The Complete Guide To Kedartal Trek
A Rare Adventure Among Big Mountains
The Kedartal trek is for lovers of adventure. It is for those trekkers who have done a considerable amount of Himalayan treks and now want to push themselves. It is a difficult trek, with a truly magical experience to give in return for all the effort.
The trek climbs to the glacial Kedartal lake, sitting amid a cauldron of big mountains. Famous mountains of our country rise in front of you in this cauldron – Mt Thalaysagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin, Mt Gangotri. You camp in the shadow of the mighty Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigupanth.
Very few treks bring you so close to such big mountains. And fewer still allow you to spend so much time in their proximity. The closest we can think of is Goechala, and that is a big statement to make.
The trail is also extremely remote. There is no human habitation at this altitude. And you find very few trekking groups on this trail. This solitude, when seen in comparison to a lot of other unfortunately crowded trails, is a blessing.
The trail, however, has a lot of challenges. You start the trek at around 11,000 ft and climb to over 16,000 ft. This altitude gain happens in the course of 3-4 days. Climbing boulders, navigating steep ascents and descents on tricky terrain becomes infinitely more challenging when you are also trying to catch your breath. This needs sufficient physical and mental preparation.
This preparation and hard trekking is rewarded amply on this trek – there are lovely bhoj forests, vast high altitude meadows and then there is the indescribable serenity of the Kedartal lake. You complete the trek having a very high feeling of accomplishment.
Before we begin, here are a some quick facts about Kedartal trek:
The Kedartal Trek lies in the state of Uttarakhand. It begins and ends at the pilgrim town of Gangotri. It is a 50 km trek hiked over a period of 4 days (7 days including drive to and from the trek, and an acclimatization day) in the Himalayas. It is a difficult trek (more on this ahead on this page) that should be attempted only by experienced trekkers.
It lies in the Greater Himalayas and is known for its brilliant big mountain views of peaks like Mt Thalay Sagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin and Mt Gangotri.
Use this table to navigate through content on this page:
- What I Like And Don’t Like About Kedartal Trek
- Best Time To Do Kedartal
- Weather And Temperature On Kedartal
- How Difficult Is Kedartal?
- Is Kedartal Trek Safe?
- How To Reach Kedartal?
- What To Pack For Kedartal?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Kedartal
What We Like And Don’t Like About Kedartal Trek
Two Trek Leaders, Dushyant Sharma and Tanmay Bain have known the Kedartal trek intimately. Dushyant has been on the trail two times and Tanmay, four times! They have observed the trek in different seasons, and here’s what they like and don’t like about it.
What we like about Kedartal
1. The Gangotri base camp
First of all, I really like the Gangotri base camp.
Moreover, Gangotri is a base camp for one of the most popular treks in India – Gaumukh Tapovan trek. As you start your trek to Kedartal, you see the trail leading to Tapovan.
This builds up your hunger for trekking even more. It is a base camp you want to come back to do another trek.
2. Spending time among the big mountains
The trek climbs to the glacial Kedartal lake, sitting amid a cauldron of big mountains. Famous mountains of our country rise in front of you in this cauldron.
Mt Thalaysagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin, Mt Gangotri are right in front of you. Moreover, you camp in the shadows of Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigupanth.
Very few treks bring you so close to such big mountains. And fewer still allow you to spend so much time in their proximity.
3. Kedartal lake
The sight of Kedartal after a hard climb is difficult to put in words.
4. The high level of adventure
We find that the adventure level that Kedartal provides is rarely matched. There are multiple sections on this trek that challenge you.
The first one comes three quarters of the way to Bhoj Kharak — a rock face that you have to walk on all fours to get to the trail on the other side.
Then, there is the notorious spider wall – a near vertical rock face which goes right down to the river. It has a very narrow ledge that you need to walk on, one foot at a time, to get across to the other side.
And then the trail to Kedartal itself – a largely rocky trail where you have to pay attention to where you are keeping your foot. This trail keeps you on your toes!
What we don’t like about Kedartal
1. First day’s hike to Bhoj Kharak
We don’t like the first day’s hike to Bhoj Kharak. We don’t find it enjoyable how much ever we try.
Firstly, it is a 9 km long trail. And the trail is rocky in most parts. In spite of having done this trek multiple times, we find ourselves struggling on Day 1.
The climb is almost relentless until you reach Bhoj Kharak. There are only a few short stretches of flat walks that allow me to catch my breath.
The Bhoj Kharak campsite consists of small strips of land lying to the left of the trail. You will have to find flat stretches to pitch your tents. There’s wild grass growing around. The valley here is quite narrow so the views too are not that great.
2. The monotony on the way back
While returning from Kedartal to Gangotri you are essentially retracing the way back. We wish there was another way back. Going up and down the same trail becomes extremely monotonous.
The barrenness of the terrain, the rocky trail, the steep descents on the way back become quite a bit boring. But thankfully, it is over quite quickly as we cover the entire stretch from Kedar Kharak to Gangotri in a single day.
As much as we like the base camp, there is something about Gangotri that we dislike too.
It is the crowds. It is a holy town and there are always hordes of pilgrims who visit to pay their respects to the deities. However, as soon as we leave Gangotri, we find the solitude we seek. After the crowds of Gangotri, this is a blessing.
Best Time To Do The Kedartal Trek
There are two seasons in the year when you can do the Kedartal Trek. During the summer, the trek can be done from mid-May to end of June. While in autumn, it can be done from mid- September to end of October. These are the best times to do the Kedartal trek.
The trail is challenging indeed. But the lovely bhoj forest, the high altitude meadows and Kedartal present a vastly different picture in each of the seasons.
Here’s a table giving you a quick glance of what to expect in both the seasons.
Season What You Will Get To Experience Kedartal in Summer (mid-May to mid-June) – Kedartal is Frozen
– Snow on the trail
– Susceptible to bad weather. It may even snow
Kedartal in Autumn (September to November) – Reflection of Mt Thalaysagar in Kedartal
– Best mountain views with occasional snow plumes
– (An extremely rare) Possibility of seeing Bharal
Kedartal in Summer (mid-May to mid-June)
Summer is the most popular time to do the Kedartal trek as a big attraction in early summers is to find the Kedartal lake completely frozen. This is a rare sight. You don’t get to see a frozen lake right in the middle of huge mountains.
In contrast, the view of Mt Thalaysagar and Mt Bhrigunath with the blue sky and snow-capped mountain is exceptional!
Another big attraction at this time is the presence of snow on the trail. In May, you’ll find a good amount of snow after Kedar Kharak on the way to the summit. You will also find patches of snow before you reach Kedar Kharak, especially in the shadows of the mountains, patches where direct sunlight cannot reach.
While the presence of snow makes the trek challenging, it also adds an extra dose of adventure to the trek.
But here’s something you must keep in mind while trekking to Kedartal in summer – the months of May-June are susceptible to bad weather. Remember that the trek lies in the lap of the Greater Himalayas, and at such altitude you can expect it to snow even in summer.
When it snows the campsites turn completely white. The white powdery snow glistens in the summer sun. It is something to watch out for.
Look how the Kedar Kharak campsite looks when it snows in the summer.
By the end of June, the arrival of monsoons is imminent. This makes the trail prone to landslides and rockfalls. The trek becomes a risky proposition to undertake.
Therefore, at Indiahikes, we wind up the summer season by June.
Kedartal in Autumn (September to October)
The setting shifts radically if you happen to trek to Kedartal in autumn. In September-October, the summer haze and clouds clear up to reveal brilliant mountain views.
After the monsoon, when the sky shakes off all the clouds and becomes squeaky clean, you see the best views of the mountains around. And there are many mountains to look at.
Being in the Gangotri region, this trail is surrounded by big mountains in all directions. Getting to see these mountains from such close quarters against the backdrop of a clear sky brings tears to many a trekkers’ eyes.
Even the views can’t get any better than at the summit. The lake now completely still looks a shade of blue or emerald green depending on the weather. When the water is still you’ll see a complete reflection of mighty Mt. Thalaysagar reflecting in its blue-green waters.
