Auden’s Col is one of the high altitude mountain passes in the Indian Himalayan region of Garhwal that connects the Rudragaira and Bhilangana Valley. Auden’s Col Trek forms a bridge between the north – west ridge of Gangotri III, which stands at an elevation of 6,580 meters and the ridge coming from Jogin I at 6465 meters on the east.
This trek is one of the most challenging . It is at an altitude of around 18000 ft above sea level . It will take you through some of the dangerous moraines, narrow cliffs and stony, snaky and twitchy paves. 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.
Auden’s Col Trek is filled with Hindu pilgrimage sites and hosts a shrine and views that your eyes can fathom. The trail passes through the thick alpine forests, meadows dotted with varied species of flowers, gushing streams, and cuts through numerous villages. Even being a strenuous trail, the journey is treated with the majestic view of the hulking high peaks like the Rudragaira, Jogin, Bhagirathi and Kedar Dome.
The Auden’s Col Trek starts from Gangotri at 3,048 meters, which is one of the important Hindu pilgrimage sites and hosts a shrine that is dedicated to Goddess Ganga, the holiest river in India. From Gangotri the trail heads upward to Nala Camp, which is 8 kilometers of easy trail. The beautiful walk through a Pine and Birch forest gets transformed into a picturesque walk with views of some of the Himalayan peaks i.e. Jogin and Kedartal range. From Nala Camp, the trail continues to Rudragaira Base Camp, which is further 7-8 kilometers gradual climb. Thereafter the route turns to the base of the Gangotri group of peaks and further leads to Auden’s Col, passing through the glaciated tracks. From Auden’s Col the journey goes ahead to Khatling Glacier and thereafter to Chowki, which is one of the alpine meadows. From Chowki the route heads to Masar Tal and thereafter to Vasuki Tal, the two high altitude lakes in Garhwal Himalayan region. From Vasuki Tal, 8 kilometers of downhill trail leads to Kedarnath, which is another important Hindu pilgrimage site and the remotest site of the Char Dham Yatra. Later the Auden’s Col Trekking tour ends at Rishikesh, which can be reached via Gaurikund, Rudraprayag and Devprayag.
Overnight Train Journey
Board the overnight train NDLS Dehradun A/C Express which leaves New Delhi at 11:55 PM and arrive in Haridwar by early morning (next day); at around 04: 00 AM.
Heart of the Himalayas, Amazing Views
Today’s trek will be an exciting one as it will take you to the heart of the Himalayas.
Enjoy the amazing views of the lofty peaks, scenic glaciers and the complex ice formations and reach the Khatling Glacier Camp-II.
Overnight stay in camps.
After the day’s breakfast, start descending through the glacial moraines and make it to the Khatling Glacier’s nose.
The views of the ice walls that reach hundreds of feet are simply stunning and is a true delight for the trekkers; the Bhilangana River also adds to this awe-inspiring view.
Arrive at Khatling Cave or Tambakund, retire for the day in camps
This day will serve as a buffer day if in case, bad weather hits the itinerary.
Overnight camping in Khatling Cave.
On this day, you will be treading through the lush oak, birch, deodar, fir and rhododendron forests.
Arriving in Kharsoli, you will be camping beside a gushing stream.
Waking up in the morning, continue with a walk through the dense forests; after trekking for long in higher altitudes, you can expect a bit warmth during your descend.
On the way, expect a steep climb after passing the few houses beside the Bhilangana River.
Overnight stay will be at a camp/guesthouse in Gangi
Today will be a long day and you will be descending through pine forests and make your way through the Reeh Village.
The trek gets over at the road-head, 4 km away from Ghuttu.
Overnight stay will be at a guesthouse in Ghuttu.
On the last day of this expedition, start off in a relaxing mode and drive towards Haridwar, from where you can board the Shatabdi Express to reach Delhi by 10:45 PM.
After reaching Haridwar, board a vehicle and drive straight to Uttarkashi which is a 7-hour journey; en route, have breakfast.
Arriving in Uttarkashi, check-in into a hotel and spent overnight.
On this day, you will be driving through Harsil, which is home to the famous ‘Wilson Apple’ followed by Bhairon Ghati, the course of the Bhairav Ganga river upon which a steel girder bridge overlook a mesmerizing deep gorge.
After 4-5 hours of driving, arrive in Gangotri and settle down in a guesthouse.
Come evening, visit the ghats and witness the stunning ‘aarti’ ceremony one banks of the holy Ganges.
Today morning; after breakfast, take an excursion or to be more precise, an acclimatisation walk towards the Kedartal Lake.
The route takes you through birch forests and is steep all the way to the small campsite at Bhoj Kharak (3,780 m).
Post this walk, return to the campsite and spend overnight.
The walking trail starts from the true left of the valley and ascends to the Nala Camp.
Initially, you will set off on the left of Bhagirathi River and walk for about 30 minutes before turning towards the Rudragaira Nalla.
The climb is a gradual uphill through pine and birch forests offers glimpses of the lofty Himalayan peaks like Jogin and Kedartal.
Overnight stay will be in camps.
The day starts with a steep climb to a huge meadow, followed by a river crossing and another steep climb right up to the Rudragaira Base Camp.
Hereafter, it continues over the glacial moraine to the Gangotri-I Base Camp, where you will be halting overnight.
This is the day to relax and get acclimatised with the climatic condition.
A bit of sidewalk around the camp will be the main schedule for the day.
The hike for the day is quite challenging and one needs to have a high energy level.
As you proceed towards the head of the valley with the Gangotri Range (G1, G2 & G3) to the north and the Jogin Group (J1, J2) to the south, the route will get a bit difficult.
Once in Auden’s Col, settle down in the camp at the foot of the Col for an overnight stay.
An early start is a must today as you will be trekking through glaciers.
Expect a bit of tricky walk as the climb gets steeper along the way along with offering astounding views of the Khatling Glacier and the Jaonli Kedarnath, Jogin and Gangotri peaks.
Arriving at Khatling Glacier camp, relax and retire for the night