White snow covered Spiti in Winter- February 2017

Dates : From 18th February 2017 to 25th February 2017

 

Background

Spiti, known as the “Land in the middle”, lies between Tibet and India, boasts for having one of the highest inhabited village in the world, highest post office in the world and some unique mountains, rivers and lakes. Approachable through Shimla side, via Kinnaur and from Manali side via Lahaul.

While Spiti valley is considered as travelling destination for summers, this places can get much more beautiful in winters. As part of  this exploration, we will try to observe the places, nature, life that goes during harsh winter.

Winter in Spiti in winter is not an easy going exploration, with temperature plunging to -15 degree Celsius, limited resources and roads getting closed. It needs alot of planning, local resources, and a good team to make sure that we do this trips safe and still enjoy it to the fullest.

 

Caution (Read before you decide to join):

  • This is not a regular season trip, we will be exploring Spiti in one of the most off season, hence you will not be in your comfort zone at all.
  • We will have to alter our plan based on the the weather conditions at that time, at no cost we will put the group into any sort of risk.
  • Stay options will be very limited.
  • As the temperature will be below freezing point, water pipes will be completely frozen, hot water for daily needs will be provided in buckets. Be prepared to use dry toilets at most of the places.
  • As its a highly unpredictable trip, we will keep the group small and will close it soon, on first come, first serve basis.

 

Day wise Plan:

Date Plan Night Stay at
18-Feb-17 Saturday Shimla to Kalpa Kalpa or Recong Peo
19-Feb-17 Sunday Kalpa toKaza Kaza
20-Feb-17 Monday Kaza – Kye – Kibber – Chicham walk – Kaza Kaza
21-Feb-17 Tuesday Kaza – Lancha – Kaza Kaza
22-Feb-17 Wednesday Kaza – Attargu – Dhankar – Gulling Gulling
23-Feb-17 Thursday Explore around Gulling Gulling
24-Feb-17 Friday Gulling to Kalpa Kalpa or near by possible options
25-Feb-17 Saturday Kalpa to Shimla Drop at Shimla

Note : We might have to change the plan based on the weather conditions

 Route

 

 

Expected Weather Conditions:

  • Minimum Temperature : Around -15 degree celcius
  • Maximum Temperature : Around -5 degree celcius
  • Sunrise : Around 7:00 AM
  • Sunset : Around 6:00 PM
  • Snowfall expected on few days

FAQ:

Q: Where is Spiti?
A : Spiti, known as the “Land in the middle”, lies between Tibet and India, boasts for having one of the highest inhabited village in the world, highest post office in the world and some unique mountains, rivers and lakes. Approachable through Shimla side, via Kinnaur and from Manali side via Lahaul.

Q: How do I know more about Spiti
A: Please go through my Spiti page

Q: What will be the expected temperature and weather?
A : Day temperature will hover around -2 to -10 degree Celsius, while night temperature can go down to -15 and at some places to -20 degree.

Q: Roads remains open in winter?
A: Yes,but its always unpredictable and needs to be tracked

Q: What is AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)?
A: AMS is result of sudden exposure to reduced air pressure and lower oxygen level at high altitude. General symptoms are Headache, Fatigue, Nausea, and Loss of appetite, sleeplessness, heavy breathing. Descending down and inhaling oxygen can cure it faster. Fortunately as we are ascending gradually before we reach Kaza, we should be good.

Q: What are the precautions for photography gears?
A: You don’t need to worry much about the professional gears much, they are built to sustain such extreme weathers. For basic gears, just keep that battery at warm places like inner pocket and avoid sudden transition from cold to warm places. Battery tend to drain faster in colder conditions

Q: I had no time to prepare, can I buy warm cloths in Kaza?

A: Not recommended, better plan an buy in advance

Q: Is there some trekking involved in this?
A: No

Q: I have medical history related to breathing, blood pressure or anything significant, Can I travel at such height and low temperature?
A: Please consult your doctor for the same.

Q: What about the phone connectivity
A: In most of the areas, BSNL is the only network, after we cross Spillow.

Q: What kind vehicles will be used for the trip, will they have snow chains if required?
A: We have the trusted Utility vehicles lined for this trip. For the snow drives, vehicles will have snow chains. Drivers are experts in driving under snow and cold conditions.

 

Cost:

28,000 INR Per Person for individual participants. (Confirmation against full payment only).

26,500 INR Per Person if joining as team of two people , together.

25,500 INR Per Person if joining as team of four people, together.

500 USD for Non Indian participants

Please call us at 9910036654 or 996826664 or write to us at rajiv@yellowpeaks.com for more details

 

Refund Policy:

  • 60% refund in case of cancellations 4 weeks before the exploration. No refund after that
  • In case of initial plan getting cancelled due to the bad weather, we will execute an alternate plan.
  • In case the alternate plan is also not possible, we will refund the money after deducting the minimal administrative charges.

 

Inclusion:

  • Local Transport in SUV/MUV for the whole trip plan from Shimla to Shimla.
  • All governments’ fees and taxes for normal journey within Spiti, Non-Indians will have to pay little extra for the fees.
  • All basic meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), morning and evening tea.
  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis, in limited availability during winter, standard hotels or guest houses. During our trip we might end up in triple sharing, if only we have to change our plans due to weather conditions.

 

Exclusion:

  • Flight or travel expenses to reach Shimla.
  • Travel or medical Insurance.
  • Any medical emergency or rescue cost.
  • Anything not mentioned in included section.
  • Winter cloths and accessories.
  • Tips and phone calls.
  • Photography equipment of any kind.
  • Hotel and Other costs added to the trip due to road blockage or landslide, that has to be paid on actual basis, by participants.

