Archive from March, 2014
Mar 26, 2014 - Sunand Sampath, Travel    No Comments

A look into Western Ghats!!!

The Western Ghats are breath-taking in their beauty. It  is one of the eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India.

A total of thirty nine properties including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites by UNESCO.

Iquest Outdoor Leadership and Adventure Consultants specialized in designing and organizing tailor made packages to Western Ghats.

We undertake packages for groups of various types, whether you are a honeymooner, seeking a truly exotic experience  or a corporate team looking for a stimulating engaging and refreshing experience for your team. You might be looking out for a family outing or group of friends , we will design an experience for you………

Just contact us NOW.. !!!!



Its splendid flora and fauna will introduce you to the pristine beauty called Mother Nature.  Here are things you need to know about these charming hills…

The Western Ghats are not true mountains, but are the faulted edge of the Deccan Plateau. They are believed to have been formed during the break-up of the super continent of Gondwana some 150 million years ago.

The Ghats stretch massively from the Satpura Range in the north and then continue towards the south, till Kerala. If you want to pay a visit to the dense forests, you will have to decide between three mountain ranges namely,

  • Sahyadris.
  • Nilgiris .
  • Anaimalai Hills.


The majority of streams draining the Western Ghats and joining the Rivers Krishna and Kaveri carry water during monsoon months only and have been dammed for hydroelectric and irrigation purposes.

It  is great habitat for n number of rare bird species and butterflies. Of the 508 species of birds found in the Western Ghats, about 500 can be seen in Karnataka’s Bhadra wildlife sanctuary. About 102 species of fish are found in the water bodies of Western Ghats.

Hill stations like Ooty, Mahabaleshwar, Lonavla-Khandala, Munnar, Ponmudi, Wayanad are tourist hotspots in Western Ghats. Mathikettan Shola National Park, Pampadam Shola National Park, Begur Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thattekad, Phansad Bird Sanctuary and Karnala Bird Sanctuary are some of the wildlife reserves located in the Western Ghats. Kodaikanal, Lovedale, Coonoor, Yercaud, Meghmalai, Valparai, Kumily, Thenmala, Sulthan Bathery, are some of the prominent towns located in the mountain range.

“Adventure holidays in Western Ghats have everything covered, for discovery, inspiration and for the greatest joy of all: the spirit of adventure”!!!!


Rumtse is a village in Ladakh, where the first human settlement on the way from Lahaul to Ladakh after Taglang Pass. Rumtse, like the rest of Ladakh is known for its barren landscape and scenic beauty. This region, known as the land of the nomads, will give you an experience to last a traditional lifestyle along the incredible oval shaped bank of Tso moriri.

Tso moriri lake is Also Known as ‘Mountain Lake’, it is located in the Rupshu valley situated in Changthang. The Lake is about 28 km in length from north to south and is about 4-6 km in breadth and about 100 (max-248) feet in depth. Tso Moriri is a very fine sheet of a deep blue and crystal clear water.



Tso moriri lake

It is to Be led by a Highly experienced Mountaineering Leader and supported by well experienced Guides and Friendly Staff.

Dates : 19th July to 28th July 2014, Leh to Leh,
Type of Trek : Moderate
Highest point: 5450 meters.
Focus : Villages, wildlife, high passes, and dramatic landscape of  the ladaki                                            place
Grade : Moderate.

Day to day:-

Day 1: 19th July: ARRIVAL TO LEH
You will be picked up at the airport or in the city ( if coming by road) check in to hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring the Leh market area and getting acclimatized to fresh air .

Day 2: 20th July : LEH TO RUMTSE
From Leh to Rumtse by car takes 3 hrs. We start hiking towards to Kyamar & its takes 4 hrs (approx). Camp site alit is 4380 mts. 1st Day camp is near the spring.

Day3: 21st July : KYMAR TO TISALING (6-7)
Alt at camp site 4200 mts , there is 2 pass fist Kymar la its altitude (4800) and the second is Mandalchan la (4850mtrs) . From 1st pass there is spectacular view of the Changthang rang with colo full rife of the mountain. After 1st pass you will meet next pass. From this pass its easy descend to the camp site at Tinseling, its little wind region.

Day 4: 22nd July :TISALING TO PANGUNAGU (5-6hrs)
Altitude at camp site 4430 mtrs. It only one passes to day its called Shibuk la its altitude is (4900 mtrs) . Reach the pass its take 2 hrs approx. From the top you will see a wonder full view of the Tsokar Lake. Camping site is wind area.

