Chennai tourist dies during Dzongri – Goechela Trekking in West Sikkim

Chennai tourist dies during Dzongri - Goechela Trekking in West Sikkim

Chennai tourist dies during Dzongri – Goechela Trekking in West Sikkim

28 Oct, Gangtok : A middle aged 32 years old man Aravindhan Gopalan of Chennai dies on 26 Oct night at Phedang during Dzongri Goechela Trek in West Sikkim which was reportedly  organised by Bangalore based travel company Indiahike. 16 participants were in said contingent including deceased in trekking group is reported, 15 of them shall return today by evening is told by local stakeholder. Deceased caught a sickness while reaching Lamuni nearly 3900 mts altitude , he died afterwards in night when one porter brought him down to Phedang.

Where as acting on tip-off immediately the Sikkim Police team along with local villagers on 27 Oct left for the remote place to bring a body after which today they have brought down to Yuksam some 8 Kms from West District HQ Geyzing.
Cause of death is due to altitude sickness is reported.

A big question arise on safety , health concern of tourists when outside state tour operators like Indiahike carry such package trekking in Himalayan region where experienced person as well as porters are necessary. Without a proper information on vital things during the trekking as such incident will outcast dismaying picture through such non-local tour operators taking risks pushing tourists to high altitude in name of Trekking Package.
Local tour operators are anguished since such careless tour operators operating from remote places  in metros, cities or outside Sikkim are taking risk by pushing tourists to problems. That which eventually tarnishes Sikkim Tourism name and fame globally.
More Details Awaited…


  • It is very unfortunate that such an incident occurred… However, the reporter has taken the opportunity of such a tragedy and concentrated more on sensationalism rather than facts… Trekking is a recreational activity which is relatively new in Indian scenario. And in that indiahikes is one of the pioneers as an organisation to not only popularise the sport but also in charting me routes, encouraging conservation of the ecosystem and cleaning up of the trekking routes. A it of research is done behind every trekking route and as the reporter has mentioned, it does not operate remotely rather very actively with the help of very well trained trek leaders, porters and guides. They involve the local people too, contrary to what the report would want us to believe. Regular checks of physiological parameters like oxygen saturation, heart rate etc are conducted daily in the camps. They have overall brought a level of professionalism to the whole sport with their meticulous research. Being an avid trekker for a few yrs and having gone on tells with both India hikes as well as the local organisations, I would prefer to go with the former just for effort it takes to keep the trekkers safe which remains their priority. However, details about this particular incident are earnestly awaited to know what exactly happened up there.

  • It would be highly appreciated if the reporters verify facts before reporting. Though this is an unfortunate incident the issues raised by the reporter are without verifying facts on the operators mentioned here in. It is urged that reporting be sensible and responsible reporting rather than sentionalising the issue in a malicious manner.

  • Abhjit Singh Pahwa

    I totally agree with mr Abhishek Ray… Having personally undertaken a high altitude with indiahikes recently, there is no doubt that they are professionals to the core and take great care of their clients. Their team work is Commendable.

  • I have gone on the same trek with India hikes with my 8 year old son. They are good at what they do. Some of us need to acknowledge when we experience mountain sickness, and go down. If we don’t take timely decisions, it is unfortunate. It is unacceptable to blame the agency for this. Don’t we all as adults have the responsibility to read about AMS and other things before we venture?

  • I have personally gone with Indiahikes and have found them very professional and responsible. I have seen them involve locals as well and spend considerable effort to raise awareness on environment and local issues. Difficult to digest the references made to Indiahikes in this report.

  • Indiahikes is the best trekking organization in the country, who takes utmost precaution and care of the trekkers. AMS is something even experienced trekkers can encounter. How is IndiaHikes to be held responsible for this. The local tour operators in Sikkim fleece the trekkers, carry inadequate food supplies and follow no safety standards. My friends have run into big errands going with local tour operators there and had to return half way from the trek starving for food.
    I personally have trekked twice with IH (one of which was Goe Chala) and can vouch for their standards of safety and the unmatched trekking experience they provide. Not only do they employ skilled trek leaders, they employ local people and porters for their treks. This report is totally biased and is meant to provide milage to the local tour operators, who are losing their business to IndiaHikes, because of their own unprofessional and dishonest means to conduct treks.