 

Other T&Cs

  • Spiti in winter is highly unpredictable, and plans can change due to snowfall. We might have to change plans and locations while on trip, based on situation.
  • Most of the stay arrangements in remote areas will be with guest houses and home stays. We will ensure it’s clean and hygienic, but room heating will be very limited with no or limited running water. At places we might only have dry toilets.
  • Photography is restricted for some of the areas and objects like bridges, Army camps and office, some for the restricted zones..
  • Please ask before taking a picture of or with an Army personnel or local.
  • We will need a copy of an ID proof issued by government organization for permits and other processes. You need to carry the same ID all the time during the trip.
  • You are responsible for keeping Spiti clean and we would need your help to bring back all our garbage back to base where it can be disposed off properly.
  • Winter is tough time not just for humans but for local wild life. Do not disturb or provoke wildlife for the sake of a good picture.
  • Final decision on the logistics, plan, options remains with the trip organizer.

 

 

 Cloths

Upper Body
Layer 1  : Warm Inner
Layer 2 : Body fit sweater, I use a ultra warm but thin, high neck sweater
Layer 3 :  Warm Fleece, thick one
Layer 4 :  Down Jacket, this is absolutely must

Quick Notes:

For last few years, I am using the 100% merino wool inner, and with that, you can remove “Layer 2” completely. Though 100% merino wool inner are almost 3-4 times the cost of normal inner. ONN and few other companies are selling genuine 100% merino wool stuff.

Down or duck feather jacket is a guarantee for warmth, but a good quality synthetic foam filled jackets will work as well, just keep an extra layer of inner in that case

The important point to note is, that the layers of cloths should allow the free movement of limbs and blood circulation. Don’t go for tight fits.

Lower Body
Layer 1 : Warm Inner, I again use 100% merino wool lower
Layer 2 : Foam Filled Lower, I have a synthetic foam filled paint, which is pretty loose.

Quick Notes:

If your foam filled pants are little larger, you can wear a fleece pants between inner and pant, if you feel cold in two layers.

We can get the foam filled pants custom stitched in Delhi, if we have 3-4 orders, I did that few years back

Hands
Layer 1 :  Thin Inner layer fleece gloves, Decathlon sells it for 300 Rs I guess
Layer 2 : Water Proof thick gloves, again you can buy the same from Decathlon.

Two layers of gloves will keep your hands cozy, if not warm.

Feet
Layer 1 : Nylon Socks: pure nylon socks will keep the humidity out
Layer 2 : Woolen Socks, get those thick woolen socks
Layer 3 : Good quality shoes, with double layer of socks , you will need a size bigger shoe, don’t worry, a size bigger shoes works well once you use them with single layer of socks in summer. Quechua forclaz 500 are quite famous, but your regular trekking shoes will also work.

See the point is, no layers of socks and shoes will make your feet warm in that kind of cold, all you need to target is that your feet and fingers don’t feel cold.

If your feet start feeling cold, just walk a bit and you should be fine.

Head
Balaclava, that monkey cap, is the best inner layer

You can use muffler for covering neck, my jacket has a neck restraint, which is foam filled and covers the neck
Thick woolen cap, that covers your ears completely

Sun glasses are must

Other Stuff

A towel, I prefer that thin “Parna” type towel as it gets dry quickly

 

Medicines and Toiletry

SPF 60 sun lotion, very important, and good quantity.

Mustard oil, another very important item, it will be cold and almost zero humidity, skin will dry up very, and only the the pure mustard oil will not freeze at that temperature.

Toilet Paper Roll, you will need that, I guarantee 😀 , we will buy and keep few in our vehicles. You can buy it from Kaza market

Rest of the medicine list is for your reference and as per your requirement

Diamox

Cheston Cold
Oxyflocin
Crocin
Paracitamol
Soframycin
Anti alergic
cough/cold
Anti vomiting
Brufin

 

Camera and Electronics

Camera and Lenses
Batteries, keep few extra, cold reduces the performance of the battery by 30-40%. I will share the tricks to handle cold.
Extra Memory Cards
Tripod
Charger
Solar Charger
Torch
Tent light
Head Light
Extra AA Battery

Other important essentials

Sun Glasses

Rubber water bottle, used for warming up sprained body parts, works very well for warming up the quilts as you get inside for sleep for the night, it’s works awesome if your feet feel cold, just put one near your feet inside quilt and you will be cozy.
Extra Power Glasses (if you wear power glasses)
License/Personal IDs/Debit/Credit Cards etc
Hot Flask 500ml or 1 Ltr, I carry boiling water in it
Hot Flask 1 ltr, carry lukewarm water for drinking, water will freeze in non-insulated water bottles in minutes, plastic bottles will not work
Nutrition Bars of your taste, just to munch in between
Dry Fruits mix, just for emergency, not necessary though, I carry it when I travel alone

 

Good to have

Chemical warmers: my experience is mixed with them, it works good when you insert them in gloves or socks, while you are inside room.

Travel Stories session – Ladakh in winter

Join us on this open session where I am showing some of my best pics from multiples trips to Ladakh in winter, along with a small video.

Tips & Tricks, Precautions, suggestions while travelling to Ladakh by Yogesh Sarkar, a well known photographer, writer, blogger, hardcore traveler and most importantly a wonderful friend.

This will be followed by an open discussion, Q&A and sharing experiences.

Date & Time : 19 March, Saturday, 4:00 Pm – 6:00 Pm

Venue : Hotel Waves, Mahipalpur, New Delhi

Contact : 9910036654

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We had a wonderful session last evening, I really thanks all who attended it despite the fact we were so close to…

Posted by Rajiv Kumar on Saturday, March 19, 2016