The death of a young student in the Sakleshpur forests has again brought into sharp focus the dangers of trekking in unfamiliar trails.
“It is perilous to go trekking in unfamiliar routes, no matter how exciting they are. Adventure activities should be done with proper planning and safety precautions.” This is some sound advice from D.S.D. Solanki, ace trekker and adventure sports promoter, and one of the founders of the International Academy of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (IAMAS).
Amateurs should consult professional trekkers or organisations promoting adventure sports to ensure safe expeditions.
Moreover, permission of the authorities concerned such as the Forest Department or the agencies promoting adventure activities is equally important in case of emergencies. Well-worn hiking routes are always safe, he adds.
Mr. Solanki, who has done some 45 expeditions, including 30 in the Himalayan region, cautioned against trekking without basic needs such as food, drinking water, first aid kit, rope, compass, map and a local guide.
According to Mr. Solanki, the terrains that are known or surveyed are safer for trekking.
Trekkers might face problems if they venture into the forests which are not open for trekking. “Be aware of the terrain, water sources and so on.”
Trekking, he says, is fun but requires careful planning. “Every step should be treaded carefully, irrespective of the area. First and foremost, trekkers must know the trail, its terrain, and dos and don'ts. Everything depends on their health and endurance levels.”
It is wise to hire the services of local guides as they know the terrain and can lead trekkers back to safety should anything go wrong.
Overconfidence and ignorance are the enemies of adventure enthusiasts, according to Mr. Solanki, who advises trekkers to be polite and respectful to local communities.
Of equal importance is steering clear of wildlife. Do nothing to provoke animals, he says, citing instances of enraging wild animals with loud noise and behaviour.