Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass Trek (Across Khatling Glacier)

A trekker watching Thalayasagar peak from Kedartal lake shore

Auden’s Col is a pass that connects Rudugaira Valley (Gangotri) to the Bhilangna Valley (Kedarnath). Our itinerary & route of Auden’s Col trek includes 3 passes and the infamous Khatling glacier. The Col (saddle-shaped pass joining two surrounding peaks) connects Jogin I (6465 m) and Gangotri III peak (6580 m).

Auden’s Col

The Col is about 5400 meters high. It connects two glaciers: the Khatling Glacier and the Jogin-I glacier.

Auden’s Col trek begins from Gangotri. From there, one can follow the Auden’s Col and Khatling Glacier route to reach Kedarnath. The name of the Auden’s Col comes from J. B. Auden (brother of Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden), who first crossed it in 1939-40.

⚡ Auden’s Col Expedition 2024 Rundown

RegionGangotri-Garhwal Himalayas
Trip Span12 trek days and 11 nights
Difficulty levelStrenuously long tough terrain
Apex Altitude5490 m (Auden’s Col)
Best timeBetween June to September
Trail length~ 150 km
HighlightsKedartal lake, Kedar Ganga valley, crevasse-ridden Khatling glacier, Patangani Dhar, Mayali Pass, Thalay Sagar, Brighupant, Jogin peaks and Kedar dome peak, Vasuki Tal and Masartal lake, Gangotri town and Kedarnath.
Departure Date24 August 2024
Group size10
Starts fromGangotri
Ends atKedarnath
ActivityCamping, walking, hiking, climbing, crevasse and stream crossing.
Auden’s Col expedition summary

Auden’s Col: 3 Pass Expedition in Uttarakhand

The summit is at 5490 m altitude, and it connects the ridge coming from Gangotri III (6580 m) peak on the north-west and the ridge coming from Jogin I (6465 m) on the east and also binds a glacier coming from Jogin I on the north side of Rudugaira valley, and infamous Khatling glacier on the south side of Bhilangna valley.

You can read more about the 3-Pass Trek on the blog written by Neelima Vallangi. Anshul Chourasia and Sridevi Nair have also written a blog about Auden’s Col trek of June 2017 and Auden’s Col Trek expedition of 2018.

Rudraganga stream or Rudragairu (gairu means deep) or Rudugaira Gad (a small stream is English interpretation of Gad) drains Rudugaira glacier and eventually flows into the Bhagirathi River near Gangotri, and Bhilangna river originates from Khatling glacier and meets the Bhagirathi near Old Tehri in Garhwal region.

Permit for Auden’s Col

A permit is mandated by the local administration of Uttarkashi for all trek and adventure operators. Entry into Gangotri National Park is allowed only if one has a copy of the entry permit authorized by the office of the director of Gangotri National Park at Uttarkashi. Our Auden’s Col trek cost includes charges incurred to obtain the permits.

Route from Gangotri to Kedarnath (via Auden’s Col)

First, we would take a side trip to visit Kedartal at a height of 4,780 meters. Then we would climb atop Patangani Dhar (4,900 meters) to get down into Rudragaira valley which provides access to Auden’s Col. Auden’s Col, at 5490 meters above the sea level, is nestled between Gangotri and Jogin mountain ranges.

We can manage to cross Auden’s Col and Khatling glacier in a single stretch. Thereafter, we’ll descend to Chowki campsite the next day.

Auden's Col & Mayali pass trek route map
Auden’s Col & Mayali pass trek map

From Chowki we would take a left turn upwards and reach Mayali Pass (5,050 meters) in the next two days, and then camp next to Vasuki Tal.

Emerald lake of Vasuki tal shadowed by clouds
Emerald, green color Vasuki Tal Lake shadowed by the clouds.

From there we would descend to the Kedarnath shrine and get back into civilization.

What is a Col?

The word ‘Col’ is a geographical term for a saddle-like depression in a ridge between two peaks.

Mountain Col

Auden’s Col lies between Gangotri III (6537 m) & Jogin I (6465 m) and the crossing is one of the finest high altitude treks in the Indian Himalayas.

₹ Auden’s Col Trek Cost

Auden’s Col trek prices starts from 55,000 INR. The final price will be determined by factors such as group size, pick-up location (Dehradun or Uttarkashi), departure date (pre-monsoon in June or post-monsoon in September), and add-ons such as backpack offloading, gear (crampons and gaiters), hotel accommodations before and after the trek, and drop-off location (Rishikesh or Haridwar). Drop an email to avail group & early birds offer.