  • It is so obvious from the tone of the article that this is a propaganda piece for the local tourist firms. It is truly a pity that instead of reporting a sad news, they are trying to push their own agrnda forward. Shame on you Voice Of Sikkim.
    I have trekked with India Hikes and have registered for more and highly recommend them. Accidents and misfortune can occur anywhere and to any of us; but up in the mountains during a trek through wilderness I would anyday rather have India Hikes’ team with me than anyone other operators.

  • It’s becoming fashionable for local operators to target good operators like Indiahikes.. They have truly brought trekking to thousands of Indians. I have personally done 6 treks with them including 18500ft Everest base camp Gokyo Ri which was superbly organized. They do take plenty of care and follow strict rules regarding trekker safety. It’s unwise to call them outside operators.. They are veterans of Himalayan trekking by sheer experience of taking so many there.

  • It is really unfortunate that a life was lost during the trek. But having said that blaming the trekking company is uncalled for. I have done the same trek with the same company in the past and can safely say that they give utmost importance to safety .

  • India hikes is the best org for any trekking. I went to rupin pass And everyday we used to have check ups. It hikes locals and uses the best route… Generally for difficult trek, yiu are supposed to undergo training and India hike endorses and promotes it. Death is really unfortunate but its not india hikes fault. Its the person who does not know his limits or rather not well prepared

  • I have trekked with IndiaHikes twice and they are a very responsible organisation with paramount importance given to safety. The trek leaders and guides are always on their toes making sure the participants are well attended to. The guides are usually from the local community who have perfect knowledge regarding weather conditions, trails and possible hazards. High altitude sickness can affect anyone and that must be acknowledged instead of blaming an organisation that is changing the landscape of trekking in this country. This incident is unfortunate

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  • Very sad to hear this coz I had done this same trek in the month of May with Indiahikes and I found them take maximum care other than any other trek agencies.
    I just want to share an incident which happened in our trek.One of the chap from Renok Adventures got hit by AMS and HAPE and we saved him with the help of our Indiahikes trek leaders and locals.He had given oxygen and steroid and bring safely to yuksum..That was his 1st trek….

  • Why do you always try to sell news? News should be reported,not sold. Such a cheap allegations without any knowledge about trekking or hiking! I have trekked with IH. They always give importance to safety. However things like AMS is uncertain and none can give insurance against it.
    So never judge an organization which is best in its league without proper knowledge. Sometimes I am surprised how irresponsible, idiot like this reporter get the opportunity to write something.

  • RiP, it’s an unfortunate incident. May god give strength to the family members robber the loss.
    IndiaHikes is a very responsible and professional trek organising company. The reported is trying to mislead readers. The only things after AMS is decent and that was exactly followed. Having trekked with IndiaHikes and others , I can vouch for their professionalism, safety standards and ethics. They have popularaised community trekking and effectively managed to control cost and have honestly conducted treks. Their are incidents where SOME local operators have taken dis- advantage of hapless trekkers and done extortion. The reporter is indirectly doing the same and is also helping them.

  • Instead of showing alligator tears for the deceased can you come to the point. If you have good local operators without any casualties till date then please advertise…! Adventure activities are full of risk.. One has to know what one is going for… Ofcourse once the operator sees any participant’s condition deteriorating they should act immediately. Basic medical checkup should be done at the base camp irrespective of the purchased medical certificates people bring.

  • Unfortunate a life has been lost. Uglier is the news being used to defame a highly professional trekking organisation. I did the same trek just a few weeks ago with the same group. Entire staff except the trek leader consists of locals. The trek leader himself was a pro and took proper care checking on oxygen and heart rates of every member everyday. A doctor’s certificate is also mandatory before one can embark. We were all given detailed briefing on AMS before the trek and medicines, oxygen cylinders were at hand.
    AMS is tricky. It can affect healthy and fit people equally badly. Self reporting of any symptoms one is experiencing is critical so that timely help can be provided.
    However, its true infrastructure in India is grossly inadequate. Had this been Nepal, there would have been a helicopter evacuation and the life could have been saved.
    It is important that before attempting such a trek (which is also listed as one of the difficult ones), people are well aware of the risks and conditions and take an informed decision.

  • Wow !!

    Amazed going through the comments …

    Indiahikes you Win !!

    For having managed to convince your clients to comment…

  • Wow !!

    Amazed going through the comments …

    Indiahikes you Win !!

