If you are looking to enter the big league of the 7000ers, Mount Satopanth, as a perfect marriage of altitude and technicality is the best place to start. As the second highest peak in the Gangotri National Park in Uttarakhand, Mount Satopanth is 7,075 meters of pure beauty. Its daunting structure, unnerving slopes and unpredictable weather all lend to the strength of the peak and the thrill it offers. This handsome mountain is part of the Garhwal Range of Himalayas and its name, in the local dialect, literally translates to ‘true path’. For what it delivers in terms of high-altitude experience, Mt. Satopanth is looked at as a holy grail for climbers who aspire to go higher up to the 8000ers. A stepping stone for some and for some a challenge in and of itself, the mountain is a thing of beauty and does its share in lending you a dream. First scaled way back in 1947 by a Swiss expedition led by Andre Roch, it is a technical climb which requires navigating difficult terrain in extremely cold temperatures and the thin air that comes with its soaring altitude. The nature of the mountain, its crevasse- riddled surface, complex glacier approach, high angled snow slopes, patches of difficult ice and rock negotiations, technical knife ridges, constantly changing weather, high altitude and strong winds make it a demanding climb. While it is welcoming, the mountain only invites those with true grit and a heart of a team player. Since it is a technical climb which requires specific knowledge of mountaineering equipment and a specific set of skills to survive at that altitude in that terrain, this is an expedition reserved for experienced climbers only. Mountaineering certification or alternatively experience in high-altitude mountaineering and extreme temperature with one summit of over 6,500M to your credit is a necessity. Stay on this page for information on Mt. Satopanth expedition - Itinerary, Routes, FAQs, and eligibility criteria.
Day 1: Uttarkashi (1,160M) to Gangotri (3,415M)
Distance: 100 km Drive
The trek begins from Gangotri which is a mountain city on the banks of River Bhagirathi and is known to be the origin of the holy River Ganga. Located in the Greater Himalayan Range, legend says that this is where Goddess Ganga descended when Lord Shiva released the river from the locks of his hair. This holy city which lies at an altitude of 3,415M is a 100 km drive away from Uttarkashi.
If you have signed up with Bikat for a drive from Dehradun to Gangotri, the day starts early. Everyone assembles at the meeting point by 7 in the morning so we can start our long drive up to Gangotri, a holy mountain city in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Although there’s nothing more on the agenda for today other than the 5 hour drive, it is better to leave as early as possible for two reasons:
One, so we can reach as early as possible and give our bodies enough rest for what’s coming the next day. And, two, roads on the mountains are unpredictable. It is always better to account for delays when we start. It is also better to reach before it gets dark.
Day 2: Acclimatization in Gangotri
Day two is reserved for rest and for acclimatization to the altitude. This is important to allow your body to adapt to its new environment and reduce chances of adverse health conditions. You can go around and explore the market, delve into the colors and culture of this high-mountain town and visit some places nearby. A little movement around the city would be good for acclimatization. Also, use this time to go through your checklist and do some last-minute shopping for what you might be missing for the trek.
While the body acclimatizes, we take this time to get together with the group for a debriefing session where we get to know each other better and delve into the happenings of the next few days - schedule, what to expect, basic do's and don'ts in the mountains, how to maintain the sanctity of the environment and other such matters of importance.
We also go for a short acclimatization walk in the evening to adapt to this new environment better.
Day 3: Gangotri (3,415M) to Bhojwasa (3,775M)
Distance: 14 km Trek
Today is our first day of actual trek. We start early after breakfast. We will be walking towards Gomukh, the snout of Gangotri glacier. The trail will take us through Chirbasa which is at an altitude of 3,600M and means ‘home of pine’ in the local language – no points for guessing what kind of trees you are likely to find en route to Chirbasa which will take us 4 hours to get to. The entire trek up until Chirbasa is alongside the roaring Bhaigrathi River whose refreshing spirit is likely to keep the spring in your gait alive all the way through. After having our packed lunch here, we move on towards Bhojwasa, our campsite for the day. Bhojwasa in the local language literally translates to the home of birch trees. A view of the very impressive Bhagirathi range of peaks follows alongside. There is a dramatic change of scenery after Chirbasa when the trail starts to get barren and desolate. It is not an overly heavy day. Expect to reach our campsite by the river in the early evening hours. The mesmerizing sunset over the spectacular Bhagirathi range is a perfect view to end your day with.
