Uttarakhand trekking tragedy: SOP needed for adventure tourism, says social activist

He said it was vital to check the fitness levels of people going on a trekking expedition in high-altitude areas.


Published Jun 07, 2024 | 6:06 PMUpdatedJun 07, 2024 | 6:16 PM

SOP for adventure tourism

In the wake of the death of nine trekkers in Uttarakhand, social activist Anoop Nautiyal has said the approach towards high adventure tourism in the state needs to be changed.

Bodies of nine Bengaluru residents who died during a trek to Sahastra Tal were retrieved on Wednesday, 5 June and Thursday, 6 June, while 13 others were rescued.

The 22-member trekking team set out on a 35-km long trek from Uttarkashi on 29 May.

The team was to come back by 7 June but lost its way after being hit by a blizzard while returning from the lake located at a height of more than 15,000 feet.

No SOP yet

Nautiyal, who heads the NGO Social Development For Communities Foundation, said casualties during trekking expeditions are common in Uttarakhand. Yet, there is no Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for high adventure tourism in the state.

“The Sahastra Tal tragedy is a grim reminder of a similar tragedy at Draupadi Ka Danda peak in 2022 in which 29 trekkers of Nehru Institute of Mountaineering died. It is time we began seeing tourism from the point of view of extreme weather events like avalanches and blizzards and climate change,” he said.

“One of the trekkers who died during the expedition was over 70 years old, and three of them were above 60. Were they medically examined before being allowed to go on the trek?” Nautiyal asked.

Asserting that there must be an SOP for the adventure tourism sector, he said it was vital to check the fitness levels of people going on a trekking expedition in high-altitude areas.

He also said satellite phones can be given to trekking teams so that they can seek help in case of an emergency.

A magisterial probe has been ordered into the Sahastra Tal tragedy.

Uttarakhand trekking mishap: As death toll rises to 9, Karnataka minister oversees rescue ops

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)