Is monsoon the good time to go trekking in Indian Himalayas?
Well, let’s try to put it this way…
…It has Always, Always, Always been about breaking the rules and pushing the limits when in the Indian Himalayas. Be it the season of snowy winter or the threatening monsoon time with landslide and roadblock threats; the spirit of those hopelessly in love with Indian Himalayas cannot be broken. However, if we go by the records, the season of monsoon does witness a bit of slow pace tourism, and that’s probably because of the widespread misconception that no interesting activity can be enjoyed in the rainy season. But we beg to differ! Monsoon, though a little naughty and annoying sometimes, is indeed ideal time for trekking in the Indian Himalayas. In fact, the truth is, there are several treks that can only be done in the monsoon season. And all one needs to do is to research well, carry the appropriate gears and most importantly have a heart for adventure.
Below are few things that might prepare you for your best trekking expedition in the Indian Himalayas that too in the monsoon:
Know Where to Go for Monsoon Trekking
Ok, we admit, it is a fact that you cannot plan to trek anywhere and everywhere you like in the Indian Himalayas during the monsoon season. However, there are still a plethora of trekking places in India that you can choose from. We suggest the following for your monsoon trekking adventure:
Yes, the whole of Ladakh awaits to embrace you in the monsoon season. And there must be hundreds of trekking trails waiting for you to choose from. Ladakh, that has an average elevation is between 3000-5000 m is known to reserve lesser rainfall compared to other Indian Himalayan states. Also, since June to September is only period that Ladakh is not covered in snow, it gives another reason for you to consider this paradisiacal place for trekking. From its easy treks of Sham Valley to moderate treks such as Markha Valley to difficult ones like Stok Kangri; every trek in Ladakh is at its best during the monsoon period. You can expect light showers of rain but then what you will most likely to encounter are sunny and warm days, clear skies and the most exquisite views.
The always soulful Himachal Pradesh cannot be ignored when it comes to trekking during the monsoon season in Indian Himalayas. An all-season travel destination, Himachal stores some interesting rainy season treks that are incredibly stunning. Medium to no rain in the state makes it a perfect fit for a monsoon trekking destination in Indian Himalayas. Hampta Pass, Pin Parvati Valley, Indrahar, Kanamo Peak, Khanpari Tibba, Mojidugh and Kugti Pass can be chosen for trekking in the monsoon in the state. There are chances that one would encounter heavy downpour some or the other times while trekking but then, there is always some sunny days making the trekking expedition comfortable. However, if rainless trekking is what you have on your mind, then choosing Lahaul & Spiti district of the state is ideal. This twin district has some offbeat treks that are both
challenging and breathtaking.
Ever since the infamous 2013 flash floods, tourists have become a little skeptical about planning a visit to Uttarakhand, especially in the monsoon season. However, the footfall in the state has increased this year, and it feels that tourism shall resume pretty soon. Uttarakhand that still remains a lesser explored destination also boasts of treks that are ideal for monsoon season. We all know about Valley of Flowers (VOF) that opens only during the season for trekking, but do you know that there are prettier treks in Uttarakh and like the Chenap Valley and Mandani Valley, which can also be trekked during the rainy season. Apart from this, the unique Roopkund Trek is also at its best in the monsoon season along with Rupin Pass Trek, Ruinsara Trek, Pangarchulla Trek, Nag Tibba and Kuari Pass Trek.
Know What to Pay Attention to While Planning a Trek
There is no denying that monsoon is a bit risky in Indian Himalayas. However, if you pay attention to few things, you can plan a safe trekking expedition for yourself. Here are few helpful tips and tricks:
Keep Yourself Updated with Weather Condition: This wise act stands next to choosing the monsoon trekking destination in Indian Himalayas. Keeping an eye on the daily news (local news if possible) can really help, not only will it serve as a warning, in case the situation gets worse but also will assist in preparing for the trek, as to what to take and wear.
Keep Extra Days in Hand: The weather in hills is mostly unpredictable, thus, it is wise to set aside a day of two, in case something unavoidable (landslide, roadblock, heavy downpour) crops up during the trek.
Book Hotels/Camps in Advance: If you are not going to pitch your own tent while trekking, and will rely on the local accommodation facility then you must aim at booking hotels well in advance. This year, for VOF trek in August (10 Aug to 25 Aug), the accommodation already remains sold out. Therefore, in order to avoid an instance like this and being shelterless while trekking that too in the monsoon, it is better to make all your hotel bookings in advance.
Nothing beats a good packing strategy while trekking in monsoon. There are a few things that you need to ensure while you start packing like opting for a Poncho than a raincoat. This large piece of waterproof sheet not only is the quickest way to save yourself and your backpack but it also consumes less space (can fit into the hip belt of the backpack).
For trekking in monsoon, non-cotton (choose synthetic) full pants and full sleeved t-shirt is advisable as cottons, or any fabric fails as an insulator and holds water, making the clothes really heavy when it rains.
For monsoon treks, pack a pair of lugged shoes with good ventilation and thin socks, as the lug can prevent you from slipping and falling and proper ventilation will save you from blisters. An anti-fungal powder is also quite handy as it will disallow infection in your feet.
Last packing tip for monsoon trekking would be to pack frequently used items in the pockets outside of your backpack, this way you won’t have to open your bad multiple times, which lessens down the chances of water to seep inside your bag.
Know What to Do When in Trouble
It is ideal to remain prepared for the worse while on a trek, especially monsoon trek. The quicker you take action, the safer you would stay. Here are few things you should pay attention to:
Listen to the Other Trekkers, Carefully: It is always better to strike a conversation (ask) with people who are returning from the trek while you are still on it. If they tell you to not to continue, you must cease your expedition immediately, there can be nothing wiser than that. Don’t ignore any warning issued by any the trekkers/tour guide, it may cost you a lot.
Take Care of Your Feet: Your feet are the first to suffer injuries while trekking in monsoons. Due to getting wet in the rain, your feet might attract fungal infections. Therefore, in order to prevent the infection, use anti-fungal powder generously on the feet before heading out for your trek. It is also wise to wear thin socks and change them at least once while trekking. If possible, dry your feet and socks at rest stops.
Beware of Leeches: Leeches are one of the biggest issues during the monsoon treks. It is a great idea to carry some salt while you trek, whenever a leech sticks on you, apply salt, don’t try to pull the leech as it will make you bleed even more. In order to prevent the leeches from sticking to your body, tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks. Also, continuous walking disallows leeches to stick to your body, if at all you need to rest, stop at a dry spot and do not lean on anything.
With all these tips and suggestions here, you are all set for a monsoon trek in the Indian Himalayas. So, now don’t put off your plans till the rain ends in October. Head out now, the majestic Indian Himalayas are calling and awaiting your arrival! Need more motivation or a hand in planning? We are always here to help you. We are a leading travel operator, who specializes in designing incredible trekking tour packages. Our team of experts can provide you the best travel plans and that too at affordable prices.