Day 4: Bhojwasa (3,775M) to Tapovan (4,460M)
Distance: 13 km Trek
We wake up to the majestic view of the Bhagirathi range of peaks and head out for our next campsite after an early breakfast. We will be crossing the snout of the glacier that we saw glimpses of on our way yesterday. Walking alongside us is our companion, River Bhagirathi, till we get to Gomukh. Gomukh, which curiously translates to the ‘mouth of the cow’, was named so by sages of the yesteryears for its appearance. Gomukh is known to be the source of Ganga and where it originally begins its long journey through the many regions it flows by. We spend some time exploring the region around Gomukh after which we head on towards Tapovan - one of the finest high altitude alpine meadows in the area. The trail from Gomukh onwards is one on moraine-rich glaciers. The view of the surrounding peaks starts to get wider and wider as the trail from Gomukh to Tapovan gets steeper with every step forward. Tapovan, known for its gorgeous meadows encircling the base of Shivling Peak, is a beautiful campsite bustling with the many fresh water streams and an assortment of wildflowers scattered across its floor. Herds of Bharal (blue mountain goats) running up and down the mountain ridges with magnificent views of Bhagirathi I, II, III in the background, is a common sight here. Is it any wonder why Tapovan remains one of the most preferred spots for spiritually inclined people for their long periods of meditation? We can try some of that as we set up camp here for the night!
Day 5: Tapovan (4,460M) to Nandanvan (4,800M)
Distance: 8 km Trek
Today we make an early head start to push off towards the head of the Meru Glacier. After spending sometime at Meru, we trace our way back towards the wide expanse of meadows at the foot of Bhagirathi peaks that is Nanadanvan over glacial moraines via the Gomukh Glacier. The landslides at the junction of the two ranges creates a layer of rocky moraine, which is our pathway for today. The glacier needs to be traversed with caution. Lack of grip, massive hidden and open crevasses and alternating rocky patches are some challenges you will encounter here. After walking for around 1 km, we reach the start of a steep ascent. Boulders and rocks on the trail help find patches for firm footing but can also be deceptive and hence it would serve well to exercise extreme caution all the way through. Our campsite at Nanadanvan offers magnificent views of the majestic Shivling peak.
Day 6: Nandanvan (4,800M) to Vasuki Tal [Base Camp] (4,876M)
Distance: 6 km Trek
Today is a short day with a steady ascent along the Chaturangi Glacier to get to Vasuki Tal which doubles up as our basecamp for the expedition. A diagonal traverse on the glacier, a short ascent and an even shorter descent later, we are now by the small lake called Vasuki Tal. Reaching the base of the mountain sure does a lot to bring the realization of the magnanimity of task that lies ahead of us in the coming days.
Day 7: Acclimatization at Base Camp
A lot is to be achieved during your time at base camp. From the distribution and setting up of all the gear to technical training and practice on the icy slopes around the basecamp. But before then, we have the entire day to rest our bodies and acclimatize to the terrain, altitude and temperature of the base camp which lies at 4,876M – a height gain of approximately 1460M from Gangotri where we started the trek.
Day 8 – Day 19: Expedition
Since the conditions on high-altitude are unpredictable, there is a constant readjustment of plans to adapt to the situation at the time. Providing fixed day-wise schedules is hence tricky. But roughly, the schedule includes rotation rounds between camps which is a standard acclimatization process on high-altitude expeditions. Mt. Satopanth has 3 camps at 5,130M, 5,790M and 6,200M above the basecamp.
Camp 1 (5,130M): Camp 1 lies at an altitude of 5,130M which is an approximate 250M of height gain from our base camp. We walk a narrow ridge with the Chaturangi glacier to our left and the Vasuki Parbat that feeds the Vasuki Tal that we just left behind at basecamp, to our right. This is when we get our first glimpse of the mighty Mt. Satopanth. From here we go down towards Sundar Glacier. After a fair bit of walk on a moraine-rich terrain, we reach Camp 1.
Camp 2 (5,790M): Camp 2 at an elevation of 5,760M is a technical and hard climb with an altitude gain of 660M from Camp 1. The route which presents challenges in the form of alternating ice and rock patches, vertical ascents and ice gullies requires the use of a fixed rope and ascenders to make a successful ascent.
Camp 3 (6,200M): At an height gain of 300M from Camp 2, the Summit Camp for Mt. Satopanth lies at an elevation of 6,200M and requires the use of a fixed rope all the way through. The most treacherous part of the climb starts once we hit the knife ridge with steep slopes on either side, post which we come face to face with the vertical ice face of the mountain. The campsite is interesting too, for its set on a hanging glacier.
