TREKKING AND MOUNTAINEERING

India’s snow capped peaks and wilderness to the north make it a delight for trekkers and mountaineers. Easy treks, difficult treks, long treks, short treks — the options are almost endless! Trekking in India started when the land was inhabited in prehistoric times. There are perhaps as many trekking routes in India as there are Indians. It was in the 1970’s and 1980’s that trekking started gaining in popularity as a recreational/adventure sport. A number of religious sites and shrines across the country, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand – such as Badrinath, Amarnath, Gangotri, Hemkund, Joshimath, Kedarnath, Vaishno Devi and Yamunotri – entail trekking for a couple of days in the mountains. Trekking in India has grown in leaps and bounds and the current trekking scenario is very promising, with thousands of Indians and foreigners hitting trekking trails each year.

What India can boast of is some of the most stunning trekking routes in the world – many of the mountain passes in the Ladakh and Zanskar Himalayas are above 5000m. But there are plenty of gentler and smaller trails, at different altitudes, both in the mountains and in the forests. If you’re looking for less arduous hikes, you’ll find plenty in in the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Hills of south India (Munnar and Wayanad in Kerala, Coorg in Karnataka, and around Ooty in Tamil Nadu).

Equipment

It is possible to rent/buy trekking equipment all over India from clubs and adventure- gear manufacturers. Do thoroughly check all gear before venturing out into the mountains.
1. Small rucksack / knapsack  2. Sleeping bag  3. Lockable duffel bag  4. Karrimat / Therm-a-Rest  5. Tent  6. Personal toiletries  7. Water bottle (at least 2 litres)  8. First-aid kit  9. Camera with spare batteries and film (carry more film than you think you will need!)  10. Headlamp/torch with spare cells  11. Maps  12. Diary/pen/reading material   13. Sewing kit  14. Swiss Army knife  15. Whistle  16. Sunscreen – with high SPF (at least 30, to better protect you from harmful UV rays)  17. Lip salve/ChapStick  18. Sunglasses with retainers/spare prescription glasses  19. Lighter  20. Emergency rations/goodies  21. Parachute cord   22. Ski-stick/ice-axe   23. Rope (for high-altitude treks)   24. Plastic bags and Ziplocs for packing gear

Best season in India

May/June and September/October for Garhwal, Kumaon (Uttarakhand), Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh

June/July and August/September for Ladakh and Zanskar (Jammu and Kashmir)
One can trek in the foothills of the Himalayas from October through till March

Tips

1. Hydration   2. Clothing / staying warm (‘Cover your head if your feet are cold gentlemen’ is an old English saying)   3. Packing a rucksack   4. Pacing yourself on a trek   5. Timing – ‘Start early and arrive early’ is the cardinal rule of trekking   6. Porters and guides – A guide, or guide-cum-cook, is important on routes that are remote, tougher and relatively less trodden. Porters, with the option of ponies, will come in extremely handy on longer trips, especially if you’re carrying lots of provisions.   7. Mules and horses on the trail

Where: 

1. Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh, Zanskar)
2. Himachal Pradesh
3. Uttarakhand (Garhwal, Kumaon)
4. Sikkim and Darjeeling
5. Northeast states (Arunachal Pradesh)
6. Western Ghats
7. South India (Nilgiris, Coorg)

MOUNTAINEERING IN INDIA

Arunachal Himalaya      :-Gyala Peri – Kangto – Nyegi Kangsang – Gori Chen
Sikkim Himalaya             :-   Kabru – Kokthang – Rathong Zemu glacier valley – Kangchenjunga
Uttarakhand Himalaya :-Kumaon – Garhwal – Western Garhwal – Nanda Devi Sanctuary
Himachal Himalaya       :- Kullu – Lahaul – Kinnaur – Spiti
J & Kashmir Himalaya  :-  Kishtwar – Ladakh – Zanskar – Kashmir – Eastern Karakoram

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