W.With Covid cases increasing across the country, I am finding that many hikers are concerned about their hikes.
As I delve further into the calls we get, I find that people are more concerned about the trip than just the hike itself before and after their migration. You also have doubts about the many uncertainties surrounding this pandemic – RT-PCR testing, bans, air travel, train travel, etc.
So I’m here today to address some trekking concerns during this second wave of the pandemic.
Before that, I would like to give you an idea of the reality of the soil in the mountains.
Many hikers wonder whether there are any hikes at all. Here I would like to give you the certainty that our hikes have been going normally since October 2020.
In March and April 2032 alone Hikers have undertaken various Himalayan hikes with us.
As I write this, my phone is buzzing with updates from various hikes – a team of 12 hikers climbed Pangarchulla summit this morning; A family group of 21 trekkers is currently on their way through the meadows of Dayara, a team of 8 climbs on Bedni Top today …
A hiker sits by the Bekaltalsee and paints. She was on the Brahmatal Trek last week. Image by Gourab Nandy
Behind the scenes, some of our team members are moving from Uttarakhand to Sikkim to start our Goechala season. Our founder himself is in Uttarakhand to have a meeting that is taking place as I write this.
As you can see, things are more or less normal in the trekking world. Of course, we have strict security protocols that make things seem normal.
Our teams work around the clock to ensure that our 31-point security check is followed on all walks, which is why hikers can walk peacefully.
With that in mind, I’d like to address some of the top trekking concerns during this second wave.
Top 4 concerns trekkers have
1. I have an upcoming hike. What should I do?
If you have an upcoming hike, move on with your hike. If you don’t test positive, or someone in your family tests positive, there is no need to rethink your hike.
We have made it mandatory for all trekkers to bring a Covid test for their treks (regardless of which state they come from). So rest assured that all of the trekkers you hike and travel with have tested negative.
To allay concerns about travel, it is safe to travel once you have been tested for yourself. Our founder, Arjun Majumdar, traveled yesterday from Bangalore to Raithal, the base camp of the Dayara Bugyal Trekking. He traveled to Delhi by plane, then by train to Dehradun and then by road to Raithal.
To give you an idea of what the travel experience was like, he shared this voice memo with me this morning. 85% of our trekkers travel by air and will have a similar travel experience. Look here:
After your trip to base camp, you’ll find yourself in the safest place you can be – outdoors. We will create bubbles so that team members do not come into contact with each other. Trekkers will be in a bubble. Our employees will be in another. Only the trek leader and the guides scurry back and forth between the two with adequate safety precautions. ((Read all of our security logs here).
So do your hike. If you have any further concerns, just give us a call. We will help you.
2. Should I do a COVID test before my hike?
Yes, this is an absolute must. At Indiahikes we have prescribed a Covid (RT-PCR) test for all trekkers. This rule applies regardless of which state you are from.
This means you don’t need to test yourself more than 72 hours before your hike and have a negative Covid report with you.
Even Uttarakhand’s forest checkpoints have made Covid test reports mandatory in order to issue permits for camping and trekking.
This step was not easy for us. Many hikers find it difficult to get tested without symptoms. It’s expensive sometimes. But it is a step towards security.
What if you test positive?
If you test positive then don’t worry about your hike. Take care of yourself and take care of yourself. You can do your hike in the future. In this case, the best options are:
- We can help Move your trekking dates at a different time of year. It can either be the same or a different trek.
- If you’re not sure about the dates, get one Special Covid voucher that comes with one Validity of 1.5 years. You can use this voucher when you register for one of our walking tours in India.
What if you can’t test?
There are two options here as well.
If you are hiking in Uttarakhand, there are RT-PCR test stands in Dehradun (both at the airport and the train station). It’s a hassle-free experience and only takes five minutes. It’s also free as it is organized by the government.
If you are unable to take the test at all, you will unfortunately have to postpone or cancel your hike to a later date. In this case, we have adjusted our cancellation conditions and made them very trekker-friendly. We understand the pain of canceling a hike and we don’t want you to lose anything. So check it out Here, and when it comes down to it, use the directive.
Should I take a Covid test while I get home from my hike?
We recommend that you do a Covid test before or after you return to your city. There are test centers in Dehradun and Rishikesh where you can get test reports within a day.
If you travel immediately after the hike, continue your journey. Your city’s airport authorities will perform a rapid antigen test after you land.
If you test positive, share this with your experience coordinators so they can notify other trekkers and our team members as well.
3. What happens if I am on a hike and a ban is announced? Will I be stuck outside of my city?
If a nationwide lockdown is announced during the hike, we’ll bring you back from the hike and help you home.
When the lockdown was announced last year without any warnings, we immediately shut down all trekking teams. Our teams were in constant contact with them until they were in the safety of their homes. Nobody was stranded outside of their city.
This year the situation is much better than last year. We are all better informed, and the government is also taking action after giving the people enough leeway.
In all honesty, I don’t think there will be a large-scale lockdown due to the economic impact on the country, but in the worst case scenario, we are prepared for it. We make sure that you are not stuck at your trekking location.
4. When is a good time to plan future hikes?
Unlike last year, there is a silver lining in our country for the vaccination campaign. The same trust is also reflected in our registrations.
Trekkers register for trekking from June – our adventurous summer tours and monsoon hikes. Buran Ghati, Rupin Pass, Bhrigu Lake, Pin Bhaba Pass, Valley of Flowers, Tarsar Marsar, Kashmir Great Lakes, Hampta Pass – these are treks that trekkers plan with the safety net of the vaccination campaign.
We expect India to flatten the curve by June. So you can plan your hikes safely.
In fact, you will find that much of the data is already full. So plan your hikes soon.
In our conversations with trekkers, I find that these are the four main concerns of trekkers.
If you have any questions outside of these don’t hesitate to ask. Leave a comment on this page and I will get back to you personally.