Ten years ago, when Bikat Adventures had just begun operations, the style of trekking we indulged in was different from the ones we organise now.
Our teams were 7-8 trekkers big. There were no options to offload backpacks. The trekkers carried their own shelter, food and equipment. When it came to staff, we had a qualified trek leader and a guide accompany the trekkers into the trails.
Fast forward ten years, our trekking teams have grown double in size!
The number of trekkers have been limited to 15. The number of staff accompanying them into the trails has grown. We have one trek leader, one guide, one cook, two helpers and 8-10 porters or 5-6 horses in a typical trekking team of 15.
There are options to offload backpacks. Campsites are set up by the staff. And there is delicious fresh food prepared by cooks.
In other words, we made a clean and conscious shift from a self-sufficient style of trekking to a service oriented model.
Over the years we have been working on different ways to re-introduce a self sustainable style of hiking into the trekking industry.
Today, we are thrilled to announce the introduction of Bikat Alpine Treks!
To put it simply, on a Bikat Alpine Trek, you hike in a self sustainable manner as opposed to our group treks which are service oriented.
Before we delve deeper into how Bikat Alpine works,
we need to address why we shifted to a service oriented model of trekking in the first place.
Two years into the industry since our inception, we learnt that a service oriented model of trekking was not only more popular but was also better preferred amongst trekkers. Significant gaps in trekking knowledge and skills discouraged trekkers from adopting the style of trekking we offered. The ones who did take it up still faced some difficulty when advancing to tougher treks.
We wanted to devise a system that motivated trekkers to move from a service oriented model to a self-sufficient style of trekking with ease.
As a first step in this direction, we designed the Bikat Rating Scale. The Bikat Rating Scale ranks all the treks in our portfolio in order of difficulty by taking into account a multitude of geographical and demographic features of a trek.
To learn more about this, read this article: The Bikat Rating Scale
Each level under the Rating Scale was then paired with learning modules on how to pack a backpack, how to choose a campsite, how to ascend and descend on snow etc. These lessons were taught real time on our treks by the trek leaders.
The basic idea was to ensure our trekkers not just returned with memorable experiences but also valuable lessons in trekking and climbing.
As each trekker progressed from levels 1 to 8 on our Rating Scale, the onus of certain responsibilities and duties shifted gradually from the staff on trails to the trekkers.
In other words, we deliberately introduced a phased shift from a service oriented model of trekking to a self sufficient style as one progressed from levels 1 to 8.
This has had a marvelous impact on many of our participants. We have had the privilege of watching many long term members of our community grow into self sufficient trekkers over the years, hauling their equipment, gear and food up the steep slopes of the Himalayas on some of the tougher expeditions falling under levels 6,7 and 8.
As a next step in our ascent to making trekkers self sufficient, we have built a new trekking style called the Bikat Alpine.
So, what does the Bikat Alpine involve?
To put it simply, Bikat Alpine is Self Sustainable Trekking.
There will be no porters.
There will be no cooks.
There will be no big groups.
Each team will instead be made of 2 Trekkers and 2 Trek Leaders.
This means, each trekker will have the individualised attention and company of a Mountaineering Course Certified Trek Leader.
How does Bikat Alpine work?
On a Bikat Alpine trek, you get the exciting opportunity of progressing from being a participant in a trek to a trekker with tangible roles and responsibilities in tandem with your Trek Leader.
Before a trek, you get to participate in the pre-trek planning process on equal footing with your trek leader.
You will discuss your physical fitness training strategies, prepare a packing list along with the equipment you will need to carry, plan your food ration, look into topography, routes etc.
During the trek, you get to particpate in all aspects of trekking. Since your team will essentially comprise of just you and your trek leader, your role and responsibility in the team increases multifold.
With your trek leader, you will be required to
- plan the route
- decide on a pace
- choose campsites for the day
- set up camp
- cook food etc
We get it that some of these responsibilities may sound daunting for both new and seasoned trekkers. Please don't let this worry you though. You will have plenty of help from our end and from your trek leader as well.
The idea with Bikat Alpine is to introduce participants to a self sustainable style of hiking right from the beginning.
With our current model, participants progress from a service oriented model to a self sustainable style over many years. Bikat Alpine allows us to bring this experience to trekkers much quicker!
A 1:1 Trek leader : Participant ratio also ensures individualised attention and help anytime and anywhere you face some difficulty.