Summit Push (7,075M): Like all other summits, it is vital to cover as much distance as possible through the night because that’s when the ice is most stable. You start the climb between 11 and 12 in the night. Hopefully all the anxiety and tension from the physical and mental stress you put your body through the past few days, will dissolve into the calm of the night as you focus on the climb and the goal ahead. We go through the south face of the mountain. Because the gradient is not so high, we make use of fixed ropes only on certain sections of the climb. What’s more challenging, however, are the rock and boulder sections during the ascent which need you to pull your weight up massive boulders all while wearing crampons. The summit offers stunning views of the Garhwal Himalayas to the south and the Tibetan Plateau to the north. The most difficult part about the climb apart from the majestic altitude is the daunting knife ridge at 6,500M and the technical rock and glacial negotiations.
Summit Camp (6,200M) to Gangotri (3,415M): We make this long journey after summit from the summit camp all the way back to Gangotri in the span of 5 days. Descends can be precarious so try to keep yourself as focused as while going up the mountain – depleted energy has a way of defocusing your mind. The thought of going towards warmer lands has a way of keeping the motivation high! We trek up till Uttarkashi and make the 100 km drive from there to Gangotri by Day 19.
Day 20: Depart from Uttarkashi
Your expedition ends here but not before some celebration. How can we end this adventure without a summit party?
Like we indicated before, the weather on high-altitude is unpredictable as are many other conditions, we would suggest you keep spare days between the end of the expedition and your travel arrangements to head back home.
In accordance with the rules and regulation set forth by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) for mountaineering expeditions, out of 12 seats per batch:
- 6 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Advanced Mountaineering Course (AMC)
- 4 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC)
- The remaining 2 seats are reserved for aspirants with previous trekking experience of expeditions above 6000 meters
Foreign Nationals - Due to a specific set of guidelines for Foreign Nationals it is recommended to call our support team to gain information on the list of documents and procedure involved in booking a mountaineering expedition with us.
Mt. Sathopanth Expedition is made only for trekkers with previous mountaineering experience and wants to test their limits. The challenges faced in the expedition should not be underestimated. You should attempt this expedition only If you have already done climbs over 6000 m and have completed a Basic Mountaineering Course. It is recommended not to opt this trek if you cannot get acclimatized in the high altitudes. The climb required expeditionary tactics, experience with glacier trek, high angled snow slopes, and technical ridge all of which is a strenuous endeavor. Besides you need to have a strong physical endurance to complete this trek. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale
A basic mountaineering course is recommended though not mandatory in case of people who have previously been on an expedition to a technical 6000 m peak. At least 4-5 challenging treks along with 30+ total trekking days in the Himalayas. Experience with glacier trekking and high altitude mountaineering are essential for Mt. Sathopanth. Medical fitness certificate from CMO of a recognized hospital.
How to use an Ice Axe
How to use Climbing boots & Crampons
How to rope up & follow queued climbing/descending
How to self-arrest using an ice axe
Knowledge of Basic First aid
Click here for packing list.
The base for Mt. Sathopanth expedition is Gangotri, around 500 km from Delhi.
Reach Gangotri By Air: At a distance of around 226 km from Gangotri is located the closest airport named Jolly Grant Airport. Situated in Dehradun, the airport has regular flights from India's capital city of Delhi. So, you can catch a flight to the airport and then you can hire a cab from there to reach the sacred town of Gangotri. Taxi or cab charges will cost you around Rs 4,000.
Reach Gangotri By Train: If you like traveling by train, you'll need to reach the Rishikesh railway station which is also the closest at 250 km from Gangotri. After arriving at the railway station, you'll see plenty of cabs ready to take you to your destination. You'll need to pay anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000 as cab charges.
Reach Gangotri By Road: The holy town of Gangotri is also well connected by road with all the popular tourist places in the state of Uttarakhand and outside the state. From places like Yamunotri, Mussoorie, and Tehri, you can easily catch tourist buses to reach Gangotri. There are both private deluxe buses and state buses to reach the town.
Gangotri has coverage for all major networks. There is no cellular network beyond Gangotri.
The best months for this expedition are May, June, September, and October. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold make this expedition impossible in winters.
Gangotri Temple: Gangotri, the origin of the River Ganges and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The original Gangotri Temple was built by the Nepalese general Amar Singh Thapa. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga (the Ganges) from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda.
Places to visit near the Gangotri Temple
Bhagirath Shila is believed to be the holy rock where King Bhagirath prayed to Lord Shiva.
Pandava Gufa, located 1.5 km from Gangotri, is the place where the Pandavas are believed to have meditated and rested en route Kailash. Pilgrims will have to trek up to the Pandava Gufa.
You will be picked from and dropped to your hotel in Delhi.
Expect to be free by the afternoon on the last day of the expedition. So plan all your journeys post 1800 hours or from the next day.
