Nestled deep in Gangotri National Park, Gangotri III at an impressive altitude of 6,577M stands tall amongst its two sister peaks Gangotri I (6672M) and Gangotri II (6590M). Rising from the Rudugaira Bamak Glacier, Gangotri III is bound by Mt. Rudragaira to its right and the mighty Auden's Col Pass to the left in the Garhwal range of Himalayas. For its altitude, expedition style climbing using mountaineering equipment, and awe-inspiring views of famed peaks in the range, Gangotri III offers some of the best mountaineering experiences. 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. It is a challenging endeavor taken on by climbers looking to get a taste of high-altitude climbing and for those preparing for 7000+M peaks in the Himalayas. A climb up Gangotri III includes having to traverse miles of rocky moraines, navigating the mighty Gangotri glacier, walking across crevassed snowfields and an arduous climb up the summit with sections of vertical ice fall in the thinning high-altitude air coupled with violent winds. 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 is a mandate to undertake this challenging expedition. Stay on this page for information on Gangotri III expedition - Itinerary, Routes, FAQs, and eligibility criteria.
Day 1: Make your way to Gangotri (3,415M)
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 245 km drive away from Dehradun – the closest city with an airport.
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 8-9 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: Rest and acclimatization at Gangotri (3,415M)
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 Nala Camp (3,760M)
Distance: 7 km
Our first day of trekking in this treacherous terrain involves an altitude climb of close to 350M. The trail for most parts runs through dense forests that occasionally open up to miniature grasslands with unclouded views of limpid skies above.
We head southwest from Gangotri, walking down the main valley for around 2 km and then turn east into the Rudugaira valley. The trail from here gradually climbs up through thick oak and birch forests. On crossing the nala, the tree line begins to thin out giving way to wider expanses of landscape in the form of meadows and grazing grounds. Our approach to the campsite for the day offers magnificent views of Gangotri III and Jogin II which looks like a shark’s fin when viewed from a certain angle.
On reaching the campsite, we rest our weary selves for a bit, get some fuel in the form of hot food and head out for an acclimatization walk early evening.
Day 4: Nala Camp (3,760M) to Gangotri BC (4,450 m)
With an almost 700M of height gain on the agenda today, we start our day early. Right after an early breakfast, we set off on our trail which, for the first few kilometers is through meadows with small streams flowing down the slopes of Rudugaira peak. After a fairly straight walk, we hit our first section of steep climb on grassy land which will take close to 1.5 hours to cross. This will lead us to the traditional base camp for Rudugaira Peak. From here on, we leave the grassy fields behind and cross an unnamed Glacier coming down from the Col of Mt. Gangotri I & Mt. Rudugaira. Our campsite for today, which serves as our base camp for the expedition lies on flat ground at the confluence of Rudugaira Glacier & the unnamed Glacier. It should take us anywhere between 6-8 hours to reach the base camp.
Day 5: Rest and Acclimatization at Base Camp (4,450M)
Today is reserved for acclimatization to the altitude since we gained quite a bit of height in the last two days and have also entered a much different terrain. After a late breakfast we go for an acclimatization walk. On climbing just a few hundred meters from the campsite, we get our first view of Auden's Col which is inspiring to say the least. We end the day early so as to get optimum rest.
Day 6 – Day 12: 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. Mt. Gangotri III has 3 camps between base camp and the summit: Advanced Base Camp (5,050M), Camp 1 (5,500M), and Summit Camp (5,900M).
Given that high-altitude climbs demand a rigorous acclimatization routine, expeditions usually employ the method of making rotation rounds between camps so as to better adapt to the environment. Living the tenet of ‘climb high, sleep low’ which is a golden rule for survival in that altitude, we make multiple rounds between campsites. For Mount Gangotri III, specifically, we make two rounds. The first is when we ferry our load up to the next camp, leave our stuff there and then climb back down to the lower campsite to spend the night. The next day, we climb back up to the camp where we left our stuff and proceed to pitch our tents to now occupy the campsite. What this achieves is a three-fold benefit. Firstly, you can divide your weight between two days so as not to carry a massive amount in one trip. Secondly, it introduces the body to a higher altitude environment but gives it time to better adapt to it by not pushing it to survive in that high altitude. Thirdly, for each time that you climb the same route, it tends to get easier and easier, refining your technique, skill and adaptation.
After load ferry rotations between camps and occupying Summit Camp on Day 10, we will make our first summit attempt on Day 11. By Day 12, we aim to descend back down to Base Camp.
The route between camps is moderately sloped gradients with sections angled at 70 degrees that would need a use of fixed ropes. For certain precarious sections, we will also be roping up for added safety. The route is entirely on ice or snow-covered ice with open and hidden crevasses and hence demands extreme caution on every step. The descent is precarious, too, for we will be climbing down equally steep slopes with depleted energy reserves. If all goes well, we reach back down to Gangotri by Day 13.
Day 13: Depart from Gangotri
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.
Day 14 and Day 15: Reserve Days
In case of bad weather or other difficulties which might set us off schedule during the course of the entire expedition, Day 14 and Day 15 are set as a reserve day. These will only get used if unexpected and unforeseeable conditions present themselves at the last minute preventing us from reaching our destination as planned.
Click here for packing list.
June or September
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 5500 - 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.
Gangotri III is made only for experienced trekkers who want to test their limits. The challenges faced in the trek should not be underestimated. You should attempt this trek only If you have already done a trek that climbs to 4700-5000 metres. It is recommended not to opt this trek if you cannot get acclimatized in high altitudes. 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 highly experienced & skilled trekkers. At least 2-3 challenging treks along with 20 – 25 total trekking days in the Himalayas. Medical fitness certificate from CMO of a recognized hospital.
Jog/Run for 5 Kms in 25-30 mins Or Walk continuously for 10 kms (with 3-4 small breaks) on plain terrain (slight incline is better) and
Hold your breath for 40 seconds and
3 sets of Climbing 30 – 40 steps in one stretch and
Push Ups – 10 and
Lunges & Squats – 15 X 2 sets
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
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
The base for Gangotri III 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.
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.
The minimum age limit is 13 years. However, minors aged between 13 to 17 should be accompanied with 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.
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
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Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations less than 5 days prior to departure