Another thing to watch out for during autumn are the snow plumes. When heavy winds blow at the top of the mountain, the snow is dispersed in the air to form a shape resembling a plume on a hat. Hence the name snow plumes.
Although the trek is quite desolate, the little bit of vegetation does add color to the trail. The silver birch trees turn a golden shade of yellow, while the trunk shines in the bright autumn sun.
Kedar Kharak campsite is one such campsite. Pause here to experience this riot of colours. The shrubs on the sides of the mountains also turn into autumn colors of yellow, brown and maroon.
It’s also the time you’ll see the mountain goats – the Bharal. Though this is their natural habitat, it is rare to see them. The probability of sighting them is definitely higher in autumn. Keep an eye out along the sides of the mountains feeding on the shrubs. Keep your fingers crossed too.
Weather And Temperature On The Kedartal Trek
As we mentioned earlier, there are two seasons to do the trek. The weather is different in each season as expected.
The first is the summer season starting mid-May and goes on until the end of June. In summer, you might find some left over snow from winter in some sections of the trail. The season then closes for the monsoon.
Once the monsoon recedes the trek reopens in September and goes on until the end of October. This is the autumn season on the trek. During this time, the skies are at its clearest on the Kedartal and there’s no trace of snow.
So what kind of weather can you expect in these seasons?
Kedartal in Summer (Mid May — End June)
Mid-May is quite warm on the lower part of the trail. The day time temperatures are close to 20 °C at Gangotri. The evenings do get chilly. But it’s manageable with a jacket or a sweater.
However the higher camps, Bhoj Kharak and further temperatures drop drastically, especially after sun-down.
The day temperatures are pleasant at an average of 15 – 20 °C. A T-shirt and a jacket (if required) should be enough while trekking. However, nights can get really cold, with the mercury dropping close to zero degrees.
Protip Therefore do not wait to start feeling cold. Start layering yourself up after you reach the campsite. Adding a layer every few hours to keep yourself warm.
Moreover, the weather is quite unpredictable and volatile during the summers. The weather changes unannounced and it could abruptly start raining or even snowing.
When it rains or snows, expect the day time temperature to drop below 10 °C.
Kedartal in Autumn (Mid September — End October)
Autumn on the other hand is a few degrees colder than summer. But generally the overall weather during this period is quite stable.
However there is a drastic difference between the day and night temperatures.
While the days can be quite warm with temperatures going as high as 20 °C, the evenings at campsite can get really cold. Don’t be surprised if the temperatures fall below zero at night. It is that vast a difference.
Expect the overall temperatures to fall by 3-5 °C every couple of weeks as the season progresses.
From October, any precipitation comes down as snowfall in the higher camps. When it snows, expect 3-4 inches of snow. The initial bouts of snow tend to melt away in the sun. By the end of October, the cold increases manifold, water sources freeze and trekking becomes untenable.
How Difficult Is Kedartal Trek?
We rate the Kedartal trek as “difficult”. There are three reasons why the Kedartal is considered difficult.
At Indiahikes, while rating a trek difficulty we consider a number of factors. These include altitude gained every day, length of trek everyday, highest altitude, nature of the terrain, weather etc. Based on this we rate a trek as easy or difficult or somewhere in between.
When it comes to Kedartal, here are the factors why we rate it as a difficult trek.
First, the altitude. The trek climbs up very quickly to a highest altitude of 15,485 ft, which is a very high altitude. You have hardly three days to climb this altitude, which makes you prone to the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness. (See – AMS on Kedartal Trek)
| Note: In the Indiahikes Kedartal itinerary, we have an added acclimatization day at Gangotri to avoid this risk.
Secondly, the presence of snow on the trails leading to Kedartal makes the trek quite difficult to navigate. Especially in the month of May and June. This is something you must factor in when you plan to do the trek.
Thirdly, there are several tricky sections on the Kedartal trail that make it difficult, especially for first timers. There are the infamous spider walls on this trek, which are near-vertical boulders along which you have to traverse.
While on one side you have a big boulder, on the other side you have a steep drop, with the river flowing at the bottom. Navigating these sections require sure-footedness and measured footsteps. This comes in only with prior experience. (Read more here – Safety on Kedartal Trek – Terrain).
Since Kedartal is a difficult trek, at Indiahikes, we have set up different processes to register for the trek. This is to ensure your safety as well as the rest of the team.
Prior approval from Indiahikes’ Trek Coordinators is a must for this trek. Once you register for Kedartal, the Trek Coordinator will get in touch with a questionnaire to be filled and guide you through the process.
The mandatory requirements for the trek are prior trek experience in the Himalayas (preferably above 14,000 ft) and good physical fitness (you must be able to cover 5 km in 35 minutes. To know how to get fit for Kedartal, click here).
Is Kedartal Trek Safe?
Yes, it is safe to trek to Kedartal, but with adequate experience and technical know-how. This is important because Kedartal trek is rated as difficult, with challenging steep sections set at very high altitude. So, it is not a trek to be taken lightly.
You need to be physically fit. Prior experience of trekking in the Himalayas helps in being mentally prepared for a difficult high altitude trek like Kedartal.
Also, it is not a trek that you can do by yourself. You need a guide, who is technically skilled and is prepared with equipment like ropes, helmets, harnesses, for this trek. You might need these for the spider wall section on Day 2 of the trek. There is also a rockfall section from Bhoj Kharak to Kedar Kharak where technical skills help.
Safety on Kedartal Trek – Terrain wise
The terrain of Kedartal Trek poses a challenge in terms of safety. Here are some of the sections on the trail where you need to take precautions:
1. Spider wall on Day 1 of the trek (Gangotri to Bhoj Kharak): Right from the time you begin your trek, there is a steep ascent. Very few treks in the country start like this. You gain 2,000 ft almost instantaneously and the climb is nearly 45-50 degrees.
You trek through pine and birch forests, until you reach the spider wall section. The spider wall section is a steep rock face that is almost at an angle of 90 degrees. You traverse this section.
| Safety Advice: For this section, a technical guide is required, along with the Trek Leader, and guide. The technical guide will help you cross this section with ropes, and will make or clear the way using ice-axe if and when required. Trekkers hold the rope for support, and the hand of the technical guide while they negotiate their way through this section of the trek.
2. Rockfall zone (Day 2 — Bhoj Karak to Kedar Kharak): On the second day’s trek, just as you start, within 400 m, there is a rock fall zone, the section also has a scree, and there is a steep descent to add to the challenge. Further, soon after this there is a river crossing as well.
The challenge for you is to keep your head up and watch for the rocks in the rockfall section, and also watch where they place your feet in the scree section.
| Safety Advice: Helmets are a must in this section to minimize the risk of an injury or accident. Follow the instructions of the technical guide/team that help you navigate this section. Keep an eye on where you are placing your feet, and be wary of what to avoid.
Further the Trek Leader (if any) and/or the technical guide should clear the route before you move ahead as well. You must have two trek poles to navigate this section. The snow is still hard when you trek on this section, and that is a plus point.
3. Summit day — Kedar Kharak (14,238 ft) to Kedartal (15,485) and back to Kedar Kharak: Though this day is not as difficult as the previous two days, there are still challenges. The summit ascent is extremely steep. Followed by a flat rocky section, and then a 1 km ascent, again in a rocky section with boulders.
Trekkers must watch where they put their feet down. There are chances of spraining one’s legs in this section. Loose rocks are common in this section.
| Safety Advice: Follow your trek leader/technical team and their instructions. Maintain a few feet of gap between each other, but at the same time stick together as a group.
4. The return from Kedar Kharak to Gangotri: This day’s trek is similar to your first day’s trek. You trace the route back. You approach the rockfall section at Kedar Kharak once again. Except that this time, you are descending. There is also scree section which is extremely slippery, so descending is a challenge.
You must use two trek poles here. This time, the snow on this section will be melting, so you must be extra careful with each step you take. You will have to negotiate the spider wall again. At Indiahikes, our Trek Leader and Technical Guide will help you with this.
