts of this trek. Tibetan wolves, red foxes, Eurasian brown bears and Asiatic ibexes – they are all here. But that’s not all – the region also boasts of being the only habitat of the Shapu in India and is also home to the mountain weasel and the Himalayan mouse. The park is also a bird watcher’s paradise and visitors are often lucky to spot the Lammergeier vulture, the fork-tailed swift, Fire-fronted serin and Tibetan snowfinch in their natural habitat.

Camping in Ladakh
Camping in Ladakh

Live in Parachute Tents
The Markha Valley trek is also known as the ‘tea house trek’, takes you through diverse terrains and arid deserts but that’s not the only fun part of this excursion. While the villages on the trail have ample homestays that provide the comfort of a home away from home, this adventure also lets you have the experience of camping in parachute
tents. These parachute tents are massive tents where you camp the night with your entire group. Fun much? Oh, you have to experience it to know how much!

Be an Achiever
The trek begins from the green landscapes of the Hemis National Park but don’t let the lush environs fool you, this is just the beginning. The Markha Valley trek takes you through striking contrasts. Trek through the land masses with powerful rivers that are knee-deep if not more and pass through rocky canyons to reach the towering peaks of
Ganda La at 15748 feet, and Kongmaru La at 17060 feet. Reach the top and be welcomed by breathtaking views of Ladakh and the Zanskar ranges. It’s a superlative achievement that feels a million times better
than it reads.

In Leh
In Leh

It’s not every day that you come across a trek that offers an out-an-out Ladakhi experience. Raw and natural beauty, exciting adventure, the Buddhist culture, the local food, and the warm hospitality of the people
– everything’s covered.

This trip is everything that dream vacations to Ladakh are made of, and if it resonates with your idea of adventure, let there be no place else you head this summer.

What’s expansive, majestic and home to the highest peaks on the planet? Of course, the Great Himalayas! An enigma in itself, the Himalayan Range lures travelers with its arresting landscape of snow-laden mountains, glaciers and plunging river valleys, along with the ever-so-colossal Mount Everest sitting at a whopping elevation of 8,848 meters above sea level.

But there is more to the Great Himalayan range than just natural grandeur…

Stok Kangri in the Himalayas
Stok Kangri, Himalayas

India’s prime outdoor adventure refuge- Himalayas- house some of the most prominent winter-sports destinations like Gulmarg, Auli, Leh, Manali and Narkanda. While Kashmir offers some of the world’s highest, tough-to-tread but blissfully unexplored ski slopes, just right for extreme snow sport enthusiasts, the gentle slopes of Himachal Pradesh provide a perfect base for novices.

Whizzing past jagged and raw terrains, plunging from great heights will fill you with a sense of exhilaration and make you want to immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty of the surroundings. All this at a fraction of the cost in contrast to famous European resorts! Well, does that make you want to go on a snow-sporting vacation right away? If you are still not convinced, here are our top reasons to go skiing and snowboarding in the Great Himalayas:

Tanglang-La
Escaping the well-trod path; explore Himalayas in the most action-packed way

You Don’t Get To Do This Every Day!

Winter sports in India are not that prevalent. You do not get to experience such activities every day. That makes the Himalayan resort towns even more special. But if you wish to experience uncharted and unique snow challenges, then the Himalayan Range is your eternal playground. Forget the jam-packed and well trimmed Alpine slopes, the Himalayas offer next-level skiing and snowboarding experiences, adding a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘going-off-piste’!

skiing in gulmarg
Discover Hidden Treasures of Gulmarg

Adventure tourism is on the rise with Kashmir’s Gulmarg leading the pack! Often touted as the Mecca for skiers, Gulmarg has one of the highest ski lifts in the world and it is certainly not just another alpine escapade. While the naturally smooth gradient of Kongdoori Peak makes it an ideal spot for novice skiers to get a hang of the activity, it is the Mountain Apharwat that steals the show! Strictly meant for advanced skiers, it offers an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here, you will find the world’s highest gondola- The Gulmarg Gondola that takes fearless skiers to the world’s most uncharted slopes at a vertigo-inducing altitude of 13,400 feet- almost reaching the peak of Mount Apharwat.

