Playground Outdoors

Auden's Col

A challenging but seriously epic route through some of India’s most intense high-altitude landscapes, the trek over Auden’s Col routes past alpine lakes, jagged ice falls, mountain passes, glacial systems, remote temples and the mighty 22,600ft facade of Thalay Sagar. Definitely one for the books.

Difficulty

SAC T6 Demanding Alpine Hiking

Mostly without path. Climbing sections up to II. Paths are not marked most of the time. Often very exposed. Tricky craggy ground. Glaciers with increased danger of slipping.

Duration

18 days

Delhi to Delhi
6 days travel & rest
12 days hiking & camping

Distance

80 km / 50 mi

Maximum Altitude

5490 m / 18010 ft

Price

₹2,15,000 $3000

Itinerary


By plane, private car or bus, we will arrange your travel to Dehradun, the mountain-bordered capital of Uttarakhand. From here, we make the transfer to private cab to continue on toward Joshimath.

Today we wind our way up and out of most civilization to the pilgrimage town of Gangotri.

Since we’ve risen above 10,000 feet in altitude already, we take the day to hydrate and stay moving - explore the bazaars, visit the temple, see the candlelit aarti at sunset and pack/debrief for our upcoming adventure.

Our first day rises above the town of Gangotri into the thriving birch and oak forests above, crossing the river and climbing up above the treeline to reach the meadow where we will set tonight’s camp. Rising up in the distance, we get our first peek of the massive peaks of Garhwal, with Gangotri III and Jogin II coming into view.

Climbing consistently today, we depart from the riverside trail and pass through higher-altitude pastures where the wild blue sheep of the area as well as shepherd herds graze. After crossing a fanning stream, we climb a final spur of the day to reach our camp.

We’ll spend the day hydrating and taking a hike up toward Rudugaira Peak to help our bodies acclimatize to the 5000+ feet that we have ascended over the past two days. From here, we can see the pass we will be crossing the day after tomorrow.

The theme of today is moraine, which we climb in ridges, leaving the valley vegetation below, until descending slightly into Gangotri Base Camp. Continuing our climb, we find what the moraine has been hiding - a serene, blue lake, Sukha Tal, tucked into the rocks. Shortly after this, we reach the flat area where we will stay the night - Auden’s Col visible above us.

Today is difficult, but stunning. Our ascent up the moraine transitions onto glacier, with the massive Gangotri and Jogin peaks, each towering at over 6,000 meters, looming over us. Reaching the steep portion of the glacier, we will put on our harnesses and ropes and continue up the sharply-inclined gully, the toughest part of today’s climb. After taking in the spectacular view from the top, we descend the other side, navigating our way down the 70 degree glaciated slope until the point where the angle of incline decreases. Feeling microscopic beneath the peaks and icefalls that now surround us, we push a little further toward our glacier camp for the night.

Today requires careful navigation, as our glacier traverse ends after two kilometers, dropping us onto almost entirely unmarked moraine. We follow the scree and rocks along the Khatling Glacier in this lifeless terrain until reaching its snout many kilometers later, ending the day at Zero Point.

Taking a day to rejuvenate here after our arduous journey thus far, we will enjoy some hot food, and an afternoon relaxing in the sun before continuing our route tomorrow.

A pleasant reintroduction to our trekking route, we follow the river valley gently sloping down to the grassy meadows of our next campsite at Chowki.

After an initial steep climb to the ridge above our valley campsite, we have the privilege of viewing the stunning 22,600 foot Thalay Sagar, its jagged facade powder-white from the snow that covers it. Eventually, we see the glimmering blue waters of Masar Tal, a gorgeous high-altitude lake that we will spend the night next to.

We again come upon glacial terrain as we climb to Masar top, and then make the additional rocky, icy ascent to Mayali Pass at 16,900 feet - giving us another breathtaking view of the Garhwal Himalayas. Depending on route conditions, we may need to rope up to rappel from this side of the pass into our campsite at Vasuki Tal.

We treat ourselves today with a pleasant hike to Kedarnath, a holy pilgrimage site for Hindus, and will visit the temple there of Lord Shiva, noted for being one of the twelve jyotirlingas in India. For the first time in over a week, we get to sleep in cozy homestay beds.

A strange feeling after spending so many days in the remote Garhwal wilderness, we finally make the 14 kilometer descent back into the small village of Gaurikund - ending the trekking portion of our adventure. Take a good rest tonight, you’ve earned it.

In the case of inclement weather or other complications. We keep this reserve day as part of our itinerary for times when we may need to stay again at one of our camps.

We will make the drive back to Dehradun to connect us with our onward travel. Our adventure has finally come to a close - for now.

Depart Dehradun for Delhi by flight or road. The mode of transport will depend on weather conditions and availability of flights.

Playground Perks


Handcrafted & Curated

We don’t copy our itineraries off the internet. We scout and design all trip offerings personally. This ensures enough time to acclimatise at high altitude, explore around the campsite, and indulge in authentic local experiences so you don’t miss out on anything.

Everything Included

Honestly, everything. Internal flights, best-in-class travel insurance, personal camping equipment, and all meals - we’ll take care of everything that most travel operators will mark with an asterisk. You pay for nothing except personal purchases from the day your trip starts.

Equipment & Safety

4 season Mountain Hardwear tents and sleeping bags, emergency oxygen reserves & PACs to provide a safety net against AMS, UIAA Safety Label glacier rescue kits for technical trails, WAFA/WFR & CPR certified guides, best-in-class adventure insurance - we’ve always got a plan B.

Personalised & Bespoke

We curate bespoke adventures and trips every day because we recognise that everyone’s travel bug is unique. When it comes to adventure travel, there are different ways to experience the world’s most beautiful places, because every traveler is different - which is why we’ve stepped in to provide a space for environmental advocacy, cross-cultural connections, wellness and adventure to combine - all through travel.

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel starts with acknowledging that travel and tourism often contribute to the global climate crisis. We believe in the positive power of travel to transform mindsets & generate a sense of preservation towards wild spaces. We follow LNT Principles, minimise our carbon footprint, adopt regenerative practices & give back to local communities - from making sure our field staff are well equipped to higher-than-industry-standard compensation.

Self Guided & Operated

We’ll never hand you off to someone else - we run all trips ourselves. We minimise external contracting and only partner with people we know and trust personally. While we employ and collaborate with local guides and support staff for their unparalleled expertise and knowledge of the Himalayan ranges, our trips are led by one of our core team members so you always have a single point of contact.