Safety on Kedartal Trek – Weather wise
On a high altitude trek Kedartal pass, weather does play a role in you continuing a trek or not.
On the lower part of the trail the weather is more or less stable and does not impact with your moving ahead. But at higher altitudes, the weather is a tad unpredictable.
At altitudes above 15,000 ft, snowfall can happen anytime. A spell of rain on the lower slopes, almost usually leads to a light or heavy snow on the upper regions.
It can rain or snow abruptly at any time at such high altitudes. A rainfall or snowfall that lasts more than four hours can change your trek plans.
Rains can flood the trails or make them too slushy to walk safely on. Some normal sections can become very slippery.
On the Kedartal trek, snowfall is a distinct possibility, especially in the summers.
Snowfall can obstruct previously made paths. Which means fresh tracks have to be cut on the snow.
The Indiahikes technical team along with the Trek Leader takes a call on when to proceed with the trek and when to turn back. A team may have to turn around from the highest camp if the weather turns for worse.
Safety on Kedartal Trek – Altitude wise
Kedartal trek starts very high. The base camp, Gangotri is already at 10,000 ft. Most of our treks start at around 7,000 feet. You start at Gangotri (10,055 ft) and go all the way to Kedartal (15,484 ft).
Even before you start the trek, the oxygen is low. And as you go higher the oxygen only becomes rarer.
Moreover, your journey from hometown to Gangotri itself can be quite exhausting.
The average altitude, relatively colder temperatures and the tiring journey to the base camp makes one susceptible to getting hit by AMS.
You might develop symptoms starting at Bhoj Kharak if not earlier. Symptoms include a mild headache, loss of appetite, nausea, or inability to sleep at night.
If you feel any of them, report to your Trek Leader.
It is a myth to think that you won’t be hit by AMS if you’re an experienced trekker. Even experienced trekkers are equally likely to be affected by AMS.
A good level of fitness makes the trek less strenuous for trekkers and thus reducing the chance of being affected. But do not forget that even a fit person climbing too high too soon runs an equal risk of developing AMS.
At Indiahikes, we have kept the safety of our trekkers as well as staff as utmost priority while planning the trek route.
At any point in the trek, inform your Trek Leader about your condition immediately if you feel any symptoms of AMS.
If your symptoms do not subside on basic treatment for AMS and rest, it is better not to go further into the trek.
Because the further away from Gangotri you are, the tougher it becomes to get back to the base camp, as the only way to exit is to retrace your steps back to Gangotri.
Here’s a complete guide to know about Altitude Sickness:
Exit points on Kedartal
The only exit point on the trek is Gangotri.
A quick and easy way to exit the trek is one of the factors that makes us rate a trek easy or moderate or difficult. With only one exit point on the trail, evacuation in case of emergency becomes challenging on the Kedartal trek.
When you trek to Kedartal, you’re basically retracing the same way back.
In case of an emergency, medical or otherwise, the only way is to retrace your way back to Gangotri.
The closer you are to Gangotri, the easier it is to exit.
Closest hospital on Kedartal
Another aspect of a trek that makes it relatively challenging is the access to hospital.
The closest hospital is in Uttarkashi which is 100 km from Gangotri.
Here is the hospital where medical assistance can be sought:
District Hospital, Uttarkashi
Near Vishwanath Chowk,
Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand – 249193
How To Reach Kedartal?
The trekking trail to Kedartal starts at Gangotri. From here it is a 25 km trek to Kedartal.
Gangotri, where the trek starts is a well known pilgrim town. It is one of the char (four) dhams in the state of Uttarakhand.
The river Ganga originates at Gangotri (the actual source being Gaumukh), but is known as Bhagirathi here. As per Hindu mythology it is here where Goddess Ganga descended from the locks of Lord Shiva in the form of a mighty river.
You can find the detailed trail information and directions, here.
The journey from Dehradun to Gangotri is approximately 240 km long. The journey can be done by buses or shared taxis.
How to reach Gangotri from Dehradun?
The journey from Dehradun to Gangotri is probably the longest journeys that you’ll undertake to the base camp of any Indiahikes’ treks.
Moreover it is not a straightforward journey to Gangotri.
At the same time it becomes exhausting, especially after the long journey trekkers undertake to reach Dehradun from their hometowns.
Therefore, we strongly recommend you to arrive at Dehradun a day early and spend the night there. A good night’s rest at Dehradun before continuing your travel to Gangotri will go a long way in making your trek less exhausting.
Protip If you can, cover the journey in two days spending a night at the village on Harsil en route Gangotri. Harsil is a quaint little town surrounded by pine forests and snow-clad mountains and offers panoramic views of the Greater Himalayas. Spending a night at Harsil will help you acclimatize better to the high-altitude terrain on the trek ahead.
There are 3 things to know about the transport from Dehradun to Gangotri:
- Firstly, there is no direct transport from Dehradun to Gangotri. You’ll have to change buses or taxis at Uttarkashi which lies at roughly 140 km mark and takes 5 and a ½ hours.
- Secondly, the last shared cab from Uttarkashi for Gangotri leaves at 1 or 2 in the noon. If you miss that, you’ll have to spend the night at Uttarkashi.
- And finally, the 240 km journey from Dehradun to Gangotri will take 10-11 hours.
Therefore it is essential you start early in the morning so that you reach before dusk and have enough time to rest before beginning the trek. Here’s how you should go about it:
1. Dehradun to Gangotri by shared taxis
When you catch a taxi you might have to wait for a while before the driver finds enough passengers to share the ride. But usually it is never more than 20-30 mins. So do account for that time. Both at Dehradun and at Uttarkashi.
The journey will cost you not more than Rs.300 and takes about 5 and a ½ hours.
We recommend leaving Dehradun as early as possible, ideally before 7 am. And don’t push it beyond 8 am.
The reason being that the later in the afternoon you reach Uttarkashi the more difficult it is to find a shared taxi to Gangotri.
Once at Uttarkashi, you’ll be dropped off at Indian Oil Petrol Bunk opposite Hotel Bhandari.
From here walk 500 meters to Bhatwari taxi stand where you’ll find shared taxis leaving for Gangotri.
The drive to Gangotri becomes interesting after you cross Uttarkashi. The roads become narrower, the forest around denser. It also becomes colder as you gain altitude. Look out for the pretty town of Harsil on your left, around 55 km before Gangotri.
The shared taxis are available starting from 10:30 am to later in the noon. But our experience shows it becomes difficult to find passengers to share the ride with post 12.00-1.00 pm. Therefore it is essential to reach Uttarkashi as early as possible.
The fares are around Rs.330 to Rs.350. You will reach Gangotri in 2 and a ½ hours.
In case you can’t find a transport to Gangotri that afternoon, head to Harsil for the night and move to Gangotri the next morning.
2. Dehradun to Gangotri by Bus
Like shared cabs there are no direct buses from Dehradun to Gangotri either. The bus too will take you as far as Uttarkashi after which you will have to take a shared cab as described above.
We do not recommend this option for 2 reasons:
- The buses leave later in the day. The first one leaves at 8 am followed by 9.30 am, 10 am and 12 noon.
- They take 6 and a ½ hours.
This means that the chances of finding a shared taxi to Uttarkashi get considerably slimmer.
| Tip: While this cab hopping may sound cumbersome, we do it regularly at Indiahikes. They are a fun and a good way to know the real Uttarakhand. You also get to meet very interesting local people. So, while no one wants to miss a pick up, don’t be too disheartened if it happens. You may just experience one of your best travel moments!
What To Pack For Kedartal Trek?
Before you start shopping and packing for the high-altitude Kedartal trek, watch this video to get a clear idea about what you need to take along.
Complete Video Playlist: How To Pack For Kedartal Trek
Mandatory documents to carry on Kedartal Trek
Carry an Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, a passport will do.
You will need to submit your identification to the forest department. Without these, you will not be allowed to trek.
| Tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack to prevent them from getting wet.
If you have registered with Indiahikes, you also need to carry the Disclaimer Certificate and the Medical Certificate.