Day 5: 23rd  July : PANGUNAGU TO NURUCHA (6-7)
Day is little hot Day, are walking on sandy jeep road via Tsokar Lake. Along the salty shores of the lake; we have an impeccable opportunity to see some of the endangered migratory birds of the world, From here we carry on along the trail to the right side of the lake, keeping to a barrelhead until Nuruchan, where you welcome by a grassy land with stream. Camping site altitude is 4300mtrs.

Day 6: 24th July : NURUCHAN TO RAJUNG KARU (4-5hrs)
We will cross the cold stream by Nuruchn. Before gradually ascending a gently trail to Horlam Kongka la (5000mtrs) from the pass, we will have a good view of the turquoise blue Tsokar. It is also a good chance of spotting kiang (Wild donkey) here, After an easy walk down from the pass , we will follow a wide and Lush valley to Rajung Karu. We will encounter several Tibetan nomad families of the Chinese invaded Tibet , they and their animals faced numerous hardships, fighting biting cold and losing many lives while fleeing into Ladakh from Tibet,
We will find our campsite here tonight and there will be lots of time to visit the nomads and explore the area.

Day 7: 25th July : RUJUNG KARU – GYAMAR (6-7hrs)
We will start our Day by climbing the challenging Kyamyuru la pass (54300mtrs), but the magnificent view from the top makes it well worth all strenuous efforts, from the top of the pass, a gentle trail leads down to Gyarmar Barma (5150mtrs),it is an amazing place , this is a high altitude valley, with herds of grazing yaks and surrounded by snowcapped mountains . From here we will climb another small pass, Kartse la (5300 meters) from where a trail will lead us down to the green valley of Gyamar 5100 meters and probably more nomads. Here we will camp for the night .

Day 8; 26th July :GYAMAR – KORZOK (6-7hrs)
Yalung Nyaulung la. (5450 mtrs ) is the highest and final pass on our trek . From the top of the pass, the sapphire blue , freshwater lake of Tso moriri (4500mtrs) will shine like a jewel in this brown , barren landscape. This lake is approx 40 km long is situated at 4500mtrs and is Trans Himalaya and the Greater Himalaya .There is an interesting legend behind Tso moriri name well .
It is side that a women , possibly a chomo ( a Buddhist nun ), riding on a yak , was somehow carried into the lake. The yak could not swim and started sinking into the water
The women cried out for help : RI , RI – an exclamation of fear – until she drowned . Thus the legend says the lake got its name – chomoriri .

Descending steeply for a couple of hours to Korzok phu, we will encounter the summer pasture of the Korzok people . Our trek ends at the village of Korzok , overlooking Tso moriri and inhabited by a small , permanent settlement of Changpa nomads. At an altitude of 4572mtrs it is one of the highest permanent villages in the world , The monastery at Korzok is more than 500 years old and lying on trading route between Spiti and Ladakh. It was visited by many of the early explorers.

Day 9: 27th July : KORZOK – LEH (7 hrs )
We drive back to Leh , crossing the duty plains of Rupshu before entering the green Indus valley , and at last Leh.

Day:10 :28th July : Drop to The Airport and good byes….!!!

Cost :27000/- INR

Registration Form, Risk Certificate & Packing list, will be emailed and a Detailed pre-briefing on the Expedition will be done to All Confirmed Participants.
Advance payment of Rs. 13500/- before 18th June, and the Balance amount to be paid before 30th June.

Cancellation Charges:

Cancellation charges [before 30th June] Rs 7000/- or the actual expenses, whichever is high.
No Refunds on cancellations , or not attending the event or if the Participant has to leave During any point of the event.
No refunds will be made if the program gets cancelled due to Unavoidable circumstances out of the control of the organizers like Natural calamities, bundh’s, strikes , etc.
Non-Indians will have to bear extra cost wherever applicable .

Cost Includes:-

  • Highly experienced Leaders, High Altitude Guides.
  • Accommodation (Hotels when in city, during the trek in tents on sharing basis).
  • Food (3 Veg meals a Day while trekking).
  • Certificates and expedition t-shirts.
  • Transportation [Train, Jeep
  • & local transportations]
  • Porters
  • Expedition Leader
  • All entry charges

Cost Excludes:-

  • All the personal expenses like drinks, tips etc.
  • Cost of any form of insurance, rescue, evacuation, hospitalization, etc.
  • Travel fare up to Leh and Back (iQuest can assist in getting reservations for travel).Any Insurance. Any item apart from that indicated in the itinerary.
  • Sightseeing and other charges.
  • Boating in the Lake.
  • Other charges which is not mentioned in itinerary.

