Hugh Ruttledge, a kindly, retired Indian civil servant, was the surprise choice to lead the 1933 expedition. Ruttledge was also appointed leader in 1936, but only after much bickering triggered by his perceived lack of firm leadership in 1933.
Ruttledge graduated from Pembroke College, Cambridge, and joined the Indian Civil Service in 1909. In the 1920s he served as Deputy Commissioner both at Lucknow and Almora in India. Although not an experienced mountaineer, Ruttledge traveled extensively, particularly in the Kumaon and Garhwal Himalayas. In 1926 he explored the northern approaches to the Nanda Devi basin with Somervell.