Mountaineering

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

Pranav Harish

Last updated: 02-02-2020

Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

The Indian Himalayas spanning across 7 states has been attracting ambitious climbers from all corners of the world for ages. Presenting some of the toughest and imposing peaks in the world, there are plenty of peaks that are popular and otherwise. For any adventure aficionado and aspiring mountaineer, undertaking a mountaineering expedition with a goal of summiting a peak is easily considered as the ultimate achievement in life.

The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), the national body for mountaineering in India, has long been encouraging, supporting and organizing expeditions in the Indian Himalayas. This apex organization has set forth some expedition rules that have made climbing peaks in India much more sophisticated and environment-friendly.

Every climbing expedition requires a permit fee from IMF pertaining to that particular peak that you wish to climb. However, for foreign nationals who come to India for a mountaineering expedition, there is a specific set of rules and regulations that apply to them. This includes fees for the following:

  • Liaison Officer – Every foreign expedition will have an Indian Liasion Officer who will be accompanying them as a member of the team, and the fee for the same is USD 500 by the team.
  • Handling Charges – Handling charges are the permits needed for a participant in a particular expedition. These charges vary depending on the maximum height of that particular peak. IMF has recently slashed the Handling Charges for foreign expeditions by 50%. This is a significant relief for foreign nationals which otherwise proved to be quite daunting.

 

However, this discount by IMF on peak fees is applicable only to a few selected peaks in the Indian Himalayas for the year 2020. Here are the reduced peak fees for foreign nationals for less climbed peaks.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Now that you know about the permits, it’s time to fasten your Scarpas and pick a peak to climb or maybe all if you are up for a challenge.

Here is a list of some of the most exquisite yet arduous mountaineering expeditions to do with us.

 

1) Mt. Deo Tibba Expedition

Located near Manali, Mt. Deo Tibba, meaning “the assembly site of the gods and devtas”, is the second-highest peak of the Pir Panjal range. Even though the peak requires a technical approach it is one of the easier peaks to climb when compared to the rest of the list.

However, do not underestimate the difficulty of this expedition as the peak has a 55-degree icy pass at Duhagan Col. a considerable ice cap at the peak and one has to climb over a huge snow hump perched at the edge of an icy plateau to reach the summit.

Thus, Mt. Deo Tibba is the perfect climbing expedition to prepare for any significantly more technical peaks.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Himachal Pradesh

Range: Pir Panjal Range

Max. Alt.: 6001 M (19,688 FT)

Coordinates: 32°11’43” N, 77°22’57” E

Base Camp: Tainta

Duration: 15 Days

Best Time: May, June, September, October

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals:

  • Former charges – USD 500 for a party of two members. USD 225 for every additional member up to twelve members.
  • Revised handling charges for 2020USD 250 for a party of two members. USD 110 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

2) Black Peak Expedition

Located near the Ruinsara Valley of Garhwal Himalayas, Black Peak is the highest peak in the Saraswati mountain range. It is more famously known as “Kalanag” since the peak resembles that shape of a Black Cobra. It is the most dominating peak of the entire Bandarpunch massif.

The expedition to Black Peak is quite technical with a 70-degree incline and a near-vertical ice wall before the summit climb which will test the best of the best climber. Due to the presence of endless crevasses between Camp 1 and the Summit camp it is imperative to use the ice axe to probe the glacier at every step.

Black Peak is one of the finest climbing expeditions suited for those aspiring mountaineers who are looking for a unique experience and challenge.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Uttarakhand

Range: Saraswati Range

Max. Alt.: 6387 M (20,955 FT)

Coordinates: 31°01’12” N, 78°34’12” E

Base Camp: Kyarkoti

Duration: 16 Days

Best Time: May, June, September, October

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals: There is no change in the permit fee. The charges remain the same with USD 500 for a party of two members. USD 225 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

3) Mt. Hanuman Tibba Expedition

Hanuman Tibba located near Manali is the last peak of the Dhauladhar range as it joins the Pir Panjal range. This pyramid-shaped summit, even though is not as high as the other peaks in the list, has a very challenging and technical approach.

The 45-degree sharp climb to the summit, the extremely steep and arduous Tentu pass which is avalanche prone as well as the massive hanging glacier en route will test your skills and strength.

