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No fatal incidents in Sahastra Tal in last 5 years: Mountaineering Foundation

On Wednesday, 22 trekkers from Karnataka were stuck in a blizzard while trekking across the Sahastra Tal stretch. Nine of them lost their lives owing to extreme weather conditions.
Last Updated : 07 June 2024, 00:36 IST
Last Updated : 07 June 2024, 00:36 IST

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Bengaluru: No fatal incidents have been reported on the Sahastra Tal trek stretch in Uttarakhand in the last five years, according to the information available with the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) and Himalayan trek organisers in the area.

On Wednesday, 22 trekkers from Karnataka were stuck in a blizzard while trekking across the Sahastra Tal stretch. Nine of them lost their lives owing to extreme weather conditions.

Trekkers and organisers say it was sheer play of fate that resulted in such sudden and extreme weather conditions. 

“No such incidents have been reported to the IMF in the recent past,” an office-bearer of the IMF confirmed to DH.

Vijay Rautela, a mountaineer who has been a part of numerous treks in the area since 2008, said extreme weather conditions do occur sometimes in the Sahastra Tal trek stretch but sudden changes during the pre-monsoon season were unusual.

"Such sudden changes in the weather conditions are the root cause behind this tragedy. While whiteout situations are not uncommon, it is rare during this season,” he added.

Many trek organisers and mountaineers told DH that the pre-monsoon period between April and June is the ideal time to take the trek to Sahastra Tal Lake and bad weather was unexpected. Hundreds of trekkers have taken the stretch so far and never has there been such problems, they said.

"The ideal time to take the trek is during the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon months. So, April-June and September-November are ideal for the trek,” explained Rakesh Pant, who documents and organises treks in the region and works with the ‘Trek the Himalaya’ trek organisers.

While many other treks in the Himalayan ranges are popular and attract thousands of trekkers annually, the Sahastra Tal trek is not much sought-after owing to the expertise required for the trek.

"Relatively, we see fewer people take this trek since it is not for beginners and requires expertise in mountaineering. Other treks in the area which go up to the altitude of 11,000 feet are the ones which are mostly preferred as against Sahastra Tal, which goes up to an altitude of 16,000 feet,” Rautela explained.

The Sahastra Tal stretch also has a pilgrimage site which is frequented by the locals in the area and none of them complained of such sudden changes in the weather earlier, Rautela added.

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Published 07 June 2024, 00:36 IST

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