All About Trekkingdown icon

What is trekking and why do people go trekking?

The word "trekking" was generally used by the early explorers and early settlers and is probably of German/Dutch origin, (German: treck and Dutch: trek). It consisted of a long caravan of people, domestic stock and animal-driven carts that carried all their belongings and provisions needed while on the trek or to settle temporarily or even permanently arriving camp on lands belonging to no one in particular.

Wikipedia:The term derived from the Afrikaans word trek (noun), trekken (verb), (literally meaning to "pull, travel"), became a word in English language in mid 19th century, and means a long arduous journey, typically on foot.

The Nomads are the best living example of a people committed to living a migratory life and in Kashmir you will find these people migrating with everything they own between the temperate foothills in winter and high valleys of the snow-capped Himalayas in summer, covering an arduous journey of over one thousand five hundred kilometers on foot twice each year! Everything they own are survival essentials consisting of a few goats, sheep, ponies and a couple of ferocious mastiffs. They have no other worldly or material possessions.

Trekking offers an adventurous sense of freedom that no one can explain to you. You've got to do it to experience it. Once you experience those mountains, streams, fresh clean air, quiet musical silence, clear lapis skies during the day and the glowing firmament crossing a wooden bridgeat night, you can never leave the mystical idyll. It is reliving the eternal ups and downs of life itself, it is reliving the triumph and obliterating the pitfalls and tribulations; it is pitting yourself against sheer nature and seasoning your guts and rebuild the flow of thought. It is not a path to a goal, but the goal is the path.

I once had an Australian doctor on a trek and he wrote to me after the trek, "Yes, you were so right saying, "city life is breaking it, but mountain life is making it! Those four weeks in the Himalayas, gave me a new life, a new perspective and a new fervor. For the first time in all the 47 years of my life, I could see my Self in the mirror of my heart. I never knew that I existed in this way."

What age should one be to take part on a trek?

Any age between 10 and 70, though below and over are also shooting picture of a cliff possible depending of course on your physical condition and the type of trek you choose. You can also choose one with a lower grade of strenuousness. In addition to that we always maintain a couple of saddled ponies for those may find it temporarily difficult on foot on a particular day or stretch of the trek.

What about health?

General good health is important. It is therefore recommended to consult your family doctor for advice and a check up. No, you do not need to be super-man or super-girl to be able to trek in the awe inspiring Himalayas!

What is Altitude Sickness and what is acclimatization?

Altitude sickness, extreme skieralso known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche, is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans (and animals), caused by acute exposure to low air pressure (usually outdoors at high altitudes). It commonly occurs above 2,400 metres (approximately 8,000 feet). Acute mountain sickness can progress to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE).

We are going to be in the upper reaches of the Himalayas where the basic height of the bed of the valleys during trekking lies between 1500 and 3600 m (aprox.5000 and 12,000 ft.) and in the course of a day climb as high as 5300 m while traversing a pass from one range to another. Acclimatization, therefore, plays a very important role during treks.

Does one need to train for the trek?

Not if you are an active sportsman or a regular visitor to the gym 3 friends and in good health, but if you are a healthy person and have no regular physical exercise, a little training like going for light or longer walks etc. at home prior to the trip will greatly ease your ability to acclimatize and adapt to the new conditions.

What about Medical Assistance?

There is no doctor on board service, but sometimes you may just have one on the group (some Doctors I know love trekking!). The nearest doctor or medical dispensary may be as far 7 days. Serious injuries or illness can only be best attended by using a rescue helicopter and these are available by request using like a goatmobile telephones or wireless. However, the cost of these amenities has to be borne by the member or their insurance and is not part of the travelling/trekking costs. It is advisable therefore that a person sign up a private and separate insurance to cover such eventualities. See also our Terms & Conditions. The accompanying staff usually the tour-leader is trained in administering First Aid and there is a well equipped First Aid Kit on board all our treks.

What about weather?

Most of Zanskar, Ladakh, Kashmir and Lahul/Spiti are unaffected by the Monsoons since the clouds have already shed almost all of their water content till they reach the north western Himalayas. Ladakh and Zanskar have desert or moon land like terrain. Ladakh thus earns the epithet, "Moonland".

During the daytime the temperature can get as hot as 30 °C (86 °F) and during the night drop down drastically to around 0 °C (32 °F). It may even drop well below to subzero temperatures and get as cold as -15 to -20 °C (5 °F to -4 °F), especially on summit expeditions.