Auden’s Col trek cost inclusion

  • All arrangements for overnight stays during the trip.
  • Camping, Climbing, and Communication (two-way radios) gear.
  • All food expenses.
  • Food will usually consist of morning breakfast, lunch, evening high tea, and dinner.
  • All food will be vegetarian.
  • Trained & certified guides who have long experience of trekking & climbing high altitude Himalayan terrains & in handling emergency situations.
  • Local guides and support staff with in-depth knowledge about the terrain, trekking trails & routes.
  • One luggage per person will be carried & transported by the porters.
  • Inner line permits (ILP) and other permit arrangements en route will be arranged by the operator.
  • All stays and lodging on a twin sharing basis shall be provided.

Garhwal Himalayas ⛰

The valleys of Garhwal and Kumaon border China and Nepal and are the most famous for their holy shrines including Gangotri — the source of India’s most sacred River Ganga.

Positioned at the very center of the great Himalayan chain, Garhwal and Kumaon contain a host of 7,000-meter peaks such as Nanda Devi, Kamet, and Trishul, and sub-7,000-meter expedition peaks such as the stunning Shivling, as well as over 250 peaks above 5500 meters.

The Garhwal Himalayas are characterized by unsurpassed mountain scenery with soaring ridges, deep valleys, and huge glaciers and this trek takes us right into the heart of the Garhwal Himalayas.

⚐ Auden’s Col Trek Itinerary

Kedar Kharak campsite during dusk!
Kedar Kharak campsite during dusk

Kedar Kharak is one of the most beautiful campsites of the 3 Passes Trek i.e. Patangini Dhar, Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass. We’ll reach this site on the day 2 of our Auden’s Col trek itinerary.

This camp-site serves as a basecamp site for two magnificent treks of Gangotri National Park:

  • Kedartal (4614 meters) trek.
  • Patangini Dhar (5085 meters) trek.

With magnificent views of Brigupanth Peak, Thalay Sagar peak and other surrounding peaks at Gangotri National Park, this campsite will become a memorable lifetime experience for any adventure seekers for sure!

  • Day 0: Reach Gangotri (2940 m). Acclimatization trek, visit the temple.
  • Day #1: Trek to Bhoj Kharak (3415 m).
  • Day #2: Trek to Kedar Kharak (4270 m).
  • Day #3: Trek to Kedar Tal (4760 m) and back to Kedar Kharak.
  • Day #4: Trek to Patangini Dhar base campsite (4540 m).
  • Day #5: Cross Patangini Dhar (5085 m) and reach Dhabba Camp Site (4685 m) in Rudugaira valley.
  • Day #6: Trek to Rudugaira / Auden’s Col Advanced Base Camp (4975 m).
  • Day #7: Cross Auden’s Col (5490 m), walk across Khatling glacier, and reach Khatling Glacier campsite (4970 m).
  • Day #8: Trek the rest at the Khatling Glacier campsite, cross the waterfall stretch (4300 m), and reach Khatling Base camp (3765 m).
  • Day #9: Cross Bhilangna river (3480 m), and reach Chowki campsite (3630 m).
  • Day #10: Trek to Masar Tal (4550 m).
  • Day #11: Trek to Masar Top (4695 m), Cross Mayali Pass (4990 m) and camp (4335 m) near Vasuki Tal.
  • Day #12: Trek Vasuki Tal (4210 m), trek to Vasuki Top (4480 m), and descend to Kedarnath (3530 m).
  • Day #13: Buffer day. It is mandatory to have this extra day as any bad weather or rain will delay your pass crossing. In case we use the buffer day, the trekkers will have to pay an additional charge.

NOTE: Trekkers must reach the base camp of the trek (i.e. Gangotri town) at their own expense and everyone should keep two buffer days in an unforeseeable event (Heavy rain/snow or landslips etc.).

Ice falls of Khatling glacier
Amazing Khatling Glacier with Iconic Rabbit Ears!

Khatling  — one of the most notoriously difficult glaciers to negotiate in the western Himalayas of Uttarakhand.

The landform is strikingly similar to the Khumbu Icefalls of the Everest region.

