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Mountain Adventures

Venturing above the timberline…





The Himalayas, over the centuries, have constantly attracted trekkers, mountaineers, pilgrims and ascetics into its fold. For ages, its rugged heights & will landscapes crowned with snow and draped in vast glaciers has lured man to pit his courage and ingenuity head on against all odds to face the dangerous challenges that came with exploring its sacred realms.

Below the snowline at 18,000 feet, nature appears to relent and from the austere magnificence of the heights brings one down to a different world of cascading water falls, lush green forests, flower-bedecked meadows and a variety of flora and fauna. Down Here, the rivers flow crystal clear, blue and icy.

Here nestle green small villages and hamlets with their diverse local customs, dances, folklore and architecture. The people are as vibrant as their surroundings and in many cases innocent and happily ignorant of the sometimes dubious benefits of modern civilization.

Since ancient times, ascetics have climbed into these inhospitable heights in search of peace. In doing so, they have established places of pilgrimage that have become more than household names since their fame has spread to all parts of the world. Names like Kailash Mansarovar, in Tibet, Thyang Boche in Nepal, and of course Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri of Uttarakhand. Then there is Amarnath in Kashmir and Hemis in Ladakh.

Those first mountaineers - whether ascetics, pilgrims, traders, hunters or shepherds - had no special training or climbing techniques, but acquired a high degree of skill from necessity and constant practice. Having to cross the mountain passes at heights ranging from 1500 m to 5,800 m, they designed ingenious equipment, food and clothing from indigenous material to help them combat the intense cold and negotiate the treacherous passes laden with snow and ice.

For a vast number of people, the Himalayas appeared to be the long sought after Shangri-la, to others, the abode of the Gods.

Trekking in the Himalayas is now a most enjoyable sport and has become comparatively easy with the development of lightweight equipment and clothing with booming tourist infrastructures. There are difficult treks as well as the easy ones, and some of them are long and short treks. Vehicles, helicopters and aircrafts are also available to explore the Himalayas according to one's resources, taste and leisure time. But you still find people in remote mountain villages that maintain age old traditions and have not changed for generations, simply because they don’t wish to. There is much that is new and interesting in the Himalayan villages.

Stan Armington has rightly said that "Trekking is neither a wilderness experience nor is it a climbing trip". Even at a height of 12,000 to 14,000 feet in secluded valleys, there are small village settlements tending their flocks of sheep and goats or herds of Yaks of nomadic shepherds and Gujjars, all lost in a world of their own. As a result, there are people on the trail to guide and help you - the trekkers. Articles of daily necessity are also available in these small hamlets. Even in the remote areas one can easily mix with the people and 'live off the land". Most westerners find it difficult to comprehend this aspect and visualize their trekking trips to be the same as those organized in their national parks or in wilderness areas of their respective countries. Most conclude it is a dangerous trip riddled with adventure into unexplored territory.

Almost all the Himalayan valleys are full of rural settlements and the population gradually thins out with the rise in altitude. One always finds people on the trekking trails and there is no dearth of information as to trekking routes and directions. Hill people are traditionally very hospitable and this adds pleasure to trekking in the Himalayas more than anywhere else. Some people believe that trekking in the Himalayas is a climbing trip where they have to negotiate rocky cliffs, thick jungles and uncharted routes. But this is not so. In almost all Himalayan regions, the local people have well developed trails. There are routes from one village to the other, between adjoining mountain pastures and across well defined high altitude passes, where people travel from one valley to the other for trade, cultural exchanges, and religious activities and inter - marriages.

These mountain trails and high passes normally do not require any mountaineering skills or artificial climbing aids. Of course, at places, they are covered with snow and may have crevasses. However, these obstacles can usually be crossed without the aid of mountaineering equipment like ropes and pitons. There are only a few difficult treks which need mountaineering techniques or equipment. An example is the trek to the Nanda Devi Sanctuary in India or a trek across several high passes which require special equipment to negotiate the glaciers.

