I am getting a lot of messages about whether trek “x” is doable in winters and my reply often is – it depends on your skill level. But irrespective of whther you are a novice or a hardcore hiker there will come a moment when you will be contend with the dilemma – to push ahead or beat a hasty retreat. This happens more often in winters and monsoons than in other seasons. An unexpected snowfall, or rapid icing can make even a few kilometers seem like a herculan task (as evident in my failed har ki dun trek).
Turning back is a personal decision – some call it intuition, others call it experience. But the bottom line is that this decision is yours and yours alone to make. I’ve been on numerous SAR where one poor decision spiraled into a series of bad decisions finally jeopardising the lives of the hikers. So remember this – everytime you take such a decision the risk/exposure curve ramps up in geometric progression rather than arithmetic progression. So five such decisions pushes up your exposure and risk not by +5 but over 5 TIMES.
This is one of the reason I never live tweet/instagram my treks. I do not want the additional pressure of 100s of followers influcencing my retreat/push ahead decision. Because my safety is in my own hands and every trek (whether completed or not) from which I return back safe to my loved ones is a successful trek.