Browsing "Social Responsibility"

Iquest Chadar Trek A grand Success

After Enduring the Harsh weather conditions with Tempratures dipping to less then -30 Degrees C, our team completed the trek with a smile

 

The trek held in January had 13 members in our team ,   it was a mix of seasoned trekkers and  beginners , the Pre trek briefings ,  and regular updates , kept the mood upbeat , and helped our team members   a lot ,

 

IMG_8647 IMG_8726 IMG_8738 IMG_8782

Voluntary Eco drive…. Lets give a thought!

 

iQuest Adventure is Proud to propose a Voluntary Clean Up Drive to the Nature Enthusiasts…!!!

  A good   opportunity to spare your time with the nature in its service.

Here is a Call to the Passionate of the Nature, Rocks and Greenery to join in….

eco

About Turahalli:

This is a reserved forest very close to Bangalore . Also the closest rock climbing area , boasting of a variety of granite formations for climbing . Wildlife sightings such as peacocks,  and other as well as a lot of birdlife.

Turahalli hillock is a place with lot of boulders and wildlife,  Just off  Kanakapura road, around 8 kilo meters from Banashankari Temple in Bangalore South. It has been the practising ground for the rock climbers in and around Bangalore for many decades.

thuralii mountain

At present it is very sad to know that, general public do not care for the preservation of this important natural site. It has  been littered heavily by the general visitors.  And this is causing a threat to very existence of this natural spot in Bangalore.

spring-clean

Therefore, a “Clean Up Drive” will do a multi fold task.

  1.  Reduce garbage, thus increasing the greenery and also .
  2. To increase awareness among the communities about the nature.

iQuest Adventure  conducts its activity with the main emphasis on learning take away’s.

Click here to download  one day proposal.

Iquest Adventures Annapurna Circuit Trek , Nepal… An expedition with a difference

Education  and mountaineering are in so many ways connected …  both lead to a more peaceful way of life , more understanding and self awareness ,  and  both have their own share of hurdles , challenges and summits to be reached , both  are  addictive , both are explorative.…

cover image

The Rotary Club  has taken a huge and gigantic step towards its mission to eradicate illiteracy  in South Asia,  one of its Major project TEACH  which stands for  ‘Teacher empowerment, E-Learning, Adult-Literacy, Child Development  and Happy school’ ,  is an initiative to eradicate  Illiteracy from the face of South Asia.

Iquest Outdoor leadership and Adventure consultants one of the leading mountaineering Organizations  took up this cause  to spread awareness through the Annapurna Circuit Trekking expedition .

Below is an account on our trek which is rightly counted among the top 10 treks in the world.

Some circuits are complete only when there is a soul flowing in it .   and when complete it creates  a sense of enlightenment …

Such is the Annapurna circuit trek ……..

The mighty Himalayas offers  life  in all its  forms ,  every aspect , every element  is  so positive ,  vibrant  with  diverse cultures , rituals , values ,

This circuit had been evading me for quite some time  and  we were in two minds  on selecting the major trail for this season , until…  I remember on a casual talk with Hemant  that we decided that Annapurna circuit trek it is .

And with it started the preparations,

Hemant , Sabina and Yogita  already having  experienced in High altitude Himalayan expeditions   were more then ready  and eager for this expedition ,   For Varun  it had been a dream to Trek in the Himalayas  although an ardent nature lover  he was always instrumental in promoting outdoors  from his college days  itself. It was to make a decision based on his work availability etc ,  Varun  convinced Sri also residing  in Dubai for whom too it was a not so difficult decision to make   inspite ofholding major responsibilities at work

All the participants  were leaders in their own respective professions,

Being  a leader of this trekking expedition was a special  occasion  for me  for many reasons . Hemant was the deputy Leader  as he too had a lot of mountain experience .

