The most crucial consideration for Auden’s Col Trek is your experience and expertise in high-altitude mountain expeditions. To accomplish this level of difficulty, you should have enough understanding of such challenging expeditions.
Next in line comes your fitness level. The crossover trail through passes has a maximum altitude of 5490 meters, and the total distance is 95 kilometers. This difficult trek is also quite long, with a duration of 15 days. Every day, you need to cover at least 7 to 8 kilometers and gain a good amount of altitude - around 2500 meters within five days. To keep up with the terrain that is full of surprises at each step, you need to be immensely fit, both physically and mentally. Therefore, you should prepare ideally for this high-altitude expedition with a combination of distance and speed targets.
To increase your cardiovascular endurance for this trip, you should start with brisk jogging, skipping, running over undulating terrain, cycling, swimming, and gradually increase your stamina. Stair climbing for hours also helps build cardiovascular endurance, stamina, balance, and lower body strength. Try reaching a target of climbing three storeys with ten reps within 15 minutes by the 3rd week of the stair climbing regime. Before the start of the trek, you should be able to cover at least 10 kilometers within an hour or less on foot or cycle at the pace of 25 kilometers per hour. Strength training for your core and legs is critical since you will be doing all the hard work with backpacks. Thus, start with three sets of squats with eight squats per set and try reaching a target of 4 sets of squats with 20 squats per set within three weeks. Since it is crucial to arrive at the slopes with your muscles relaxed, you should work on your flexibility by stretching your shoulders, hamstrings, lower back muscles, quadriceps, hip flexors regularly.
But one of the essential criteria of training is the mental part, which most people miss out on. Since the Auden’s Col expedition is a high-altitude one with a tremendously challenging terrain full of hazards at each step, there could be unexpected problems springing up every now and then. Also, there is the possibility of AMS. Thus, your mental resolve should be rock-solid. One good way of keeping yourself motivated in the time of difficulty is thinking about the accomplishments that lie ahead. Regular meditation and restorative practices like yoga help with both physical and psychological conditioning.
Your gear guide and packing list are also essential for the Auden’s Col Trek. The bare necessities are a pair of high-quality and sturdy hiking boots with good grip as there will be a lot of loose soil, moraines, rocks, and boulders on your path. Good quality and robust walking sticks or poles and a 50-60 liter backpack with a strong frame, comfortable straps, and rain cover come next in the list of essential equipment.
You should have four layers of warm clothes consisting of thermal inner, full-sleeve, quick-dry t-shirts, two light fleece jackets, and one heavy, padded shell jacket. Carry extra pairs of quick-dry hiking pants and full-sleeve, quick-dry t-shirts for the trek. Since the climatic conditions in these high altitudes are prone to change drastically, carry a waterproof poncho. Your mandatory pieces of accessory should include sunglasses, suncap, synthetic, water-resistant fleece or woolen hand gloves, extra pairs of socks, balaclava, headlamps, torches, etc., apart from the trekking poles and backpacks.
Carry water bottles to avoid littering the Himalayas with disposable plastic. You can refill these at suitable places. Women should bring back the sanitary wastes like sanitary napkins in ziplock pouches to the plains or use menstrual cups instead. Amongst the other essential toiletries, you should carry lip balm, sunscreen, moisturizers, hand sanitizers, extra toilet papers and wet wipes, light and quick-dry towels, toothpaste and toothbrush, etc. Carry a personal medical kit as well as a first-aid box.
The best time to visit Auden’s Col is during the pre-monsoon/summers between May and June and post-monsoon/autumn between September and October. The latter has more reliable weather conditions and clear skies for good views. One of the most critical trip considerations is the Auden’s Col Trek cost. It is a very expensive trek, even if you travel with the most cost-effective tour operator or travel agency. Thus, you need to plan your finances in advance if you want to embark on Auden’s Col Trek.