Captured this surreal landscape while walking on Khatling Glacier during the noon hours of June 10th, 2018. Location: Khatling Glacier, Gangotri National Park, Uttarakhand, India

Prerequisites for Auden’s Col & Mayali pass expedition.

You must have done at least one high altitude trek before. Those who do not have the requisite trek experience of high altitude passes should not apply.

You must be physically fit to do the 12-day Himalayan trek. The trek leads you up to 18,000 feet high Col of Auden’s and through deep crevasses of Khatling glacier.

At this altitude, the air is thin and the rigors of the mountain can grind you down. You must give yourself enough time to prepare yourself for the trek.

Trekkers are required to bring a medical certificate deeming them fit for high-altitude trekking at the start of the trek.

Raacho Trekkers

Backpack carrying: A porter will carry your backpack, please do not bring extra items but only the essentials needed for high altitude trek. Besides detailed planning, taking care of all the logistics, food, and good equipment, packing a backpack efficiently and carrying essential things play a key role in the success of an expedition.

Auden’s Col trek bare essentials

  • A pair of good quality waterproof trekking boots.
  • Three pairs of socks.
  • Two pairs of waterproof hiking pants.
  • A pair of shorts
  • Two pairs of fleece jumpers. 
  • Two pairs of thermal tops and bottoms
  • One down jacket.
  • Headgear (1 beanie/skull cap, 1 buff, and 1 trekking cap). 
  • A pair of thick gloves
  • Personal hygiene essentials (alcohol-based gel, hand sanitizer, soap, towels, toilet paper, baby wipes, etc.) 
  • UV-block sunglasses.
  • First aid kit.
  • Water purifier and filtration bottle.

Trek FAQs

How experienced is my trekking guide for Auden’s Col trek?

Our guides are certified and have been trekking the Himalayas for decades (all are local guides). They are well-equipped and well versed with the terrain, the route, the people, the Himalayan wildlife and its culture. We were featured in the National Geographic Traveler magazine for the 3 passes expedition(i.e. Patangini – Auden’s Col – Mayali pass) of June 2017.

How will the Raacho Trekkers’ team deal with an emergency kind of situation during the expedition

The guides and porters are adequately trained and skilled in handling emergencies. You will get immediate first aid and all necessary help if required. In case of a medical emergency, the porters & guides will carry you to a lower altitude and will contact the rescue authority by satellite phone.

Can you list out the packing list for Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass trek?

The packing list for Auden’s Col trek are as follows:
Trekking pants and jackets.
Rainproof pants and jackets.
Thermals underwear.
A pair of gloves.
Short-sleeved trekking shirts.
Long-sleeved trekking shirts.
Woolen cap/ beanies.
Insulating jackets.
Fleece-lined jacket.
Lightweight Sweaters. 
Trekking boots.
First Aid.
Sanitary pads/ Tampons.
Hand sanitizer.
Water Bottle.
Important Documents
Photo-ID (Passport/Driving License/Voter ID/Aadhar).
Fitness certificate.
Trekking Permit.

What are your criteria for physical fitness?

Many people assume that they need to have athletic strength to complete a trek like Auden’s Col, which is not completely true. The athletic strength is needed, but mental strength matters equally. Anyone with average physical strength and strong mental strength can negotiate the long stretches of Auden’s Col/Khatling glacier and complete the Auden’s Col trek. 
To boost the physical strength, cardio (aerobic) exercises, including hiking, cycling, swimming, can help you gain fitness before the start of your trek. One important thing to consider is that the treks are not a race, so you need to maintain a gentle pace with sufficient breaks and acclimatization.

How to prepare for Auden’s Col trek?

Many people assume that they need to have athletic strength to complete a trek like Auden’s Col, which is not completely true. The athletic strength is needed, but mental strength matters equally. Anyone with average physical strength and strong mental strength can negotiate the long stretches of Auden’s Col/Khatling glacier and complete the Auden’s Col trek. 
To boost the physical strength, cardio (aerobic) exercises, including hiking, cycling, swimming, can help you gain fitness before the start of your trek. One important thing to consider is that the treks are not a race, so you need to maintain a gentle pace with sufficient breaks and acclimatization.

What are the best seasons/time for Auden’s Col trek?

The best time for trekking Auden’s Col trek is from May (from 4th week) to September (barring monsoon period). During spring (in May & June month), wildflowers, including pink rhododendrons, Bhrama Kamal bloom in Gangotri valley in Uttarakhand. The clear skies and stable weather is the major attraction of the trek.
The autumn month of September is famous for its soothing climate and favorable temperatures. The Autumn month is good for the night or dawn/dusk photography. The monsoon and the winters are generally avoided because of the risks and the challenges posed by the Gangotri group of mountains.