Trekking is more enjoyable than climbing the peaks and offers spectacular scenic beauty. The Himalayan region, till now, has been comparatively less affected by modern urban civilization with its industrial pollution. It provides an opportunity to be in natural surroundings and to get away from the maddening crowds of the cities. The trekker usually returns home rejuvenated, and with new enthusiasm to take up the challenges of city life.

Exclusive Travel Tips for venturing into the Himalayas

Advance Planning and Preparation

Physical Conditioning
If you are planning to hike or trek in the Himalaya; then this would demands a degree of physical fitness in which muscles are conditioned to take the rigors of ascent and descent in long marches. A trek is enjoyed more if you are not particularly tired on reaching the camp after a day's march. Even if you are only moderately conditioned at the outset, it will not take more than 2 to 3 days to become almost fully conditioned. After a week, you will either be perfectly tuned or completely fed up, depending upon your mental and physical responses. You should be mentally pre-conditioned before you attempt a trek, in order to get the best out of it.

Mental Conditioning
Mental preparation is more complex than physical condoning. The Indian experience is likely to be a cultural shock which you must learn to absorb. You need to adjust your mental attitude, at least temporarily, to the ways and responses of the people and sights encountered wherever you happen to travel. Only those who read a few books about the Indian or Nepalese Himalaya will not acquaint you with Nepal from authentic sources. Most Europeans who have never visited India before have wrong ideas and notions about the country. However, trekking in the Nepalese Himalaya is a life-time experience.

Information on trekking
in today's Styles of Trekking – just make sure you like hiking in the first place! Then consider some short hikes nearer home to develop basic fitness. Consider carrying a backpack, camping for days together, walking on rough trails, the different foods, the language barrier, and the time you can allot to trekking. This will help you to select the trek best suited to you. You could even pamper yourself with some of your favorite novels.

Walking alone or with a few friends can be wonderful, though it is easier for the young as you need to put more than walking into your day. If you plan to camp out and cook, develop stamina. If you plan to stay in local homes or teahouses, than you must know the language a little. Be prepared for smoky rooms, lice and fleas, and crying babies. Also to be considered are the difficulties that come with identifying the trails.
Carrying all your gear can be the most tiring way to walk in the mountains, so you could make arrangements with a local porter or a guide who will help you find your way and procure food and shelter. Making your own arrangements can be to approach a local tour operator for the tasks and the trekking tips according to the news of the climate to be very sure and confident of your trek. Most operators also provide equipment, making it unnecessary to carry or buy large tents and sleeping bags.

Preparation for the Trip
There are various factors to consider, both mental and physical, in preparation for the trip:

  • Physical conditioning of the cardiovascular system with aerobic exercise.
  • Background reading, maps etc.

Camping and Cooking Equipment

  • This depends on the style of trekking, but if you are totally equipping yourself then you could consider the following:
  • Sleeping bag with liner and foam mattress.
  • Sturdy rain-proof tent.
  • Backpack, day pack and probably a duffel bag to keep in storage in your hotel while on trek.
  • A kerosene stove that can be cleaned easily, a leak-proof fuel container. Lightweight pots, pans and cutlery. And your favorite food items.

Food and Fitness
First rule for anyone interested in trekking in the Himalayan region is that one must be in good physical and mental condition. Good food is an essential part of the trekking and here good food does not refer to costly delicacies but a wholesome and nutritious diet. The choice of food is limited once you leave the town and head into the wilderness. In many villages there is no dhaba {an eating joint} and the trekkers have to depend on themselves for food. 

However, freshly cooked food has no substitute as tinned food losses its taste after some time. Ready to eat food packets are not available in most of the villages. Roadside dhabas or small hotels in towns and villages offer simple but wholesome meals. Rice, chapattis [leavened bread made of wheat and toasted on an iron plate} pulses and seasonal vegetables are generally the best choices for healthy food when out on the trail.

