The Auden’s Col Trek is the Holy Grail of trekking in the Himalayan region of Garhwal in Uttarakhand, offering the finest multi-terrain challenge you will encounter.
The Auden’s Col is situated on the connecting ridge of Gangotri III (6577 m) and Jogin I (6465 m), small depression between the two mighty massifs – we approach the Col from Rudugaira glacier and descend through the ice falls and the heavily crevassed Khatling glacier. We start our expedition by driving up the Bhagirathi valley right till the end of the road at Gangotri. From here we move south towards the Gangotri range establishing a series of camps. With proper acclimatization, we cross the col and abseil to the mighty Khatling glacier. We descend the Khatling glacier and exit along the Bhilangana river, which surges from the mount of the Khatling. This is one of the most scenic walks in the Himalaya, all the way till Reeh, where the road has moved up the valley.
The Auden’s Col Trek is named after John Bicknell Auden, a British Geographical Survey officer, who first discovered it in 1935 and crossed it in 1939.
- Day 1: Dehradun – Uttarkashi – Kuflon (1550 M)
Fly in to the Jolly Grant Airport by 9AM . Board waiting vehicles to be driven straight to Kuflon Basics in the Assi Ganga valley (7hrs). Lunch enroute. Overnight at Kuflon.
- Day 2: Kuflon – Gangotri (3042 M)
After breakfast, we depart from Kuflon for a 4 hr drive to Gangotri. This small town is centered around the temple of the goddess Ganga, and the impressive falls of the Bhagirathi at Gauri Kund. Gangotri was built by the Nepalese General Amar Singh Thapain the early 18th century. The aarti ceremony at the Gangotri is a must-see. Overnight Guest House at Gangotri.
- Day 3: Acclimatisation Day In Gangotri (3042 M)
We leave after an early meal and walk on the trail leading to the lake of Kedartal. The trail goes through birch forests and is steep all the way to the small campsite at Bhoj Kharak (3780m). Back to Gangotri late afternoon. Overnight Guest House at Gangotri.
- Day 4: Gangotri – Nala Camp (3754 M)
Have an early morning breakfast and set off on the true left of the Bhagirathi River. Walk for about half an hour before turning south towards the Rudragaira Nalla. Looking back we get beautiful views of Chirbas Parbat, Matri, Yogeshwar and the other snow capped mountains. The climb is a gradual uphill through the forests of birch and maple. Nalla Camp is just above the tree-line and can get chilly during the night.
- Day 5: Nala Camp – Gangotri-i Base Camp (4527 M)
The day starts off with a steep climb to a huge meadow followed by a river crossing and another steep climb right up to the Rudragaira Base Camp. After lunch at the grassy campsite we continue over the glacial moraine to the Gangotri I Base Camp.
- Day 6: Acclimatisation Day (4527 M)
A day to relax and acclimatise, read, relax, or take a short walk near camp, or try and spot some wildlife. Overnight at Gangotri I Base Camp.
- Day 7: Auden’s Col Base Camp (4980 M)
We proceed towards the head of the valley with the Gangotri Range to the north and Jogin group to the south. Auden’s Col is at the head of the valley in the depression between the two massifs. We camp at the foot of the Col.
- Day 8: Base Camp – Auden’s Col – Khatling Glacier (5091 M)
We leave very early today, to make the climb to the Col easier in the firmer morning snow. The climb is steep and can easily take 4-6 hrs depending on the snow conditions. Auden’s Col offers excellent views of the Khatling Glacier, and the mountain peaks of Jaonli, Kedarnath, Jogin & Gangotri. From the Col we abseil down near-vertical walls of ice on fixed ropes to the heavily crevassed Khatling Glacier.
- Day 9: Khatling Glacier Camp – Snout Camp (3903 M)
Today is a very long day. This is one of the best days of the trek where we are surrounded by high mountains massifs, with small glaciers feeding the main trunk of the Khatlingglacier, as we descend towards the snout of the Khatling, negotiating crevasses along with way. We will be roped up initially for the overall safety of the group.
- Day 10: Snout Camp- Tambakund (3441 M)
We descend through moraine to get to the snout of the Khatling Glacier, from the mouth of which emerges the Bhilangana river, a tributary of the Bhagirathi.We continue to camp on the true right of the river near a natural cave.
- Day 11: Rest Day/Contingency
We have a rest / contingency day to allow for bad weather and to have some flexibility in the itinerary. Overnight at Camp.
- Day 12: Tambakund-Kharsoli (2902 M)
We walk through dense mixed Himalayan Forests of oak, birch, deodar, fir & rhododendron. The gradient is gradual and this walk in the woods gives a great opportunity to commune with nature. People are allowed to enjoy the walk at their own pace and guides spread out a bit. Kharsoli has a beautiful campsite in a clearing next to a gushing stream. It’s hard to resist the temptation of jumping into the stream. We will find plenty of driftwood by the stream to enjoy a big campfire in the evening.
- Day 13: Kharsoli – Gangi (2650 M
The walk continues through dense forest, shepherd hutments and the first signs of civilisation. Overnight at Camp / GMVN Guest House at Gangi.
- Day 14: Gangi – Reeh – Ghuttu (1550 M)
During a long day’s walk, we slowly descend to pine forests and go past the village of Reeh to finish the trek at the roadhead, 4kms upstream of Ghuttu. The road has come quite close to the village of Reeh. Overnight at Camp / GMVN Guest House at Ghuttu.
- Day 15: Ghuttu – Dehradun Airport
Have a relaxed start, pack up, drive from Ghuttu to Dehradun airport for the evening flight back home. Trip Ends!
- All arrangements for staying and camping while on trip
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis in Tents / Rest House / Hotel
- All meals as mentioned in itinerary & safe drinking water
- All group climbing gear (Ropes, Anchors, Slings, etc.) And individual climbing gear – hired (Ice Axe, Crampons, etc)
- All trekking arrangements with India’s most experienced guiding team, camp staff and cooks
- Porterage upto 15kg/ person peak fee/sanctuary fee/royalty/permits where applicable
- Sleeping bag
- Any transfers or meals outside of itinerary
- Bottled water
- Items of personal clothing
- Expenses of any personal nature (laundry / phone calls / alcohol / cigarettes / insurance / camera fee / etc.)
- Any expense incurred due to force of nature such as landslides, bad weather or reasons beyond our control
- Tips & gratuities (we recommend 5-10% of your trip cost- to be distributed among the team) – personal choice
- Travel & cancellation insurance
Scream and Shout! For I just completed the hardest treks in the Himalayas, the lesser known Auden’s Col Trek. It tests you, beats you down but you when you summit starting in the wee hours of the morning you know that it couldn’t have been a better decision not for just the moment but for life.
Well what a wonderful trip it was, we were 14 climbers with about 60 helpers including guide and porters. It could not have been better, right from our stay at Kuflon to Pooja at Gangotri to climb to the Auden’s to stay at the glaciers and finally a walk through the forest which can beat the amazon.
A difficult trek made so much easier by the professional, ever-ready-to-help, alert trek leaders of Aquaterra. The support staff was wonderful and made the hard days lighter by their cheerful attitude. All along it felt not like client and staff but friends out for a trek.
Everything right from the beginning till the end – the pre-trip updates, travel planning, itinerary, equipment, camping sites, medical help and preparedness, food, etc. were all well thought, planned and great.
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