Advanced skiers feeling a little frisky can really push their boundaries in these elevated terrains. How about exploring the hoary playground filled with firs and pines by taking on the mountains from dizzying heights where the Gondolas do not reach? Picture taking a helicopter ride to the most untouched and dramatic mountaintops of the world and get ready for a flabbergasting Heli-skiing experience amid the mystical wilderness of Gulmarg. Those who cannot imagine a skiing holiday without the comforts of gourmet dishes can look forward to an authentic experience with Kashmiri offerings like soothing mint teas, flavored curries, and some warm conversation.

Lose yourself in the picturesque Garhwal slopes of Uttaranchal..
The lesser-known cousin of Gulmarg, Garhwal woos adventure enthusiasts with its intoxicating natural splendor and is just as generous in terms of thrill!

Auli
Auli, a pristine stimulation

Auli– Enveloped by the mighty Himalayan range, Auli has some of the gentlest slopes covered in just the right amount of snow. The ski-worthy slopes range somewhere between 2000-3000 meters, making it an ideal playground for both amateur and skilled skiers. To enhance the thrill, an 800 meters long cable car runs between Auli and Joshimath offering magnificent views of the Dronagiri, Kamet and Nanda Devi peaks. On top of the mountain peaks, there is a government operated ski resort equipped with amenities and guide which also features a 500-m long ski-lift.

Dayara Bugyal– With multiple trails, gorgeous scenery and an awe-inspiring ambiance, this Himalayan hamlet has skiing slopes extended about 28 square kilometers in area that brings back skiers for more. The magnificent snow covered slopes are a dream to ski and the enchanting views of the Tal and Barnala lakes add further charm to the site.

Mundali– Another entrancing winter-sports destination in Uttarakhand, Mundali offers sublime views and the perfect snowy slopes for skiing adventures. The powdery snow-draped slopes work as a magnet for both amateur and expert skiers. Getting to the hill station is a thrill in itself. Expect to fight through a tough terrain, unmetalled roads and steep treks to reach this unspoiled paradise.

The Thrill of Mystical Slopes of Manali in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a calling for the venturous souls

Manali has evolved from being a quaint holiday destination to a promising base for thrilling winter-sports like skiing, heli-skiing and snowboarding. Covered with miles of glaciers and surrounded by snow-clad peaks, skiing trails in Manali takes one through cedar-birch forests and jaw-dropping ridgelines that is sure to raise your adrenalin levels.

Apart from the above mentioned places, the other Himalayan towns that offer memorable and thrilling skiing experience include Pahalgam, Kufri, Narkanda, Solang Valley, Tawang, Yumthang Valley, among others.
Have you been to the Great Himalayas for skiing or snowboarding? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Himachal Pradesh is beyond doubt one of the most verdant and naturally beautiful states in India. With 3 mountain ranges, namely Pir Panjal, Shivalik, and Dhauladhar, in its vicinity, this state literally is the home of snow. It has so much to offer that no matter how many times you travel here; there will always be something new to witness and experience.

In addition to being home to some of the most popular hill towns, like Shimla, Dharamsala, Dalhousie and Manali, it is also a favorite among adventure seekers, particularly trekkers. There are many treks in the state that originate from Manali and Dharamsala. In addition to trekking, you could also enjoy paragliding in Manali as well as Bir Billing.

