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.