Mt Rudugheira (5819m) Expedition

Mt Rudugaira is located in the Rudu Valley inside the Garhwal Himalayas. The Rudu Valley offers an approach for the peaks in the Gangotri Massif as well as for Auden’s Col. Rudugaira is a perfect training peak for beginners who are trying to get some experience of high mountain climbing.

It is not a technical mountain and the difficulty grade of the mountain differs from season to season. It is tougher to climb in the pre monsoon season where the presence of deep soft snow requires one to have knowledge of how to walk with boots and crampons as well as know how to use an ice axe. This peak therefore offers the perfect conditions for those wishing to learn the basics of mountain climbing.

In the post monsoon session the challenges offered are not of snow but dexterity and balance. The mountain is almost completely slate and careful stepping maneuvers are required. The effects of altitude of course remain the same.

Short Itinerary

Day

From To Altitude

Distance/Time

Day 1

Dehradun Uttarkashi 1352m 120km (by car)

Day 2

Uttarkashi (Issuing of equipment)

Uttarkashi

Harsil 3048m

90 km(by car)

Day 3

Harsil Gangotri 3100m

15km (by car)

Gangotri

Nala Camp 3450m

14km/7hrs

Day 4

Nala Camp Base Camp 4450m

10km/6hrs

Day 5

Base Camp

Camp I 4600m

7km/3hrs

Day 6

Camp I Summit Camp 5000m

4-5hours

Day 7

Summit Camp Summit Attempt

5819m

Summit

Base Camp

Day 8

Base Camp

Harsil

Day 9

Harsil

Dehradun

Day 10

Extra Summit Day

Expedition Grade: Easy to Moderate

Best Months: Mid May to Mid June, Mid September to End October

 Detailed Itinerary

Gangotri to Nala Camp

Our climb starts from Gangotri and it is a two day march to Base Camp. At Gangotri we cross the Bhagirathi River and start walking down away from the town and towards the Rudu Valley. This same trek right up to Base Camp is also the approach to the famous Auden’s Col trek.

Almost the entire trek on this day is through a thick forest of Pine and Deodar trees. It starts as soon as we get out of town. Along the route around 3km from Gangotri is Pandu Gufa, a large cave that according to legend the Pandavs took refuge in during their years of exile. Now a Sadhu lives there to meditate.

Near the Pandu Gufa is a fork in the trail and we start climbing up into the forest. All this while we keep the Rudu Ganga to our right and walk for about 4-5km kilometers till we come to a small log bridge that we use to cross the Rudu Gard and from here on the river remains on our left till Nala Camp.

Even though the trek is long on this day it is quite a pleasure. The Rudu Valley unlike the Gangotri Valley is green and heavily forested coupled with the constant sound of the river it is an assault on the senses. The only challenge we will face on this day of the trek is quite close to the Nala Camp where we shall encounter 3 or 4 landslides which we have cross to get to the campsite.

The Nala Camp is a small campsite right next to the river.

Nala Camp to Base Camp

The trek on this day to Base Camp is as different from the one to Nala Camp as the sun from the moon. Where the day before we had walked in a closed valley that was heavily wooded today we walk along high, open and lush meadows. As soon as we start walking from Nala Camp we climb up a small hillock that takes 15 minutes to get to the top. Once on the top enormous, green meadows can be seen as far as the eye can see and the whole valley opens up.

We continue up and down various nalas that cut across the meadows for some kilometers. The last stretch to Base Camp is the most challenging. Not because it is technical but only because it is a bit steep. After we have crossed the meadow we reach a final nala, the steep section starts here. It takes about an hour and a half to climb up to the top and we are at Base Camp.

Base Camp is another meadow and one can not only see the meadow around but since we are at a height we can also see the entire meadow we crossed to get there as well as the path that continues to the Gangotri Base Camp.

Base Camp to Camp I

On this day we have mixed it up a bit and done away with the traditional day of acclamitisation at Base Camp. Instead of staying put we shift camp a little higher up the mountain. It’s not much and one can mostly reach camp in less than two hours and it’s not much higher up from Base Camp as well.

The initial way is through the meadow and then we take a short traverse of about half an hour across a moraine area. The camp is just over the moraine.

This move is advantageous as we climb a bit higher up the mountain and that it is not too strenuous. Once at the camp one is free to do as they please, read, chat up the rest of the team or play cards. This move not only aids in acclimatisation but also closes the distance to the Summit Camp.

Camp I to Summit Camp

The climb up to Summit Camp will take about 4 hours and is a mixture of rocky and meadow like terrain. There is a slight incline throughout the way. From here on we start seeing a lot of the peaks that surround the area the three Gangotris, Srikantha and the trail towards Auden’s Col.

The Camp Site itself is a small flat grassy area that affords more than anything else amazing views of the meadows below.

Summit Camp to the Summit

The summit attempt starts early in the morning and the usual call time will be 4am. The stretch from the Summit Camp up to the Summit is steep and there is a general incline of about 50-60 degrees. As soon as we leave Summit Camp in the morning we encounter a moraine like area. In fact most of the climb this day is on rocky terrain, unless of course it snows. In any case in all conditions there will be a lot of snow patches mixed with the rocky patches.

As we start walking from the Summit Camp we traverse left and catch the ridge that we follow almost to the Summit. As we walk along this ridge below us we can see the crevasse ridden area below Gangotri I. Just as the sun starts to rise we see the three Gangotris bathed in orange hues. This is a sight that is not easily forgotten and has brought many a seasoned climber to tears.

Mt Rudugheria has 3 false summits before the actual summit. These are large humps and as one approaches each it seems that this might be the summit, however, as one reaches the top of each we realise that we still more to go. The summit cannot be seen from Summit Camp or on the climb up till we are almost to the top. Nearing the top of the mountain we leave the ridge that we have been following and traverse slightly to the right and take a more central line up to the top.

It takes an average of 5 hours to get to the summit from Summit Camp. The view from the top is truly a thing out of dreams. The three Gangotris that have been with us throughout the climb can be seen in all their majesty. We can also now see far up the Bhagirathi valley, where we can see the three Bhagirathi peaks, Sudarshan, Shivling and many more peaks.

It takes another 3 to hours to get back to Summit Camp from the Summit and a further 4 hours to get to the Base Camp. So this day is the most strenuous of all and we are on our feet for almost 12 hours. However, the views from the top and the sense of achievement and the elation and adrenaline drive us through the day.

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