Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass Trek | Across Khatling Glacier

Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass Trek | Across Khatling Glacier

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 Trek

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 2022 Rundown

RegionGangotri Garhwal Himalayas
Duration12 trek days
Difficulty levelStrenuously long tough terrain
Max. Altitude5400 m (Auden’s Col)
Best timeBetween June to September
Trail lengthAbout 150 km
HighlightsKedartal lake, Kedar Ganga valley, Grevasse-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 DateJune 05, 2022 (from Gangotri)
Auden’s Col trek summary

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.

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.

Auden’s Col Trek Permit

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.

Auden’s Col Trek Route

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

What is Col?

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

Mountain Col
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.

How Much Does Auden’s Col Trek Cost?

Auden’s Col trek price 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.

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), trek on Khatling, and reach Khatling Glacier campsite (4970 m).
  • Day #8: Trek the rest of the Khatling Glacier, cross the waterfall area (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 would have to pay extra.

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

Condition for Auden’s Col & Mayali pass trek.

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.

Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass trek FAQs

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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 don’t provide trekking or camping gear or rent.

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.

When it comes to packing for a trek in an efficient way so that you have maximum flexibility with minimum weight, we advise trekkers to pack only what it essentially needed. Packing things that are not required will overburden porters & mules and hamper the probability of competing a high altitude trek like Lamkhaga.

Clothing & Gear

  1. Trekking pants and jackets.
  2. Rainproof pants and jackets.
  3. Thermals underwear.
  4. A pair of gloves.
  5. Short-sleeved trekking shirts.
  6. Long-sleeved trekking shirts.
  7. Woolen cap/ beanies.
  8. Insulating jackets.
  9. Fleece-lined jacket.
  10. Lightweight Sweaters. 
  11. Trekking boots.
  12. Flip-flops or river shoes
  13. First Aid.
  14. Sanitary pads/ Tampons.
  15. Toiletries.
  16. Sunscreen.
  17. Hand sanitizer.
  18. Quick-drying towel.
  19. Water Bottle.
  20. Sunglasses.
  21. Chargers.
  22. Headlamp

Important Documents

  • Photo-ID( Passport/Driving License/Voter ID/Aadhar).
  • Fitness certificate.

Many people believe that they need immense physical strength to complete a trek like Lamkhaga, which is not necessarily true. Athletic strength is essential, but mental strength is equally important. Anyone with average physical strength and high mental strength can complete a trek like Lamkhaga pass.

Cardio (aerobic) exercises, like hiking, cycling, swimming, will help you achieve strength before the start of your journey. One crucial thing to remember is that trekking is not a race, so you need to keep up with ample breaks and acclimatization.

The best time to trek Lamkhaga is from May to September (barring the monsoon period). During the spring season (May month), wildflowers, including pink rhododendrons, bloom in the Kyarkoti Valley in Uttarakhand. Clear skies and stable conditions underscore the Lamkhaga pass trek during spring months.

The autumn month of September is renowned for its calming climate and favorable temperatures. Autumn month is a perfect time for night or dawn/dusk photography. Monsoon and winters are usually avoided because of the risks and difficulties presented by Garhwal and Kinnaur Himalayas.

You need to carry the backpack/daypack. The daypack consists of essentials like water, a camera, snacks, and rain gear. The heavy luggage will get carried by a porter.

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.

Throughout the trek, numerous mountain streams of the Baspa Valley & Kyarkoti and the glaciers of Baspa & Jalandhari Gad are the main source of drinking water and cooking water. Mountain stream water & snowmelt water is perfectly safe to drink, although there may be issues with silt mixed water on rainy days. We filter water through the natural sedimentation process. We also recommend that hikers bring a filter fitted water bottle.

The trekking hours are not fixed. The prevailing weather conditions, terrain and walking pace of the group 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 beautiful Baspa and Kyarkoti regions.

There will be toilet tents. Our team digs a hole in the ground and then erects a toilet tent around it for privacy. We brief our guides to erect the toilet tent away from water sources and mountain streams, and on departure the next morning the hole will be filled and covered with dirt. We recommend that you always keep a roll of toilet paper and a hand sanitizer in your daypack.

We have a camp crew who set up the tents and also take care of the cooking and clearing up the trash.

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.

Generally, it is not required. The water from mountain streams is already purified and much better than the tap water you get in cities. You can carry a filter-fitted water bottle like Lifestraw Go Reusable Personal Filter Water Bottle.