Here is a lowdown on some of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh

Hampta Pass Trek

Hampta Pass Trek

This trek begins from Manali and is ideal for beginners. With maximum altitude of 14100 feet, this trek takes 5 days to complete, covering a total distance of 26 kms.  Bookings now open

Skiing is a recreational activity as well as a competitive sport and its history dates back to 600 BC when it is believed to have been practiced in what is now China. Modern skiing has evolved from Scandinavia and the word Ski has originated from Old Norse word Skið meaning split wood or firewood. The sport has grown so popular over the decades that most people have a good understanding of what Skiing is all about. Balance, weight, and edge control are the key skills needed in Skiing.

There are 2 types of skiing widely recognized – Alpine and Nordic. Alpine skiing is a downhill skiing that involves sliding down hills with fixed heel bindings. For Alpine Skiing, one needs mechanical assistance to get to the top of the hill as all the equipment makes walking or hiking almost impossible. Nordic Skiing on the other hand is a cross country skiing with free heel bindings. In Nordic style, skiers can freely climb up and down the hills without any mechanical help.

Popular Skiing destinations across the world –

1.       Interlaken, Switzerland – Interlaken is one of the most ideal skiing locations in the world and it has no fewer than four beautiful ski resorts to choose from. The spacious ski slopes, long cross country pistes and snow parks make it perfect for experienced as well as amateur skiers. There are many snow-sports schools here as well, that can make a beginners experience rewarding and fun. All the equipment is available for hire. One of the most popular regions in the Interlaken is the Jungfrau Region. Interlaken is well connected by road and air, with as many as 5 airports within a 2 hour drive. Berne airport is just an hour’s drive away.

Interlaken cable car
Interlaken cable car

2.       Oslo, Norway – Oslo is a perfect winter and skiing destination with more than 2,000 kms of prepared cross country ski trails that lead one into the beautiful Norwegian forests. These are just 20 minutes away from the main city. Oslo city also has its very own modern alpine ski centre called the Oslo Winter Park, which offers plenty of challenges for downhill skiers as well as snowboarders. With more than 60 cozy cabins available for stay, this makes for a great place to go to with family and friends alike. Here you can also ski after dark as almost 90 kms of the track is well lit till 10 PM.

CrossCountry Skiing Oslo
Cross Country Skiing in Oslo

Click here to book your trek with us.

Nestled between Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and West Bengal, the landlocked state of Sikkim is the least populated in India. This quaint destination was once an independent Buddhist Kingdom and Buddhist Saint Padmasambhva is said to have passed through this region in the 8th century AD. Sikkim became the 22nd state of Indian Union in 1975.

Owing to its location in the Himalayas, Sikkim is one of the most geographically diverse states in the country, with climate ranging from high alpine to subtropical. Its culture, diverse flora and fauna and picturesque locations make it an extremely popular tourist destination.

The Eastern Himalayas situated between Central Nepal in the West to Myanmar in the East pass through Sikkim, making it home to the world’s 3rd highest mountain peak, Kanchenjunga, which is worshipped by the locals as their deity. The presence of this majestic mountain has made Sikkim a favorite among adventure seekers, especially mountaineering, trekking and photography enthusiasts.

William Blake, the great 18th century poet, said that great things happen when men and mountains meet. Almost two centuries later, the world saw that come to life!

World’s highest mountain range, Himalayas, is home to 14 peaks higher than 8,000 meters or eight-thousanders as these are commonly called, and till the first half of the 20th century, all of these were unscaled! While the geographical conditions were a major deterrent, political unrest in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Tibet also proved to be one big hurdle!

Aerial view of the Annapurna Image credits: Wikipedia.org
Aerial view of the Annapurna
Image credits: Wikipedia.org

But all that was about to change! In 1949, the Maharajah of Nepal gave his consent to a climbing party of nine from France to attempt an assault on one (or more than one) of these peaks. The party, led by experienced French Alpinist Maurice Herzog, arrived in Nepal in the spring of 1950 with plans to attempt either the Annapurna (8091 m) or the slightly higher Dhawalgiri (8167 m).