For an exhaustive list of things to carry, click here
Frequently Asked Questions About The Trek
1. How long is the Kedartal Trek?
The Kedartal is a 30km trek starting from Gangotri all the way to Kedartal and back to Gangotri.
Although it is not a particularly long trek, it is a difficult trek to do.
The altitude, the steep ascents and descents, the weather and the tricky sections demand a certain amount of experience and fitness. Physical and mental preparations are therefore essential.
Here’s how you can get fit for Kedartal Trek.
And here’s a list of essential items to pack for the Kedartal Trek.
2. What is the height of Kedartal?
Kedartal lies at an altitude of 15,485 ft above sea level in the Gangotri National Park.
Kedartal is a glacial lake, sitting amid a cauldron of big mountains. Famous mountains of our country rise in front of you in this cauldron – Mt Thalaysagar, Mt Bhrigupanth, Manda Parvat, Mt Jogin and Mt Gangotri.
The serenity that you experience at the first sight of the lake is difficult to put in words. Depending on the weather, the lake looks blue, emerald, grey or all the three at once.
You can see the lake stretching all the way to meet the glacier at the foot of Mt Thalaysagar, reminding you how far beyond the mountains stretch.
3. Will there be any mobile phone network on the trek?
When it comes to mobile phone network and internet connection, you’ll find a good connection until Gangotri. Airtel, BSNL and Jio are the mobile phone connections that you’re likely to find.
However, once you leave Gangotri, the network is very spotty or non-existent.
Having said that, Trek Leader Dushyant Sharma who’s hiked this trail a few times tells us, “There are some places on the trail where you might find a connection. When you walk ahead on the trail, turn back facing Gangotri. You’ll see the V-shaped valley behind you.
If you place yourself in a straight line from the bottom of the V-shaped valley without any obstructions, you might find a mobile phone connection.
4. Where will I find ATMs on the trek?
Uttarkashi is the last town en route Gangotri where you’ll find ATMs to make some cash withdrawals. All major private and public sector banks have their ATMs and some even branches in Uttarkashi.
Therefore, Uttarkashi is your best bet to make last minute cash withdrawals.
If you’re an Indiahikes trekker, there is no major need for cash as once you arrive at the base camp all meals, accommodations, permits, and related expenses are taken care of by Indiahikes, until you get back to the base camp on day 6 (except for the payment to the driver for transport to Gangotri).
5. Will there be electricity at the campsites/on the trek?
Gangotri is the last point that is electrically connected. Unlike some other remote areas, the power supply is mostly uninterrupted.
At the Indiahikes base camp in Gangotri, all the rooms are equipped with plug points for trekkers to charge their electronic devices.
However, once you leave the base camp, there is no electricity.
So, we strongly encourage you to bring additional batteries for your cameras and a power bank with more than 10,000 mAh to last you the entire trek.
Protip Beware that the power from your batteries will drain faster in the cold temperatures of this region. So, put the batteries in a small pouch and keep it inside your sleeping bag to keep them warm during the night.
6. Can I keep extra luggage at the base camp?
We do have a space where you can keep your extra luggage which you do not need on the trek. You can collect it once you are back at the base camp.
Just ensure that you do not have any valuables in the extra luggage.
We do not charge any fee for this.
Day 1: Reach Gangotri (11,204 ft); 10-12 hours drive from Dehradun. Transport will be arranged from Dehradun Railway Station at 6.00 am. Cab cost per vehicle will be Rs.7,000 (5-6 seater). This is to be shared among trekkers and paid directly to the driver.
Day 2: Acclimatisation day around Gangotri (10,055 ft)
Day 3: Trek from Gangotri (10,055 ft) to Bhoj Kharak (12,772 ft); 5-6 hours, 9 km.
Day 4: Bhoj Kharak (12,772 ft) to Kedar Kharak (14,238 ft); 3-4 hours, 4.25 km.
Day 5: Kedar Kharak (14,238 ft) to Kedartal (15,485 ft) and back to Kedar Kharak; 8 hours, 8 km.
Day 6: Kedar Kharak (14,238 ft) to Gangotri(11,204 ft); 8 hours, 11 km.
Day 7: Depart for Dehradun. Cab cost per vehicle will be Rs.7,000 (5-6 seater). You will reach Dehradun between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.
Please note that you will be staying at a hotel in Gangotr. The stay on all other days is in tents (3 per tent).
If you wish to offload your backpack on the Kedartal trek, you would need to inform us via email at least one week before the trek begins. Last minute offloading on the slope will not be possible.
It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.
Day 1: Reach Gangotri
- Altitude: 10,055 ft (3,064 m)
- Time taken: 10 – 12 hours from Dehradun
- GPS Coordinate: 30°59’44.26″N 78°56’11.32″E
Gangotri is the base camp for the Kedartal trek. Around 20 km before Gangotri, Dharali is a village along the Bhagirathi river. Lodges dot either side of the main road leading to Gangotri. You will stay in one of these.
The drive to Gangotri becomes interesting after you cross Uttarkashi. The roads become narrower, the forest around denser. It also becomes colder as you gain altitude. Look out for the pretty town of Harsil on your left, around 55 km before Gangotri.
Expect to see thousands of pilgrims at Gangotri, especially during the chardham yatra season in May and June. They throng here to see the source of the river Ganga, so sacred in Indian mythology.
It is said that King Bhagirath prayed to Lord Shiva for salvation of the souls of his 60,000 sons. Shiva obliged and requested Goddess Ganga to release her water, which purified the ashes of Bhagirath’s sons. This mythological story elevated the status of River Ganga as a means to purify one’s soul.
Day 2: Acclimatisation day in Gangotri
Use this day to get acclimatised to the altitude. Take a short trek up one of the trails around Gangotri and then return to base. You can spend the rest of the day exploring the area and taking in the pilgrim-town’s sights and sounds.
Day 3: Trek from Gangotri to Bhojkharak
- Altitude: 10,055 ft (3,064 m) Trek to 12,772 ft (3,893 m)
- Time taken: 5-6 hours, 9 km
- GPS Coordinate: 30°57’47.70″N 78°56’31.13″E
- Altitude Gain: ↑932 mtr Altitude Loss: ↓246 mtr.
- Trek gradient: Moderate-difficult. Steep ascent all the way. The terrain is rocky in many parts.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. There are three sources on the way where you can refill your water bottles.
Walk into the Gangotri market. There are public washrooms here if you want to use them before setting off on the trek. Carry dry rations or packed lunch since there is no food available on this trail.
Around 50 meters from the washrooms, take the steps going down to the right towards the Bhairav Ghati bridge across the Bhagirathi river. The trail to Bhoj Kharak begins as soon as you cross the river. You will see a GMVN lodge to the right. You will also pass the ashrams of a few sages. The trail here already begins to ascend.
After 200 meters, take a trail that climbs up sharply to the right, along the side of another ashram. This brings you to the forest trail to Bhoj Kharak. This frequently trekked route is the only path available to reach Bhoj Kharak. Here one, the trail ascends steeply almost all the way to Bhoj Kharak.
The trail is rocky in most parts. Being the first day of the trek, it is likely that you will struggle for your breath as lift yourself and your bag on to the rocks. Below you, you hear the KedarGanga river thundering past. Above you are branches of the fir trees you find in this forest. The valley becomes narrower as you go deeper. There are short stretches of flat walks that allow you to catch your breath but the climb is relentless.
After an hour and a half of climbing, the fir tree give way to birch or bhoj. The barks of these trees shed think sheets that resemble paper. Due to the durability and texture of this bark, most of our ancient Indian texts were written on these. The locals use it in their shoes as insulation from the cold.
Though the terrain is strenuous, ‘rhythmic trekking’ takes the edge off it. It is important to take small sips of water at equal intervals to keep well hydrated. The trail crosses three water points from where you can refill your water bottles.
After about four hours of trekking, the trail emerges out of the forest. Here, you get your first ‘spider wall’ or a narrow path on a near vertical rock face. The trail has just enough space to keep a foot at a time. Focus on the next step and do not look down – you’ll be able to cross this path comfortably.