If you are an adventure junkie looking to train for substantially difficult expeditions, then Mt. Hanuman Tibba is best suited for you.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Himachal Pradesh

Range: Pir Panjal Range

Max. Alt.: 5932 M (19,462 FT)

Coordinates: 32°20’30” N, 77°02’25” E

Base Camp: Beas Kund area at the base of Tentu Pass

Duration: 13 Days

Best Time: May, June, September, October

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals:

  • Former charges – USD 500 for a party of two members. USD 225 for every additional member up to twelve members.
  • Revised handling charges for 2020USD 250 for a party of two members. USD 110 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

4) Mt. CB 13 & Mt. CB 14 Expedition

The CB (Chandra Bhaga) group of peaks in the Lahaul massif has two massive peaks namely CB 13 and CB 14 overlooking the stunning Chandratal Lake. The expedition to CB 13 and CB 14 peaks are not to be taken lightly as the climb requires significant mountaineering experience.

Crossing the massive Dhaka glacier one will reach a humongous snowfield with a grand view but hides endless crevasses that are unpredictably long with frequent rockfalls and avalanche-prone zones. The col is at a 65-degree steep incline and a 75 ft near-vertical ice wall which requires prior knowledge of rock and ice climbing techniques. Jumar and roping up procedures are a must in this intimidating expedition to CB 13.

The CB 14 expedition has a relatively easier approach with the Advanced Base Camp of both CB 13 and CB 14 being the same.

Also, between Camp 1 and Camp 2 lies a huge glacier at a height of 16500 FT with scattered debris of an Indian Army airplane crash that occurred in 1968.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Himachal Pradesh

Range: Chandra Bhaga Range

Max. Alt.: 6264 M (20,552 FT)

Coordinates: 32°21’06” N, 77°33’21” E

Base Camp: Batal

Duration: 16 Days

Best Time: July to October

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals:

  • Former charges – USD 500 for a party of two members. USD 225 for every additional member up to twelve members.
  • Revised handling charges for 2020USD 250 for a party of two members. USD 110 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

5) Mt. Gangotri 3 Expedition

Being one of the toughest peaks to climb among the Gangotri massif, Gangotri 3 peak rises from the Rudragaira Bamak glacier with Mt. Rudragaira to its right and the mighty Auden’s Col to the left.

Gangotri 3 peak has its fair share of challenges with the summit camp located at the base of an avalanche-prone slope. Hence, during the summit push, no steps are cut in the steep snow to ensure that an avalanche is not triggered. There is a near 80-degree steep slope after a crevassed glacier crossing that one needs to climb before summiting the peak.

Mt. Gangotri 3 serves as a preparatory peak for those aiming for 7000+ meters expeditions.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Uttarakhand

Range: Gangotri Range

Max. Alt.: 6577 M (21,578 FT)

Coordinates: 30°52’57” N, 78°52’05” E

Base Camp: Rudragaira Nallah

Duration: 15 Days

Best Time: May, June, September

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals:

  • Former charges – USD 700 for a party of two members. USD 325 for every additional member up to twelve members.
  • Revised handling charges for 2020USD 350 for a party of two members. USD 165 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

6) Mt. Bhagirathi 2 Expedition

Lying in the Gangotri range of mountains, Mt. Bhagirathi 2 is the second highest peak of the Bhagirathi massif. Rising high above the Gangotri glacier and the river Bhagirathi which later forms Ganga, Mt. Bhagirathi 2 expedition is that of a spiritual one combined with extreme technicalities.

This challenging peak has a 1000 meters upright granite wall that requires hanging down the wall, about 250 meters of vertical mixed rock and ice, and a near-vertical icy slope en route to the summit. These technical aspects will bring out the adventure junkie in you and test your strength and endurance.

With terrifying overhanging walls, the Mt. Bhagirathi 2 expedition is ideal for those aspiring mountaineers who wish to push their limits.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Uttarakhand

Range: Gangotri Range

Max. Alt.: 6512 M (21,365 FT)

Coordinates: 30°52’55” N, 79°08’57” E

Base Camp: Nandanvan

Duration: 20 Days

Best Time: May, June, September

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals: There is no change in the permit fee. The charges remain the same as USD 700 for a party of two members. USD 325 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

7) Mt. Kedar Dome Expedition

Mt. Kedar Dome is the third highest peak located on the south side of the Gangotri glacier and is a subpeak of the main peak Mt. Kedarnath (6940 M) which is the highest peak of that region. Mt. Kedar Dome has a relatively easy route on its northwest flank which is the standard flank as opposed to the highly technical east face which requires a staggering “sixty pitches of insanely hard climbing”.

The base camp of Mt. Kedar Dome is just below the steep wall of Mt. Shivling which makes for an exceptional start to this moderately challenging expedition. The spring season is when some of the experienced climbers do a ski ascent and descent of Mt. Kedar Dome which is a stunning highlight of this expedition. There is a steep 70-degree snow wall straight to the summit that one has to cross in a zig-zag fashion in order to avoid hidden crevasses.

