PRIYANKA BHADAURIA - FOR THE LOVE OF THE MOUNTAINS

Trekking for me is an escape. An escape that I've always needed. Coming from an army background, traveling across India was a part and parcel of my childhood.

 Priyanka Bhadauria    

23-year-old sport leader from Decathlon Noida 

Trekking for me is an escape. An escape that I've always needed. Coming from an army background, traveling across India was a part and parcel of my childhood. My first introduction to Mountaineering was however during my first trek.  My biggest motivation to trek is to see and meet people who base their lives on adventures and aren't afraid to test themselves on every step.

FOLLOW PRIYANKA

When did you start Trekking? 

I started Trekking in 2015. My first Trek was Beas Kund. I was given an opportunity by one of my seniors in college. She nominated my name for a sponsored adventure course from ABVIMAS Manali. Since then, trekking and wandering the mountains have become a part of my life.

How many Treks have you done to date? 

The treks that I have attempted are in the regions of Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarakhand
- Beas Kund
- Goechala 
- HMI base camp 
- Kabru Dome Glacier
- Rathong Glacier
- Bakkartach
- Renok peak summit with Rathong Glacier Trek
- Palung Summit with Kabru Dome Glacier Trek  

 As a woman, do you think it's rare to find more women undertaking such adventures? 

I've done both basic and advance mountaineering courses and luckily I've met a number of women who are doing the same. Recently two of my coursemates climbed Mt Everest. I am proud to see them on top of the world and I am even prouder because they are women.  I also know women working in this field as instructors and trek leaders for different companies. Yes, the number is low but they are not invisible. More importantly, I've not met a single man on my journey who say "women are weak or they don't belong on the peaks!" 

What are some of the obstacles you face?

In terms of health, being fit is very important but it's also necessary to be mentally strong and willing. I've seen both men and women lose patience on their first trek and give up. The issues that I've personally faced on treks have to do with changing metabolisms in my body on high altitude treks. Problems like AMS (Acute Mountaineering Sickness), dehydration etc is very common. Safety is again a very important factor. As important as food. Whether it's weather changes, terrain difficulty or even facing wild animals.

Some advice on gear or otherwise for novice women trekkers 

Good gear means good flexibility.    - Challenge your limits. No mountain is stronger than your will. Be confident and motivating for other trekkers out there. - Choose your gear wisely. It's an investment you do for the future. It's important to research before you make a purchase. - For Apparel, you need shirts, pants, fleece or a down jacket + a waterproof upper and lower. - Choose a high ankle shoe with a good three layers of sole - Gloves and a hat is necessary for accessories  -  Carry a 60 or 70l backpack + a sleeping bag - I would advise you to go for a small adventure course with some institution or a private company to understand some common terms and practices used by the trekkers around the world before you attempt one by yourself.

What products do you swear by during a trek?

- Shoe- Trek 100
- A Waterproof Jacket  and Pants
- A Fullzip Fleece
- Rucksack - Easyfit
- A Bandana
- The Trek 500 trekking pants
 

Best and most difficult trek (Where and why)?

The Kabru Dome Glacier Trek was the best and the most difficult trek of all time for me. Covering almost 100 KMs from Yuksom to Kabru Dome at the beginning of winter. I trekked for 5 days through tropical landscape, meadows and rocky glacial scree. The experience was a real challenge. 

Any Interesting memories from your journey?

When I went back to HMI, Darjeeling for my advance mountaineering course after a year and a half, the newly built girl's hostel gave me a mesmerizing view of the Sleeping Buddha and the entire range of the Kanchenjunga.   Every morning, the view gave me the strength to go through with my tough training sessions. I've learned that sometimes you go for a trek and all the time you feel like giving up but for that one glimpse from the top keeps you going and makes you feel like it's worth it at the end. Tough treks also give you stronger and meaningful friends who share the same passion.

What Next?

- Stock Kangri in 2019
- PCT ( Pacific crest trail) by 2025
- Har ki doon in the year 2020
- A Backpacking trip to Myanmar  
Keep wandering and set smaller goals to make it bigger

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