This was a time when not even the local inhabitants had any knowledge of reaching higher up in those mountains through the thick forests and tough terrain speckled with gorges and ridges. Having spent some time probing for routes and backtracking, in April of 1950, Herzog, his climbing partner Louis Lachenal and the rest of the team realized that they needed to make haste if they wished to climb any of those peaks, since the ideal weather conditions would only last till June. So they zeroed in on Annapurna by the north-western glacier, which seemed like the perfect approach at the time. The next difficult step was the setting up of a chain of 3 camps in higher altitudes. The last and highest camp was pitched at 7407 m. It was already June and the threat of monsoon fast approaching was looming over their heads.

Lachenal and Herzog Image credits: Wikipedia.org
Lachenal and Herzog
Image credits: Wikipedia.org 

Every action when looked at from different perspectives could mean different things! Same can be said for this historical adventure in which a 37 year old Navy Captain and his crew of 116 became the first people ever to complete the first successful submerged voyage around the North Pole.

Let’s start at the beginning! It was the period of Polar Exploration. Many countries and governments had sent their expert teams to the far off lands both North and South of the equator. While there were political agendas, scientific aspirations, and exploration possibilities, there were also the dreams of experiencing the ultimate adventure – being there where no man has set foot before!

On 4th October, 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik – the first artificial Earth Satellite and as expected it brought in new military, scientific and political developments and aspirations. One part of those developments was the Operation Sunshine – a submarine transit of the North Pole, ordered by President Eisenhower in 1958.

Nautilus in the open waters Image credits: Wikipedia.org
Nautilus in the open waters
Image credits: Wikipedia.org

The mission started on 25th April, 1958, when USS Nautilus (SSN – 571), world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine, commanded by Commander William R. Anderson headed towards the West Coast starting from New London, Connecticut. After stopping at San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle it left Seattle port on 9th June, 1958. An attempt to enter the open waters was made on 19th June, 1958 but it had to be pulled back due to drift ice in the shallow waters. Special Gyrocompass built by Sperry Rand was installed just before the journey began.

Here are the top 10 highest mountain peaks in the world.
9 out of these 10 lie in the Himalayas, Mount Everest being the highest in the world.

Mountain Peak

Mountain Range

Height (in feet)

First Ascent

Mount Everest

Mahalangur Himalaya

29,029

1953

K2

Baltoro Karakoram

28,251

1954

Kanchenjunga

Kanchenjunga Himalaya

28,169

1955

Lhotse

Mahalangur Himalaya

27,940

1956

Makalu

Mahalangur Himalaya

27,838

1955

Cho Oyu

Mahalangur Himalaya

26,864

1954

Dhaulagiri I

Dhaulagiri Himalaya

26,795

1960

Manaslu

Manaslu Himalaya

26,781

1956

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat Himalaya

26,660

1953

Annapurna I

Annapurna Himalaya

26,545

1950

Mount Everest
Mount Everest – 29,029 feet
K2
K2 – 28,251 feet
Kanchenjunga
Kanchenjunga – 28,169 feet

Lhotse
Lhotse – 27,940 feet
Makalu
Makalu – 27,838 feet

The most difficult in Bhutan and one of the most difficult in the world, Snowman Trek is only for seasoned trekkers. It has been named so for the 6 mountains above 23,000 feet that the trek passes beneath. The first and the foremost requirement is to be fit, physically and mentally. It takes one through Lunana, one of the remotest regions of Bhutan. It starts from Paro valley in Western Bhutan and passes along the Bhutan – Tibet border ending at Sephu Village in Central Bhutan.

Snowman Trek Route
Snowman Trek Route
Image Credits: alpineascents.com

Owing to its high altitude, long distance and difficult terrain, this trek is right on top on the difficulty level scale and takes 25-30 days to complete. Roughly 2 days are required for acclimatization. The expedition crosses 11 high passes including Nye La, Gobu La, Jare La and Shinge La. 9 of these passes are over 15,000 feet.

