Auden's Col & Mayali Pass Trekking (Gangotri - Kedarnath Trek)
As per a legend, Pandawas were searching lord shiva to seek his blessing, to atone for the sins of committing fratricide during Mahabharata but the Shiva wanted to avoid them. Pandawas searched him in many places and reached in the Garhwal Himalayas. At one place Bhima saw a Bull grazing in the Himalayan meadow, He immediately recognized Shiva and ran towards him & caught his back but Shiva disappeared in the ground and his body parts reappeared in the five different areas, which are known as the Panch Kedar. Hump at kedarnath, Arms at Tungnath, Face at Rudranath, Navel at Madhymaheshwar & Hair at Kalpeshwar. Pandawas built the temples in these five places.
Kedarnath is one of 12 Jyotirlingas and is situated at 14 km. afoot distance from Gaurikund in the altitude of 3581 mts. Gaurikund is well connected to the other cities of India by road. Every year many pilgrims reach Kedarnath from this route, but some amateur trekkers reach Kedarnath from other trekking routes also. Some of the famous trekking routes are:
1. Ghuttu - Panwali kantha - TriyugiNarayan - Kedarnath
2. Ghuttu - Gangi - Masar Tal - Mayali Pass - Vasuki tal - Kedarnath
3. Ransi - Manani Bugyal - Kham Pass - Kedarnath
Some people also follow the Gangotri Kedarnath Terk via Auden's Col and Mayali Pass.
We had a meeting in Tehri on 9th May 2009 to finalize this year trek, Raju Bahi was asking for the Dhumdar kandi trek, but at last the Auden's col was finalized and tentative period was decided, August last to Sep. 1st week. Negi Ji and Sharma ji took the responsibility of all the arrangements. The date was finalized over telephone and everybody met in Uttarkashi on 28th August. Following 10 days schedule was finalized to reach to kedarnath.
29th Aug Uttarkashi - Gangotri - Nala Camp
30th Aug Nala camp to Rudragaira Base Camp
31st Aug Rudragaira Base Camp to Moraine Camp
01st Sep Moraine Camp to Auden's Col Base Camp
02nd Sep Auden's Col Base Camp to Khatling Glacier Camp (Auden's Col Crossing)
03rd Sep Khatling Glacier to Khatling Zero Point
04th Sep Khatling Zero Point to Chowki
05th Sep Chowki to Masar Tal
06th Sep Masar tal to Vasuki Tal (Mayali Pass Crossing)
07th Sep Vasuki Tal to Kedarnath
I met Pramod, Raju bhai and Ravi in Rishikesh. We hired a taxi for uttarkashi and reached there before 4:00PM. Negi Ji and Sharam ji was also there in a hotel. They had arranged all the technical equipments & ration for the trek. Guide Ramesh was already selected and he took 4 nepali and 2 garhwali porters with him. They all were agreed for the suggested itinerary but not looking comfort as they wanted to stay in Gangotri on 29th. We planned to leave the Uttarkashi as soon as possible in the next morning and hired the taxies in night. But it was 08:00 AM when we left Lord Vishwanath temple.
we reached Gangotri by 12 noon, but we could leave Gangotri at 2:45 PM as the porters took lot of time to share and pack the load. The route goes via forest and is a good climb after 1 and ½ km. from Gangotri. After 1 and ½ hrs. trek we crossed the Rudragaira Gad and waited for porters as they were walking very slow. Now the weather became changed and rain was started, so we pitched our tents in Jungle camp site instead of Nala Camp. We camped near a stream but we couldn't drink water whole night as the clean water was not available in the camp site.
Next day we left the Jungle camp site by 9:00 AM after breakfast. We had to reach Rudragaira base camp. Our today's route was long with some screezones. We reached nala camp after 1 and ½ hrs trek. Nala camp site is good camp site. There was a 200 mts. steep climb from nala camp, than more then 1 hrs. trek till the stream. There was a steep climb of 500 mts. from here which took the max. time. Some of the team members were not satisfied by the porter’s performance, as some of them were walking very slow, while the team members wanted to pitch the tents by time. The weather was cloudy since morning and rain welcomed us when we reached at Rudragaira base camp site. Later we came to know that two porters were suffering from AMS so we gave them medicine.
Next morning was good & everybody was looking fine but the weather was not supportive and became cloudy. The defined path was getting ended in a glacial river. Ramesh gave us idea about the trail after river and we left the camp at 09:30 AM. The glacial river was at the 15-20 minutes distance from site. There was no trail after river and we had to do steep climb on a moraine.
We crossed another river after 30 minutes trek from here, in which the current was high then the previous river. After 2 hrs. trekking on Ridges, boulders and moraine, we reached in a top from where Suresh bahadur showed me the today’s camp site, which was looking beautiful. This camp site is known as Moraine camp site and rain again welcomed us when we reached at campsite. The weather was cloudy and most of the time the camp site was covered by fog. In evening we got the view of Jogin I with the moon. Our today's trek was not very long but it was full with horripilation which increased our energy.
Next day 1st September, the weather was completely bad. Probably our today’s trek was not long but everybody was ready for tough and glacial trekking. Ramesh informed us that we’ll reach in Auden'c col base camp site within 2-3 hrs. We left the camp at 10:00 AM. The trail was on boulders and moraines only. While leaving Gangotri, we came to know that one another group had left 1 day earlier for the same trek and now were seeing them to follow the Auden's col. After approx. 2 hrs. trekking we reached in a place just before a glacier, coming from Gangotri peak.
