Auden’s Col trek, one of the most tough and challenging treks in India, begins at Gangotri and ends at Kedarnath. It’s a little known mountain pass that lies on the connecting ridge of Jogin I (6465m) and Gangotri III (6580m) at a height of around 5400m. The novelty of the location is what appeals to the mountaineers, along with the difficulty level of course.
You need to be physically fit to undertake this trek; it entails walking on glacial ice among other things. Not only that, it’s best done with the help of a expert tour guide who has prior experience of trekking on this trail. In case you’re wondering, Auden’s Col is named after J B Auden, British Geographical Survey Officer, who first discovered it in 1939-40.
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Auden’s Col is a high altitude mountain pass connecting Rudugaira valley and Bhilangna valley. It is situated at 5,490 metres (18,010 ft) elevation and 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 deadly Khatling glacier on the south side of Bhilangna valley. Auden’s ColElevation5,490 m (18,012 ft)LocationUttarkashi district,Garhwal division,Uttarakhand, IndiaRangeGarhwal Himalaya, Greater HimalayasCoordinates30.8735°N 78.8920°E
The trek is believed to be arduous because the terrain of the Garhwal Himalayas is quite strenuous; with the trail passing through moraines, narrow cliffs, boulders, and difficult ridges. However, it’s all with it when you’re afforded impeccable views of magnificent peaks such as Rudragaira, Gangotri, Jogin, Bhagirathi and Kedar Dome.
The trek is best attempted between June and September. You must opt for it only if you have high-altitude trekking experience. Also, make sure to get hold of basic mountaineering equipment including ice axe, crampons and ropes in advance. The entire trek can be completed anywhere between 12 – 18 days.
It’s fairly easy to get here. You can keep Haridwar as the point of transit for both the holy towns. Regular buses and trains connect Haridwar and Delhi (200km/5hr by road). Gangotri can be reached from Haridwar by taking an early-morning shared taxi to Uttarkashi, followed by another shared taxi to Gangotri. After your trek ends at Kedarnath, you can take a pony or a chopper to reach Gauri Kund, the nearest road head. From there you can take a taxi to Srinagar (a city in Uttarakhand) followed by another taxi to Haridwar (133km/4hr).