    For having managed to convince your clients to comment…

  • Would like to comment on my personal experience with IH .Had been on the Tarsar Marsar Trek this July .The trek leader Jude was checking the oxygen and heart rates everyday for each participant .In fact when my heart rate was below the level I was immediately brought down on a horse even though it was raining .The IH team and their support team is good.

    For this mentioned incident at Sikkim it is unfortunte .

  • Very sad to hear but those have breathing problem & heart problem please be very careful .& do nt go to such a high attitude. Coz life is very precious.& don’t
    take any risk…..

  • Mountains come with their set of pros and cons. We as trekkers must be best assured of our health’s and must simply understand that mountains as mighty and powerful as Himalaya possess a lot of power and it’s not easy for everyone to take up that challenge. Moreover, high altitude sickness has nothing to do the group you go with and can affect the most experienced of trekkers. Indiahikes is one of the best teams in the country who prioritize the safety and comfort of its trekkers. The leaders, helpers and for that matter even the ground coordinators make an effort to make it your best experience. Through all this if we make news out of such incidents it’s just a shame. Instead of giving condolences.. we are acting immature.. it’s high time we think human.. act human.. and not try to sell news. There are way too many lives involved who get affected.

  • IndiaHikes has it strengths and weaknesses but to put a glorifying counter to the article is equally baseless.

    The first issue here, is the way these treks are advertised and participated in: anyone can do anything, without any prior experience or familiarity is the underpinning message. It’s like buying a gadget online! No wonder we see folks who haven’t set foot outside of a tar road coming for their first trek to Rupin or Roopkund.

    Second is costs: when you operate on wafer thin margins, you tend to minimise the days of the trek – and increase potential risk of AMS; the number of guides to trekker ratio is also low, so the attention needed, particularly for novices, isn’t the best, and the logistics to manage a potential split of a group, which can happen for a variety of reasons, is questionable; when you have groups of 25-30 trekkers, you need to have an official doctor – not trek guides doubling up as doctors, deciding on your condition.

    This article isn’t just about India Hikes but all operators who have got into a cost war – India Hikes is ahead of the game online, which also explains the kind of folks they get.

    As long as these are low – medium altitude treks it’s largely okay, but preparedness for the mountains needs investment – and taking flocks of first timers on bare, basic support is inviting unnecessary risk.

    Incidentally, another trekker with Trek the Himalayas has reportedly died at Roopkund. And this is the fifth /sixth death with India Hikes as well.

    So the testimonials look a bit surprising.

    I have been trekking since the last 17 years, and owe no allegiance to anyone.

  • Discovery channel dekh kar koi Bear Grylls nehi banta, Aur
    Ek Do trek karke koi mountaineer nehi banta.
    Sab bare bare Mountaineers log aise comments kar raha hai jaise ki Trekking ho gaya hai PAISA FENKO TAMASHA DEKHO. India Hikes ke sath jab
    High altitude n high risk zone mai ja rahe hai tab 100% responsibility India Hikes ko lena hi prega.

  • As someone that has Trekker with IndiaHikes twice before, I can vouch that they take great care of their Trekkers. Safety is their priority and not only are they super organized, they urge you to not push yourself too hard. This incident is unfortunate and what is worse it that certain groups are leveraging it to achieve some ulterior motive by defaming IndiaHikes.

  • Very unfortunate that this happened to this experienced trekker. My condolences to his family.

    I completely agree with most of the trekkers here. IndiaHikes is very responsible and they know their mountains very well. This article clearly shows the frustation of VoiceOfSikkim guys who think that IH is taking away business from the locals of Sikkim. Also lot of misleading statements have been made by them. Trekking is a risky sport and those who love doing it know the risks involved fully well. Such accidents can happen anytime in mountains and at times no amount of experience works. Moreover, in these remote mountains there is no help available other than fellow trekkers and trek leader/support staff. Having myself done two treks with IH, I can vouch for their knowledge of Himalayas and concern for their trekkers.

    In any case, I think we shud not give too much importance to this very poorly written and highly prejudiced piece of shit.

    Keep up the good work team IH!!

  • It’s really unfortunate that he lost his life Rest in Peace!!!
    As I am from Sikkim I would like to advice to trekkers kindly go with local organizer so that organizer know about the trekking route n how trekkers is performing on the route local organizer will provide all the necessity. While going to Gochela Dzongri treak the main important thing is food menu for the trekkers. Food should be provide according to altitude.

