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Chadar trek was one of the best treks for me which happened after 2 year of planning. It was quite a beautiful trek like they have mentioned. I had so...
I along with my cousin brother went on the Chadar trek during January 2017. We were on internet best Chadar trek package we landed on Liveladakh and af...
Trip Starting From: Leh
Available Group Departure for 2020:
Chadar Trek to the frozen river in Zanskar Valley is an extremely challenging due to the climatic conditions yet glamorous trek because of the seamless glacial beauty covering the whole region. It has been widely acknowledged and many travel magazines and platforms have described the challenges and the worth of Chadar Trek in many ways. Those who have experienced Chadar glaciers would return with a halo of achievement as it is one of the greatest treks in India.
This trek is going to be a visit to a completely frozen river in Ladakh. Often the trekking trails will be hindered due to the ice but there will always be another way to forge alternate trails through snow covered regions letting each trekker reach the river. The ice sheets are stable at the riverside and thus the trekking would be manageable. The dropping temperature, the spine-chilling ambience, the beautiful white crystalline-kind river, marvelous campsite, caves, sledges and many other features near Chadar are the contributing factor for its acceptance.
It would be rather an honour to do this unique trek especially from January till March when the ice cover would the most stable and offering you the best moments closer to nature. The walls near Chadar are almost vertical with a height up to 600 meters and the overall distance a trekker would cover will approximately 205 kilometers with 16 kilometers per day on an average.
Do's and Dont's on Chadar trek
Do’s of Chadar Trek
- Needless to say that one should inform one’s family before coming for this trek, so in case of any emergency, they can come for help.
- The temperature extensively drops down in the region. Therefore, it is advisable to keep warm clothes and shoes at hand. The shoes should also be waterproof.
- As there won’t be any pharmacies on our trek, please do carry required medications and a first aid kit, in case of any bruises or cuts.
- The area of this trek has hardly any shop to stop for food or drinks, hence it is advisable to carry water and energy giving food like energy bars and other eateries to be had at regular intervals. We also travel with plenty of water.
Dont’s of Chadar Trek
- It is the responsibility of every trekker to maintain the serenity of the surroundings. Thus, one should not litter anywhere and spoil the magnificence.
- The wonderful waterfalls should not be contaminated by the use of shampoos and soaps. Thus one should avoid using them. The local habitat tribes use this water for drinking purpose so one should keep it as clean as one expects its drinking water to be.
- When meeting monks or other locals on the way, pinpointing is not advisable as they make take offense.
- Respect the serenity of the shrines and thus one should never disturb the monks or prayers in the monasteries on the route.
- Trekking in the Frozen River is certainly a difficult task and thus, one should not try to be over-smart. Following the tips and guidelines is a must to carry out this trek safely.
Land at the airport of this beautiful paradise called Ladakh.
You will be taken for your check-in at a guesthouse. Explore for the day around the region.
Your overnight stay will be at the guesthouse itself.
It is of utmost importance that you get used to the sub-zero temperatures before starting the extreme Chadar Trek. According to the new regulations applied by the Ladakh Government Authorities, anyone who is going to do the Chadar Trek should spend at least 2 days in Leh to get your body fully acclimatized to the weather conditions here.
Nex day, wake up early to climb up the famous Shanti Stupa and enjoy basking in the winter morning sun from the top of the stupa.
After that, you will be driven to Nimu, a tiny hamlet approx 45 Km from Leh, which will be the starting point of your trek.
You will trek for approx. 1-2 hours until you reach Tilat Sumdo and then some more till you reach your campsite.
You will be staying overnight at the camp.
The Government guidelines in Ladakh state that every trekker needs to go through a medical check-up at the Sonam Norbhu Memorial Hospital.
Only after you get cleared by the officer will you be allowed to get a green signal for Chadar. The trekkers will also be issued their wildlife permits, insurance, and other important documents.
Before the morning of the 4th day, if you feel that you want to opt-out, or have been deemed unfit by the government bodies, you can take a physical wild card and opt for a 'Flavor of Winter Ladakh' Tour, without any extra cost.
After a sumptuous breakfast, you will be driven to Chilling. This drive will take you through some of the most serene landscapes in Ladakh. You will be able to see Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Magnetic Hill, and the confluence of Zanskar and Indus rivers. It will take approx 90-minutes to reach Chiling from where you can start to walk on the thick ice sheet of Zanskar river.
As you get the hang of trekking in the low temperatures, re-energize yourself with lunch en route and then reach Gyalpo via Shingra Koma.
You can judge the thickness of the ice below with your stick while you trek. Remember to carry a light backpack so that you can manage to trek while carrying your luggage.
