As a trekker, I have been asking myself this question – When can we resume trek after COVID-19? And I know just like me there will be many trekkers who will be asking the same question. We have been locked for over 2 months now but the situation doesn’t seem to get any better.
But, the question still remains unanswered.
When I can trek again after COVID 19?
If I look at the current situation and go as per the logic, then I would say October. Again, that’s an assumptive answer because we know, trekking is dependent upon the below factors.
First of all, the main reason will be the decrease in the number of new coronavirus cases. Currently, as of May 30, 2020, we have a total of 174,020 cases. And, on average for the month of May, we have more than 4500 new cases coming in a single day. Hence, the treks won’t be opened by the government unless we have a drastic decrease in the number of new cases, maybe 200-300 in one day for the whole country.
The number of cases from March to this day has been increasing at an increasing pace. India as a country has reached this number in about two and a half months. So now, about the same or more amount of time will be required to get these numbers to 200-300 in a day. Or worse, it can even take a longer time.
Here is a graph which shows the increase in the number of cases on a daily basis in India.
Secondly, it is a fact that most of the trekkers who come to the Himalayas are from the South part of India. As per Indiahikes, which is one of the leading trekking companies in India, claims to have maximum trekkers from Bangalore followed by Mumbai. With that in mind, these trekkers will need air travel so that they can travel to the base camp.
Here is a chart from Indiahikes
Third and most importantly will you be ready to travel? We all know that the majority of us will not make any plans for atleast a month or two after the lockdown is over. The fear of getting infected will stay in our minds for some time because of the fact that we know there is no cure yet.
Should You Start Booking For Treks From October?
The answer to this question will actually depend upon you. As from recent updates, many trekking companies like Indiahikes have opened their treks from September onwards. You will find the dates available between September and December. In case you have booked your treks for the month of July/August with Indiahikes, then they have asked to wait. They haven’t called off the treks yet. And if there is any possibility, they said they will run it safely.
They have also reduced the cancellation period for the July/August treks to 10 days before the start of the trek. So whether you cancel now or 10 days prior to the start of the trek, the cancellation policy remains the same.
But in case you are someone who plans to do alone or with your own group, then certainly you have the advantage to skip planning for now. If everything works out well, then you can easily plan any trek even a month before. However, I would suggest to go for easy to moderate treks for this year and avoid any expeditions or difficult treks.
Here are some of the treks which you can consider:
- Prashar Lake
- Chopta Chandrashila
- Buran Ghati
- Har Ki Dun
- Nag Tibba
- Dayara Bugyal
- Rupin Pass
- Valley of Flowers
- Indrahar Pass
What precautions you should take for treks after COVID-19?
When it comes to trekking it is clear that maintaining a social distance is very difficult. Why? Because you can still ask the trekkers to maintain some distance while walking but at night they share the same tents. If not, then this way they have to carry their own tents which is not possible for everyone.
Moreover, the trekkers go to the basecamp in a shared vehicle and even eat together. If you isolate them then I don’t think they will enjoy trekking. Plus, no one can run the COVID-19 test before and after the trek is completed. It is cumbersome and expensive.
So let me give you some tips/precautions which you should take.
- Bring your own gears. As simple as it sounds. Make it a habit to carry your own gears like shoes, pants, jackets, cutlery, bed sheet, sleeping mat, and sleeping bags. This would avoid the chances of any kind of infection. These are your basic needs and also lightweight. I would personally suggest buying these because if you are a trekker then you need them always.
- Avoid renting any equipment/gears. You will never know whether the gear you are renting has been sanitized or for that matter even cleaned. Many companies will follow the proper hygiene process while renting out these gears but we cannot be 100% sure on that. And I personally don’t like to rent.
- Carry ample amounts of sanitizer and other hygienic products. Yes, the trekking company will definitely give you the sanitization facilities but really it’s better if you take your own.
- Check for your body temperature before heading out for trekking. If you feel it’s above normal, prefer to stay at home.
- Consult with your doctor before planning a trek. This is something we should always do but I know we don’t. But this time take some time out and get the consultation.
Having said before that this is an assumptive answer. You will be able to get a better answer as we move closer to October. But one thing is for sure even if the trek starts from October, then also they will not resume the whole hog. It will start slowly and increase towards the end of the year. I can say that if the trek resumes from October then we can expect a good number of trekkers from the start of next year.
Nevertheless, let’s hope this coronavirus ends soon and we can be back to our normal life of trekking. Till then stay safe and stay at home.
See you in the mountains soon!!!