Bhoj Kharak campsite PC: Atul Kini MThe trail climbs for another fifteen minutes before you reach the second spider wall. Cross this and you will reach the campsite within five minutes.
The BhojKharak campsite consists of small strips of land lying to the left of the trail. You will have to find flat stretches to pitch your tents. There’s wild grass growing around. The valley here is quite narrow so the view are not very great.
The closest water source is the stream flowing along the spider wall that you just crossed.
Day 4: Bhoj Kharak to Kedar Kharak
- Altitude: 12,772 ft (3,893 m) to 14,238 ft (4,340 m)
- Time taken: 3-4 hours, 4.25 km
- GPS coordinates: 30°56’5.14″N 78°57’11.74″E
- Altitude Gain: ↑479 mtr Altitude Loss: ↓244 mtr
- Trek gradient: Moderate-difficult. 1 km of steep ascent followed by 3 km of moderate ascents and descents.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. There are sources on the way where you can refill your water bottles.
The trek from Bhoj Kharak to Kedar Kharak is relatively simple compared to the previous day’s climb. Though there are a few grim patches, the terrain has uniform ascents and descents. The trek to Kedar Kharak, situated at 14,000 ft, is 4 km and takes about five hours.
The ascent is quite steep as soon as you set out of the campsite at Bhoj Kharak. After 1 km trek though the Bhoj forests the trail leaves the tree line and enters meadows which are multi colours in autumn – an astounding setting for photography with the snow covered peak Bhrigupanth in the backdrop.
The next 2 km feel like a relaxing stroll as there are fewer steep ascents. It is in this stretch that you may get a chance to encounter high altitude fauna like Bharal (blue sheep), Goral, Himalayan black bear and a variety of birds.
The climate gets chillier as you gain altitude. Do not be surprised if you notice a thin layer of frost over the stones in the streams. After passing about two more water points you reach Kedar Kharak.
The camp is set on a vast dry meadow with a few sparsely distributed boulders beside a wide stream. The stony path through which the stream climbs is the trail for the Day 4 Trek.
It is an exceptional sight to watch the sunset at Kedar Kharak. As the red ball of fire sinks behind the snow clad Bhrigupant the entire meadow looks orange and turns grey at dusk.
Day 5: Kedar Kharak to Kedar Tal and return to Kedar Kharak
- Altitude: 14,238 ft (4,340 m) to 15,485 ft (4,720 m) and back to 14,238 ft (4,340 m)
- Time taken: 6 hours, 5.4 km To & Fro
- GPS Coordinates: 30°54’54.06″N 78°57’26.76″E (Kedartal)
- Altitude Gain: ↑293 mtr Altitude Loss: ↓24 mtr
- Trek gradient: Difficult. Continuously ascending trail over a rocky terrain.
- Water sources: None. Carry at least 2 litres of water.
On this day the excitement level among the trekkers is usually at its peak, with the eagerness to make it to the emerald lake taking over any exhaustion from the previous days’ treks.
Start early as this stretch is the most laborious of all. At a height of 16,116 ft, the ‘Tal’ is a 5 km slog from Kedar Kharak through rocky mountains with absolutely no greenery around.
Despite the barrenness, the terrain can be quite exhilarating. With vigorous ascents and very few descents it demands a great deal of energy and effort to be able to reach the destination on time, considering the unpredictable weather conditions, with the probability of snow and rain being quite high during this season. The trail can best be described as a rocky maze with just one or two small streams that are not close by, thus requiring us to carry adequate water supplies.
If not careful, one can easily get turned around and it takes a while to realise that the route is off beam. For this reason a lot of cairns ( piles of stones) have been placed en route to the Tal to point out the right direction. Watch your step as there are plenty of loose rocks on the way. After about 5- 6 hours of trekking, and half kilometre away from the lake, you can see the mighty Thalaysagar Peak across a rocky ridge.
Once you cross this steep ridge, the descent to the lake begins. The temperature falls drastically at Kedartal. You can see the flawless reflection of the mighty old Thalaysagar peak on the Tal. Though the water is freezing, it is quite an experience to wet your fingertips in the emerald green lake. Spend some time here and soak in the scenery before turning back to Kedar Kharak on the same route.
Day 6: Kedar Kharak to Gangotri
- Altitude: 14,238 ft (4,340 m) to 11,204 ft (3,415 m)
- Time taken: 7-8 hours, 8.65 km.
- GPS Coordinate: 30°59’44.26″N 78°56’11.32″E
- Altitude Gain: ↑501 mtr Altitude Loss: ↓1397 mtr
- Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuously descending trail over a rocky terrain
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water. There are few sources on the way where you can refill your water bottles.
Start the descent to Gangotri right after breakfast. Trace the same path back and cherish the surroundings one last time. Since most of the trail is descending, it should take you lesser time to reach. Be mindful of loose rocks on the trail.
Day 7: Return to Dehradun
Plan Your Travel for Kedartal Trek
It is great to see you going on the Kedartal Trek, a rare adventure among big mountains. While it is a great trek to do, you need to get your travel plan worked out perfectly.
Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next. Use this guide and nothing else to plan your travel.
- A quick view of your travel plan (Skip to section)
- Planning your onward air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Planning your return air/train booking (Skip to section)
- Planning your hotel booking (Skip to section)
- How to reach Gangotri on your own (Skip to section)
Here’s a quick view on how to plan your travel.
Day 0: Book your air ticket to Delhi or Dehradun. If Delhi, book night train/bus to Dehradun. Click here for more explanation.
Day 1: Drive from Dehradun to Gangotri. It is a 10-12 hour drive from Dehradun. Gangotri is the basecamp for your trek.
We organise transport to Gangotri from Dehradun Railway station. Our vehicles leave at 6:30 am sharp. It costs Rs 7,000 per vehicle (shared between 5-6 trekkers).
Day 2: Acclimatization day at Gangotri (10,055 ft) with a short day-trek to one of the surrounding trails.
Day 3: Trek Gangotri (10,055 ft) to Bhoj Kharak (12,772 ft); 5-6 hours, 4.5 km.
Day 4: Trek Bhoj Kharak (12,772 ft) to Kedar Kharak (14,238 ft); 3-4 hours, 4.25 km.
Day 5: Trek Kedar Kharak (14,238 ft) to Kedartal (15,485 ft) and back to Kedar Kharak; 8 hours, 8 km.
Day 6: Trek Kedar Kharak (14,238 ft) to Gangotri(11,204 ft); 8 hours, 11 km.
Day 7: Drive from Gangotri to Dehradun. It is an 10-12 hour drive to Dehradun. We organise transport from Gangotri to Dehradun Railway station. You will reach around 6.30pm. It costs Rs 7,000 per vehicle (shared between 5-6 trekkers).
Book return train/bus ticket to Delhi from Dehradun (Nanda Devi or Mussoorie express). Do not book plane tickets to your hometown from Delhi on Day 7.
Day 8: Book air tickets after 8am from Delhi or Dehradun. Click here for more explanation.
| Important points to note:
- While getting to Gangotri, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at Dehradun (Day zero). Our vehicles can pick you up at Dehradun Railway station (on Day 1). Staying at Dehradun gives you a well deserved rest for the night. Plus some bonus sightseeing.
- On your return from the trek you can get off at Mussoorie. If you do not want to get off at Mussoorie, the final stop of the vehicle is at the Dehradun railway station. You reach Dehradun between 6.00 and 7.00 pm.
Your travel route to the Gangotri basecamp passes through Mussoorie, Bhatwari, Harshil and Dharali.
2. Planning your onward flight/train booking
If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your
air tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If your trek start day is 25 August, book your air tickets for 24 August to either Delhi/Dehradun.
There are two options.
Option 1: Fly directly to Dehradun.
We recommend this. It gives you an added rest day at Dehradun. Most metros are directly connected to Dehradun. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Dehradun is too high, book to Delhi and connect to Dehradun by train/bus.