Sun Temple on the way
Sun Temple on the way

This trek offers panoramic views of many Himalayan peaks including the Chomolhari (also called Jhomolhari) and Table Mountain at 24,135 and 23,294 feet respectively. The highest pass on this trek is Rinchenzoe La at approx. 17,493 feet and the highest camp is Jichhu Dramp at 16,600 feet. An average of 17 kms is covered everyday by walking for approximately 6-8 hours. If you wish to go on this trek then the window is a small one, roughly 3-4 weeks in the month of October.

Uttarakhand literally translates to the abode of the Gods. It is considered a paradise for trekkers, adventure buffs and nature lovers. Whether one is an experienced trekker or a first timer, there is a trek for everyone.

For all those who love the beauty and tranquility of the mountains and crave to reach new heights of adventure, here is Adventure Nation’s pick of the best Himalayan treks in Uttarakhand:

Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Trek – Duration – 06 days
The base camp for this trek is at the small village of Ghangariya which is located by the river Lakshman Ganga. The Valley of Flowers is approximately 5 kms from this village. There is also the famous Govind Ghat that got its name from the time Sikh Guru Guru Gobind Singh meditated here. A steep trek from Ghangariya leads one to the heavenly Hemkund Lake that stays frozen for almost 8 months in a year. Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara and Lakshman Temple are built on the banks of this lake. This trek is particularly popular for the variety of flowers one gets to witness in the valley.

Valley of Flowers

Valley of Flowers
Image Credits: bharatrawat641.blogspot.in

Har Ki Doon Trek  – Duration – 08 days
Considered a haven for bird watchers and nature lovers, Har Ki Doon trek gives one a great opportunity to explore the remotest parts of the Garhwal Himalayas. The base camp for this trek is Sankri which is about 37 kms from the highest camp on this trek. Har Ki Doon literally means the Valley of Lord Krishna and is surrounded by dense forests of pine, deodar and conifer. It is believed that the Pandavas camped here on their final journey.

Situated in the Western Himalayas, Kedarnath Sanctuary is located in the Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts of Uttarakhand. A part of the Himalayan Highlands, it has an elevation ranging from 3,810 ft to the Chaukhamba peak at 23,189 ft. It gets its name from the famous Kedarnath Temple that was built in the 8th century AD. It is just outside the northern border of the sanctuary.

Kedarnath Temple Image Credits: photos.wikimapia.org
Kedarnath Temple
Image Credits: photos.wikimapia.org

Covering an area as 975 sq km, it is the largest protected area in the Western Himalayas. It was formally established in 1972, primarily to protect the Himalayan musk deer and because of that it is also called the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary. It has been designated a “Habitat/Species Management Area” by the IUCN.

It is popular for its great biodiversity, picturesque snow-covered mountains, lakes, glaciers, valleys and the glistening Mandakini and Alaknanda Rivers. It’s often called one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in India. The density of the flora changes with the elevation – from sub-alpine forests to alpine shrubs, Himalayan flowers to permanent snow lines with little or no vegetation.

The mighty Himalayas
The mighty Himalayas

For eons India has been the home of spirituality, yoga, tradition, history and cultural diversification. People from all over the world have visited this great land for trade, knowledge, and spiritual freedom. A multitude of cultures have found their way right to the country’s heart over many centuries.

Camping at Rishikesh
Camping at Rishikesh

In addition to being rich in history and culture, India is also a land of varied landscapes. From mountains to beaches to valleys and rivers, you can find it all here. Himalayas along with the many rivers that flow from it, dominate the topography of the north. There are also many National Parks all across the country teeming with tigers and other animals, which make for great wildlife safaris.

Himalayas attract mountaineers and adventure buffs from all over the world. It offers plenty of scope for trekking, paragliding and skiing and some serious mountaineering. River Ganges is one of the most popular rafting destinations in India. Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas is the ultimate destination for rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping and zip lining.

