Pay heed to ‘caution signs’ when travelling to an unknown location and seek locals’ advice

One adventure enthusiast says, “It’s not called adventure for nothing.” Group adventure activities are certainly exciting, but adventure at the cost of life isn’t worth the risk, most adventure experts will suggest.

Following the Mandi mishap where students from an Engineering college in the city drowned, adventure enthusiasts and tour operators warn that mishaps are unavoidable, so precaution and expertise are pre-requisites, especially when climbing rocks, hills , mountains, crossing water bodies or even trekking in an unknown location. The first mantra of adventure is, ‘The first step could be a wrong step’. So, watch what you are stepping on, look what is ahead of you and focus where you are heading to.

There is nothing wrong with individuals venturing out on their own. But before they do so, getting local feedback is a must, understanding the terrain is a thumb rule and avoiding places with caution markers is a necessity,” says Rishi Charan Singh, director of Wild Woods Adventure Club.

Rishi who has been organising various treks and camps from Hyderabad says preparing individuals and groups include safety instructions, caution, and a little bit of prior training. “For us, adventure is not more important than someone’s life. On our camping sites we strictly instruct the members to avoid going anywhere on their own. Adventure is not to be confused with daredevilry, places marked to be avoided are avoided by everyone in the group. In case of water activities, safety gear plays a critical role. So, if on your own, go prepared with safety gear for that weather and terrain,” advises Rishi.

If such is the advice from an adventure organiser, individuals who have been trekking with the help of guides and friends say professional help comes in handy when in water or the mountains. “When we trek on mountains, we are on our own. Guides can advice us and show us the way but it’s our own feet that take every step, whether on narrow cliffs or dangerous rocks. So, at the end of the day, travellers have to take the responsibility for their own safety. Plus, we are always advised on the kind of gear we need to wear/ carry along,” says adventure enthusiast Meghna Pegu, deputy manager (human resources) with ONGC for whom adventure is a way of life.

“Health and endurance of the trekker are also very important, because during a trek we are usually far away from emergency services,” adds Meghna.

In most cases mishaps occur happen when people are unmindful of the dangers lurking ahead and take risks to club it into adventure. According to experts when not known even a harmless looking stream might take a violent turn; a river might look calm on the surface but have a strong undercurrent flowing stealthily.

Rekha Raja, a freelance photographer and travel enthusiast who hops on adventure trips with her groups ‘Rubberband’ recalls that the Beas looked like a small stream just 10 days agofrom the day of the mishap. “We were there. However, when on a search for a new trail, we equip ourselves well. Local feedback is a must but it is mostly people override. That’s dangerous. Then there are few calculated risks that we need to analyse about, along with the risk involved when venturing in a risky sport Risks are taken, but they are mostly calculated risks,” says Rekha Raja.