Those who trek regularly would know that exploration or recce (a slang for reconnaissance) of a trek is different from a normal trek organized by any operator. At Bikat Adventures, we love exploring new trails, cycling routes and mountains - though it doesn't always make sense as a business, we want to reduce environmental impact on saturated trails in the Indian Himalaya and keep the true spirit of exploration alive.
If you've been keeping up with our social media, you would have noticed our new exploration team (headed by Sarthak, mostly accompanied by Cam, and sometimes other members of our organisation) has been traveling across the breadth of the Himalayas this year.
Exploratory trips are close to our heart and we do them the way we started trekking, it was challenging at a personal level (critical for learning), almost self supported, and more often than not, faster. This is how an exploration is different from a regular fixed departure trek :
Explorations are done by experienced trekkers who are comfortable in eating without table & stools, carrying only a mug and mess-tin for their meals, helping themselves without a helper, etc. Basically the idea is to go lean, cutting down the 'facilities'. Being lean gives us the flexibility while exploring so that we can move fast or change plans/routes easily (if required).
Each participant carries everything required for themselves like sleeping bags, mats, personal stuff, and also shares some technical equipment load. Average weight of the rucksack would be around 12 - 15 kg, sometimes even up to 20 kg
Since it is a recce, it is important to document and map the trails meticulously. Thus some additional jobs get added like photography, filming, trail documentation and GPS plotting, etc. Everyone plays a part. Not to say that those who are not good with DSLR cannot go - its just that we go as a team and collectively achieve each objective of the exploration.
Crash Course Learning:
Those who are experienced trekkers, start feeling comfortable on normal treks, with all the nice guys (tough mountain people) like porters, helpers, and mules around, not having much to do except for walking ahead of the group most times. So, it is important for them to keep stepping outside the comfort zone every now and then. Explorations are just the right dose! You learn more about techniques, trails, and yourself.
Faster rate of movement:
Don't worry, we don't target AMS! Its just that the trails are covered a bit faster than usual so that we have more time at hand to complete the additional tasks that we have. Itineraries designed are comfortable but our experience is that our band of brothers and sisters (the Bikat explorers) complete them ahead of time.
In the end it is just important to note that exploratory trips might be a bit more challenging but they are so rich on experience and satisfaction that it compensates for all the sore muscles.
Easy on your wallet:
You won't break the bank on these exploratory trips - trip costs will be split equally amongst all team members!
These are the explorations we have planned for the winter of 2019 :
|Approx. No.of Days
|Spiti Winter Homestay Trek
|Dhankar - Lalung - Demul - Komic - Langza
|Patalsu Peak Winter Trek
|Sari Pass Trek
|Kullu to Kangra
|Snow Leopard Trek
|Hemis National Park, Ladakh
|Kashmir Great Lakes - Winter Variation
|Gangabal, Nundkol and Kolesar Lakes
|Chandranahan Lakes Winter Trek
|Pabbar Valley, Shimla
|Pabbar Valley Winter Homestay Trek
|Pabbar Valley, Shimla
|Classic Annapurna Circuit with Mesokanta La and Tilicho Lake
|Everest Base Camp
|EBC with Gokyo Ri, Gokyo Lakes and Cho La
If you're interested in joining any of these, fill out the form below, and we'll definitely get back to you!
Check out the complete list of exploratory trips here.