Trek further via Shingra Koma and you will be reaching Gyalpo.
Enjoy your dinner here after an exhilarating trek.
Overnight stay at Gyalpo.
Start your morning with a hearty breakfast and get ready for the scenic trek.
Start your trek all the way through Zanskar for approx 12 Km till you reach Tibb. the trek will take approx. 5-6 hours to reach.
You will stop midway for lunch.
Witness the beautiful Zanskar river flowing along with you as you trek your way up. This trek will offer you with tremendously beautiful snow-capped mountains and frozen waterfalls. You will also come across some of the most unique rock patterns reflecting the golden sunshine through them.
After you reach Tibb, enjoy a much-needed dinner after trekking for the day.
You will be sleeping in tents near the Tibb cave for the night.
You will be continuing your trek after breakfast which will take approx 6 to 7 hours.
Marvel at the charm of the frozen waterfall in the middle of the valley on your way. This frozen waterfall attracts trekkers and adventurers from across the globe.
By evening, you will reach Nerak Village.
After the day full of white and brown around you, it’s time to pitch your tents and have dinner. Make note that Naerak will be the most chill among all the campsites. Sometimes the temperature goes down to -30 degrees at night.
So cover your self well and sleep with for the night in Nyerak village itself.
Today after breakfast, you will be starting your journey back towards Tibb from Nyerak.
But also make note that the return trek is not at all the easy part of the whole journey. As the climate and temperature changes, the valley reshapes itself making it impossible to even remember if this was the same route.
Here, you will also be seeing a lot of locals, children in school uniforms and Buddhist monks. The idea that these people have adapted themselves to such sub-zero temperatures is mind-boggling!
By evening, you will be reaching the famous Tibb cave beside which you will be having a warm dinner.
Your overnight stay will be spent in tents.
Commence your 18 km trek from Tibb towards Gyalpo and then Shingra Koma after breakfast.
After you finish your trek and reach the campsite, the tents will be pitched for sleeping.
This will be the end of your trek. On the way back, you will meet other trekkers who are about to start their journey and will definitely ask about your experience.
A drive back to Leh by evening and you are checked-in to a warm guest house for the night. We recommend that you book the flight tickets for the 9th day instead of the 8th day.
Overnight stay in the guesthouse.
After the last breakfast with your co-trekkers, bid adieu to the magnificent trip you’ve had with them.
A transfer to the airport later, your thrilling experience ends.
Write Your Story
Rated : 5.0
Chadar trek was one of the best treks for me which happened after 2 year of planning. It was quite a beautiful trek like they have mentioned. I had so much of fun and adventure during the trek. I also made some new friends during this trek. After going to this trek there are few points that I would love to share with you guys. Few Tips before Heading out for Chadar Trek: • Always dress in layers and wear thermals while you are heading out on this trek. • Gumboots are a must for this trek, these shoes have a firm grip on the snow which make your trek easier. Other trekking shoes won’t be helpful for you here. These shoes are available in Leh markets. • Carry a torch or preferably a headlamp which will be very helpful during your trek. • Also carry waterproof jackets and layer it with a wind cheater, this will be very helpful. • Make sure you carry some chocolates, protein bars and dry fruits during your trek as you will feel hungry most of the time.
Rated : 5.0
I along with my cousin brother went on the Chadar trek during January 2017. We were on internet best Chadar trek package we landed on Liveladakh and after comparing price and services we booked it. We took our Air India flight from Delhi to Leh and we reached Leh airport n around 1 hour. There were 13 more people with us in our group. The day was bright and beautiful as so we decided to explore few of the nearby places in Leh. We visited the famous Shanti Stupa and watch the beautiful sunrise. We then trekked to Tilat Sumdo which was an easy trek. But the best part came when we were trekking through the frozen Zanskar river. The whole place was surrounded by snow capped high peaks which looked immensely beautiful. We had to be very careful while walking on the ice. I would also like to advise here that if you are going on a Chadar trek, do buy gumboots instead of normal trekking shoes. You can get this in Leh markets as well. We passed through many frozen waterfall on our way. Camping on the Tibb cave was totally a different experience as I never camped in caves. The camps were very spacious and clean. The food given in the trek was sufficient for everyone and good in quality. But do carry some chocolates, protein bars and dry fruits for having during trek. I would like to thank our guide and support staff who were always there whenever we required anything. Special mention to our porter Mr. Stanzin he was so energetic and always make us laugh through the trek.