  • Unfortunate. But anything can happen even on everest climbing spending 40 lakhs or more, who is responsible? We have to know our capability, weakness and strength. We should undergo medical fitness test before go to trek with high altitude. I am a healthcare professional and I got unconscious for few minutes in Nathula pass 3 years ago. Its a bad luck for chennai guy.

  • Agree with subhayu….if we are compromising on costing we are compromising on quality of food,equipments all other resourses….we should always remember this. Also there has to be some training and counselling given to ppl specially first time trekkers…i have seen ppl poorly informed and hence poorly packed! Our life responsibilty lies with us….

  • There are also times when people have all the information they need but choose to go with what they, in their inexperience, feel is best in terms of kit and behavior. They just don’t take it seriously enough. I have done this trek and I remember that were told that there should be no smoking or drinking. When we were at Dzongri I met two other trekkers from another group about to light a smoke. When I advised them not to their attitude was something like, “we feel fine and it’s just one smoke… Nothing will happen.

  • I have read most of the above comments. Ive been an avid trekker having done 6k MTR plus summits and I have tried IH twice.. I hated them each time for several reasons from food running short to lack of crampons to cutting wood in uttarakhand (to prepare for food and save on gas) to the drama of showcasing how eco friendly they are … They operate very large groups with mostly very young trek leads who are hardly me this sport is fastest growing in India and IH just wants to maximize on opportunity without worrying about trekkers or mountains.. While having lost a trekker is very unfortunate, I hope they put better safety and selection methods before they agree to take truck loads .. For now they are like Walmart of trekking! And I see it as a very niche sport which is not really for all .. One needs to prep before taking a plunge..

  • We hear, we see loss of many life even after taking lot of precautions. High altitude trekking is highly unpredictable. Trekking should not be commercialized the way it is done now. If you really care for mountains, care for nature do not organise bundle of batches ( 100s of fixed departures). Lot of agencies have made trekking a lucrative business and have made trekking a cake walk by providing all the comforts. One should have all the required gears but not comfort of a couch. All agencies are contributing in polluting mountains may it be IH, TTH, YHAI, etc. Locals nowadays have understood the business, the profit it brings and want to have a lions share in it. Every trek should have limited number of trekkers every season controlled by forest department of the concerned states, so that the mountains remain pristine.

  • A life lost was lost on mountains due to AMS. It is unfortunate event.
    However, the ‘media verdict’ on the accident is even more unfortunate. This is not just sensational, but also opportunistic bashing.
    IndiaHikes are not just pioneers but also the most responsible trek operators in country. They may be Bangalore based team but that’s only their Administration and Communication team. (They have a portal ,makes sense Bangalore is IT hub).
    I have trekked with them in twice in last two years and vouch for them as best in the business.(both operating treks and documenting the same).
    This news report has a flavour of opportunism perhaps driven by ulterior motives. An enquiry should be done in this premature ‘media verdict’ as much as the one in the death of the trekker.

  • India Hikes should do research for the reasons, for some of their clients who died during trekking till this day. Even if one life is lost, there activities are questionable only.
    They have to answer how a young, hale and healthy man(32 years old) died because of higher altitude?
    Did they check up thoroughly his health and correctly with accuracy?
    If so which Doctor certified him as fit for treckking in Himalayas with such high altitude of 12000 ft.Was there an official Doctor accompanied them?
    India Hikes cannot shrink their responsibility for this tragic death.They are morally and legally responsible to answer the questions for the cause of the death of this young man shri. Aravind Gopalan.

  • There is a difference between tourist & trekkers, with indiahikes most tourists converted to trekkers, they are not aware about what types of illness is occurred in the altitude above 11 thousand feet. First & foremost factor is non awareness of proper geographical idea and proper preparation .About the team doctor, it only can be arranged if there are any teammate is doctor. Doctor can not be hired like Porter & Guide

  • There is a difference between tourist & trekkers, with indiahikes most tourists converted to trekkers, they are not aware about what types of illness is occurred in the altitude above 11 thousand feet. First & foremost factor is non awareness of proper geographical idea and proper preparation .About the team doctor, it only can be arranged if there are any teammate is doctor. Doctor can not be hired like Porter & Guide.

