escape - trekking tips

As well as reading this please also read our packing and health pages for essential relevant information and our useful tips page for more general information.

Responsible Trekking
Trekking in the Indian Himalaya brings with it a responsibility to safeguard against your visit having a negative effect on the environment. You will be trekking in a pristine area of natural beauty and it is essential for the survival of many species of flora and fauna that it stays that way. Here are a few basic suggestions to help you.

  • Never leave any rubbish anywhere. What you carry in you should carry out. On a long trek its worth taking a few extra bags for this purpose. Keep an eye on the porters and other hired help to make sure they do likewise. Lead by example - if you see anyone from other parties throw rubbish pick it up and take it with you.
  • Don’t light fires. Use a kerosene stove instead.
  • Protect water sources. Don’t perform your daily ablutions near water. Fill a container and move away to wash yourself or your clothes at a good distance and always use Biodegradable soap. If there’s none available, or you run out, don’t use soap at all.
  • Take a small shovel or trowel to bury human waste. Don’t bury it near water sources.
  •  If there’s an established trail stick to it to minimize the effects of erosion.
  • When you encounter local people respect their rules and traditions, your guide will help you. For more details see our useful tips page.

Safe Trekking
While looking after the environment don’t forget to look after yourself. Here’s a few tips…

  • If you or anyone else shows signs of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) descend immediately as symptoms can rapidly worsen. See our health page for more details.
  • Make sure you’re well prepared and reasonably fit. The best exercise is good long walks in the boots you’ll be wearing on the trek. If you find some steep hills and rough terrain to walk on you’ll strengthen all the muscles and ligaments you’ll be relying on, and find out if you have any weaknesses. If you’re confined to the gym, walking at a steady pace on a running machine set to a steep incline, step machines, and cross trainers, are all good preparation. If your gym will allow it you could wear your boots.
  • Check all your gear before you set off.
  • Always use an experienced local guide that you can easily communicate with. They will not only make sure you don’t get lost, but act as interpreter and negotiator ensuring that you don’t cause offence or get into trouble. They will also know safe places to camp away from potential rock fall, avalanches or floods.
  • You will probably hear guides and porters advising, ‘slowly, slowly, never rush’, its good advice for two reasons; firstly, you’re more likely to stumble and fall if you‘re too hasty; secondly, if you race off quickly at the beginning of the day you might find you’re fatigued towards the end. You’ll see the porters rushing off but they’re as steady as mountain goats, strong as pack horses, and know the trails inside out.
  • When on the trail if a pony, yak, or any other pack animal wants to pass make sure you take the inside of the track. That’s the side next to the upward slope and not next to the steep drop. Some nasty accidents happen by animals inadvertently shoving people.
  • If you want to take photos, fetch something from your bag, or admire the view, stop walking. If you’re distracted you’re much more likely to stumble or fall.
  • Never cross a glacier without proper equipment and an experienced local guide. Safe routes across glaciers are constantly changing.
  • If you are about to walk over a landslide or fallen rocks have a good look up from a safe vantage point to see if any more is imminent. Other trekkers, and wild animals higher up, can easily dislodge loose material and you don’t want to become acquainted with it. 
  • Be prepared for exposure to heat and cold, often in the same day. You can be walking in 30+ degree heat with no shade or shelter during the day and sleeping in minus temperatures by night. Its been said that in certain places you can lay down half in the sun and half in the shade and get a sunburnt head and frostbitten toes at the same time.