Being a little short of 7000 meters in height, the Mt. Kedar Dome expedition is for those looking to gain significant altitude with fewer technical challenges.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Uttarakhand

Range: Gangotri Range

Max. Alt.: 6832 M (22,415 FT)

Coordinates: 30°48’34” N, 79°04’37” E

Base Camp: Kirti Glacier

Duration: 20 Days

Best Time: June, September, October

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals: There is no change in the permit fee. The charges remain the same as USD 700 for a party of two members. USD 325 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

8) Mt. Nanda Ghunti Expedition

Known as the “Veil of Goddess Nanda Devi”, Mt. Nanda Ghunti is a prominent peak of the Nanda Devi National Park in the Garhwal Himalayas near the famous Roopkund Lake.

Though not technically difficult, Mt Nanda Ghunti is infamous for its crevasses between the summit camp and the summit along with its notorious and unpredictable weather conditions and extremely windy summit camp due to its location on the ridge and owing to its close proximity to the mighty Nanda Devi Peak which creates its own weather systems. Due to these factors, the expedition has a very short summit window.

This exciting mountaineering expedition is a hardcore climbing experience.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Uttarakhand

Range: Nanda Devi Sanctuary

Max. Alt.: 6309 M (20,699 FT)

Coordinates: 30°20’54” N, 79°43’06” E

Base Camp: Homkund

Duration: 16 Days

Best Time: June, September, October

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals:

  • Former charges – USD 500 for a party of two members. USD 225 for every additional member up to twelve members.
  • Revised handling charges for 2020USD 250 for a party of two members. USD 110 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

9) Bandarpunch Peak Expedition

Located in the Sankri range of Garhwal Himalayas, Bandapunch Peak meaning “Lord Hanuman’s Tail” is a staggering peak of the Bandapunch massif. Also sometimes referred to as “White Peak”, Bandapunch along with Kalanag which is known as “Black Peak” dominates the skyline rising high. The Bandarpunch glacier is the source of the holy river of Yamuna.

Bandarpunch peak expedition is technical in nature because of the steep snow slopes and its infamous snowfield which is absolutely humongous full of deep hidden crevasses that require proper probing every step of the way.

Bandarpunch Peak is a perfect training ground for Himalayan mountaineering expeditions.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Uttarakhand

Range: Saraswati Range

Max. Alt.: 6316 M (20,722 FT)

Coordinates: 31°01’36” N, 78°34’19” E

Base Camp: Osala Base Camp

Duration: 17 Days

Best Time: May, June, September, October

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals: There is no change in the permit fee. The charges remain the same with USD 500 for a party of two members. USD 225 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

10) Kang Yatse 1 Expedition

The twin peaks of Kang Yatse 1 and Kang Yatse 2 are located in the heart of Ladakh’s Markha Valley. While Kang Yatse 2 is a trekkable peak and a crowd favorite, Kang Yatse 1 is a whole different story with its technical difficulties and very few summit attempts.

The technical expedition to Kang Yatse 1 is not for the faint-hearted as it involves a straight upright ascent of a 600-meter ice wall en route to the advance base camp that involves 4 point climbing which is the use to all 4 limbs and two ice axes to scale the massive chuck of sheer ice. The route towards the summit is infested with crevasses which involves a lot of technical expertise to maneuver successfully.

Kang Yatse 1 expedition is meant only for experienced climbers who wish to prepare for technically challenging 7000m+ peaks.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Ladakh

Range: Markha Valley

Max. Alt.: 6401 M (21,001 FT)

Coordinates: 33°43’53” N, 77°33’30” E

Base Camp: Nimaling Base Camp

Duration: 14 Days

Best Time: July to October

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals:

  • Former charges – USD 500 for a party of two members. USD 225 for every additional member up to twelve members.
  • Revised handling charges for 2020USD 250 for a party of two members. USD 110 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

11) Mt. Kun Expedition

Dominating the skyline near the Indian side of LOC lie the twin peaks of Mt. Nun and Mt. Kun. Mt. Kun is the second highest peak of the eastern Himalayan range and separates itself from Mt. Nun by a 4 km long snowy plateau.

Expedition to Mt. Kun is meant for experienced climbers only who have the knowledge and expertise to navigate across the highly crevassed area on a glacier en route to camp 1 followed by a steep vertical ascent of the infamous 700 meters ice wall before camp 2 that needs almost 1500 meters of fixed rope and the heavily corniced west ridge that takes you to the summit. You need significant strength and endurance to conquer this 7000m beast.