Bungee jumping in Rishikesh
Bungee jumping in Rishikesh

Rivers Kundalika and Kali in the west and south respectively are also popular spots for rafting. Maharashtra in the west is another adventure hub that offers rafting, rock climbing and rappelling, trekking, paragliding and hot air ballooning.

Rafting in India
Rafting in India

In addition to all this, the Thar Desert in the west is the perfect place for a desert safari  where one can experience life amidst the vast expanses of sand.

Alps Mountain range is one of the most popular in the world. It attracts millions of tourists every year from all over the world. Here are some interesting facts about the Alps:

  1. The formation of the Alps  started some 300 million years ago. It was a process spread between various episodes from the Paleozoic Era to the Mesozoic Era to the Jurassic Period. From a single tectonic plate, the Pangaean supercontinent broke into many plates, thus forming the Tethys Sea between Laurasia and Gondwana. Mountain ranges called the Alpide belt were formed when the Tethys was squeezed between the colliding plates – a process that continues till now. This orogenic process led to the formation of the Alps, caused by the collision between the Eurasian and the African plates.

    Aerial View of the Swiss Alps
    Aerial View of the Swiss Alps

  2. Covering eight counties, the Alps are located in Middle-Southern Europe and cover a distance of 1,200 km. This crescent shaped mountain range is majorly divided into Western Alps and Eastern Alps. The division is along the line from Lake Constance through the Rhine to Lake Como. The Western Alps are located in Italy, France, Monaco and Switzerland, the Eastern Alps in Austria, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland.
  3. Alps have been extremely important from a historical point of view. Even before antiquity, countless numbers of armies crossed the Alps, including Caesar and other Roman leaders during the expansion of the Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages, post the fall of the Roman Empire, barbarian hordes looking for a new settlement migrated through the Alps.

    Famous Mount Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps
    Famous Mount Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps

  4. In 1991, a mummified man nick-named Otzi the Iceman was found at the Austrian/Italian border in the Alps. It is said to be 5,000 years old. In the Drachloch cave above the village of Vattis in the canton of St. Gallen, radiocarbon dated charcoal placed around 50,000 years ago was found. It proved that the high peaks in the Alps were visited by prehistoric people.
  1. Experts state that around 50 million years ago, a head-on collision between two tectonic plates led to the formation of the Andes. These were the Nazca and the Antarctic plates that were undergoing subduction beneath the South American plate. This process has continued to this date and causes earthquakes and volcanic activity in the region.

    Aerial View of the Andes
    Aerial View of the Andes

  2. The Andes Mountains have been inhabited for centuries. One of the most recognizable civilizations from the past is the ancient Inca Empire. Inca engineers built massive and impressive sites, including Machu Picchu and the capital city of Cuzco. They also constructed roads and conduits throughout the mountain. Inca Empire, also known as Tawantinsuyu in the Quechua language, covered the entire length of the Andean range from Colombia to central Chile to northwestern Argentina.

    The ancient city of Machu Picchu
    The ancient city of Machu Picchu

  3. The name “Andes” is believed to have come from the Quechua word “Anta”, meaning copper or “Anti”, which means “East Cardinal Point”.
  4. The Andes Mountain range at 4,500 miles is the longest mountain range on the Earth. It is located around the entire western coast of South America  and covers a surface of 800,000 square miles. It is divided into three sections – Southern (Argentina and Chile), Central (Chilean and Peruvian cordilleras and parts of Bolivia) and Northern (Venezuela, Colombia and Northern Ecuador).
    Snow Mountain, Peru
    Snow Mountain, Peru

Born on February 14th, 1898, Major Harold William “Bill” Tilman was an English explorer, mountaineer and one of the finest travel writers of the last century. He is known for his many climbing and sailing expeditions.

Tilman fought in both the World Wars and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery twice and Distinguished Service Order in World War I and II respectively. The latter was awarded for having fought behind the enemy lines in the Balkans.

