Chennai Trekking Club
Logo of Chennai Trekking Club
|Motto||”Create your own path rather than follow existing trails”|
|Legal status||unregistered Non profit organization|
|Purpose||Outdoor recreation, Environmental education, Social responsibility|
|Region served||South India|
|Official language||English, Tamil|
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.
The Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) was started by a few trekking enthusiasts from CISCO, Thoraipakkam, Chennai 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.
Several trekking destinations undertaken by the club include: Anaikatti, Barapalli, Charmadi Ghat, Chembra Peak, Coorg, Pune Forts, Javadi Hills, Kalrayan Hills, Kolli Hills, Kondaveedu Fort, Nagalapuram, Nagari, Ombattu Gudde, Ootacamund, Palani Hills, Parvadhamalai, Pulicat, Roopkund, Sakleshpur, Savandurga, Skandagiri, Tada, Tadiyandamol, Tadkalpudipeak, Talakona, Tirumala, Top Slip, Vavulmala, Vellarimala, Venkatagiri, Venkateshwara, Wayanad, Yelagiri, Yercaud
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.
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.In addition to all these things CTC organizes Social Treks with unprivileged kids, Tree Plantation & Maintenance activities, Lake cleanup, Beach cleanup.CTC also organises yearly Trail Marathons and trained hundreds of aspiring runners. 
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 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 forests & wilderness 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. Levels of treks goes from easy to intermediate to difficult. The number of participants for a trek varies typically between 10 to 40.
In addition to the regular treks, CTC organizes a variety of other events. Periodically they organize social outings for underprivileged groups 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 multiday motorcycling trips over mountain roads and trail riding through scenic locations.
CTC has programs to keep the forests clean - in addition to their 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.
CTC members also document landscapes and wildlife discovered during the treks. Photos are geo-tagged, published and shared on the CTC blog and the photographers' own Picassa pages. CTC has published more than 30,000 photos taken during their treks.
CTC's has an extensive presence on the Internet, mostly built using Google tools. Treks and photos are published using Blogger on their blog. CTC also has online communities on Facebook. 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 google groups.
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.
- About Peter VanGeit
- Chennai Trekking Club Official Web Page, Chennai, retrieved 2011-02-27
- 02 ctc treks, Chennai, retrieved 2011-02-27
- The Chennai Trekking Club, Chennai: Google groups, retrieved 2011-02-27
- Chennai Trekkers 's Public Gallery Albums (47), Chennai: Picasa web albums, retrieved 2011-02-27
- Peter Van Geit, CTC in the news, Chennai, retrieved 2011-02-27