Tip: Train is the best option to get to Dehradun. Bus journeys are often delayed by a few hours.
Taxis are available from the airport (plenty). Prepaid taxis are available (look for the pre-paid taxi counter just out of the conveyor belt at the arrivals). You can also flag down a taxi (bargain a bit) with taxis outside the airport. Airport taxis are exorbitant. They usually charge between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 to Dehradun.
Usually most passengers take taxis from the airport. Try to hook up with co-passengers on the flight for your taxi ride to Dehradun.
Pro Tip: If you want to save real money try to catch an auto just outside the airport terminal complex. They usually come there to drop passengers off. Autos are not allowed to enter the airport complex. They charge approximately Rs 300 to Dehradun.
If autos are not available, walk for further 1.5 km to get to the Rishikesh Dehradun highway. From the highway you can flag down regular town buses or shared autos (shared autos are called Vikrams). Bus fare is about Rs 30 to Dehradun. Shared autos charge about Rs 20.
Option 2: Flying to Delhi.
Flying to Delhi may be a lot cheaper than getting to Dehradun. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Delhi by 8.00 pm. You must arrive in Delhi on Day Zero and not on Day 1.
Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Delhi and Dehradun less than Rs 1000 then book directly to Dehradun. The rest and shorter travel time is worth the difference.
Next, book yourself in the Nanda Devi Express to Dehradun (Train No: 12401). It is a fully AC train that leaves at 23.35 hrs from Hazrat Nizamuddin and gets to Dehradun at 5.40 am in the morning.
Note: Earlier the Nanda Devi express would depart from New Delhi railway station. From 26 Aug 2019, it leaves from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train now comes from Kota. So expect about 15 to 30 mins delay in arrival. The train number has changed too from 12206 to 12401.
At Dehradun railway station, wait for Indiahikes pickup at 6.30 am. Contact your driver by 6.00 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure.
Caution: Do not book on any other train except the Nanda Devi Express. The other option, Mussoorie express, is notorious for its delay. Your pickup vehicle may leave without you. If you do not get tickets on the Nanda Devi Express, take a bus from Delhi to Haridwar, but do not book on the Mussoorie express.
Pro Tip: Take the afternoon Jan Shatabdi express from New Delhi railway station (leaves at 15.20 pm) to arrive at Dehradun by 21:10 in the night. Stay overnight at Dehradun. Take the Indiahikes pickup the next morning directly from Dehradun railway station.
If in case you do not get a train ticket, there are regular Volvo AC buses from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmiri Gate to Dehradun. You also get Non-AC buses. Buses are frequent and not usually crowded. You can get a bus almost every half hour. Buses take 7-8 hours to get to Dehradun from Delhi. AC bus tickets cost about Rs 700.
Option 3: Bus from Delhi to Gangotri
There is no direct bus from Delhi to Gangotri. You need to switch a bus at Rishikesh bus stand. There are buses nearly every half hour in the morning at 6 am to 8am to Gangotri. The fares are around Rs. 250 to 350.
3. Planning your return flight/train booking
Booking your return tickets require some thought. First, keep some buffer time in mind before booking tickets. If you are scheduled to reach Dehradun around 6.30pm, book your onward bus or train tickets only after 9 pm. In case you are stuck in traffic or get delayed at your lunch spot, you will have some buffer time to catch your bus/train.
Next, if your onward flight departs from Delhi/Dehradun, then book flight tickets for Day 9.
Sometimes trekkers worry if they can book an early morning flight out of Delhi on Day 8. Yes, you can. But book flights that depart only after 8 am. Do not book any flight between 6.00 and 8 am. You may not reach Delhi in time.
How to get to Delhi on time for an early morning flight.
If your flight is early, say between 8.00 and 9.00 am, then there are two options.
Train: Take the Nanda Devi Express from Dehradun (12402) that leaves at 22:40 hrs to get to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station at 04:50 in the morning. From Hazrat Nizamuddin you get airport buses from outside the station as well as taxis. Metro train is somewhat inconvenient from Hazrat Nizamuddin.
Note: Earlier Nanda Devi express would arrive at New Delhi railway station. From 26 August 2019, it has been extended up to Kota. It no longer goes to New Delhi railway station. Instead it goes to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station. The train number has changed from 12206 to 12402.
Bus: The other option is to take a bus from Dehradun. It is about 6½ – 7 hrs journey to Delhi. So if you take a bus that leaves around 9.00 pm, then expect to reach Delhi at around 04.00 am (ISBT Kashmiri Gate). A bus that leaves at 22:00 pm will reach Delhi around 05.00 am. AC Volvo buses are the fastest, so opt for them. Non AC buses can take up to 7-8 hrs for the journey.
From Kashmiri Gate ISBT you get Airport buses or taxis.
Note: Metro trains in Delhi do not start before 5.00 am.
If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun
If you are taking a flight out of Dehradun then book yourself on Day 8. Most metros are now well connected by Dehradun by flight.
4. Planning your hotel/stay
In Dehradun, look for hotels around the railway station. There are quite a few options available online and it is not difficult to find last minute hotel booking.
Hotel options at Dehradun
Hotel Drona, which is a government property owned by the GMVN is decent. It is an old, but a large and spacious property. It is about 1.5 kms from Dehradun railway station. Rooms start at Rs 750. Book online http://gmvnl.in/newgmvn/online_reservation/
MyRoom252 is a new backpackers facility in Dehradun. Modern, colourful and clean. Bunk beds start at Rs 300. Rooms are available too. It is not too far from the Dehradun Railway station. Shared autos (which are called Vikrams) can get you there. For online booking: http://www.myroom252.com/.
Phone: 086308 81083.
Nomads House is another new backpackers hostel in Dehradun. The atmosphere is good. The place neat and clean. Indiahikes trek leaders love Nomads House. It is about 10 mins from the Dehradun railway station. Bunk beds start at Rs 400, rooms start at Rs 800. Shared autos are easily available to get to Nomads House.
What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? Getting to Gangotri on your own.
If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from Dehradun, here is how you can get to Gangotri base camp on your own.
If you are at Dehradun, take a share cab from Parade grounds to Uttarkashi. These share cabs are available from 5am to 7.30 am. You may find a cab upto 8.30am. The journey is about 5½ hours. Fares are around Rs. 300 to 350.
Once you reach Uttarkashi, get another share cab to Gangotri. These are available around noon, 10:30am to 12:00 pm. The fares are around Rs. 330 to 350. You will reach Gangotri in 2½ hours.
Tip: While this cab hopping may sound cumbersome, we do it regularly at Indiahikes. They are a fun and a good way to know the real Uttarakhand. You also get to meet very interesting local people. So while no one wants to miss a pick up, don’t be too disheartened if it happens. You may just experience one of your best travel moments!
There is no mobile connectivity on this trek however, Jio network is available at Gangotri.If you are lucky, you might get Airtel signal in patches. Do not count on this to make any important phone calls.
The Kedartal trek is a Moderate-difficult one. You start at an altitude of 10,055 feet and reach an altitude of 16,116 ft feet in 3 days. Ideally, you should be only gaining 1,000 ft a day. However, the Indian Himalayas climb very quickly. Each day there is a 2000 feet gain. In no time you reach 16000 feet. This is not easy.
As the trek demands a high level of fitness, we have a screening process for our trekkers.
Once you register, you will get a questionnaire from your Trek Coordinator who will ask you to send a screenshot of the GPS track and also the splits.
You need to cover 5 km in 30 mins and record it with splits of the run using any fitness app (Nike Run app/Strava), and send it to your Trek Coordinator.
You will be able to make the payment only once he/she approves the fitness screenshot.
In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets. In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, you can phase out your targets in the following manner –
- Target completing 10 km in 75 minutes before the start of the trek
- Gradually bring up your speed to do 5 km in 30 minutes
- Start increasing the distance you jog to 10 km in 75 minutes
Strength – Target 3 sets of squats with 15 in each
This is another area you should work on. There is a lot of trekking distance that you will cover carrying your backpacks and trekking along with your backpack is not a very easy task. You have to walk on uneven terrain during the trek. There will be boulders and loose rocks on most days. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching the target in 3 weeks.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.
