Everest base camp- check.
Co-founding a company- check.
Innovating a garment- check.
Slept surrounded by leeches- check.
Taking mom for a trek- work in progress.
Shruti Kamath – lover of unexplored places and the wide-open countryside, is taking on the world of activewear and trekking. Long office hours during her advertising agency days and solo trips that took her to unfamiliar places- made her crave the need for a comfortable fabric that could also be super fashionable.
Shruti felt that muted fashion and classic designs were not being associated with local fashion in India. And from there began her Athlos journey with Pravin. Athlos makes athletic activewear using bamboo fabric. And as they say it, ‘if you’ve never worn it before, you’re in for a revelation.’
Apart from being a passionate designer, Shruti loves going for treks. It was something that was kept on the back burner and it was only a few years back when she realized that it’s time to push herself and make her other passions work as well.
Shruti’s romance with treks started in her college days. She went for small hikes with groups to Sahyadri. It was quite near her place and the treks were generally just half day long.
It was in 2016, when she headed out for her first multiple day trek- the Annapurna base camp in Nepal. Being a new traveler, she ended up there in the most unfavorable season, i.e., the rainy season. *ouch
So the landscape was all covered in clouds and the thirst for exotic scenery wasn’t quenched.
This led to her taking the same trek again this February. And this time, she solo hiked for 10 days in the mountains and reached the Everest base camp all by herself.
“That was one tough hike but at the same time a very satisfying adventure, I am really glad I had taken.”, says Shruti.
A trek you will suggest for a new trekker?
Any trek in Sahyadri would be suitable for a beginner. Though there are a few tough ones as well.
In fact, the most recent trek that I did was the Prabalgad in Sahyadri. It is extremely beautiful and is just a 3-4 hour trek.
A trek for regular trekkers?
Mahuli fort is a good one and has a good trail.
A trek for a hardcore trekker?
The Himalayas is something that one should definitely see. No amount of photos or videos can justify the beauty of sunrise and sunset from the peak.
How well in advance do you plan a trek?
As I am not a group person anymore, I prefer randomly picking up my bag, mostly on a Saturday and do a one day trek and still have the Sunday to myself.
If you could pack just one food item, what would that be?
Thepla or chikki.
It’s a good resource of energy along with being light on the stomach and all of this in a small packet. *could we have asked for more
One golden rule before heading out for a trek?
Ensuring that I have a good night’s sleep before starting a trek is something that goes a long way.
A superstition that you have around trekking?
I don’t really have a superstition but I might have developed some habits which I am yet to notice myself.
If I think of it- there’s this one bag that I have been using since my school days. It is one of the most basic bags that one could come across, not even water-proof but somehow whenever it’s about heading out for a trek, that is the bag that I reach out for.
Worst memory while trekking?
One thing that trekkers should definitely avoid is the mountains, if you know there are going to be leeches around.
But I feel these are things that one adapts to and learns to deal with, after a few treks.
When I was doing Annapurna trek in the monsoon season. On day one, I saw a leech and that too for the first time in my life. And it freaked me out.
But by the 7th day, I was carrying a packet of salt with me and knew the whole getting-rid-of-leeches drill by heart.
There was one night when I was zipping up in my sleeping bag and I saw a leech on my hand. If I hadn’t seen it, it would have been there and would have sucked out a lot of my blood before I would have realized it. That is how a leech’s bite is. It starts paining after a while. So you don’t realize for a good amount of time, even if it is stuck to your body.
What is the next trek you are looking forward to?
So this is where my superstition comes in. I don’t disclose my future plans regarding treks. *laughs
Though I am planning to take my mother along for my next trek. And have convinced her successfully too.
Would you rather…..
Sea or the mountains?
That’s an interesting one because, till 5 years back, I was a beach girl. If given a chance I wanted to be around the sea, despite the fact that I don’t know how to swim.
But for a few years now, I have developed this natural tendency to try and find a trail in the mountains.
Travel alone or with a group?
Because trekking is anyway a break. Most of the times one needs a break from the surroundings as well as the people around. You are freer and you can change plan according to your convenience. Plus, you get more aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
Trekking or camping?
Haven’t explored much of camping, so trekking it is.