KINDLY NOTE: Incase of circumstance out of our control like, natural calamities, local law and order situation, etc., which may result in change in itinerary, additional booking of accommodation, transport, logistic etc., causing an increase in expenses, and also in case of any fuel price hike .The additional cost thus incurred shall be borne by the participants.

Register now:-!!!!
Contact Sunand Sampath
Mobile: +91 9448476683

Expedition Behavior

Helping a fellow student get through a rough day by carrying some of their weight, turning back due to bad weather, bringing your tent mate a hot drink, or keeping a smile on your face during five days of torrential rains are just a few examples of Expedition Behavior in action.

“Expedition Behavior” has evolved into a catchphrase—and an even shorter acronym, “EB”—that carries with it endless implications. In 1965 they were just two words Paul used to explain a suite of behavioral concepts, as simple as using the word “teamwork” on a football squad. Today, expedition behavior stands as an integral part of the NOLS curriculum, describing behaviors that help a group cooperate and attain goals.


Expedition Behavior

  • Serve the mission and goals of the group.
  • Be as concerned for others as you are for yourself.
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  • Support leadership and growth in everyone.
  • Respect the cultures you contact.
  • Be kind and open-hearted.
  • Do your share and stay organized.
  • Help others, but don’t routinely do their work.
  • Model integrity by being honest and accountable.
  • Admit and correct your mistakes.

A good expedition team is like a powerful, finely tuned marriage. Members cook meals together, face challenges together and finally go to bed together. A bad expedition, on the other hand, is an ugly, embarrassing thing characterized by bickering, filth, frustration and crispy macaroni.


Nearly all bad expeditions  have one thing in common: poor expedition behavior (EB). This is true even if team members follow the stated rules, such as No Standing on the Rope, No Kerosene in the Food, No Soap in the River, No Raccoons in the Tent, and Keep Your Goddam Ice Axe Out of My Eye.


Unfortunately, too many rules of expedition behavior remain unspoken. Some leaders seem to assume that their team members already have strong and generous characters like their own. But judging from a few of the campers we’ve encountered, more rules ought to be spelled out. Here are ten of them.



Get the hell out of bed.

 Suppose your tent mates get up early to fetch water and fire up the stove while you lie comatose in your sleeping bag. As they run an extensive equipment check, coil ropes and fix your breakfast, they hear you start to snore. Last night you were their buddy; now they’re listing things about you that make them want to spit. They will devise cruel punishments for you. You have earned them. Had you gotten out of bed, nobody would have had to suffer.


 Do not be cheerful before breakfast.

 Some people wake up perky and happy as fluffy bunny rabbits. They put stress on those who wake up mean as rabid wolverines. Exhortations such as “Rise and shine, sugar!” and “Greet the dawn, pumpkin!” have been known to provoke pungent expletives from wolverine types. These curses, in turn, may offend fluffy bunny types. Indeed, they are issued with the sincere intent to offend. Thus, the day begins with flying fur and hurt feelings. The best early-morning EB is simple: Be quiet.



 Do not complain. About anything. Ever.

It’s ten below zero, visibility is four inches and wind-driven hailstones are embedded in your face. Must you mention it? Do you think your friends haven’t noticed the weather? Make a suggestion. Tell a joke. Lead a prayer. Do not lodge a complaint. Yes, your pack weighs 87 pounds and your cheap backpack straps are actually cutting into your flesh. Were you promised a personal Sherpa? Did somebody cheat you out of a mule team? If you can’t carry your weight, get a motor home.



4 Learn to cook at least one thing right.

 One expedition trick is so old that it is no longer amusing: on the first cooking assignment, the clever cook prepares a dish that resembles, say, Burnt Sock en le Sauce Toxique. The cook hopes to be relieved permanently from cooking duties. This is the childish approach to a problem that’s been with us since people first started throwing lizards on the fire. Tricks are not a part of a team spirit. If you don’t like to cook, offer to wash dishes and prepare the one thing you do know how to cook. Even if it’s only tea. Remember that talented camp cooks sometimes get invited to join major expeditions in Nepal, all expenses paid.



 Either A) shampoo, or B) do not remove your hat for any reason.

After a week or so on the trail, without shampooing, hair forms angry clumps and wads. These leave the person beneath looking like an escapee from a mental ward. Such an appearance could shake a team’s confidence in your judgment. If you can’t shampoo, pull a wool hat down over your ears and leave it there, night and day, for the entire expedition.



Do not ask if anybody’s seen your stuff.

