Important Update For Gaumukh-Tapovan Trekkers

We have a quick update for trekkers going to Gaumukh-Tapovan. The Gaumukh glacier has become very difficult to cross, which has directly affected the trek route to Tapovan. As a result, not all trekkers may be able to make it to Tapovan for the next couple of weeks.

The Gaumukh Glacier currently is riddled with crevasses. It has become almost impossible to navigate this season. Picture by Nitish Waila

The Previous Team Has Just Returned Unable  To Make It To Tapovan

Our first two batches of the new Gaumukh- Tapovan season recently attempted the trek to Tapovan.

This trek goes through a glacier and rockfall area that is abundant with loose rocks that makes the walk difficult.

It has been impossible to cross this section over the past week.

Our Trek Leader’s foot even got stuck between two rocks and had to be wedged out with an ice- axe.

Moreover, it took the team 2 hours to cover 1 kilometer! In the end, they had to return to Bhojbasa.

Had camping been allowed in Tapovan, this would not have been that big of an issue. But trekkers must return to Bhojbasa the same day they head out to Tapovan. This means walking on the glacier in sun. This is quite dangerous considering that the glacier melts under the hot midday sun. It isn’t safe for trekkers to cross over when the glacier is unstable.

The Gaumukh Glacier from which river Bhagirathi arises. Picture by Jude Rayen

The Course Of Action

In order to ensure safety of all trekkers, the decision to trek to Tapovan will be taken on a trek by trek basis. The technical team will be sent to check the condition of the trek route before each batch. Based on this information, the Trek Leader will take the fial decision of whether or not the batch can trek to Tapovan.

In case a batch cannot trek to Tapovan, the trekkers will instead go to Nelong Valley. This is a beautiful valley bearing striking resemblance to the Ladakhi desert landscape. In older times, Nelong Valley used to be a trade route between India and Tibet. You can still spot the old wooden bridge built into the side of the hard rock faces that the traders used to get to Tibet.

Not to Worry

We know that Tapovan is the highlight for many who do this trek. But let’s not forget that a glacier is a constantly changing entity. It is always melting, moving and cracking.

High altitude treks are very sensitive to such natural triggers like rain, temperature, landslides and glacial movements. But these are part and parcel of high altitude trekking. So no need to get worried, we will ensure that you get the best out of your trek.

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Lavanya Pangtey

Lavanya Pangtey

Lavanya shares a strong bond with the mountains and coming from Uttarakhand, she has seen their face change over time. Though a law graduate, she works at Indiahikes as a Content Manager. Through this platform, she hopes to help people become more aware about sustainable trekking.

14 thoughts on “Important Update For Gaumukh-Tapovan Trekkers

  1. Hello there,

    Could you please tell that, is trek to Tapovan doable in May,2019. And is camping allowed at Tapovan for a night.

    Thank you

    1. Sahil,

      As of now camping in Tapovan is prohibited. As far as reaching Tapovan is concerned – only a few batches in the Oct/Nov 2018 season were able to make it. The rest went back from Gaumukh.

  2. Hi,

    Will the Gaumukh/Tapovan trek be open on 18 April 2019?
    Staying in Mauni baba’s ashram in Tapovan is still an option ?

    1. With the amount of snow we have had this year, not likely. It’s better to go in May or June. The trail is likely to be blocked with too much snow.

  3. Can first time but fit trekkers do Gaumukh Tapovan trek? I have heard that route to Tapovan is tricky and little risky.

    1. You have to cross the glacier to reach Tapovan and that’s the tricky part. But if you’re fit and preferably with a guide, it won’t be hard to do it. A lot of first timers do this trek.

  4. Hello,
    Maybe a silly question but will i need serious trekking shoes to do this trek?
    I have done many treks across nepal regions with only basic sport shoes and it was ok, but we didn’t walk.through any snow.

    Thank you

    1. Most Nepal trails are well-marked, and neatly laid out. That’s not the case for most treks in the Indian Himalayas. Especially on the Gaumukh Tapovan trek, there is a lot of uneven terrain with moraines and depending on the season, snow. It’s best to have a good pair of trekking shoes.

  5. Hey how are the batches in April and May doing for tapovan? Have they been able to reach? Should I book in May or june?
    Thanks

    1. Hi, Gaumukh-Tapovan is a moderate-difficult trek. It has a couple of sections which are tricky and will test your endurance. group. One section is on the top of Gangotri glacier when you climb the glacier and crossover to go to the Tapovan side. As it’s the end of the glacier, there are crevasses. So you need to know which crevasses you can tackle and which can be avoided. Next section is while climbing to Tapovan you are ascending on the face of the mountain which has a lot of scree. You could lose your footing over there. Just these two sections can be a concern if you haven’t trekked in the Himalayas previously. Apart from that, ensure that you meet the fitness parameters (discussed in comments). Second season of the trek opens from mid-September after the monsoons 🙂

  6. Hi..

    I am a not a trekker. I have completed Kedarnath by walking. I want to go till gaumukh.
    I am planning to go there in 2nd week of Oct-2019.
    Will it be possible on that time?

    1. Hi, Gaumukh Tapovan is a moderate-difficult trek. To ensure your cardiovascular endurance is up to the mark, set a goal of running/jogging 10 km in 60-70 minutes before the start of the trek. For strength, 4 sets of squats with 20 in each set. You also need flexibility, so stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly.
      Gaumukh opens up in May, so May-June is an excellent time. Then it opens post-monsoon, from mid-September to November. Do note that such trails usually close on the day of Diwali. So, you can do the trek in the second week of October 🙂

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