|Trek Name||No.of Days||Price for 2 Participants||Start & End Point||Backpack Weight (Kgs)||Packing List: Items with Green Star to be bought by participants. Items with red start will be provided by Bikat|
|Beas Kund Trek||3||44453||Manali||12-14||Packing List|
|Bhrigu Lake Trek||3||44453||Manali||12-14||Packing List|
|Hamta Circle Trek||3||44453||Manali||12-14||Packing List|
|Patalsu Peak Trek||3||44453||Manali||12-14||Packing List|
|Chandrakhani Pass Trek||3||44453||Kullu||12-14||Packing List|
|Kedarkantha Trek||3||44453||Sankri||12-14||Packing List|
|Brahmatal Trek||3||44453||Lohajung||12-14||Packing List|
|Kuari Pass Trek||3||44453||Joshimath||12-14||Packing List|
|Dayara Bugyal Trek||3||44453||Uttarkashi||12-14||Packing List|
|Hampta Pass Trek (Without Chandratal)||4||53978||Manali||13-15||Packing List|
|Har Ki Dun Trek||4||53978||Sankri||13-15||Packing List|
|Devkyara Trek||4||53978||Sankri||13-15||Packing List|
|Panwali Kantha Trek||4||53978||Ghuttu||13-15||Packing List|
|Hampta Pass Trek (With Chandratal)||5||63504||Manali||13-15||Packing List|
|Deo Tibba Base Camp Trek||5||63504||Manali||13-15||Packing List|
|Pangarchulla Peak Trek||5||63504||Joshimath||13-15||Packing List|
|Ruinsara Tal Trek||5||63504||Sankri||13-15||Packing List|
|Dodital Trek||5||63504||Manali||13-15||Packing List|
|Dodital Trek||5||63504||Uttarkashi||13-15||Packing List|
|Dodital Trek||5||63504||Uttarkashi||13-15||Packing List|
|Bali Pass Trek||6||73030||Sankri/Yamunotri||15-17||Packing List|
|Satopanth Lake Trek||6||73030||Joshimath||15-17||Packing List|
|Baradsar Lake Trek||6||73030||Sankri||15-17||Packing List|
|Vasuki Tal Trek||6||73030||Gangotri||15-17||Packing List|
|Kalihani Pass Trek||7||82555||Manali||15-17||Packing List|
Participant Selection Criteria:
Contrary to our group expeditions, please note that bookings for Bikat Alpine follow a two step selection procedure.
Since the roles and responsibilities of a trekker are more defined here, we will individually assess your skill set and suggest a suitable trek/expedition.
The selection criteria will broadly be based on the following:
- Your Experience
- Physical fitness
- Team spirit (assesed from previous treks you have done with us)
- Eagerness to take responsibility outdoors.
How does this work?
If you wish to particpate in any of the Bikat Alpine Treks
Fill in your Details using the Registration Form here.
Our team will get in touch with you. Based on your experience and fitness levels, they will suggest an appropriate trek / expedition for you.
Our team will re-evaluate your preparation 7 days before departure.
If our team finds your preparation unsatisfactoy, you can either opt to post pone the dates of your trek or get a full cash refund.
Please note that the cash refund will be credited in your account within 14 working days.
Inclusions in Price:
Please Note that the prices mentioned above are for a team of two trekkers.
The following will be included in your price:
- All items in the packing list marked with a red star.
- Outdoor Adventure Insurance
- Walkie-Talkie Communication Set
- 2 Mountaineering Course Certified Trek Leaders
- Transportation to and from Base Camp
- Trekking Permits
The items marked with a green star are excluded from the price. Trekkers will be required to bring these items by themselves.
If Participant Cancels 7 days before departure : Full Cash Refund
If Bikat Adventures cancels 1 day before departure : Full Cash Refund
In all other scenarios before trek starts : 50% voucher refund
After trek starts : No Refund
Please Note: All cash refunds will be credited within 14 working days
Why Choose Bikat Alpine?
1) It is an eco-friendly style of trekking.
Since our team sizes are 4 and we don't take any additional staff on the trails, our footprint is drastically reduced.
We also wont be carrying any kitchen tents. Instead you get a delightful chance to cook food in the vestibules of your own tents! :)
The waste you collect on the way will be stored in your backpacks which you will bring back to the nearest town and dispose in the designated place.
Lastly we won't be carrying any toilet tents. On a Bikat Alpine trek, you are in for a new pooping experience. You dig a cat hole and cover it after defecation which speeds up decomposition and maintains a balanced and healthy eco-system in the mountains.
2) It is a learning based experience.
" When we shifted from a self sustainable style of hiking to a service oriented model, one distinct change we noticed was in the stories our participants brought back from their treks. When trekkers participated in the self sustainable model, they returned with thrilling narratives of adventures along with key skills they picked up and learnt while trekking. The adventure component is present to this day. But stories of skills people picked up reduced substantially once we shifted to a service oriented model. We want to bring the learning component back through Bikat Alpine." -Girish, One of the Founders.
3) You become part of the decision making process.
How many times have you secretly begrudged your trek leader for choosing to turn away from a summit because of unfavorable climatic or geographical conditions?
Why did we set up camp here instead of a spot further up the trail where the views left you spell-bound?
On a Bikat Alpine Trek, you get to participate in the decision making process every step of the way. This will help you gain a better understanding of how and why certain decisions are made the way they are while on the trail.
Since your team comprises of you and your trek leader, you can choose the start date of a trek.
You also get to decide the pace of the trek. Do you want to slow down on the meadows and pick up speed through rocky terrain?
How about camping at a spot further up the trail? It really is all up to you and what you would like to do!
5) Go with your close friend / trusted buddies
Since the team comprises of two trekkers and two trek leaders only, you get to choose your fellow trekker.
In case you don't have a fellow trekker in mind, that is alright too. We will pair you with another trekker.
Small teams are usually more agile on the trail. You don't need to wait for other members of your group to catch up. You can take rest breaks as and when you need it and proceed climbing afterwards.
7) Pro Social Distancing
The Bikat Alpine is especially suitable for current times. The small group size and desolate nature of the trails reduces your contact with other people drastically.
What are your views on Bikat Alpine? Would you be game for giving it a try?
Please leave your views and queries in the comments section below! :)