Conversion tip:
To convert temperatures {where F = ° Fahrenheit and C = ° Celsius}:
Temperature in Fahrenheit = (C x 1.8) + 32 [example 20 °C » (20 x 1.8) +32 = 36 +32 = 58 °F]
Temperature in Celsius = (F - 32) ÷ 1.8 [example 86 °F » (86 - 32) ÷ 1.8 = 54 ÷ 1.8 = 30 °C]

To convert meters into feet {where m = meters and ft=feet}:

What equipment does one need for trekking? up icon

The following is a recommended list that you need to bring for your personal use and comfort:

  • Trekking Boots: A very important item; must be good qualitywalking shoes and worn-in before coming on a trek. A badly fitting or not worn-in pair of shoes can take away all the joy and fun and make a trekkers experience quite a miserable one. Avoid buying 10 Euro or 10 $ shoes at your discount grocery store! Please go and buy proper shoes at a proper or professional shop.
  • Sneakers: Must also be worn-in, good and durable quality meant for cross-country walking.
  • Sleeping Bag: Another very important item; must be tested for subzero temperatures up couple enjoying the trekto -20 °C ( -5 °F) or even colder for expeditions. It must be accompanied by an inner (which can be self made) of soft cotton or flannel or fine fleece. This enhances comfort and warmth capacities of the sleeping bag. Usually snow-down filled bags are the best.
  • Sleeping-pad: Foam or air-mattress for extra comfort. One is provided.
  • Down Jacket: It does not need to be filled with down, but it must be extremely warm, water-resistant, impervious to wind and light in weight.
  • Rain Jacket/Wind Cheater: A light rain jacket or wind cheater.
  • Pullover: A warm pullover (consider a real warm woolen one - a cotton or synthetic pullover is not warm).
  • Shirts: Couple of flannel or soft cotton full sleeved shirts. Half-sleeves or bush shirts do not protect the arms from painful sunburns.
  • Trousers: Two pairs of loose trousers or plusfours with woolen 3 men stockings, all of stable, durable materials. Jeans are stable, but tight-jeans are not comfortable during trekking. You may also use shorts, but be sure to have proper sun protection for the legs.
  • UnderWear: Cotton underwear.
  • Head Wear: Sun hat or a mountaineering balaclava cap which covers also the ears, especially recommended when on an expedition.
  • Sunglasses: Dark.
  • Sun Protection: High quality sun protection cream to protect against ultraviolet rays prevalent in high altitude. The ones used on a European, American sea beach are totally ineffective!
  • Socks & Gloves: Warm woollen socks and hand gloves.
  • Walking Stick: Walking stick or staff is not needed, but some trekkers do like to use one.
  • breatherSpecial Equipment: Harness, ice-axe, crampons, ropes, karabiners, over-gloves, helmets etc. are needed only for expeditions (A special list will be provided for expeditions).
  • Thermos or Water-canteen: For carrying coffee/tea or water for the day.
  • Small daypack: In this you carry your very personal cosmetics, camera, wind cheater, pullover, lunch box which will be provided filled with cold lunch every morning along with your water/tea/coffee thermos or bottle etc. The Day Pack is used only for things that you need during the day. We provide fresh decontaminated boiled water for drinking as natural water which is of excellent drinking quality, but may be contaminated by Yaks or goats or sheep grazing in the upper reaches.
  • Personal Luggage: It is best to carry your personal belongings in a Duffel Bag or a made it to the toplarge backpack preferrably without metallic frames, of strong durable material. As luggage is carried by ponies or mules, it is the most safe and convenient form.Your main luggage and our complete trekking and camping gear will be carried by pack ponies or mules. In areas like Nepal using Porters, called Sherpas is a tradition and must be employed as nothing else is allowed.

You will be furnished with a complete itinerary for your trek with all the necessary information. Itineraries for expeditions are available only upon request as these must also be booked several months in advance and registered at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI). It is subject to availability of the peak, special permissions, fees etc. and they will also appoint a Liaison Officer to each expedition whose expenses are to be borne by the group.

Grading or Categorizing Treks

There is no particular method of norms which apply universally to trekking unlike mountaineering or rock-climbing. Nevertheless, to provide a rough idea to the potential trekker, we have graded our treks as below:

Very Strenuous | Strenuous | Moderately Strenuous | Moderate

trio admiring the viewIt is not the height, distance, terrain, number of passes, heights of passes, river crossings, number of days or the general prevailing conditions that make up a particular Grade, but the cumulative effect of all determining factors. Please read the detailed itinerary for a better understanding of the grade of the trek. A general rule of the thumb: the more of each of the factors, the more strenuous the trek!up icon