Camping and Trekking in the Himalayas is full of challenges and predicting the weather is the biggest challenge of all. Hailstorms are not uncommon in the Himalayas and famous treks like Roopkund have long been associated with severe hailstorms.
Trekking and Camping in Himalayas is quite famous now especially among the millennial who want to have an experience rather than sightseeing holidays or Hotel stays. Trekking and Camping is rewarding but it has its own perils and challenges. Some risks which are expected such as dehydration, fatigue, AMS can managed by following trekking guidelines or following instructions of Trek leader. But trekking is full of surprises like weather, unexpected downpour, thunderstorm, injury are some which are beyond our control. Follow these tips or Safety Measures while Camping and Trekking in Himalayas.
Get the latest weather forecast from the reliable sources like IMD or Skymet weather before you head to trekking or Camping in Himalayas. Carry appropriate clothing as per the trek essentials list provided by our team. Check for any thunderstorm, snowfall or heavy rains warning in upcoming trekking days. If there is a severe warning from local administration we do shift our trekking batches either to next date or some other trek in safer regions.
Trekking Essentials: Always Pack Right
Trekking essentials are your trekking gear, medicine kit, snacks, clothing etc., always pack as per the list provided by our team. We recommend you should always carry the Umbrella or Poncho even if there is no forecast of rains because at higher elevation weather changes very rapidly and generally there are high chances of rains after 1PM due to local weather systems.
We always recommend our trekkers to invest in a good quality trekking gear like Trekking shoes, Backpack, head lamp etc. because these are lifeline of trekkers they comes very handy when situation get worse.
Keep yourself dry.
Try to keep yourself dry and if you get wet while trekking then as soon as you reach camp then immediately get into dry clothes. Next day if your clothes are wet then trek in those clothes only if you don’t have spare clothes. During trek you produce lot of heat so you won’t feel cold in wet clothes but when resting in camp, you should be in dry clothes.
Don’t Leave the Trail
Never ever leave the specified trail even if you see your destination through woods. While trekking you are tired and hold up make sure you don’t lose the sight of trekker ahead of you or you can ask him to wait for you. Taking short cuts and leaving the specified trail will always land you in trouble. This is the most important Safety Measures while camping and trekking.
Always carry your mobile but don’t rely.
In past we have seen that mobile phones came in handy when we ran rescue operations, they help rescuers to get your last location reported but do not rely on them as there are hardly any treks which have signals.
Carry a Whistle
In case you are lost and low on energy and then shouting loud enough so your group members can listen will be mammoth task. In such scenarios whistle comes handy, it requires less every to blow and can be heard at long distances. Now these days most Backpack buckles have in built whistles.
Always carry Energy Bars or Dry Fruits.
Always carry eatables like Fruits, granola, peanut butter, bagels, power bars, fruit bars which can help you to give instant energy.
What to do when it hails or Thunderstorm?
Hails are formed at high altitudes within massive clouds when super cooled water droplets adhere to each other and form layers of ice. When gravity pulls them they fall on earth with very high speed. When it hails never stand on the peaks, highest points or near trees as there are chances of thunderstorm and lightening. In such scenarios setup your camp away from trees, avoid higher grounds and spread the camp. Use surge protector in camp area.
What to do if you encounter a hailstorm during you’re trek
1. Seek shelter immediately. Huge boulders with no loose rocks on them are safe to seek shelter. If you can’t find something to protect your entire body, find something to protect your head.
2. Seeking shelter under trees should be a last resort. It is common during severe storms for trees to lose branches. Also, large isolated trees attract lightning.
3. Alpine tents do not provide the required safety if the hailstones size is larger. Stay out of culverts and lowland areas that may suddenly fill with water.
Facts about Hail
1. The hail season varies in Himalayas. Generally, it runs March through June, with the majority of hail storms occurring March to May.
2. Hail is primarily an afternoon or evening phenomenon. Most severe hailstorms occur between 1:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M.
3. Hailstorms rarely last more than 15 minutes. The median duration is 6 minutes.
4. The most common size for damaging hail is 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The most common size for hail is 1/4 inches.
Safety Measures while Camping and Trekking if you are lost?
No matter how experienced trekker, mountaineer or confident you are you should always prepared for unexpected situations. Follow the safety measure while camping and trekking when you are lost.
1. Keep Calm
2. Stay at one place and if you are moving then leave signs in which direction you are moving
3. Find shelter or make one to save yourself from animals or weather
4. Make fire It will keep you warm and protect you from wild animals
5. Keep yourself hydrated
6. Find food but avoid berries or other seemingly edible fruits best
7. When rescue arrives signal them your location through color, shiny object, whistle or smoke.