Mt. Kun is perfect for those aiming to prepare for expeditions of 8000m peaks.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Ladakh

Range: Zanskar

Max. Alt.: 7077 M (23,219 FT)

Coordinates: 34°00’46” N, 76°03’24” E

Base Camp: Gulmotongas

Duration: 23 Days

Best Time: July to September

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals: There is no change in the permit fee. The charges remain the same with USD 1000 for a party of two members. USD 450 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

12) Mt. Nun Expedition

Being the highest peak on the Indian side of LOC, Mt. Nun dominates the Zanskar and Suru Valley along with its twin peak of Mt. Kun. Mt. Nun is a highly technical peak that must be attempted by experienced climbers and aspiring mountaineers who are physically fit and have experience in using technical equipment.

The steep and crevassed icefall en route to camp 1, the near-vertical climb to camp 2 which is perched at the edge of a narrow ridge with barely enough space to pitch 2-3 tents and the hidden crevassed area en route to the summit over a steep ice wall pose countless challenges to climbers. The most fascinating part of the Mt. Nun expedition is the fact that nearly 3000 meters of rope fixing are involved during the expedition, simply jaw-dropping.

Mt. Nun expedition is what one needs to undertake to prepare for any eight-thousanders.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Ladakh

Range: Zanskar

Max. Alt.: 7135 M (23,409 FT)

Coordinates: 33°58′48″N, 76°01′18″E 

Base Camp: Unnamed Base Camp beyond Tangol

Duration: 20 Days

Best Time: July to September

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals: There is no change in the permit fee. The charges remain the same as USD 1000 for a party of two members. USD 450 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

13) Mt. Satopanth Expedition

Mt. Satopanth meaning the “True Path” is one of the most daunting mountaineering expeditions in India. Being the second highest in the Gangotri group of Mountains, Mt. Satopanth serves as a preparatory expedition for those who wish to conquer Mt. Everest. Located deep in the Garhwal Himalayan range, Mt. Satopanth literally separates the Gangotri and Chaturangi glaciers.

This expedition is quite formidable even for the most seasoned mountaineer due to one of the most complex glacier crossings, near-vertical climb of mixed rock and ice, a terrifying 800 meters of the infamous “Knife ridge” traverse at a height of 6300 meters between Camp 2 and the summit camp and a giant hanging glacier just before the summit.

If you are looking for the ultimate challenge and want to push yourself to the extreme then Mt. Satopanth Expedition is the one.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Uttarakhand

Range: Gangotri Range

Max. Alt.: 7075 M (23,212 FT)

Coordinates: 30°50’46” N, 79°12’48” E

Base Camp: Vasuki Tal

Duration: 20 Days

Best Time: June, August, September

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals: There is no change in the permit fee. The charges remain the same with USD 1000 for a party of two members. USD 450 for every additional member up to twelve members.


 

14) Mt. Shivling Expedition

Unarguably one of the most difficult and taxing expeditions in the Indian Himalayas, Mt. Shivling is a towering peak in the Gangotri range of mountains near the snout of Gangotri glacier. Its name refers to the sacred symbol – Shiva Linga due to the peak’s resemblance of the same. Even though Mt. Shivling is about 500 meters short of being a 7000m peak when compared to the other giants in this list, the expedition to this mountain is one of the most challenging in the world.

The technical approach of the climbing route is so complex and difficult that the climb of this peak has resulted in awarding of the prestigious and coveted Piolet d’Or, the climbing award.

Mt. Shivling peak is pyramid-shaped, but actually it is a twin summited mountain with its northeast summit being slightly higher than the southwest summit.

Mt. Shivling has a unique characteristic with the mountain being well guarded by steep granite-like rock faces from all sides. These rock faces are so steep that even snow cannot accumulate here except for the west flank of the mountain that has a decent enough slope for the accumulation of snow.

With frequent vertical walls and rock traverses, the west ridge of Mt. Shivling involves major vertical pitches scattered with 70-degree climbing.

Mountaineering expedition to Mt. Shivling, also known as “Matterhorn of India” is the ultimate thrill for the best.

 

Best Mountaineering Expeditions In India

 

Region: Uttarakhand

Range: Gangotri Range

Max. Alt.: 6543 M (21,467 FT)

Coordinates: 30°52’49” N, 79°03’48” E

Base Camp: Tapovan

Duration: 21 Days

Best Time: May, June, September

IMF Permit Fee for foreign nationals: There is no change in the permit fee. The charges remain the same as USD 700 for a party of two members. USD 325 for every additional member up to twelve members.

 

If you think you have what it takes to overcome the challenges in these aforementioned mountaineering expeditions then join us this 2020 and conquer these behemoths.

Pranav Harish

An enthusiastic traveler and trekker who found his calling in the Himalayas. Read more

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