A Gem in Isolation

The spectacular Audens Col trek offers you the rare chance to experience wilderness and climb in solitude
A Gem in Isolation

With India&rsquos population nearly at a fifth of the world&rsquos headcount, squeezed into 2.4 per cent of its land mass, it is rare to get a true sense of &lsquowilderness&rsquo even in the remotest areas of our part of the Himalaya.

The Auden&rsquos Col trek in Garhwal is an exception&ndasha spectacular getaway, with the assurance that it is just you and your (hopefully well-chosen) companions for the nine days it takes to go from Gangotri to Kharsoli.

The Gangotri and Jogin massifs form a formidable wall, separating the Rudugaira Valley from Bhilangna with this small depression in their ridge line, just accessible enough at 18,011 ft to offer a way across.

The journey is spectacular, through alpine forests on the Gangotri side, giving way to high-altitude scrub and vast mountain views, then scree and moraine&ndash all in the span of a few days. Then, after an arduous ascent through a crevasse-cut slope, is the col, affording a breathtaking view of the Khatling Glacier. After an abseil down this mighty glacier, and the chilling experience of traversing it, one comes off on the moraine, down a Tolkienian landscape edged with high cliffs from which waterfalls plunge.

The exit is along the Bhilangna river, surging from the mouth of the Khatling after a couple of days&rsquo walk through dense Himalayan forest. Altogether, this is one of the most isolated and scenic treks in the Himalaya.

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