Rated : 4.0
It feels great when you actually see yourself doing the trek you have always wanted to. Its beauty in incomparable to any place on earth. It was so beautiful. The trek was not that easy but the moment you witness the beauty around you will fall in love in this place. Also, I would advise you guys to be very careful while you walk on the ice as it could be real slippery at times. Good service by the trek operator, everything was on time. The only thing I didn’t like is the food; it could be a little better.
How long do we walk on the frozen river each day?
The 75 km long Chadar Trek is famous as it takes participants across snow clad mountains and a frozen river. As the trek has to be completed within 8 days trekkers have to walk around 8 – 10 km on a daily basis and on some days it is on ice sheet on the river and then on snow embankments if the ice sheet on the river is broken.
What is the level of fitness expected from the participants?
Optimum level of fitness is required from the participants as the trek is across difficult terrain and a frozen river at an altitude of 11400 feet. The trek is graded as tough so every trekker should take a complete fitness check from his/her personal physician to ensure that they are physically capable of taking up the trek that can take a toll on their endurance levels.
Can trek leader / operator change the itinerary?
Usually team leader will stick to the pre-arranged plan on the tried and tested trails of the Chader Trek but there is always an alternative plan that can be adopted depending on unpredictable weather of the region. But whatever may be the circumstances, team leader will adhere to conclusion date of the trek as the trek is being conducted on a remote region and change or delay can have an adverse effect on the health of participants.
Do you think I should bring some medicines along with me while on the trek?
It is always best to take personal medication for cold, fever, indigestion, dehydration, painkillers along with first aid materials like band-aid strips, blister strips, crepe bandages, antiseptic cream etc., in a basic first aid kit on the trek.
What about medical facilities and doctor while on trek?
As all trek leaders are certified in providing first aid and guides accompanying them are experienced in managing symptoms of high-altitude sickness, participants need not worry about medical issues. All tour groups on this trail carry oxygen cylinders, first aid kits, stretchers and necessary medicines to treat symptoms of AMS along with extra manpower to bring back sick participants in case of an emergency to the nearest base camp that have doctors to handle the issue.
What type of ground transportation is used from Leh to Chilling?
Four-wheel drive vehicles like Tata Sumo, Tempo Traveller and mini bus is used for transporting trekking participants on the 65 km long route between Leh and Chilling.
Will we get safe drinking water on Chadar trek?
Yes, boiled water is provided during the trek at every base camp wherever trekkers stop for the night and all participants are expected to carry water bottles of minimum 2 liters on them during the trek. Water purification tablets are also provided by group leader that can be used on water filled in from streams along the trek.
What type of food is served during the trek?
Vegetarian food that is freshly cooked at every stop is offered to participants throughout the trek which is light on the stomach and easily digestible. Besides regular meals trekkers are also encouraged to carry their personal supply of light snacks like dry fruits and biscuits along the tour.
How many trekkers will be sleeping in one tent?
Though the tents can accommodate four people in each one, usually a maximum of three members are allowed per tent to ensure that everyone is warm and comfortable.
What are the sanitary facilities?
Basic sanitation facilities are available at the campsite as temporary toilet tents are pitched at the campsite. Every traveller is expected to bring his/her personal toilet kit with all required essentials and a list is sent out to everyone before commencing on the trip.
Do you provide any equipment on rent?
No, the trek organizers generally do not provide any equipment like shoes, walking sticks or helmet with torches etc., to the participants. However, if the trekkers feel that they are missing out few essentials required for the journey at Leh itself then they will be directed to the appropriate stores to make the purchases and equip themselves adequately.
I am the only girl in trek, is it safe?
Yes the trek is safe for a single girl even if all other members of the group are males as safety of all participants is a priority for the group leader and there are segregated tents and rooms for men and women. All participants are expected to take care of their personal belongings.
Who will lead the trek and who all will be present in the team to go along with us?
All Chader Trek trails are led by professional mountaineers that have completed both their Basic and Advanced level in mountaineering and are also certified in providing first aid for mountain sickness to participants. The trek leader will be assisted by a local guide and other team members like kitchen staff, helpers and porters that carry luggage. Trained support staff is available at base stations to provide relief and immediate support in case of medical emergencies.
How many trekkers are there in one group?
Minimum number of trekkers in the Chader Trek group should be 10 that can include both men and women though the maximum number can go to 18 to 20 members.
Are airport transfers provided? What is the charge for airport transfers?
No, airport transfers are not provided by the trekking operator so participants have to make their own arrangements for transportation from airport to the designated hotel in Leh. If your fellow travellers are arriving at the same time then you can collaborate with them to take a cab together. The standard rate from airport to the hotel is around INR 400-500.
Which type of shoes should I buy?