  • These are high altitude treks in remote areas and unfortunately these accidents happen irrespective of the organiser’s state of origin. Indiahikes is one of the best trekking companies. Problem is that no infrastructure is present in India for rescue.

  • Arvid,

    He is my classmate and we came to know that he is passed away. RIP bro. You are not even get married. I don’t know what is the benefit of this trekking for you.


    Ramachandran Gopal

  • AMS can hit anyone agreed, but my experience with IH has been extremely bad and sad, huge groups with handful of newly passed out guides from mountaineering institutes who barely have any experience. the groups are so huge and when the trek starts and people walk at own pace the gap n distance between people goes so wide that if any mishappening happens in between no one would realise unless a headcount is done av reaching base. By making people washing utensils u dont help in making people hiker..a brief on safety, small groups which can be managed and some experienced local guides is what u should focus on. When it come to this I would rate IH 2/10. I did put safety question across to Mr Majumdar where I had an injury slipping which could have been avoided if the had provided microspikes to avoid fall….his response was I should do trekking with IH again as they now serve international cuisines on trek..WTF… Am i supposed to enjoy my pasta with a dislocated knee? And for his kind info..regualar local meals is supposed to be best in that terrain n no fancy food.

  • It’s terrible to hear about the loss of a life during the course of a trek and may the family of the deceased find peace in this difficult time. At the same time it is appalling to see people comment on here calling Indiahikes irresponsible/unsafe etc. Having trekked with them, they’re quite plainly the most responsible organisation you can opt for. I had recently done the Rupin pass trek in June and one of my friends was struck by AMS. He was immediately escorted back down to the lower campsites and managed to rejoin us on our way back home from Delhi. Throughout the trek, our blood oxygen readings were taken every evening to ensure that we were fine and managing well. It’s sad to see people slander the good name of IH on here by insinuating that they have inexperienced TLs, large groups, etc. Don’t generalise based on some hearsay and thereby mislead other people who are yet to try out these treks.

  • RIP Aravindhan. I do not want to share my trekking experience and I did not go with IH ever.

    Dear mountain lovers,
    Requesting all of you to be physically and mentally fit before goin to such High Alt. Treks.


    Dear Trekking Organisers,
    Organisign a trek is not like Arranging & Suffling cards. Choosing the approprite card is also important.

    A mountain lover and trekker

  • Debanwita Pramanik

    This is a very sorry incident but it seems that most of the people who have commented is more concerned about the fact that the incident has happened with IH…am not saying anything about IH but its true that there has been fault on there part which cannot be justified anyways… please comment sensibly…….

  • Aravind my friend. Rest In Peace.

  • I have been trekking for the last 15 years in various high altitude areas in the Indian Himalayas and also a trained mountaineer. Many people have commented on the professionalism of these organizations and are very happy. I would argue you have been lucky. A trekking group more than 10 is a RED ALERT !! I guess what you are talking about is a difficult sport which has been brought to the masses convenience which otherwise needs a lot of preparation, planning, study and knowledge but that does not necessarily mean it’s a great thing. Maybe as an individual it’s great but there are a lot of bad effects on this mass “dragging” to these eco-sensitive and to some extent life threatening places.

    This is not the first time “a death” has happened by this organization. I have heard of similar stories before and have more than one personal experiences where I guided more than one hikers completely clueless what should be done next as the group was far ahead. Many of my close friends have been trek leads and has also revealed the same. Specially shocked by the fact that groups are advised to take Diamox pills to accelerate their acclimatization process. The above story itself said that Aravind was made top walk from Lamuney to Phedang !! it’s never ending road and a even tires the most experienced of trekkers !! and why to Phedang. If something like that happened I would have stayed at “Kokchurung” which is just a 2.5 hr walk and at a much lower altitude than Phedang and rested there for a day or 2 till I had enough strength to go back to Phedang slowly…..but alas !! Wish I could have met him on the way and offer some help as I was 2 days ahead in the adjacent route !! Rest in peace bro and wish people get more aware before embarking on these treks rather relying blindly on these commercial money mongers !!

  • So I was the first person to reach the site after the death. And one of the first people to speak with all stakeholders involved. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves by blaming the unfortunate trekker who has lost his life. Myself and some other teams there are quite clear on who was responsible for this entire fiasco (and no, it’s not Mr. Aravind). And no, I’m not representing a local club or a part of it.

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