Yesterday was a black day in the world of Trekkers .Two seasoned women trekkers(Vijaya Mate Age 52 from Parel.Native place Ahmednagar and Rita Shah Age 43 from Goregaon) lost their lives at Diskari(Biskari) camp in a blizzard on 5th May.They were on YHAI expedition,the same expedition where Mahesh went with his IT friends from IFlex while we were on the Kedarkantha Trial last year.
Anjali and Raju who had done the trek earlier admit thet KedarKantha was more tough then Sar Pass.And Vilas said that Diskari is not at a great height .Our entire group consisting of around 28 are starting for Sar Pass today.Some are first timers ,other seasoned trekkers.I am not joining as I have another assignment.
The twosome who died were avid trekkers as their neighbours and relatives admit,and one of them had done even 19000 ft trek earlier.They died on the last lap of the trek which involved lots of sliding down the snow.Rhishikesh Yadav Head Mumbai branch YHAI feel that this was an acident but do not think so.
There are some points I would like to make.
1) Descent is more difficult because it requires more coordination 2) Exhaustion sets in towards the last lap 3) Over confidence can cause disaster in seasoned trekkers who tend to underestimate cold than physical endurance 4) Acclamatisation is necessary and Air travel should be avoided while joining the trek.I avoided it last year so that I gradually go from sea level to height in a train and then Bus. 5) Thermal acclamatisation is also important .Imagine there is a heat wave in the city of Mumbai.Rita went by Air to join the trek 6) Exhaustion can cloud your judgement about your own health in a setting of hypoxemia and hypoglycemia 7) Pre trekking hikes are important to give physical conditioning to the body. Camp Leaders and guides should be trained to assess those affected by frostbite and offer timely help 9) Doctors Brandy should be give to affected individual by any doctor who is on the trek if he prescibes it. 10) Group leader should only accompany the weak and /or affected and move last and slowly with rest pauses 11) Affected individuals should report when sick and not feel shy to say so .Women feel shy to ask for help which can be in the form of a full body massage with full clothes on by a young person of opposite sex in full view of others “ZAPPI a la Munnabhai” 12) Camp fires should be allowed at select spots in extreme weather 13) Affected individuals can be made to sleep in the Kitchen where it is more warm 14) Sleeping bags should be tested for a) hygiene and b) warmth retention 15) Those with Asthma and Blood pressure should be monitored during the trek 16) Portable Oxygen cylinders should be available with the guide on way 17) There is unnessary hurry to reach camp before dark and in certain instances a select group can trail behind till the condition is improved 18) Those with lw BMI can be affected by cold more as compared to those with normal BMI