Experienced adventures have systems for organizing their gear. They rarely leave it strewn around camp or lying back on the trail. One of the most damning things you can do is ask your teammates if they’ve seen the tent poles you thought you packed 20 miles ago. Even in the unlikely event you get home alive, you will not be invited on the next trip. Should you ever leave the tent poles 20 miles away, do not ask if anybody’s seen them. Simply announce, with a good-natured chuckle, that you are about to set off in the dark on a 40-mile hike to retrieve them, and that you are sorry. It’s unprofessional to lose your spoon or your toothbrush. If something like that happens, don’t mention it to anyone.



Never ask where you are.

 If you want to know where you are, look at the map. Try to figure it out yourself. If you’re still confused, feel free to discuss the identity of landmarks around you and how they correspond to the cartography. If you A) suspect that a mistake has been made; and B) have experience interpreting topographical maps, and C) are certain that your group leader is a novice or on drugs, speak up. Otherwise, follow the group like sheep.



 Always carry more than your fair share.

 When the trip is over, would you rather be remembered as a rock or a wuss? Keep in mind that a pound or two of extra weight in your pack won’t make your back hurt any more than it already does. In any given group of flatlanders, somebody is bound to bicker about weight. When an argument begins, take the extra weight yourself. Then shake your head and gaze with pity upon the slothful one. This is the mature response to childish behavior. On the trail that day, during a break, load the tenderfoot’s pack with 20 pounds of gravel.



Do not get sunburned.

Sunburn is not only painful and unattractive—it’s also and obvious sign of inexperience. Most greenhorns wait too long before applying sunscreen. Once you’ve burned on an expedition, you may not have a chance to get out of the sun. Then the burn gets burned, skin peels away, blisters sprout on the already swollen lips. You get the idea. Wear zinc oxide. You can see exactly where and how thickly it’s applied and it gives you just about 100% protection. It does get on your sunglasses, all over your clothes and in your mouth. But that’s OK. Unlike sunshine, zinc oxide is non-toxic.


RULE #10

 Do not get killed.

Suppose you make the summit , chain-smoking Gilanes and carrying the complete works of Hemingway in hardcover. Pretty macho, huh? Suppose now that you take a vertical detour down a crevasse and never make it back to camp. Would you still qualify as a hero? And would it matter? Nobody’s going to run any fingers through your new chest hair. The worst thing to have on your outdoor resume is a list of the possible locations of your body. Besides, your demise might distract your team members from enjoying what’s left of their vacations.


All expedition behavior really flows from this one principle: Think of your team, the beautiful machine, first. You are merely a cog in that machine. If you have something to prove, forget about joining an expedition. Your team will never have more than one member.

Mountain Stories Narrated to SMW

 ON Social Media Week  at Bangalore,  iquest adventures hosted a event on mountain stories by Renu Kotian & Sunand Sampath.

It went on like…

When the mountain calls, you have to respond. IQuest started ten years ago when Sunand Sampath followed his heart and swapped the life of an engineer for that of an adventurer. He decided to take up mountaineering professionally and eventually started offering services to people who wanted to answer the call of the wild too.
It all began with a small circle of networking with close friends and family, expanding by word of mouth until the time when a professional team was required to set up a page and help them navigate the flow of enquiries and engagement with enthusiasts from all over the world.

In this session at Social Media Week, Sunand shared how they have encouraged their to shed their fears and inhibitions and conquer mountains together. He has also been steadfast in promoting thinking green and not leaving a trail behind as he helped people plan their expeditions to the Himalayas, Mt. Everest base camps and Mt Kilimanjaro among other.

Photographer and Capoeira enthusiast Taushik Mandal also shared how social media got him in touch with the other side of Brazil and took him to Israel to interact with other Capoeira enthusiasts. He also presented snapshots from his exploratory trip to Spiti Valley and the trials and joys of being in the mountains.

Renu Kotain took us on a journey to the basecamp of Mt. Everest and back. With her effusive narrative and cheerful recounting of her adventures and misadventures, including her encounters with yaks on bridges and “Dal bhat – full power – No toilet – No shower” initiation, the audience was moved and felt like they had taken the trip with her to the snowcapped peaks of the majestic Himalayas.

Ramakhrishna regaled the gathering with stories from his travels to Mt. Kilimanjaro and how he social media connected him to Sunand and enabled him to realise his dream of conquering the peak.

The evening came to a close with much interaction between the presenters and audience while addressing concerns like training for the climb, saving funds, preparation, packing, equpments and planning successful climbs without disturbing the ecological balance of nature, accepting one’s limits and no spill attitude. Sunand urged the audience to go out there, make the climb and conquer life.