An air of excitement at Iquest adventures as this was the first time we were organizing an expedition to the Annapurna region ,   Although Nepal  is not new to us  having organized  many expeditions to the Everest Base camp since 2007…

Kathmandu  the meeting point    I would say the melting point   as most tourists  land here and  disperse into thin air  for some Himalayan indulgence ….

With Varun and Sri arriving from Dubai  and Hemant , Yogita and Sabina   arriving from Bangalore and Mumbai via delhi ,   and their flights separated by just about less then an hour , It became easy for me to receive  them at the  Airport with traditional garlands.

As is a norm with me to reach the base city a day or two in advance  and look into some prior arrangements , this time too I was in Kathmandu 2 days before others arrived .

Thamel — about 20 minutes drive  from the Airport ,   always hustling with activities , shops selling everything a tourist would need  both services and goods ,   this tourist ghetto is most popular for expedition teams to stay  and so did we ,

With so many restaurant options, cafes, most places offering free wi-fi , different variety of food to try from , one doesn’t take long for  some global indulgence or local  experience…

We take one day off before the trek starts  so we can  do final  purchases required for the trek ,   and this involves running up and down the streets of thamel , bargaining ,  choosing the right  material ,  ofcourse  taking permits is also the important task for the day ,

With many restaurants playing live music we decided to choose one randomly  for the dinner   and we decide to hit the bed after our final packing and separating the dump kit that would remain in Kathmandu,

 

Day 1

An early morning  awaits us to start our journey  , we head to Bishishahar  from where we plan to  take a local jeep to reach our first  village  sachi   ,  it takes  us  a whole 8 hoiurs to reach this village ,  and we encounter some heavy rains , hail , during the jeep ride along the beautiful Marsyangdi River … we reach syange located at 1400 mtrs  and stay there   that’s the starting point of our trek    ,

Day 2

Chame to dharopani  at an altitude  of 1920 mtrs

At this point I would make a short mention on The LNT ( Leave No Traces ) principles

  1. 1.       Plan Ahead and Prepare

2.       2 Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

3.       Dispose of Waste Properly

4.       Leave What You Find

5.       Minimize Campfire Impacts

6.       Respect Wildlife

7.       Be Considerate of Other Visitors

 

 

Dharapani a beautiful village belongs to the Gandaki zone of Manang  district..  it is the continuation of the trail  that gradually climbs  uphill…

2

 

 

1 3

Dharapani to Chame

 

We start  this day  with a gradual trek through forests and tree line towards  chame

Chame is a unique village  with distinct structures  also the district head quarters of Manang .

Chame is at an altitude of 2630 Mtrs  and this day we get stunning views of the Annapurna ranges , the snow clad peaks ,  the ridges give an extra  pack of energy  to move ahead .

 

4

 

5

6

Day 4

Chame to Upper  pisang   –  this day involves a relatively long trek of about 15 kms approx , gaining altitude gradually ,  Upper Pisang at an altitude of 3310 Mtrs  has quaint old-school lodging and an active Tibetan Buddhist Monastery worth visiting for the Sunset and Sunrise chants. And an amazing spectacular view of the surrounding  mountains and landscapes. Furthermore, the villages along the upper trail are full of character and the views along the trail are perhaps the best of the whole circuit , it takes a little extra effort to take this trail  as there is an alternative trail to continue the trek  , however I strongly recommend this trail  and a visit to this  place .. when there  do try the Tibetan tea.   .