Here is a guide to help you get fit for the trek.
Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
Things to get for the Kedartal Trek
Kedartal is a very high altitude trek with snow. The temperatures drop to negative temperatures. You’ll need enough warm layers and accessories to keep you warm and help you trek comfortably. So pay careful attention to this entire section.
- A list of everything you need for the trek (Skip to section)
- A list of medicines for your trek (Skip to section)
- A list of mandatory documents (Skip to section)
First, The Essentials. You cannot do the trek without these.
1. Trekking Shoes
Kedartal requires trekking shoes that are sturdy, have good grip, have ankle support and can handle snow. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
| Buying Tip: The Trek series and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There really isn’t any necessity to buy the higher priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean. Rent here.
For a trek like Kedartal, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.
| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.
| Rental: The 48 litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available on rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack. Rent here.
Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take take off or put on layers as required.
Base layer: 3 T-shirts
Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.
Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.
| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is a blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)
| Buying tip: You can get dry-fit T-shirts from Decathlon. Also, stores like Reliance Trends, Max have dry-fit T-shirts. They don’t usually cost much.
| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space, since you’re already carrying them.
3 insulation layers
The highest altitude you reach on this trek is over 16,000 ft. At these altitudes it can get freezing cold even in the middle of summer. You will need at least 3 insulation layers for this trek.
You will need 1 pair of inner thermals, 2 light fleece layers, 1 light sweater. Do not get your grandma stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
For your outer later, a padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t really need a water resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
| Note: Down/feather jackets are really not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available on rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter. Rent here.
A minimum of one pair and maximum of two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry one just in case it rains/snows. Trek pants with zippered cut offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon even in the cold climate.
| Buying tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief or pocket snacks.
| Track pants or trek pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trek pants — so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Kedartal without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a winter trek like Kedartal, you might need to walk on long stretches of snow. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.
| Wearing tip: Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section you must absolutely never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.
| Buying Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.
| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.
| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens. Read this article for more guidance on managing contact lenses on treks.
A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sun strokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woolen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.
| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sun burns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide-brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.
3. Synthetic hand gloves
On a trek like Kedartal you are going to be handling snow quite a bit. You’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself in snow. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
4. Woollen cap or Balaclava
Ensure these cover your head. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet or the rest of your body. Which is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.
Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is absolutely essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woolen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. If you get woollen cap that only covers your head, you will need a neck warmer or a woolen scarf.
5. Socks (4 pairs)
Apart from three to four pairs of sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry.
As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug in the night. If you cannot get woolen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.
Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the Kedartal trek you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| Buying tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.
| Rental: Headlamps are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
7. Trekking pole (a pair)
Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Kedartal trek there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and (partially) your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.
| Pro tip: Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are really not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.
| Rental: High grade ponchos are available on rent on the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
9. Rain cover for your backpack
Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes, your warm gear in your backpack. It is important that your backpack stays dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built in rain-covers. If your back pack does not have a rain-cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.
| Pro tip: It’s good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.
10. Daypack (20-30 ltrs, optional)
Some trekkers opt to offload their bags to a mule on the Kedartal trek. While we do not encourage this practice, in case you opt for offloading, then carrying a daypack is mandatory. In your daypack you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.
A daypack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not daypacks. Do not get them.
Other mandatory requirements
1. A toilet kit
Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics — toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.
| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.
| Pro tip: Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Kedartal.
| For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. You can use your pads, tampons or menstrual cups on the trek. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose your sanitary waste.
Carry a lunch box, a mug and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leak proof. You are expected to wash your own cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, bacteria to settle on your cutlery. Incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at the highest.
| Two 1 litre bottles or a 2 litre hydration pack: Kedartal has many hours of trekking everyday (approximately 6 hours). You need to carry two one litre water bottles to keep yourself hydrated over the distance. If you are used to a hydration pack, then that is ok too. If one among the two bottles is a lightweight thermos, then that helps you to store warm water on a really cold day or for late evenings and early mornings.
| Rental: You could rent lightweight thermos flasks from the Indiahikes store. Rent here.
3. Plastic covers
Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.
Personal Medical Kit
Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medicine unless you have consulted your trek leader.
- Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet Diamox starting from pickup point every 12 hours (125 mg). Carry on the medication until you descend down to Gangotri. Being on a preventive course of Diamox greatly reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Kedartal trek.
- Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever, mild pain
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one half hour before the start of your road journey.
- Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.
- Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food that you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
- ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually mid day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking. Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
- Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known issues of knee pain.
Our trek leaders carry a high altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines listed here.
| Pro tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek please donate unused medicines to your trek leader. Some of these medicines get distributed to villages on the trek and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.
Mandatory Documents to carry
These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar card, passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.
- Disclaimer certificate. This is a legal requirement. Download the PDF, read carefully and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during registration at the base camp – Download PDF
- Medical certificate. There are two sections in this. The first part must be filled by a practising doctor. The second part must be filled by you. Without the medical certificate the forest department will not issue permissions for your trek. It is also a requirement by Indiahikes – Download PDF
| Pro tip: Keep important documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.
What are the risks on the Kedartal Trek?
The Kedartal trek is graded moderate-difficult. If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.
This trek starts at an altitude of 10,055 ft. You are already in rarefied air and will be covering long distances. With significant altitude gain there are chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness. You gain 2,000 ft each day. The trail from Gangotri to Kedar kharak is very tricky. You walk on a very narrow trail hugging the mountain, with a steep drop into the river below if you miss a single step. After this, the steep climbs take a toll on your legs.
What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety
Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow, and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.
Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below:
1. Fitness criteria before registration
Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Kedartal trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Kedartal trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.
2. Monitoring health on a trek
On the Kedartal trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.
This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.
Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein they will be entering details about their health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms one should look out for and what action should be taken during emergencies. These Health Cards will be collected back at the end of the trek.
3. High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high altitude campsites for any emergency situations.
4. High Altitude Trek Equipment
To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.
All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.
With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.
Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.
5. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek
You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.
We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.
What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Kedartal trek
Acute Mountain Sickness:
At above 12,000 ft the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness can be quite high.
Kedar khrarak and Kedartal are the highest campsites on the trek. Trekkers tend to develop symptoms of altitude sickness at these camps. That said, Gangotri, where the trek begins, is itself at a high altitude, and you ascend 2,000 ft each day, which means that you need to take utmost care on all the days of ascent.
Do not proceed to Kedar kharak if you have symptoms of altitude sickness. Inform your trek leader about your condition. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to Gangotri.
This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours.And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.
Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox
We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.
What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?
If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.
Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.
Exit points on the Kedartal trek:
The safest point on a trek where a trekker can descend to and rest is considered an Exit Point. If there is an emergency anywhere on the trek, the trekker has to be brought down to Gangotri on the same trail.
Gangotri has a government dispensary. For any advanced treatment, Uttarkashi, around 100 km from Gangotri, has the closest hospital.
Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks
If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life -saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.
Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.
If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.
Also ensure that you are well hydrated throughout the trek and do not skip any meal.
You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.
We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.
Acute Mountain Sickness
If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.
For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.
The Indiahikes Special Covid Cancellation Policy
We understand the pain of cancelling a trek. As trekkers, we always look forward to treks, and after months of training and planning, if we have to cancel our trek, there’s no greater disappointment than that.
This is why we have one of the most trekker-friendly cancellation policies.
This policy is effective for registrations starting January 5, 2021.
| Face no cancellation charges any time before the trek date
– Cancellation upto 7 days before the start date of the trek — Get a complete cash refund (minus 4% transaction fee). The money is refunded to the same bank account, credit or debit card from where payment was made.
– Cancellation during the last 6 days before the start date of the trek, and not counting the day of the trek — Full refund with 100% of the trek fee in the form of an Indiahikes Trek Voucher. Valid for 1 year from date of issue. Can be used on any Indiahikes trek.
