We have good news for you. While group treks remain closed, screened private teams can now start trekking with us. We have opened this option keeping your safety and the safety of our mountain staff in mind.
With COVID-19 still rampant in many pockets of the country, trekking in groups with unknown members is still unsafe. But that’s not the case with private teams.
In private teams, we expect that you personally know your team members and will take the required steps to keep each other safe. We also expect that you will follow respective state government rules.
Private teams with a minimum of 4 members can now start trekking.
When Are We Starting Private Team Treks?
We will start trekking with private teams from 15th September onwards. Our slope teams are ready with the required setup and permissions.
Which Treks Have We Opened Up For Private Teams?
We have opened up 4 treks for private teams:
1. Ali Bedni Bugyal
3. Dayara Bugyal
4. Gaumukh Tapovan
How are we going to ensure your safety on private team treks? Here is our 29-point safety check:
Safety is something that Indiahikes is a pioneer of. Most modern trekking systems in our country have been introduced to trekking by Indiahikes.
We are not only worried about the safety of trekkers, but the safety of our mountain folk as well. We are wary of taking the virus to the mountains, which can be a catastrophe. Health care systems in the mountains are negligible.
Keeping this in mind, we are taking several precautions to ensure safety. Here are our COVID-time safety steps:
Initial safety checks during transport:
1. In accordance with the Uttarakhand rules, every participant has to come with a COVID-19 negative test report (RT-PCR test), which is taken not earlier than 96 hours before entering the state. Such tests can now be easily done in private labs across the country. (You’ll find the latest guidelines from Uttarakhand Tourism here.)
2. As long as the flight timings allow it, we will organise transport right from the airport, creating a “transport bubble” so that trekkers don’t have to take any public transport.
3. If trekkers are reaching the pick up point post noon, they will have to stay overnight in the city in a safe hotel. Our team will help trekkers with recommendations for this.
4. To avoid stopping at public restaurants for breakfast and lunch, trekkers will be given packed food on the journey. The food is cooked in the safety of our own kitchen at the pick up location.
5. The transport vehicle will be sanitized for your use and there will be a barricade between the driver and trekkers, similar to what we see in taxi services.
6. Every vehicle will have a bottle of sanitizer in it.
7. The driver and trekkers are all expected to wear masks, and maintain personal hygiene.
Second set of safety checks at the base camp:
8. Once trekkers reach the base camp, before they enter their rooms, their COVID certificate, oxygen saturation, BP and general health will be checked immediately. Their status will be updated on our IH Trek Vitals App.
9. If any team member showcases any COVID-19 symptoms, then, unfortunately the whole team will be immediately isolated and sent back to the base city.
10. Once trekkers get past the initial tests, they will be assigned their own freshly sanitized sleeping bags and liners, even at the base camp. These will be used throughout the trek.
11. Trekkers will not exchange their sleeping bags / liners or tents throughout the trek. Each of these will be numbered so they identify their own equipment.
12. All our rooms at the base camps and tents will be sanitized for your use.
13. To keep villagers isolated from any possible virus, trekkers will not be allowed to venture into any villages or interact with villagers on the way. From the base camp, they will only go onto the trek and leave from the base camp.
14. Trekkers will not be allowed in the Indiahikes kitchen, where food is cooked for the entire slope team.
15. Trekkers will not come in contact with any Indiahikes staff except their Trek Leader.
16. In case of camping at the base camp, the camp will be located slightly outside the premises of the village.
17. All trek equipment will be sanitized before the start of the trek.
18. In case of offloading, we’ll do a no-contact offloading system, where trekkers don’t come in contact with the mulemen / porters. Trekkers will offload it into a kit bag, which will later be zipped up and taken by the mulemen. None of the mules will be walking along with the trekkers, they will leave later and reach before trekkers at the designated camp.
19. All accompanying Indiahikes team members will be tested for oxygen saturation and any symptoms of COVID-19 before joining trekkers on the trek. (A COVID test for every team member in the current situation is not a possibility.)
20. Trekkers will be tested thrice a day for oxygen saturation (as per our norm) and the Indiahikes team members will also be checked thrice a day.
21. Trekkers will stay two in a tent (even though it isn’t necessarily social distancing, we believe there’s a psychological reassurance that comes with the extra space.)
22. There will be dry toilets at all campsites (trekkers use their own toilet paper). These are no-contact toilets, where trekkers don’t sit on seats or come in contact with anything except the zip of the tent. There will be ample water and soap to sanitize hands after using the toilet.
23. All our kitchen staff members and Trek Leaders will wear masks and face shields while cooking and serving.
24. There will be a separate dining tent where trekkers can eat. This will be disinfected before use. The tent will be based on the size of the team. It will be a spacious tent with door flaps open and windows open.