Guesthouse/Hotel accommodation in Delhi, Uttarkashi, and Gangotri on Days 1, 2, 3, 21, and 22 will be provided as per our itinerary. During the expedition, accommodation will be in 4 season tents on twin sharing basis.
We provide 4 seasons tents by Gipfel for higher altitudes which can easily withstand heavy snowfall and storms. They are spacious enough to accommodate 3 people at once with a vestibule to place the backpacks. Our sleeping bags are made up of Heatseeker Pro synthetic insulation that can provide you comfort in -10 degrees Celsius. We also use additional fleece liners to have thermal efficiency even in the extreme temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius. If you carry your own sleeping bag, you will get a cashback reward provided that you inform us as soon as you have booked your trek.
Toilet tents will be provided to you on the trek. These are portable toilets tents where a deep pit will be dug. A shovel will be provided inside the tent to cover the waste after you have made your business. You can take a toilet roll inside. Make sure you dig used toilet paper along with the waste. Though water is recommended in place of toilet paper. Please refrain from using wet wipes as they are non-biodegradable. There will be no facility for bathing on the trek. Go through our blog section for tips on how to maintain personal hygiene on treks.
Since this is a technical climb at extremely high altitudes on snow and ice, all required technical equipment such as Ropes, Helmet, Ice Axe, Crampons, Mountaineering Boots, Jumar, Descender, Harness will be provided. You can refer to the inclusions section for more details.
Vegetarian food will be served throughout the trek. The only non-vegetarian item served on our treks are eggs. Our kitchen staff follows a proper menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner which has been designed in order to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the participants. There will be milk, poha, eggs, muesli/corn flakes, bread, and butter served for breakfast. Rice or simple roti sabzi will be packed for lunch. In dinner, you will have dal, egg curry or any other vegetarian dish along with rice, roti, and a dessert item. Packed lunch will be provided to you on the days you are trekking. You are requested to carry your own tiffin box and a mug to consume food. The meals consumed on the journey and arrival day are not included in our cost.
You can rent the following items from us- Trekking Pole, Trekking Shoes, Fleece Jacket, Rucksack.
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
You can expect temperatures to drop to as low as -15°C to -25°C at higher camps on the climb. The more altitude we gain the colder it gets. However, the weather is always unpredictable so be prepared with all the essential layers required to keep yourself warm and dry.
Since this is a technical climb at 7000 m, you can expect snow and ice on the expedition.
If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to make a request for offloading a few days prior to the trek through an email so that arrangement can be made in advance. You will be charged per day for offloading your rucksack. In case you decide to offload on the spot, you may have to pay a higher price than usual. However, offloading your rucksack is not recommended since it is not a safe practice.
A team of participants will be led by an IMF certified mountaineering guide. All participants are requested to abide by what their leader says. There will also be a team of kitchen staff and porters on the trek. We maintain a 1:8 ratio of trek leader and participants. All our trek leaders and staff have certified training in first-aid and rescue operation.
Yes, the trekking pole is necessary. If you don’t want to buy one, you can rent it from us on minimal daily basis charges. You can request the renting link from us.
Yes, there are stores/shops in Uttarkashi and Gangotri from where you can buy necessary stuff. Though it is recommended that you come prepared with all the stuff. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.
Yes, it is absolutely safe for a solo woman to travel in fix departures. Women on the trek will be sharing a tent with each other. In case you are the only woman on the trek, you will be given a separate tent.
Yes, e-certificates will be given at the end of each trek provided that you completed it. It will bear your name, the trek, and the maximum altitude you achieved on the trek.
ID Proof (Soft Copy to be sent to us in Advance & original to be carried), Medical Certificate (Soft Copy to be sent to us & original to be carried) and Photocopy of ID Proof and passport size photos are the mandatory documents required for the trek.
The minimum age limit is 16 years. However, minors aged 16 and 17 years should be accompanied by their parents or guardians. If you are above the age of 60, kindly carry a medical certificate from your doctor that deem you fit for adventure activities like trekking and mountaineering.
Our community is an integral part of us and we take pride in our trekkers and climbers. When you complete at least three days on any trek or expedition with us, you become eligible for our membership and referral programs.
For us, a successful summit is not about reaching the highest point of a mountain but about making it safely back to base.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure
Less than 15 days of departure
No Cash Refund
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations less than 5 days prior to departure
Sarthak Madan 22 November 2018
<h1><strong>Ascending and Descending on Trails</strong></h1> <p> </p> <p>It is critical to understand the concepts of ascending and descending on varied terrain. This lowers the risks of falls, stumbles, strain, and sprains along with conserviRead More