Mt Elbrus Russia .. Climbing Expedition

mt Elbrus

Mt.Elbrus, The roof of Europe , one of the Seven summit series , a two-peaked ice giant, crowns the panorama of Central Caucasus. Its two peaks have two volcano craters, which make the Eastern peak a little lower than the other (5642 and 5621m).The Eastern peak still has an enormous crater 250m in diameter. The massif is covered by a gigantic ice-cap. Therefore from Persian language the name of the mountain is translated as “Snow Mountain”. Cabardin and Balkarian people, local folks of these lands, call it “Mountain of Happiness”
Normally the ascent is started from the Baksan Valley and is led on a south slope of mountain Elbrus.
The trip is not technically difficult but requires crampons and ice axe. Systematic programmer of acclimatization is essential prior to making the ascent.
The climb itself may take between 7-10 hours; the descent another 4-6 hours. The main obstacles are high altitude, fog, wind and cold.
Guiding this climb are experienced top Russian mountaineers, and a highly experienced Trip Leader . This no technical climb is a test of stamina, and with proper acclimatization and good weather, you can reach the summit.
17 Aug to 25 Aug 2014.

Day 1  :- Arrive to Mineralnye Vody airport. Our English-speaking guide will meet you at the airport. 4-hour private bus transfer to Terskol village in the Baksan valley (about 2,000 m). Accommodation at a hotel for two nights.
Day 2 : Acclimatization hike of the Cheghet massif up to 3000 m. Duration – about 5 hours. Excursion to the local bazaar. Night at the hotel.
Day 3 :- Checking out of the hotel. 15 min (4-km) transfer to “Azau” (2,250m) – the lower station of the Elbrus cable-way. Cable-way up to the highest point – “Gara-Bashi” station (3,700 m), which includes 2 lower cabin spans, and the upper part – chair-lift. The latter one sometimes does not operate due to poor weather conditions. Accommodation at the “Bochki” (“Barrels”) high mountain hotel. 1.5-hour acclimatization trekking up to “Priut odinnadtsati” (“Shelter of the 11th”, 4,050 m), return down to “Barrels”.
Day 4 : Acclimatization hike up to Pastukhov’s Rocks (4,700-4,800 m). Return down to “Barrels” (3-4 hours up and 1-1.5 hour down).

Day 5 : Rest day. Training on the glacier.
Day 6 : Summit day. Ascent of Elbrus west summit (5,642 m). Leaving for the ascent at 2-3 A.M., 10-12 hours trip in total. Night at “Barrels”.
Day 7 : Descend into the Baksan valley. Overnight at the hotel. Reserve day in case of bad weather.
Day 8:- Reserve day in case of bad weather.
Day 9 : Transfer to the airport, flight home.
End of expedition Package
Cost of the expedition
USD 1850 /-

More options
Extend stay in Moscow or a visit to St.petersburg or a trans Siberian Rail journey. ( at additional cost )

• Transfers (a group’s bus M.Vody-Terskol-M.Vody, HTL-Azau-HTL) , an English-speaking attendant on TRFs
• lift to Elbrus(one day ticket)
• Double/ twin accommodation at a hotel (4 nights)
• accommodation at the mountain Hut (4-5 nights)
• full board
• An English-speaking mountain guide
• Mountain guides for summit attempt (1 guide : 3-4 clients, one attempt is paid)
• a cook at the hut
• visa support, registration, certification of an ascent of Elbrus.
• National Park permit for climb Mt.Elbrus
-single supplement at the hotel 80 EURO p/person per 4 nights
(that should be ordered in advance. That is to be paid extra in case if there are vacant rooms at the hotel)
-snow cat (In 2013 the price is 400 EURO per one drive per the group 1-8 pax from a mountain hut to the Pastukhov Rocks. In 2014 it’s subject to change.)
-an individual mountain guide on the summit day 330 EURO p/one guide,
-extra lift and transfers
-rent of individual equipment.. we can help procure the equipment .

Last Date for registration May 5th 2014

Cancellation Charges:
10% of the Total Charges on Cancellation Before May 15th 2014.
25% of the total charges on cancellation between 16th May and 5th June 2014

50% of the total charges or the Local cancellation expenses which ever is higher On cancellation between 6th June and 15th June 2014.
100 % charges if cancelled after 15th June or if the participant has to leave at anypoint of theProgramme due to any reason
No refunds will be made if the programme gets cancelled due to Unavoidable circumstances out of the control of the organizers like Natural calamities, bundhs, strikes , etc.

NOTE: Incase of circumstance out of control like natural calamities, local law and order situation,etc.,which may result in change in iternary,additional booking of accomdation,transport,logistic etc causing an increase in expenses. The additional cost thus incurred shall be borne by the participant.

Register now :


Sunand sampath : +91 9448476683 Email :