Basic dry rations like rice, sugar, flour, pulses, powder milk, tea leaves and cooking oil are available in most of the village shops found on the trail.

Trekkers should carry dry fruits, chocolates, sweets, soup packets, coffee powder, biscuits, butter, cheese and noodles etc. from the markets in town before the trek, because these items are generally not found on the trail.

Trekking in the Himalayas also means one must be free from any type of problems related to health; mentally and physically. In case of any feelings of uneasiness or minor illness it is better to delay the trip as medical facilities may not be available in the interior areas. Though there is a vast network of primary health centers and community health posts in the zone you are trekking in, it is wise to be aware that doctors don't join their services in far flung or remote places and these centers remain without a doctor for sometimes, long periods of time. Elementary medicines may be available in far off places but one should be self sufficient as far as the medicines are concerned.

Altitude Sickness
No other mountains deserve the kind of respect the Himalayas do in terms of altitude. As the Himalayan Rescue Association {HRA} likes to point out, 'The Himalaya starts where other mountains leave off.' Remember, it is the sleeping altitude that is critical. Acclimatization susceptibility to altitude sickness can effect men, and women are equally susceptible and children more so.
The best proven way to prevent altitude sickness is to give the body enough time to get used to the rarefied air. A slow and steady ascent is vital. Make sure you are always pacing yourself when ascending or descending. Adequate hydration is also helpful. The body is constantly losing fluid from the lungs and the skin in the high, dry environment. Drink enough water to maintain a clear and abundant urine output. Other measures include eating a high carbohydrate diet, climbing high during the day and coming lower down to sleep, and try to get involved in some mild to moderate activity during longer stops to acclimatize rather than just lie around. But then you also need rest so you must know how to balance situations when climbing at higher altitudes. 

The drug of choice for altitude sickness is Acetazolamide (Diamox), a sulpha drug. It hastens acclimatization, increases breathing, and reduces alkalinity and diuretic fluids. The usual regimen is 125 to 250 mg twice a day, starting 24 hours before ascent, and continuing through the first 24 hours at altitude. Almost all altitude problems can be avoided if symptoms are recognized and acted upon straight off. The warning signs are generally found in headaches, lack of appetite, nausea, feeling of tiredness, and sometimes vomiting. This stage of mild mountain sickness can be treated with aspirin or Diamox for headaches and something mild for the nausea and vomiting.

The Trekkers Medical Kit

  • The Trekker Medical Kit - The suggested list includes prescription items, so consultation with a physician is necessary.
  • If crossing malarial areas: Malarial prophylactics and mosquito repellents.
  • Wound disinfectant: Moleskin, second skin or cloth adhesive tape.
  • Adhesive strips: Band-aids in different sizes.
  • Gauze pads and rolls: elastic bandage.
  • A Thermometer is compulsory.
  • Analgesics: Aspirin or Tylenol, Tylenol with codines.
  • Anti-inflammatory. Ibuprofen


  • Ciprofloxacin, Bactrim DS or Septra DS, Erythromycin, Gentamycin eye drops and any skin antibiotic.
  • Anti-diarrheas: Lomotil, Pepto-Bismol, Imodium.
  • Anti-nausea drug: Pheregan, Compazine
  • Antihistamine: Benadryl
  • Decongestant: Sudafed
  • For High altitudes: Diamox

At ANNAPURNA TRAVEL AND TOURS, our Mountain Adventures ensure that our trekking guests go deep into the Himalayas where few tread so that trekkers get to view the best of the landscapes found in the world, we also encourage our guests to interact with the local folks and even share a meal with them; our escorted trips into the wild are carried out by seasoned guides who were born on these mountain and when it comes to your safety, compromises are never made, no matter what the altitude we trek into. Plan your tryst in the wild with us; it’s an experience that’s unimaginable…


Contact us for more details at:, – we’d be glad to answer any of your queries…



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