7     24

IMG_9561

 

IMG_9585

 11

Day 5

 

Pisang to manang  —  at this point of the expedition we are getting into the High altitude zone  which means  managing  acclimatization  is the key,  A few tips  for proper acclimatization are as follows

 

  1. Hydrate  properly
  2. Enough sleep during night and active during  day
  3. Slow and gradual gain in altitude
  4. Enough rest and acclimatization days
  5. Checking health and look for symptoms in the initial stages itself .
  6. Good appetite, healthy food  is very important.
  7. A very positive mental state  is a must. Humor helps…
  8. Follow the basic rules ‘climb high sleep low ‘

 

The trek from Pisang to Manang  is the continuation  of the previous days trek  similar terrain  one can expect some snowfall or rain, so be prepared  ,  the  views change  after every small  distance

 

Manang  is a lovely town  and is well established to  Himalayan standards, it has video parlors, Bakeries offering delightful  bakery items ranging fro apple crumbles to pizzas, cakes and  various english delights,

 

A place where the trekker gets a much needed break  and gets ready for the second phase of the big expedition  which is more tough and  goes higher ,

 

17 23  25  22

Day 5

Manangthis is a rest day  and I recommend an acclimatization walk  to the Lake and  the high  point  we gain an altitude of about  100 mtrs and come back to our  tea house ,  trekkers  are adviced to drink lot of fluids , soups ,  etc .   there is a health check up[ point ,  and the Himalayan association runs regular talks  on High altitude  awareness , one can alsop visit the museum  there which showcases the local life style and  a glimpse of its history and culture. .

12

Day 7

Manang to Yak katka – Yak khatka is at 4200 mtrs  a very tiny village   and not a distant trail ,  it has only about 4 tea houses   a few prayer wheels ,  but this could be an important stop considering acclimatization process and is advisable to stay over ….

 

Day 8

Yak katka to torung phedi at this point we are on the snow line  at 4500Mtrs thorung phedi which is the base camp for the final push to the pass  ,  the short distance may take about 4 hours of trek ,  a narrow trail at places gets dangerous with falling stones and splinters , the trekkers are advised to be extra cautious  during this  trail ,  thorung phedi has a Helipad for emergency evac  facilities .   here we have an early lunch    and followed by an early dinner  and all move to our respective cabins  to prepare for the  early morning push the next day .    a cold night  awaits ….

13

 

Day 9

 

Thorung la   this is the longest and toughest day of this whole expedition ,  an extra layer of thermal  wear , comes into play before sleep , and most warm gear   are mainly for this  days hike ,  head gear, gloves , wind stoppers , goretex, etc etc … the list is big …

 

We plan to wake up at 3 am  get ready by 3:30 am have  a cup of tea , pack cinnamon rolls and a few boiled eggs , fill the bottles with water, head-lamps  light up our trail ,  and  at 3:45 am we start our  climb  slowly and gradually  a steep  incline is negotiated   and in about  3 hours we reach the high camp  at 4850 mtrs … a small rest and we continue  our trek landscape changes into a snow  terrain ,  what looks like never ending sheet of snow laid of the mountains , sometime slippery , sometime shallow ,  sometime deep ,  many times funny and frustrating to many a  hikers ….

 

Utmost care is to be taken while trekking in these  terrains …   with a focus on the  highest  point of thorung la   we keep moving , slowly and steadily  one step at a time , some trekkers complain of headaches ,  tiredness etc   this is very common  and the relief is  after a while its just descend ,

 

The snow line remains for quite some time  offering  surreal views  of the surrounding mountains ,  the formations ,  the clouds ,  everything falls in its own place very elegantly .    although one is adviced to wear UV protection glasses to avoid  over exposure to Glare from sunlight .

 

The Highest point at 5400 mtrs   looks like a big relief   there is a mark  where one can pose for photographs  tie Tibetan  prayer flags  take some rest  it seems like the toughest part is over … but hang on.  the  descend is  not yet over …  the trek must go on …   usually descend is more risky when compared to asends  and more accidents happen while descends ,    my team  descend  slowly  care is taken at the  snow filled terrain  as we do not use crampons and ice axe  which is not needed  here.

 

The descend  is to an altitude of 3800 mtrs to Mukthinath   a spiritual town which has the  famous Muktinath temple  considered as one of the holy pilgrimage by Hindus,

 

The town has many street vendors who sell Tibetan hand made jewelry , souvenirs , wollen shawls and warm clothes  , Saligram a sacred black stone ,  apart from a couple of fancy restaurants which offer  even free wifi facilities.

