Winter trekking or hiking season starts from November and lasts till the end of March. During these months only the most enthusiastic trekkers, who love to step out of their comfort zones are found marking their footprints on the snow.
During winters the air is crisp and the views are splendid. This gives the adventure buffs a great opportunity to experience an adrenaline rush along with phases of calm. Also, there is a minimal crowd found on the winter treks since a lot of people are not trained enough, giving the trekkers a chance to explore solitude.
As rosy as the picture looks, it is very important to keep a few things in mind whenever you are on a winter trek.
You must stay hydrated at all times. You might not feel thirsty but it is important that you keep drinking water after short intervals because our body keeps losing water as we walk. The body uses water to help the muscles in walking through the tough terrain and also to maintain the pH balance. You will have a dry mouth very often during winter treks too. Trekkers who do not drink enough water are more prone to hypothermia. Therefore, it of utmost importance that you provide your body enough water to function properly.
You will experience difficulties in preventing the water from freezing. But you must store water rightly in a thermos or insulated water bottles and at the right temperatures. This will keep the water in a drinkable state for a longer time. Keeping the water bottle upside down is also useful, as the water freezes from top to bottom, thus it keeps the neck of the bottle ice-free. You could also keep your water bottle in the sleeping bag during the night, just make sure it doesn’t leak. Mixing a little ginger, tulsi and lemon make it easier to drink the warm water. You can also mix ORS or some other energy drink mixture in your drink as it will help you to cope up with the loss of minerals and important nutrients from your body.
Staying warm is most essential. You must take all necessary steps in order to keep yourself warm at all times. You must stay warm while walking and also while sleeping. It might seem an impossible task to retain any body-warmth with all the snow around you and the chilly wind hitting your face, but trust me with the right measures you can easily keep your body warm.
Before you start your winter expedition, you must always cross check your packing list and make sure that you have not missed a thing. If you miss even a single thing from your checklist, it can lead to a potential hazard.
Protection from the harmful UV rays is very important on high altitudes. Good sunglasses and sunscreen are somethings that you must never miss.
While walking you must keep in mind to have enough layers of clothes on your body. When you start your day, you must wear at least two to three layers of clothes. As you day goes by and the sun comes out, you might feel the need to remove the top layers but it is advisable to have at least two layers on your body at all times. Do not forget to cover your legs appropriately. Wearing pants with fleece lining is really important. Also, you must be really conscious about not seating too much because as soon as you take a break from walking, you will be instantly cold because of the sweat on your body. Make sure you quickly remove any extra layers of clothes in case you notice sweating. Covering your ears, nose, hands, and neck is also very important. You will not like to feel the chill of the wind.
Taking good care of your feet is a quintessential part of winter trekking. Right trekking shoes are a must. You must carry enough pairs of woolen socks and change them at least two times a day. Warm and cozy feet are your best partners. If the snow is knee-deep, you should use gaiters to prevent it from getting inside your shoes. It is very important to keep your head warm too as most of the body heat is lost through your head and feet, especially during treks like Chadar or Goecha La.
At the end of a hard day of walking in the snow, your body demands rest and a sleeping bag to snuggle in. But the challenge of keeping your home for the night warm is also a challenge.
When you put your sleeping mats in place, make sure there are no gaps for the cold to pass into your sleeping bag. You can also use liners to keep your sleeping bag extra warm. If you still feel cold, you can stuff some of your clothes from your backpack in your sleeping bag.
It is also advised that you only wear your fleece jacket when you slide into your sleeping bag( Make sure it doesn’t leak). Fresh socks are a must on your feet. If needed you can keep the bottle of warm water inside the sleeping bag.
These small steps will help you during your winter trek and make it a pleasant experience for you to remember and cherish.