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Sahastra Tal Tragedy: Can Trekking At High Altitudes Be Made Safer?

Amid the ongoing furore over trekkers' safety at high altitudes, experts urge the government to enforce the strict implementation of SOPs and allow communication devices like satellite phones

Sahastra Tal, Uttarkashi Photo: Arunav Nautiyal

The Sahastra Tal trek, located at 15,000 feet (4,600 metres) in the Garhwal Himalayas, turned tragic when nine trekkers, including a 71-year-old woman, lost their lives.

A group of 22, 18 from Bengaluru and one from Pune, along with three guides, embarked on a trek to the Sahastra Tal summit on May 29, accompanied by guides and porters from Uttarkashi. Their planned return was scheduled for June 7. However, on June 3, they encountered severe weather conditions, including whiteout, heavy hailstorms and dense fog, leading to a loss of direction during their descent. Reports suggest they were left without adequate shelter or provisions, forcing them to endure a night of extreme cold under a boulder.