 

The temple visit  is almost a must  as this simple shrine  holds  major importance to Hindus  it houses Vishnus deity , the 108 taps from which water  falls around the temple  is also considered  sacred to take bath in .

1415

Day 10

Mukthinath to Tathopaani   taking a vehicle ride is recommended  for this stretch    we go from Mukthinath to Jomsum by jeep , , take a bus to Ghasa  and thereon change to another bus  to Thatopaani ,  this bus ride was one of the most Bumpiest ride ever ,    and add to it heavy rainfall ,  we had a stone fall from the cliff  and smash the windscreen of our bus , , the bus passes through  some very scenic terrain  we get to see the Annapurna ranges in all its glory ,  and the river below   is always flowing along  the narrow bus trail …

Thatopaani  at 1200 Mtrs is famous for its Hot springs , tourists stay their for an extra day to enjoy a  bath in the hot spring ,   we are in the Mastang district now ,

16

One of the holy Temples right after crossing the Thorung la

 

26

One of the most Bumpiest bus rides ever

21

Tathopani to Ghorepani   a long  day  this covers a rich beautiful  trail  a steadily  inclined  path leads through various small villages ,  with children playing , fields , Huts  and small tea houses offering  refreshments ,  the stunning views  are  worth mentioning ,  a photographers paradise ,   a dreamers heaven ,

This trail passes through  Ghara , Shika , Chitre  among some of the prominent villages .

One gets to see  a typical Mountain village life  ,

If one has more days  this trail can be broken down into two days as well .

Almost a 9 hours trek  we reach Gorepani at al altitude of 2800 Mtrs … again to be received by a magnificent view of the Daulagiri ranges

Poon hill   is a must visit  High point  in this trail , an early morning  climb of 400 Mtrs  from Gore pani  , offers  spectacle so enchanting  that one gets into a deep  mesmerism, the  rising sun makes the mountain ranges  very beautiful  , the clear skies,   the mix of Dusk  shades on the distant  ranges is worth a visit ,  the photographers love it ….

20

The beautiful terrain and the river that flows by almost thropughout the trail

18 19

Day 12

Grorepani to Helay to  Nayapul   to Pokhara  – The last day of the expedition is all about descending ,  there are steps , and at times it gets taxing on the knees, advisable to use walking sticks  or hiking poles …  as usual of this  region the views are never ending it simply amazes one as we hike down hill through those many villages  , the different shades of green , blues ,  the flowers ,  Fauna, birds ,   everything seems to have come together  in a perfect synch .

We trek upto Helay and take a jeep  to Nayapul  and from there  ride to Pokhara .

Pokhara is a silent city also called the adventure capital of Nepal , perfect to spend post trek days chilling out at  its many restaurants ,  indulging in adventure activities ,  or just doing nothing  and staring at the distant mountains  over a cuppa  hot  tea.

During this trail we see many  facets of Himalayan life , their culture , children, schools ,  some  new schools coming up ,  newer hospitals and health care centers  ,  the people who have lived there for generations and the  visitors and trekkers  like me and my team .

There is always some inner strength that  drives a trekker to move ahead , this time it was the strong  urge and desire  from our group to raise awareness  towards Rotary’s project on  Literacy ,  lot of help is needed to make  this dream come true … lot of hands  must join together  in driving  many initiatives  to make  this region  completely literate .

Mountaineering is a  very indulging  activity,  and It becomes a  big responsibility for every trekker   or visitor to the mountains  to be as responsible  as possible and come back with nothing but only memories …  one must remember that we have borrowed  this  from our future generations.

For people wanting to  go on a trek in this trail  they can contact sunand sampath at 9448476683 email tosunand@gmail.com

A Travelogue by

Expedition Leader Rotarian  Sunand Sampath