Bill Tilman Image Credits: www.grin.com
Bill Tilman
Image Credits: www.grin.com

He was the true embodiment of the spirit of adventure. As he grew older, his zest for adventures became stronger. He has often been referred to as the conceiver of the stylish lightweight approach to mountaineering. It is said that Tilman was ahead of his time, he pioneered ecologically sound principles of adventure and exploration. He was one of those rare people who considered the journey itself as the adventure!

Even though he suffered from altitude sickness all his life, he either summited or attempted to summit the highest peaks known to man. He was a part of the two of the Mount Everest  expeditions in the 30s. He participated in the Reconnaissance Expedition (to Everest) as the expedition leader, and reached 27,000 feet without oxygen. Along with his team that included Peter Lloyd, H. Adams Carter and Eric Shipton, he successfully made the ascent to Nanda Devi Sanctuary  in 1936 and that remained to be the highest summit climbed by man until 1950. It was during this ascent that they discovered a new passage to this summit. More information about this can be found here .

1. Ogden, Utah

Ogden lies only 40 miles north of Salt Lake City’s International airport and its two primary mountains – Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. Spread across the lower flanks of the popular Wasatch Range, Ogden has recently become a key Mountain hub for the outdoor industry. Head 30 minutes into the Wasatch for your choice of skiing styles on two sprawling mountains. Snowbasin underwent major renovation for the 2002 Winter Olympics and has elegant base lodges with state of the art lifts, including a tram and two gondolas. It boasts expert terrain rivaling anything in Utah. Powder Mountain is a throwback hill with simple lodges and non-high-speed chairlifts. Both areas are shockingly very less crowded.

Winter morning on Mount Ogden in the Wasatch Mountains
Winter morning on Mount Ogden in the Wasatch Mountains

2. Reno, Nevada

Before its reinvention as an outdoorsy city filled with university students and skiers, Reno was a gambling mecca in the 20th century. Reno sits at the northern end of Lake Tahoe that has the thickest concentration of ski resorts in North America. Within 100 miles of Reno’s international airport, 18 resorts are located. At a 20-minute drive from the downtown there is Mount Rose. While it might not be the biggest ski area around, it is definitely economical and offers an excellent beginner program. In addition to that, it has the highest base elevation in the Tahoe region (8,260 ft.) that helps escape the rains that can spoil the area’s snow pack. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been put in to revamp the city and that has resulted in the sprouting of many cafes and galleries.

Nevada mountains near Reno, Nevada
Nevada mountains near Reno, Nevada 

Adventure Nation is thrilled to share with you all that our Mountaineering Guru Debabrata Mukherjee along with his team, has recently been chosen to be awarded with the prestigious Himalayan Club Award for excellence in Mountaineering for the best Indian Himalayan Expedition – 2013. This is for opening a new route to the Himalayas during the historical exploration from Badrinath to Gangotri over Chaukhamba col.

Read all about this great adventure here.

Here are some glimpses from this historic expedition (All image credits – https://www.facebook.com/indiaguide):

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  1. Land of the Bear – The name Arctic comes from the word ‘Arktikos’, which is Greek for ‘bear’. This is because the Great Bear constellation (Ursa Major) is seen in the northern sky. It is a polar region located in the northernmost part of the Earth.
    Recommended reading by Adventure Nation.

    Fish-eye lens view of sea ice off the coast of Spitsbergen (Svalbard Islands)
    Fish-eye lens view of sea ice off the coast of Spitsbergen (Svalbard Islands)      

  2. Midnight Sun – Most of the Arctic and the North Pole has almost six months of light each year, beginning around April. In the summer there is almost 24 hours of sunlight and it is exactly the opposite in the winter. The phenomenon is called Midnight Sun and occurs around the solstice (June 20-22). The number of days with a likely Midnight Sun increase the farther you go towards the pole. Similarly there are Polar nights in winters.
    Watch this fascinating short time lapse film shot in the month of June to give you an idea about how days look like in the Arctic in peak summers.

