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 and 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 Bhojwasa (3,775M) via Chirbasa (3,600M)
Distance: 14 km Trek
Today is our first day of the 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 Bhagirathi 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 Nandanvan (4,800M) via Tapovan (4,460M) and Gomukh (4,025M)
Distance: 21 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. We will be walking alongside 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?
After spending some time at Tapovan, we push off towards the head of the Meru Glacier and we trace our way back towards the wide expanse of meadows at the foot of Bhagirathi peaks that is Nanadanvan over glacial moraines via Gomukh Glacier. Nandanvan doubles up as our base camp for this expedition. The landslides at the junction of the two ranges creates a layer of rocky moraine, which is our pathway for today. The glacier, for all its challenges, like lack of grip, massive hidden and open crevasses and alternating rocky patches, needs to be traversed with caution. 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. 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 5 – Day 17: 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. Bhagirathi II has 4 camps between basecamp (4,800M) and the Summit (6,512M): Advanced Base Camp (5,000M), Camp 1 (5,200M), Camp 2, and Summit Camp (6000M).
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 Bhagirathi II, 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. 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 12, we will make our first summit attempt on Day 13. Day 14 through 17 will be used for descend, to recuperate our strength on Base Camp and make our way back down to Bhojwasa and further down to our starting point at Gangotri as we bid adieu to the Bhagirathi Massif.
The route between camps are moderately sloped gradients with few sections of a higher gradient 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 17.
Day 18: Depart from Gangotri (3,415M)
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 19 and Day 20: Reserve Day
In case of bad weather or other difficulties which might set us off schedule during the course of the entire expedition, Day 19 and Day 20 are set as reserve days. These will only get used if unexpected and unforeseeable conditions present themselves at the last minute preventing us from reaching our destination as planned.
Mt. Bhagirathi 2 is a level 7 adventure on the Bikat Rating Scale.
This makes it mandatory for you to have high-altitude experience of preferably multiple treks marked at level 5 on the BRS. The altitude, the terrain and the nature of the climb demand a certain level of skill and a need for you to be aware of how your body reacts to the various features of high altitude environment.
we will send you a progression chart to help you comfortably get out of your comfort zone in order to level up and ultimately reach your highest potential in the big, bad world of outdoor adventure.
This is a list of essential items for individuals doing the trek with Bikat Adventures. This list contains only those items which the participants are required to bring with them. The list excludes those items which are provided by Bikat Adventures on the trek. We have divided the items into five categories. All the items in the list are essential except for those marked as optional.
Our batch sizes are capped at 15 for smaller treks with the trek leader and trekker ratio of 1:8. This ratio, in our years of experience, has proven to deliver the best trekking experience for individuals as well as groups. Capping the size of the group ensures individual attention to each trekker so that no signs of distress or need during the trek go unnoticed. It also helps to form a more cohesive cohort with better group energy which helps define the rhythm and pace of days on the trek. As you go higher up on the BRS scale, since the stakes are higher, expeditions have an even smaller group size with the ratio of expedition leader to climber set at 1:2.
We follow a rigorous regime of hiring and training our experts in the field. Each trek leader is a certified mountaineer with years of experience in the field. In addition to their qualification, they also go through practical and situational training to tackle any and all kinds of sudden conditions that may present themselves on the ground. Being unpredictable is the core nature of the mountains but being ready for any circumstance as best as possible is a controllable asset that we try to nurture. Our field experts are also trained in basic medicine and first-aid response. Watch: Forerunners - The Making of A Trek Leader At Bikat Adventures
Since Bikat Adventures is a learning-based organization, we help you climb up the ladder of difficulty within the sphere of outdoor adventure systematically. Our on-ground training modules are designed to handhold you through the upskilling process so that you are ready to take on bigger challenges.
All the gear used on our treks and expeditions is tried and tested, maintained for good quality, and is overall top-notch in quality and condition. We are continually looking to obtain the best of everything there is in the market so as to ensure optimum safety.
Along with the staff you see on-ground, we have a team of superheroes working in the background to give you the best experience possible. Our background team also comprises local staff from each area who know the region best. Having local support helps with studying the area, pre-planning, execution, and in receiving timely support in case of emergencies in these remote locations.
Our on-field staff is in constant contact with our teams based in primary locations so as to eliminate any avoidable delay in reaching additional help and support when required. We try to use the best tools for communication available, including satellite phones, in regions where they are not restricted.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Cancellations between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 5 days prior to departure date