– Cancellation on the start day of the trek, or no show on the start day of the trek — Unfortunately, no refund.
Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable.
| In the rare event that we cancel a trek, this is the policy we follow:
We almost never cancel our treks. But in case we cancel a trek because of natural calamities (snowstorms, thunderstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes) or unexpected political unrest, curfews, local riots, or government orders, Indiahikes will issue a voucher for the full amount of your trek fee (minus the trek insurance). You can redeem the Trek Voucher on any of our treks over the next one year.
Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable.
| The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” Policy (trekkers love this!)
There are some thoughts and ideologies that we hold close to our hearts.
1. As trekkers, there are times when we have to let go of a trek midway. Sometimes we fall ill, or get hit by AMS or at times simply fatigue pulls us down. At other times bad weather plays spoilsport, or the trail is blocked. It can happen that your Trek Leader sends you down due to a safety or health issue.
At Indiahikes we feel terrible when such an event happens.
Should such a situation occur that you have to drop out from this trek, we want you to know that we feel as bad as you do. You can always come back another time and finish your adventure. For this you do not have to pay Indiahikes any money.
2. On the other hand, there are times when you fall in love with a trek. So much so that you want to do it again, perhaps see it in another season. If you ever desire to do a trek again, please do so. You don’t have to pay Indiahikes any money for repeating this trek. Just inform your Experience Coordinator who will guide you through a special internal process.
Our only request: Just register for your trek in advance – you know how it is with our groups – they get booked in advance.
Note: The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” policy does not apply to our international treks.
If you cancel any rental gear from our store:
- Cancellation of rental gear 7 days before the start date of the trek — Get a full refund minus 4% transaction charges.
- Cancellation of rental gear less than 7 days before the start date of the trek — Get a voucher for the whole amount. This voucher is applicable on all our future treks.
If you cancel the offloading of your backpack:
The offloading fee will be refunded to your account with a 4% transaction charge.
If you choose to cancel your backpack offloading AFTER reaching the base camp, you will get a voucher of the offloading fee.
| How to cancel your trek:
In case, you wish to cancel your trek, follow these steps.
- Login to your Indiahikes Trek Dashboard using this link.
- Find your upcoming trek on your home page.
- Click on “Cancel Trek”
- Mention why you’re cancelling your trek on the form that appears.
- Choose either a voucher or a refund (where applicable).
- Click on “Cancel Booking”
How long does the refund process take?
After you have cancelled your trek, if you have opted for a refund, the refund amount will land in the same account that you have made the payment from. It will take 4-5 working days.
If you have chosen a trek voucher, it will land in your inbox within an hour. You will also be able to see it on your Trek Dashboard.
What is a Trek Voucher?
Trek Vouchers are credit amounts added to your Indiahikes account. You can redeem these on any of your future treks with Indiahikes. Every Trek Voucher has a validity of one year.
Important note: Indiahikes Trek Vouchers are non-refundable, not transferable to others or extendable.
How to use an Indiahikes Trek Voucher?
If you have received an Indiahikes Trek Voucher, you will automatically see it when you are making a payment for your next trek.
Once you click on the voucher and apply it, the system will deduct the voucher amount from your payable amount.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Experience Coordinator.
Your trek fee includes:
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 7 (Dharali to Dharali). You will be staying at a hotel in DharaliDand camping on all days of the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Dharali on Day 1 to breakfast at Dharali on Day 8 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – You will stay in high quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
Your trek fee does not include:
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Dehradun and drop you back from Dharali. This will cost approx. Rs. 6,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to and from Gangotri.
- Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 1,600 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that last minute offloading will not be possible on this trek.
- Stay at Dehradun on the last day
- Personal expenses of any kind
- Anything apart from inclusions
This is the cancellation policy we follow:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher
A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. The trek has long climbs and steep descents on a daily basis. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 30 minutes by the time your trek starts. Alternatively, you can do cycling of 25 km in 60 minutes or walking 10 km in 75 minutes. This is a minimum, mandatory requirement. Unable to do so can make your trek difficult.
In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.
Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.
Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.
Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1,600 plus GST of 5%. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.
Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.
Transport from Dehradun to Gangotri and return from Gangotri to Dehradun can be arranged by us at an extra cost. This will cost approx Rs. 7,000 (for a 5-6 seater cab) per vehicle on the drive to the basecamp. The return cost will be the same.
Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter.
Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.
If there is a group size of 10 trekkers and above, then we will waive off the trek fee charges for one person.
Note - There is no discount available if the group size is 9 or less than that.
You can register the entire group and send us an email. If the group is registering individually, then the primary participant needs to send an email to the Trek Coordinator with the list of trekkers from the same group.
If you want to make the payment individually, then individual registrations have to be done.
This will be the case for a group of 10 trekkers. So if you have a group of 20 trekkers, then we will waive off the charges for 2 trekkers.
Scholarship Discount for Kids
At Indiahikes, we firmly believe and encourage children to trek. There’s so much to learn from the outdoors. We want to see more children trekking. Keeping this in mind, Indiahikes has now introduced a 50 percent Trek Scholarship for children on Himalayan treks.
Children between the age of 8 and 12 are eligible for this scholarship. Indiahikes will sponsor half of the trek fee for each child. This scholarship is applicable for easy to moderate treks.
Note - We will have a maximum of three children eligible for the scholarship in each batch. So check with your Trek Coordinator for this.
Would we be camping at Kedartal?
No. There will be no camping in Kedartal.
We changed the itinerary to camp 2000 feet below Kedartal. We will be trekking to Kedartal and spend time exploring the lake.
This is to ensure the safety of the trekkers. We do not want to camp at 16,000 feet. This is just inviting altitude related problems.
You will get enough time spend at Kedartal. We have made sure of that.
I am a fit first timer. Can I do Kedartal?
Kedartal is not a trek for first timers.
This is a difficult trek with a gain of 2000 feet every day. Also the terrain is quite treacherous and needs prior trekking experience.
As a first timer, you need to experience and learn how to trek, use a sleeping bag or a tent, and know how to use other trekking gear. Also, you need to understand how your body reacts at high altitudes.
Kedartal would not be a good trek for you to start with. Do an easy trek first to get an exposure to Himalayan trekking.
I want to keep my extra luggage at the basecamp - Cloakroom facility.
We do have a space where you can keep your extra luggage which you do not need on the trek. You can collect it once you are back at the basecamp.
Just ensure that you do not have any valuables in the extra luggage.
We do not charge any fee for this.
Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek.
Yes. There is an option to offload your backpack on this trek ( have a porter or a mule carry the bag for you ).
This is going to cost you Rs. 1600 plus 5% GST for the entire duration of the trek.
Make sure the weight of the backpack you are offloading is not more than 9 kgs. Also, the bags should have shoulder straps. You cannot get suitcases or strollers for offloading.
I want to come a day early to Gangotri to visit the temple and acclimatize. Will I get a place to stay at the basecamp?
It is great if you are going a day early to Gangotri. Gives your body a lot of time to acclimatize to that altitude.
However, it will not be possible for us to accommodate you at our basecamp. The reason is that we have multiple batches running during the season. It is really hard to find a room at the basecamp.
You will have to make your own arrangements.
For the transport to Gangotri from Dehradun, we can arrange this for you in case there is a batch leaving to the basecamp on the day of your travel. Else, you will have to make your own arrangements.
Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Kedartal Trek
Face No Cancellation Charges with Our Special Cancellation Policy
In light of COVID-19 pandemic, Indiahikes has waived off all cancellation charges if you register for a trek with us. This means you will not lose out on your trek fee when you cancel your trek. You will either get a complete cash refund (minus 4% transaction charges) or an Indiahikes Trek Voucher with 100% of your trek fee, valid for one year from the date of issue. Read the full cancellation policy here.
We've relaxed our cancellation policy, knowing that it helps you to register with peace of mind. We don't want you to worry about losing out through cancellations.
- What the colours mean
Available:Registration is on.
Waitlist:The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
Last 'x' slots:Indicates the number of slots available in a batch.
Full:Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely.
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