    Sun atop icebergs in Iceland

  3. Freezing Cold – Arctic’s climate is marked by cold summers and even colder winters. Eight countries extend into the Arctic: Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Canada and the USA (Alaska). The coldest temperature recorded in the Arctic is around -68°C in Siberia. Norilsk, Russia (located in the Arctic) is the most northern city in the world with an average temperature of 20 degrees below 0.
    Siberian Huskies
    Siberian Huskies

Born on February 9, 1865, in Königsberg, Kingdom of PrussiaErich Von Drygalski was a German geophysicist, geographer and polar scientist and an Arctic veteran.

Erich Von Drygalski Image Credits: en.wikipedia.org
Erich Von Drygalski
Image Credits: en.wikipedia.org

At the end of the 19th century, when many countries and avid explorers in Western Europe were resolute to head south to the Antarctic, the German South Polar Commission also suggested a national expedition to Antarctica. For his experience in the field of geophysics and geography at the University of Berlin, Drygalski was chosen to be a part of the expedition along with 31 others (22 crew members, 5 naval officers, 5 scientists).

This was the first German expedition to the Antarctic, led by Drygalski in the ship Gauss.

The entire team aborad Gauss Image Credits: coolantarctica.com
The entire team aboard Gauss
Image Credits: coolantarctica.com

The Gauss Expedition started from Kiel (Northern Germany) on August 11, 1901 and reached Kerguelen Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean on January 2, 1902. After some very difficult navigation through the Ocean, the crew first sighted land on February 21 1902. But as luck would have it, later that day their ship was trapped while trying to enter a gap between two ice ridges.

A legendary polar explorer, and one of the chief figures of the time period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic ExplorationSir Ernest Shackleton led three British Expeditions to the Antarctic. So strong was his love for the region that after his death in 1920, his wife asked that he be buried in South Georgia, accompanied by the stormy seas.

Sir Ernest Shackleton
Sir Ernest Shackleton
Image Credits: en.wikipedia.org

Here is a look at this great man’s life:

1. Explorer Extraordinaire

Ernest Shackleton is the ultimate personification of a time at the beginning of the 20th century that is now regarded as the “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration”. An Irishman by birth, Shackleton put behind him the disappointment of his first foray into the frozen wastes of Antarctica – poor health led him to return home from the 1901-04 Discovery Expedition (also known as the National Antarctic Expedition) – to become one of history’s most storied polar explorers. His epic, though ultimately futile, attempt at crossing the continent of Antarctica would become a feat of “Endurance” for the ages.

2. Pull of the Ocean

It was through books that Shackleton got his taste for adventure. But such was his restiveness as a teen that his school (Dulwich College London) let the boy leave to seek a life out at sea. With the (reluctant) encouragement of his doctor-father, Shackleton became an apprentice aboard the Hoghton Tower, a sailing boat, and spent the next four years living the life of a seaman, learning the tools of the seafaring trade. Shackleton travelled around the world, sailing with men from all walks of life. These experiences would prove invaluable as he turned his gaze towards Antarctica.

The Island of South Georgia in the Southern Ocean
The Island of South Georgia in the Southern Ocean

3. “The Great Southern Journey”

Shackleton’s second journey to the South Pole was as part of the four-member Nimrod Expedition, which he led. During this trip, Shackleton and his fellow explorers reached as far south as anyone had ever done at that point in time – a latitude of 88° 23’ S, the equivalent of 97 geographical miles (that’s 112 statute miles, or 180km) from the South Pole. The party also reached the summit of Mount Erebus (3794 m/12,448ft), the first men to do so. Shackleton proved to be a fine, as well as an empathetic, leader of men. For his Nimrod exploits, he was knighted by King Edward VII.