The rule of thumb is to use several thin layers rather than just one or two thick layers. It helps you to peel or strip layers depending on the current weather conditions and the time of day. Use a fabric that soaks moisture away from your skin and dries quickly. Your outer layer should be fully wind and waterproof. We recommend that you wear good quality thermals, woolen socks, and a waterproof jacket. A windproof outer layer is essential to fight wind chills. Choose a thermal base-layer with fabric that sucks sweat away from your skin. You need to cover your hands and feet with high-quality gloves and socks, also a hat to cover your head and a balaclava to shield your face from snowy winds of Lamkhaga snowfields.

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(Lamkhaga trek route has a long snowfield stretch). Many people prefer walking on the glaciers without crampons.

You need good quality Gore-Tex boots with a strong grip and sturdy ankle support. Your boots must be fully waterproof and at higher altitudes (like the Lamkhaga base camp) we recommend boots with trekking gaiters to cross the Lamkhaga snowfields.

This is a rather personal preference. Many people swear by them, particularly on treks with long ascents(like Baspa river glacier snout to Lamkhaga pass summit) and descents, others consider that they get in the way and prefer to manage without them. If you have weak hips, knees or ankles, trekking poles can be effective in reducing the strain.

No. We carry good quality 4 season sleeping bags(up to -10℃ comfort range), mattresses and pillows.

There is no other way to train for Himlayan altitude than to slowly acclimatize. Our Lamkhaga pass trek itinerary has been carefully planned to allow for gradual acclimatization (at Chitkul and Ranikanda). Altitude sickness can impact the fittest trekkers as easily as the less fit. If you’re on a trek, the main advice is to keep your fluid intake up to stay hydrated. Diamox (acetazolamide) is not recommended. Diamox simply tricks the body into breathing faster (by increasing the blood Ph slightly). It actually covers the symptoms. The best treatment for high altitude sickness is acclimatization or descent to a lower altitude.

During the trek, your luggage is carried by a porter or a mule, and all you need to carry is what you need during the day, such as a bottle of water, camera, extra clothes, sun-cream, and a small personal first aid kit. We recommend a daypack of 15 to 30 liters for Lamkhaga pass trek.

There no definitive training regime that suits everyone because people have different fitness levels. A workout plan may work great for some and may not work for others. The best way to train for the Lamkhaga trek is to spend plenty of time walking and jogging for at least a month. Aerobic exercise training always helps, but there’s no substitute for simply walking & trotting for several hours at a stretch. It’s also a good opportunity to test out all your trekking gear, clothes and shoes – to make sure everything is comfortable and works well.

It’s not really a problem. You can walk at your own pace almost all the time because we have enough guides to support trekkers of all speeds. Occasionally, for safety reasons, the leader of the trek may pull the group together (e.g. in bad weather or in a difficult section of the trek, including crossing the Nithal Thach stream crossing section and the Lamkhaga base camp to Jalandhari Gad stretch) but in general, the group can string out and everyone finds their own comfortable walking pace.

The evaluation of your personal health is very subjective. Your fitness level is also set against the difficulty level of the trekking route, which includes different factors such as the number of walking hours per day, the total number of days, the duration and complexity of the descent, the terrain, the altitude, and the weather conditions. You need to have previous high altitude trekking experience to match the difficulty level of Lamkhaga. Without being physically and mentally fit, one can not climb Lamkhaga pass or for that matter any pass or a peak.

85 responses to “Auden’s Col & Mayali Pass Trek | Across Khatling Glacier”

  1. I will do this trek in July..can you provide the details for this trek..itinerary + cost + when are you organising this trek ?

  2. Hi,
    Can cost be emailed to me. Am planning this in month of sept or whatever dates suitable post monsoon.

  3. Hii..i am subham.I am interested about this trek.one of my dream trek..please send me details.thank you.

  4. If you are an extreme high altitude trekker and if Himalaya’s most adventurous, most secluded, less explored yet scenic routes fascinate you then trust me, Sonu Negi and his team are the best people for such extremely high altitude expeditions. His approach, meticulous plan, and execution are beyond excellence. I have done 3 passes expedition with him (Auden’s col being one of them) and I was awed with the kind of of efforts he and his team had behind the success of the same. I have seen few other trek operators canceling the expedition during the same time duration because of trail condition and excessive snow condition, but Sonu’s well-prepared team and his effort made this year’s first (and only) summit of Auden’s col. I would highly recommend him for his excellent service at high altitude, his mountaineering knowledge and his safety measurements.

  5. Hey!
    I would like to make some inquiries about the upcoming winter treks.
    I would be obliged if u could send me the itenary of the various treks and their respective costs.
    Thank you!

  6. Sir, i haven’t received the mailed. could you please be share details of Auden col-2020 all details once again.

  7. Sir,

    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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