I personally prefer auto due to comfort and requiring less attention and you can enjoy the views. I have taken my 05 civic auto to almost everywhere without any issue.
I believe driving skills are more important than which transmission you are using. On my recent trip to Khunjerab witnessed a Pajero and Prado struggling to climb on the way to eagles nest whenever they had to completely stop and move again and a brand new Vigo taking a U turn at Babusar Top was an embarassment in the name of 4x4, it turned off 5 to 6 times while taking u turn. So, in my opinion man behind the wheel is more important than the ride itself.