April 25, 2016 RockyFeet

Trekking and Outdoor Ethics


It is really good to see the swing of interest towards adventure and Eco friendly way of travel among Indian youth, in recent days . Trekking is one of these adventures sports which is in an exponential curve of growth in last few years. But it is also true, that more trekkers are making Himalaya or Western Ghats more polluted unknowingly. Wildlife , vegetation and other natural elements are affected. Strong evidences and  witnesses are present in many of the places. Many times, while discussing this serious issue, people end up blaming the role of the tour operator and the lack of regulation over organizing it. And yes, they can’t ignore their accountability. But what about trekkers and other outdoor activists? Do they have sufficient awareness to travel and live within so many major and precious ecosystems of India, during their activity period? Our survey, observation and experience doesn’t really give a positive outcome. Rather, it is evident that we are not making enough effort to drive awareness among trekkers about outdoor ethics.

We are majorly concerned on,

  • Level of awareness among trekkers and other adventure enthusiast on Outdoor Ethics.
  • The aspect of trekking beyond a competitive walking adventure sports, to a way of knowing nature and conquering ourselves.

Analysis & Survey

We conducted the survey based on assumption;  that a certain level of awareness has already been driven among travelers by different environmental organizations and travel operators.

We tried to reach out to individuals on trek and travel operators to understand deep inside the issue; and we documented few syndromes where a sport closely rooted to nature are creating threats to environment. Some comments made by travelers and operators are chosen & used for explaining with a little flavor of reality.

  • Lack of awareness: ‘Yes I have thrown a chewing gum but what’s wrong in it?’ – A typical scenario where a person is not aware of impact of such a small act performed.
  • Pushing an extra mile to make it happen: ‘I know, but we are in vacation, take it easy’ – Some cases we are  just too casual to take an action OR we may refer it as ineffective or incomplete awareness. This behavior suggest us to go back and look at our own structure and method of awareness program conducted. We need to keep more focus on making the people visualize & realize the impact.
  • Absence of policies & fine: ‘We say it before every trek but some people don’t bother and it’s hard to control in such a minute level when its a big group size’  –  This comment made by a tour operator leading to a couple of observations. One, absence of a strong regulatory body to take more control. Many trekkers travel in self operated group and there is absolutely no one apart from local staff to control the behavior . And two, to gain more profits with growing market, operators are compromising with trekkers to trek leader or Guide ratio, which is loosing control on other hand.
  • Lazy to share your awareness: ‘ Nobody discussed with us in such a detail, even I didn’t know  that he knows so much.’- This was a remark by a lady traveling in a group where we initiated an open discussion. And sadly their trek operator  didn’t share any guidance with them nor the co travelers who were found to be more aware on outdoor ethics.

Approach Solution

Growing tourism industry in India is creating more pressure on conserved and protected areas. At Rocky Feet, we believe, that this increased interest among educated people can on the contrary act in favor of conservation, with right projects and endeavors. We must be prepared in handling the excess rush and take actions towards right conservation and environmental preservation of the hundreds of fragile eco systems in India.

  • There are not enough awareness campaign conducted yet and even if it is done, we are not in a scenario to stop and be happy. It is still required to drive more, addressing different stakeholders related to the sport.  We are  determined to drive it in 3 phases of travel – Pre , During and Post by conducting several open discussion sessions in multiple premises.
  • While driving awareness, keep focus on realistic daily detail and problems of a trekkers life. Try to make people visualize & realize more impacts on act performed. We the traveler, need to realize more that our switch to a eco friendly travel not only offers us more remoteness, more beauty, more wilderness but more responsibilities too.
  • We have to be our own police. We have to build our conscience strong to stop us and others. We can make our tour operator aware and guide them to organize in a better sustainable way as we have the power to choose right one among them.
  • Bring the sustainability more often in discussion. Do not hesitate or feel shy to share you knowledge.


Currently we started driving  sessions on Trekking & Outdoor Ethics on Decathlon Sarjapur premises once in alternative month. We have already conducted 2 sessions.

  • April 9th 2016, Decathlon Sarjapur, No participant 4
  • May 7th 2016, Decathlon Sarjapur, No participant 6

Warm Acknowledgements

We sincerely thank Decathlon, Sarjapur for extending their support to drive the program successfully.


Enroute Rupin Pass
Enroute Rupin Pass
Enroute Rupin Pass
Enroute Rupin Pass
Enroute Rupin Pass
Enroute Rupin Pass
Dhanderas Thach
Enroute Dhanderas Thach and Lower Waterfall
Enroute Dhanderas Thach
Enroute Rupin Pass
Enroute Sangla Kanda & Sangla
Enroute Udaknal and Buraskandi
Sangla Kanda
View of Rupin Pass
trek n outdoor 1

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