Chennai Trekking Club

Chennai Trekking Club
Chennai Trekking Club

Logo of Chennai Trekking Club
Abbreviation CTC
Motto ”Create your own path rather than follow existing trails”
Formation February, 2008
Type NGO
Legal status unregistered Non profit organization
Purpose/focus Outdoor recreation, Environmental education, Social responsibility
Location Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Region served South India
Membership 10,000+
Official languages English, Tamil
Founder/spokesman Peter VanGeit[1]
Website http://www.ChennaiTrekkers.org

The Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) is a voluntary nonprofit organization whose members meet weekly for Outdoor recreation, Environmental education and Social responsibility activities. The club was established on February 22, 2008 by a small group of trekking enthusiasts in Chennai, India. It started as an informal group of several friends in the computer industry and quickly grew into a 10,000+ member organization that primarily facilitates trekking as an organized sport.

CTC mainly organizes 2-3 day weekend treks in and around South India. It also organizes related activities such as short treks for disadvantaged people and walks for charity, nature photography tours, one day hikes and workshops on navigation using GPS, photography, first aid and survival skills. CTC has organized more than 300 treks and more than 500 new members join each month.[2]

9 members of Chennai Trekking Club on cliff trail at Parda Point, Nagalapuram Hills, Andhra Pradesh, Jul 19, 2009


Contents

History

30 CTC trekkers atop 971 m. Ombattu Gudda Peak in Kabbinhole Reserved Forest, Karnataka, Nov 15, 2009

The Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) was started by a few trekking enthusiasts from CISCO Chennai, Thoraipakkam a few years ago. In February 2008, after completing around 10 treks throughout South India this small group published their adventures and photos online in the blog http://www.ChennaiTrekkers.org and allowed new people to join their group. After that, many people found them by word of mouth or on Google and joined the club. There is no membership fee. Three years later they have 10,000+ members in the club, with over 6,000 active members who have participated in at least one trek. On average over 15 new members join every day. CTC has completed over 300 treks throughout India.[2]

Several trekking destinations undertaken by the club include: Anaikatti, Barapalli, Charmadi Ghat, Chembra Peak, Coorg, Javadi Hills, Kalrayan Hills, Kolli Hills, Kondaveedu Fort, Nagalapuram (55 treks), Nagari (7 treks), Ombattu Gudde (8 treks), Ootacamund, Palani Hills (4 treks), Parvadhamalai, Pulicat, Roopkund, Sakleshpur, Savandurga, Skandagiri, Tada (8 treks), Tadiyandamol, Tadkalpudipeak, Talakona, Tirumala, Top Slip, Vavulmala, Vellarimala, Venkatagiri, Venkateshwara (15 treks), Wayanad, Yelagiri, Yercaud [3]

For their 2nd anniversary celebration on February 20 - 21, 2010, CTC organized 14 simultaneous treks for 444 members. For their 3rd anniversary celebration on February 19 - 20, 2011, CTC organized 14 simultaneous treks for 427 members.[3]

Activities

CTC organizes member-led treks during weekends, and travels through mountains and wilderness areas in the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats. Occasionally, long treks are organized in the Himalayas. CTC's growth is attributed to a large fan base, mainly in South India, and to the volunteers who spend many hours researching and organizing the treks. It also has members from outside India, mainly expatriates who live or lived in Chennai and Bangalore and became part of CTC. In addition to providing a nice break from urban and corporate life, activities organized by CTC stimulate awareness of environmental issues and encourages physical fitness among its members. Chennai Trekking Club organizes periodic photography trips and treks especially for those members who are interested in Natural and Wildlife photography. Photography workshops for members are also conducted by experienced wildlife photographers.[2]

Trek planning

20 members of CTC returning from peak of Ombatta Gudde in Kabbinhole Reserved Forest, Karnataka, April 12, 2009

Several core members volunteer weeks in advance to plan and organize each trek. CTC leaders are known as pathfinders. They often do not follow existing trails but trek through unexplored jungles and mountains creating their own trail using topographic maps, compass and GPS (satellite guided navigation). The organizers have good experience identifying new trails and navigation through unknown locations. During treks they discover new streams, hidden waterfalls, beautiful rock formations and other hidden and unexpected scenic natural spots.[4]

