A weekend monsoon expedition can turn fatal if you don’t pay attention to these basic trekking rules.
With the onset of the monsoons, the Western Ghats of Sahyadri offer Mumbai’s adventure enthusiasts a perfect weekend getaway. As trekking activities around the city flourish with every shower of rain, instances of people losing lives and being seriously injured are also making the news.
Only recently, a youth lost his life at one such trek to Matheran’s Peb fort; this comes close on the heels of an incident where two trekkers lost their lives during a trek at Devkund, in Raigad.
Trekking in mountains can be fun only if it is executed in a certain way, with proper discipline says adventurer Rushikesh Kulkarni, who runs Breakfree Journeys, an organisation that hosts walks and treks around the city. “Accidents happen when the assessment of your trek is incorrect. Usually, individuals don’t keep the terrain and weather conditions in mind before they set out and choose to do it at their own convenience,” he says.
The terrains get muddy and slippery during monsoons and the involvement of locals is extremely important shares Rushikesh, “It is always advisable to make the locals a part of the trekking group, because they know their area well. They would even guide you with local hospitals, doctors and nearby shelters. Not including them is often a common mistake people commit. The locals are available at the base camp of your trek and one must always take them along.”
With trekking options being available dime a dozen, it is important to judiciously pick your trekking group as well. Nandu Chavan has been organising hiking trips with Mountain Sports Academy for 29-years, and swears by the credibility of a good trek organiser. “It is important to have a balanced guide and trekker ratio — one guide against six trekkers is an ideal way to go ahead. However, these days organisers do not pay attention to this and take over 200 people together with less guides and a few locals. This is not how it should work. While signing up for a trek, make sure you have all the details of the organisers in place. See that they have their first-aid certificates in place,” he says.
Callous attitudes displayed by newbies is also to be blamed, “People often think that sports shoes, floaters or any form of rainwear is fine for a trek, but they refuse to understand that life can’t be taken lightly. If your footwear is not appropriate for the terrain, the chances of an injury/ fall increase. It is always advisable to invest in a good pair of hiking footwear,” he adds.
Selecting your destination wisely is also crucial, “There are websites which glorify destinations and people just throng to them without proper research. Read blogs, understand the levels of difficulties and always take expert advice. Do not just blindly believe the information that is available online,” Rushikesh warns.