25. As is the norm on our treks, trekkers will be instructed to bring their own cutlery, and will be given enough sanitizing facilities for their cutlery.
26. The Indiahikes team will be equipped with oxygen cylinders and a full fledged high altitude medical kit that will be available to trekkers at all times.
Fourth set of safety checks after the trek ends:
27. Trekkers will be dropped back to the city, in tandem with their travel plans, which they can discuss with the Indiahikes team in advance.
28. Trekkers are welcome to drive their own vehicles to the base camp if they have the option.
29. Once trekkers leave the base camp, the accompanying staff will be checked everyday for any symptoms. Their oxygen saturation and temperature will be checked thrice a day.
Trek Leader’s COVID-19 Kit
Every Trek Leader will have these safety gears in a COVID-19 Kit:
- Pulse Oximeter
- Infrared Thermometer Gun
- Medical Mask
- Face Shield
- Oxygen Cylinder
If a trekker is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms on the trek, here’s the protocol we will follow:
1. The entire trekking team will be evacuated to the base camp, and further to a COVID testing centre in Dehradun.
2. Indiahikes team members who were with the trekkers will not be accompanying trekkers beyond the base camp. They will be quarantined at the base camp location in a dedicated room. If the trekker tests positive, the staff members will be brought to the city and tested as well.
3. The evacuating driver will take all necessary precautions while bringing the team to the city.
4. If required, there will be a separate vehicle available to take the affected trekker to the city in isolation. A separate vehicle will be arranged for the rest of the trekkers.
5. If required, there will be a separate vehicle available to take the affected trekker to the city in isolation. A separate vehicle will be arranged for the rest of the trekkers.
6. The Indiahikes ground team will remain in constant touch with the trekkers over phone, until trekkers go back home.
│ Note: Trekking is a sport where social distancing is not a possibility. You camp in tents, eat together, help each other on trails and trek closely together. While we use commonsense and general precautions to keep everyone safe (as mentioned above), please be aware of this reality as well.
That said, trekking is also probably the only safe activity where you are isolated from the rest of the world. There is no one else in the mountains except you and your team. It is the best contact-less sport in the world.
To ensure we reduce human contact as much as possible, we are adopting a bit of our Do-It-Yourself trekking style for private teams.
Every private team will have a Trek Leader, a cook and a helper. This 3-member team will ensure you’re safe, well-fed and comfortable on your trek. (If your private team has more than 7 people there will be more IH team members accompanying you.)
While this 3-member team can handle everything on the trek, we expect you to help pitch tents, set up camp, take small leadership roles in navigating and serving food to your trek mates. It’s an exciting way of trekking, which trekkers have come to love since last October. In this trekking style, you are as much the organiser as we are!
What Is The Trek Fee?
Cost Per Trekker (Excluding 5% GST) Trek Name 4-7 Trekkers 8-12 Trekkers 13-17 Trekkers Ali Bedni Bugyal 10,450 9,450 8,450 Dayara Bugyal 9,750 9,450 8,900 Brahmatal 10,950 9,750 9,450 Gaumukh Tapovan 16,450 15,450 13,450
This fee includes all expenses of the trek from base camp to base camp
- All meals on your trek, including the Indiahikes-cooked meal on transport
- Your accommodation (2 per tent)
- Camping charges
- All camping and safety equipment
- Most importantly, the services of the Indiahikes trek leading team.
The fee does not include:
- The cost of transport from your pick-up location to the base camp and back.
- Optional offloading of your backpack
- Any rental gear
- Anything that’s not mentioned in the inclusions.
What Are The Available Dates?
Since these are private team treks and not fixed departures, you have the luxury of choosing a date. But we are making it easier for you by giving you an easy way to choose a date.
Choose any weekend date and let us know. We’ll plan the itinerary starting on that date.
What Happens If You Are Tested Positive Before Your Trek
In case you’re tested positive with COVID before the trek (we really hope that doesn’t happen), we will cancel the trek for the entire group. Your entire trek fee will be refunded, minus 4% transaction charges. We will, of course, need a Covid positive certificate as proof before we do that.
For any other cancellation, our regular cancellation policy applies:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher.
How To Sign Up For A Private Team Trek
If you’d like to plan a trek, get in touch by filling the form below. It has a list of available treks and requires a few details from you.
What Happens After You Fill The Form?
Once you fill the form, one of our team members will get back to you within 24 hours. They will have a quick chat with you about what you have in mind and suggest the next plan of action.
After that, over the next 2 days, we’ll need a confirmation of your selected trek, the dates, number of participants and their details. We will be frank. We have received close to 300 queries ever since we opened up the private team option on our website.
We may not be able to accept all teams on the dates requested by you. If there is a clash in date with another team, we will request you to avail the next possible date.
If you have any doubts or thoughts, drop in a comment. Our expert team members will get right back to you.