How safe is the water to drink en route Auden’s Col?

During the trek, numerous mountain streams originating from Gangotri glaciers (like Kedar Ganga, Bhilangana, and Vasuki Ganga etc.)  are the main source of drinking water and water for cooking. Mountain stream water & snowmelt water is perfectly safe to drink, though the problem of silt mixed water may arise during the rainy days. We filter water through a sedimentation process. We also recommend trekkers to carry a water bottle fitted with a filter. You can get filter-fitted bottles easily in the market.
While trekking, it is extremely important to stay hydrated. During the trekking on sunny days, you will be thirsty more often. You can add hydration salts or glucose to the drinking water that keeps you healthy while improving the taste of the water. 

For how many hours do I need to walk during the Auden’s Col trek?

The trekking hours are not fixed. The prevailing weather conditions, terrain and walking pace will determine the daily trekking hours. In general, we plan the trek for five to six hours of daily walking on average. In a group trekking expedition, it is essential for us to gauge every individual’s stamina level and plan our journey ahead accordingly. Starting the trek early is key to avoiding the midday heat and arriving at your destination early. This leaves with enough time to rest, acclimatize, and explore the Gangotri Nationa Park region.

What type of toilet facilities will there be available on Auden’s Col trek?

There will be toilet tents. Our crew will dig a hole in the ground, then erect a toilet tent around it for privacy. We brief our guides to locate the toilet tent away from water sources and on departure the next morning the hole will be filled and covered with earth. We recommend you always keep a roll of toilet paper & a hand sanitizer in your day pack.

What clothing do you recommend for Auden’s Col trek?

The rule of thumb is to use several thin layers rather than just one or two thick layers. This allows you to peel layers off or put them on, depending on the weather and the time of day. For your base-layer, choose a fabric that soaks moisture away from your skin and dries quickly. Your outer layer should be fully wind and rainproof. We recommend you carry good quality thermals, woolen socks & a waterproof jacket. A windproof outer layer is essential to combat wind-chill (essential for altitudes like Auden’s and Mayali). Pick a thermal base-layer and fabrics that wick sweat away from your skin to avoid getting wet and cold. You need to protect your hands and feet with high-quality thermal gloves and socks, also a hat to protect your head and a balaclava to protect your face. 

Do I need to bring crampons for Auden’s Col trek?

If you have no prior experience of walking long stretches of glaciers, you should bring crampons. Crampons fitted trekking boots help you get past the snow with ease. Many people prefer walking on the glaciers without crampons. Auden’s Col trek route has a long glacier stretch that is riddled with crevasses and moraines. We recommend crampons for such terrain.

91 responses to “Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass Trek (Across Khatling Glacier)”

  1. Veena Avatar

    Please share details for 2023 Audel’s Col Trek.

    1. raachotrekkers Avatar

      The 2023 schedule and price quotes have been sent you you.

  2. Sabyasachi Bose Avatar
    Sabyasachi Bose

    In the year 2004 I crossed it from Khatling end with one of my friend and 2 porter and documented it in the ‘Indian Mountaineer’. We had no GPS, just a hand drawn map taken from a very large scale topo sheet. Targetting only the Rabit’s ear mentioned by JB Auden, we succeed after 2 failure in 2001 and 2002. Since then I can see lot of trekkers and Agencies are making this expedition. It was dangerously beautiful. But very fragile in nature. My earnest request to all trekkers and Agencies to take care of the nature over there, the tranquility over there.

    1. raachotrekkers Avatar

      Thank you for sharing a thrilling experience. By ‘Indian Mountaineer‘ do you mean journal published by The Himalayan Club? From a quick Google search, I found a page on the website. I guess your 2004 Auden’s Col expedition was published in Himalayan Journal Volume 61. It’d be great if you can share the entire experience.

  3. Rohit Marathe Avatar
    Rohit Marathe

    Please share the details for 2023

    1. raachotrekkers Avatar

      Hello Rohit! I have emailed you the details of Auden’s Col trek fixtures in 2023.



    Please send me the complete details (cost, date etc) of Gangotri to Kedarnath via Auden Col. and Mayali Pass for 2022.

    Schedules of June and September.

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