Auden’s Col is a pass connecting Rudugaira valley & Bhilangna valley. Itinerary & route of Auden’s Col Trek includes 3 passes and infamous Khatling glacier. The Col (saddle-shaped pass joining two surrounding peaks) connects Jogin I (6465 m) and Gangotri III peak(6580 m).
The pass is situated be at an altitude of around 5400m above sea level. On the opposite side, it also connects two glaciers. The first one is the Khatling Glacier, the other one is the Jogin I Glacier. Auden’s Col trek begins from Gangotri and one can follow Auden’s Col and Khatling Glacier route to reach Kedarnath. The name of the Auden’s col comes from J B Auden who went crossed it for the first time in 1939-40.
Auden’s Col: The 3 Pass Trek Expedition In Uttarakhand
The summit is at 5490m altitude and it connects the ridge coming from Gangotri III (6580m) peak on the north-west and the ridge coming from Jogin I (6465m) 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.
Rudraganga stream or Rudragairu (gairu means deep) or Rudugaira 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.
Auden’s Col Route
First, we take a side trip to visit Kedartal at a height of 4,780 meters. Then we 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 and then descend down to Chowki campsite the next day.
From Chowki we take a left turn upwards and reach Mayali Pass (5,050 meters) in the next two days, and then camp next to Vasuki Tal. From there we descend down to Kedarnath shrine and back into civilization.
What is Col?
The word ‘Col’ is a geographical term for a saddle-like depression in a ridge between two peaks.
What does Auden’s col trek cost?
The Cost estimation is based on the number of factors like the group size, pick-up place(Dehradun/Uttarkashi), and add-ons needed(like backpack offloading, accommodation before and after the trek; drop off point(Dehradun/Haridwar). Drop an email to avail group offers & early bird discounts.
The regions of Garhwal and Kumaon borders on China and Nepal and are the most famous for their holy sites including Gangotri, the source of India’s most sacred River Ganga. Located 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-metre 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 area.
Auden’s Col Trek Itinerary
Kedar Kharak during dusk! Beautiful & One of the Best Camp-sites we stayed for 2 days during 3 Passes Trek – Patangini Dhar, Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass. This Camp-site is Base Camp-site for 2 Magnificent Treks of Gangotri National Park – Kedartal (4614 Mtr) & Patangini Dhar (5085 Mtr). With Magnificent views of Bhrigupanth, Thalay Sagar; Other Mountains of Gangotri National Park, this Camp-site will become one of the lifetime experiences for any adventure seekers for sure!
- Day 0: Reach Gangotri (2940m). Acclimatization trek, visit the temple.
- Day #1: Trek to Bhoj Kharak (3415m)
- Day #2: Trek to Kedar Kharak (4270m)
- Day #3: Trek to Kedar Tal (4760m) and back to Kedar Kharak.
- Day #4: Trek to Patangini Dhar base campsite (4540m)
- Day #5: Cross Patangini Dhar (5085m) and reach Dhabba Camp Site (4685m) in Rudugaira valley
- Day #6: Trek to Rudugaira / Auden’s Col Advanced Base Camp (4975m)
- Day #7: Cross Auden’s Col (5490m), trek on Khatling and reach Khatling campsite (4970m)
- Day #8: Trek rest of the Khatling, cross waterfall area (4300m) and reach Khatling Base camp (3765m)
- Day #9: Cross Bhilangna river (3480m), and reach Chowki campsite (3630m)
- Day #10: Trek to Masar Tal (4550m)
- Day #11: Trek to Masar Top (4695m), Cross Mayali Pass (4990m) and camp (4335m) near Vasuki Tal
- Day #12: Trek Vasuki Tal (4210m), trek to Vasuki Top (4480m), and descend to Kedarnath (3530m)
- 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 would have to pay extra.
NOTE: Trekkers must reach the base camp of the trek at their own expense and everyone should keep 2 buffer days in an event of (Bad weather etc)
Criteria For A High-Altitude Trek.
You must have done at least one high altitude Pass trek before. Those who do not have requisite trek experience of high altitude passes should not apply
You must be physically fit to do the 12-day Himalayan trek. The trek climbs to 17,000 ft. At this altitude the air is thin and the rigors on the body high. You must give yourself sufficient time to prepare yourself for the trek
NOTE: Trekkers are required to bring a medical certificate deeming fit for high-altitude trekking at the start of the trek.
Backpack carrying: A porter will carry your backpack, please do not bring extra items but only the essentials needed for high altitude trek, the weight should be 15kg of your offloading backpack.
Besides good planning, logistics, food and good equipment packing a backpack and carrying essential things play a key role in the success of an expedition.
FAQs About Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass trek
Our guides are certified and have been trekking the Himalayas since childhood(all are local guides). They are well equipped and well versed with the terrain, route, the people and local 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 solve the problem in case of an emergency during the Auden’s Col 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.
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.