The leaders and volunteers of CTC organize treks every weekend. Sometimes there may be 3-4 simultaneous treks on any given weekend. Treks are planned to beautiful natural locations both nearby Chennai as well as further away in the Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and occasionally, North India. Transportation is either done with members' cars and motorcycles for nearby destinations or public transportation is arranged for further away destinations. Levels of treks goes from easy to intermediate to difficult. CTC organizes easy 1 day treks for beginners as well as more challenging multi-day treks with overnight camping and long distances covered. The number of participants for a trek varies typically between 10 to 40. Occasionally they take out larger groups of 50-100. Each trek has a mix of existing and new members. All participants volunteer during the trek as a team on various activities like cooking, setting up camp, creating a campfire and assisting stragglers. During each trek many members make new friendships that may last for a lifetime.[4]

Supplies

24 CTC trekkers with loaded backpacks, departing Berijam Lake enroute from Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu to Munnar, Kerala, May 2, 2009

Costs are shared among all participants and collected before each trek to purchase supplies and transport. Food, transport and camping gear is arranged by CTC.

Each trek participant needs to bring:
  • Good walking shoes and a pair of chappels to walk around in streams and the camping site.
  • Small/compact back-pack to carry water, food + essentials only
  • Blanket or Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Three reusable PET water bottles, bowl and spoon
  • Personal snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, dextrose candy
  • LED torch for night trekking and campsite
  • Small whistle or horn, penknife
  • One extra set of clothes to sleep dry at night
  • Sun cap and cream
  • Toothbrush and medicines
  • Fully charged camera
  • Plastic bags to pack all personal supplies
  • Not allowed on treks are: tobacco products, alcoholic drinks, soap, shampoo and perfumed personal care products and anti-social behavior.[5]

Rules

CTC members after a long days trek taking a bath without soap at Kolli Malai Falls, Tamil Nadu.

Trek participants must agree to the basic rules and sign a disclaimer upon registration for each trek.

  • Littering/polluting, smoking, consuming alcohol and anti- social behavior are strictly prohibited during the trek.
  • Plastics, bottles, food packing, etc. should not be thrown.
  • Water in mountain streams should not be polluted using shampoo or soaps.
I agree: _______
  • Disclaimer - Trekking involves inherent dangers including climbing over rocks, crossing deep water streams and possible wildlife encounters.
CTC and its organizers are not responsible for any accidents or injuries during the trek.
CTC and Organizers are not responsible for any loss or damage to personal property.
The participant agrees to take full responsibility on the above.
I agree to join on my own responsibility (disclaimer needs to be signed while joining): _______
Emergency contact number: This could be your parent/spouse/sibling or friend's home or mobile number: _______
Blood Group (in case of emergency) B +Ve: _______[6]

Special interests

In addition to the regular treks, CTC organizes a variety of other events. Periodically they organize social outings for underprivileged groups in in the Chennai area, including: orphans, street children lost or run away from home, destitute women, downs Syndrome kids, AIDS victims and other disadvantaged groups. CTC periodically organizes educational workshops like first aid and survival skills training, training on maps and navigation, photography workshops, climbing events and snake workshops. They also organize ladies treks, senior treks, couples treks and family treks. They periodically organize long distance multi-day motorcycling trips over mountain roads and trail riding through scenic locations.[4]

CTC cares for the environment and gets actively involved to keep the forests clean and green. In addition to their own strict no-pollution guidelines, periodic cleanup events are organized to clean up polluted natural locations. On Nov 1, 2009, 200+ members of CTC organized a mega cleanup trek to Tada which had become very polluted and abused over the past several years. On January 9, 2011, over 800 volunteer members collected 800 bags of garbage from 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) of the beaches of Chennai.[4]

Media

CTC has a large number serious amateur and several professional photographers who, equipped with Single-lens reflex cameras and often with telephoto lens and macro lens capture images of the beautiful nature, landscapes and wildlife discovered during the treks. Photos are geo-tagged, published and shared on the CTC blog and the photographers' own Picassa or Flickr pages. CTC has published more than 30,000 photos taken during their treks.[7]

CTC's has an extensive presence on the Internet, mostly built using Google tools. Their web site receives over 200 unique visitors each day from all over the world and has had over 200,000 visits since it was put up. Treks and photos are published using Blogger on their blog. Invitations for new upcoming treks, photo links and experiences on completed treks are shared and discussed in their Google Group. CTC also has online communities on Facebook and Orkut. Most information regarding the group and its treks is published in their Google blog. The group maintains an active photography blog and discussion forum. Past and future treks are published on their Google Calendar and Google Maps. New treks are also announced on Twitter.[4]

The club has had over 45 news stories and feature articles about the club and its activities published in the local print media including the Hindu, Economic Times, Deccan Chronicle, Times of India, Indian Express and several Tamil Language dailies.[2][8]

References

External links


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