The place was used as a base camp by the first group. Suddenly the blizzard started and everybody started to cross the glacier after negj ji’s hint. We crossed the glacier in approx 30 minuets and pitched our tents on a moraine. That was our Auden’s col base camp site. The weather became very bad now the whole area was covered by fog. We did puja for better weather. The weather became clear in evening and we were enjoying amazing beauty of Auden's col glacier and Jogin Peak. We decided to leave the camp site early so we had dinner early and went inside sleeping bags. The night was too cold and the sound of avalanches was not allowing us to sleep.
Next morning suresh bahadur came with tea at 04:00 AM and we left the camp site at 06:30 AM. Weather was clear in Auden'c Col area but the clouds were coming from the downhills, so everybody wanted to reach at top as soon as possible. Everybody was hoping to complete the climb within 4 hrs. After one hrs. of moraine & glacial trekking negi ji asked everybody to ropeup. Because the route was steep and through crevasses. But the speed had become slow now due to high altitude, We had to stop for breathing after every 5-10 mtr. climb. We rested in three places for few minutes. It was 10:00 AM now and we were congratulating each other to reach on the top safely. Other team members were also there at the top, who had to do night stay at top due to bad weather. They were from Gujrat.
The whole area was looking awesome from the top and now I was standing before Rabbit's ear and the moment was unforgettable. We did puja at top and saw the 160-170 mts. descend slop. We had just 60 mtr. rope and the first group had also the same length rope. They had fixed their rope in starting, so our rope got fixed in later part of the descend. The rope was still 30-40 mtr. short to get down at ice field, and we had walk on steep ice slope without rope. We took 2-3 hrs. to got down as the members were more now.
Now we were walking in a glacier which was joining the khatling glacier. After 2-3 hrs. trek we camped in khatling glacier because the snow fall had started which continued till late night. I was suffering from the AMS problem from the Auden's col top and not feeling good. Most of the porters were also not feeling good and went inside sleeping bag early. Next morning I got up late, other members were also sleeping. The snow of Himalayan peaks was looking like milk poured by God. Today's awesome Himalayan beauty can't be explained in the words. We took dalia in breakfast which works as multi vitamin dose.
Our Today's aim was Khatling zero point but we were very late and started at 11:00 AM. The route was becoming tough now, as the crevasses of khatling glacier are wider and deep in this area. After 1 and ½ hrs. trek we reached in a water fall area, where we had to cross the rocky area using a rope. Here we again saw the first group who was crossing khatling from another side. We crossed the this area in 1 and ½ hrs. and did the camping before khatling zero point as the rain was started. Snowfall started in evening which continued till late night. We couldn't sleep whole night as our tent was fallen down three times due to heavy snow fall. Here I appreciate the Pramod's effort, he came out three times and again fixed the tent in snow fall, while I was lying inside the tent only. The rock falling in the nearby area was also horrifying us.
Next morning the immediate trail after the camp was a screezone, where the rock falling had started in night, but we were lucky that no land slide was happened when we crossed that area and now we were at Khatling zero point. Suddenly the heavy rock fall started and we had to escape to save our life. After ½ hrs. we were in a safe area. We crossed the Bhilangana River and camped in a beautiful camp site chowki after 2 hrs. terk, The camp site was approx. 2 km. from the Bhilangana river. The rain again started and continued till late night.
Next morning we again got up late due to rain. Our today's destination was Masar tal. The masar tal trek was very beautiful and the whole area was abounds by different Himalayan flowers. After 2-3 hrs. easy trail, suddenly the steep climb started and we were again walking on snow which was getting increased with the height. We camped just 50 mtr. down from masar tal. The camp site was beautiful but all the team members were surprised to see the heavy snow in this area. Because most of the team members had done the Ghuttu - kedarnath trek in same time in 2007 but the whole area was without snow at that time except Mayali pass. The weather became clear in evening and the night was full moonlight. The Himalayan peaks were looking awesome in the moonlight.
Next morning, we left the camp site at 07:00 AM. As per the plan we had to camped at Vasuki tal, but due to lack of kerosene we had decided to reach kedarnath on the same day, so we spend only few minutes at Masar Tal and reached masar top with in 1 hrs.
The trail was very tough and we were trekking on big boulders in 2-3 feet snow. Again the view was amazing from Masar Top and we stayed there for more then 30 min. The trail was again on big boulder and the snow was 2-3 feet, the Mayali Pass was looking like an ice field and a lake originating from Mayali Pass was frozen.We reached at Mayali top after 2 hrs. trek. We did there puja, but the weather was again bad so we left the top and now we were following a steep descend of boulders, which was covered by snow. The trail was very tough and the snow was not getting ended. After 2 hrs. trek we saw a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains, It was Vasuki tal. We left the Vasuki tal at 4:00 PM and reached at top before complete dark. Now we could see the kedarnath which was still 5 km. We reached kedarnath by 08:00 PM.
Our today's trek was very long and everybody was tired but everybody was happy to complete the trek safely. Next day we left the kedarnath after Puja at kedarnath temple and reached gurikund by 12 noon from where we hired a taxi for Srinagar.