- Photo-ID( Passport/Driving License/Voter ID/Aadhar).
- Fitness certificate.
- Trekking Permit
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.
The best time for trekking Auden’s Col trek is from May(from 4th week) to September(barring monsoon period). During the spring season(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.
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.
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.
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.
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). Choose 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.
If you have no prior experience of walking long stretches on 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.
This is very much personal preference. Some people swear by them, especially on treks with long and steep ascents and descents(like the ascent to Patangini Dhar, descent from Auden’s Col and Mayali pass), others find they get in the way and prefer to manage without. If you have weak hips, knees or ankles they are an effective way to reduce the strain.
There’s no other way to prepare for altitude than to acclimatize slowly. Our trek itineraries have been carefully planned to allow for gradual acclimatization (at Bhoj Kharak and Kedar Kharak). Altitude sickness can affect the fittest trekkers just as easily as the less fit. Once on the trek, the main recommendation is to keep your fluid intake up and stay hydrated. We don’t recommend Diamox(acetazolamide). Diamox actually tricks your body into breathing faster (by changing the Ph of your blood slightly) so it actually prevents the symptoms. The best cure for high altitude sickness is acclimatization.
During the trek, your luggage is transported for you by porter & mule so all you need to carry is what you need during the day, for example water bottle, camera, extra clothing, sun-cream, and a small personal first aid kit. We recommend a 15 to 25-liter day pack for Lamkhaga trek
The best way to train for the Auden’s Col trek is to spend plenty of time beforehand simply walking & jogging. Aerobic training at the gym helps too, but there’s no substitute for simply walking & trotting for several hours at a stretch. It’s also a good opportunity to check out all your trekking equipment, clothing, and footwear – to make sure it’s all comfortable and works OK.
It really isn’t a problem. You can walk at your own pace nearly all the time, as we have enough guides to escort walkers of all speeds. Occasionally for safety reasons the trek leader might pull the group together (eg. in bad weather or on a tricky section of the trek route like ascending and descending Auden’s Col, Crossing crevasses over Khatling glacier, Crossing the makeshift bridge over Bhilangana river, and climbing up to the Mayali pas. In general, the group can string out and everyone finds their own comfortable walking pace.
Assessing your personal fitness is quite subjective. Your fitness level is often pitted against the level of difficulty of a trek route that includes various factors like the number of hours of walking each day, the total number of days, how long and how difficult is the ascent of descent stretch, terrain, altitude, and likely weather conditions. Auden’s Col conflated with Mayali pass is a 12/13-day trek riddled with long glacier stretches, crevasses, rock falling zones, and moraines. To match the difficulty level of Auden’s Col trek you need to have previous high altitude trekking experience. One cannot climb a pass or peak without being physically and mentally fit.
The route traverses through the valley of Rudugaira to Auden’s Col and ends at the village of Ghuttu, and for the 3-pass expedition, It’ll be conflated with the Mayali Pass to go all the way to Kedarnath. It is also possible to cross only Auden’s Col by starting the trek at Gangotri and exiting at Guttu(i.e. Mayali pass would be skipped). Another trail in the valley between the valleys of Gangotri and Rudugaira will lead us to Kedar Tal. Kedar Tal offers magnificent views of the Thalay Sagar and Bhrigupanth peaks. In the first part, the route would take us to Kedar Tal, and then we cross over from Kedar Ganga (Kedar Ganga is a tributary of the Bhagirathi River) to Rudugaira Valley through a pass called Patangini Dhar. In the second part, we will cross Auden’s Col and trek over Khatling glacier to the origin of the Bhilangna river. In the last part, we will switch over to the Mayali Pass trail to reach Kedarnath.
Bhoj Kharak, Kedar Kharak, and trail to Kedar Tal. The trail is steep uphill including numerous switchbacks through the birch forest. The birch trees are referred to as Bhoj trees in the local dialect and so the first campsite inside the Bhoj forest is named Bhoj Kharak.
Any trek is doable without a guide:
- If you know the route(or you know how to read maps and use GPS)
- You have complete climbing and camping gear.
- You have extensive experience of trekking in the Himalayas.
Even if you meet the above conditions there are still certain caveats that make a trek like Auden’s Col treacherously dicey.
Our trek leader is going to carry a first aid kit. We recommend that you bring a small personal kit of your own to deal with any bruises, scrapes or blisters that you may pick up along the way. The more difficult a trek is, the more exhaustive your personal first aid kit should be.
The key to preventing altitude sickness is to acclimatize properly. In high altitude areas, you should not gain more than 600-800 m of altitude. We advise you to take things easy and not to trek in a hurry.
Regular hydration of at least 5 liters of water a day is a must. Diamox (acetazolamide) is not recommended. Diamox simply tricks the body into breathing faster (by increasing the blood Ph slightly) and in fact avoids symptoms. Acclimatization is the only treatment for high altitude sickness. Take medication only if it is recommended by your doctor.