Since the trekking region is across frozen river with likelihood of slippery ice in some places, it is best to choose good quality high ankle waterproof shoes that are specifically meant for trekking. High altitude trekking shoes with strong grip and good ankle support from brands like Lafuma, Quechua, or Conquest would be ideal. You can also carry a pair of casual shoes or flip-flops to walk inside the tent at night.
What are the clothing and equipment that needs to be purchased from our end?
Besides comfortable trekking shoes and adequate pairs of woolen socks, trekkers would be required to carry two pairs of sweaters and several pairs of track pants and full sleeved shirts with high collars. Essential clothing include windproof jacket, raincoat, sunhat, helmet with headlamp and tinted sunglasses along with woolen gloves and synthetic gloves. Personal toiletries and medication along with several waterproof covers and plastic bags are essential to carry back non-biodegradable waste down from the mountain to the plains.
What things and equipment do we need to carry?
If you do not want to buy the winter clothing from home then purchases can be made even at Leh but it could turn out to be expensive. During the trek participants are required to carry only the bare essentials with them like 2 liters of water, personal medical kit, a pair of dry clothing, socks, innerwear and gloves along with toilet kit and any other things that they may consider important. Usually hiking poles are the only equipment trekkers carry along with their day backpack.
Do we need gumboots on Chadar trek? Can we purchase it from Leh?
Yes, as in some places the thin sheets keep shifting due to sun rays and change in temperature levels and participants may have to wade through ankle length freezing water so gum boots are an essential part of travel kit on Chader Trek. If good quality gum boots are not available near your house then they can be purchased at Leh too as branded ones are available made of soft rubber.
What are the equipment provided from the company?
As the trekking organizing team is responsible for the safety and well-being of the participants it provides everything necessary for an enjoyable and accident free journey to the destination and back. These include essentials like Adequate number of tents for participants, Kitchen tent and Dome Tent and cooking utensils. Well lined sleeping bags for resisting temperatures up-to -30 degrees for all participants, Spikes, axes and Crampons
Do we need a walking stick on Chadar trek?
Purchasing a trekking pole or walking stick for the trek is an individual participant’s choice. It is advisable as it makes the walk more comfortable during ascending and descending as it reduces pressure on the knees and also improves your grip on slippery surfaces.
Can we hire a porter to carry our personal luggage? What will be the cost?
Participants that feel they cannot carry their personal luggage during the trek and need the assistance of a porter have to hire them for the entire duration of the journey for 7 days. A porter cannot carry more than 15 kg so keep only essentials in the backpack that can be carried easily. All porters have to be pre-booked so participants have to inform the trek organizers at least 20 days in advance if they wish to hire their services. A local porter for the entire 7 day trip could cost you around INR 5800- 6000 in all.
How much money we need to carry along with us to Leh?
As the trek is across desolate uninhabited land with little opportunity to purchase memorable items, organizers usually ask participants to carry just a few thousands in Indian currency on the trip. The payment made while booking the trek takes care of food, transport and accommodation from Leh onwards after signing it at the designated hotel. Unless you have planned to buy all the necessary warm clothing and trekking equipment locally at Leh market or hire a porter for the trek there is no need to carry extra cash on the trip.
Can we have liquor or smoke while on the trek?
Consumption of alcohol and smoking is strictly prohibited during the trek as thin oxygen levels and cold weather conditions make the acclimatization process tough for participants. In the past people that deliberately consumed alcohol and smoked to keep themselves warm had to leave the trek mid-way due to symptoms of nausea and acute mountain sickness. Some of them had to be even transported to locations below Leh and were hospitalized to stabilize.
Will we stay in the caves?
There is limited number of caves on this stretch and several number of trekker groups on the trail during the Chader Trek season. Organizers however will try their best to ensure that participants spend at least some time exploring the enchanting caves.
Will bonfire be possible?
The terrain on this trail has only rock strewn paths and open landscape with minimal winter vegetation so bonfire is impossible. The best way to keep warm under the circumstances is to wear as many layers of warm clothing as possible.
Is diamox advisable?
Any kind of strong medication should not be taken without a doctor’s advice so it is best to check with your physician while undertaking the fitness test before commencing on the trek about consuming Diamox. During the trek Diamox is not given to any trekker unless he or she is suffering from acute altitude sickness issues.
What is the temperature in the day time and night time?
Temperature during the day time on the Chader Trek is around 10 degrees while night time it can fall to - 20 degrees or lower. During the day if the weather is sunny then temperature may rise by a few degrees but at nights the region is extremely cold and near Nerak it can fall down to -30 degrees.
What is your evacuation plan in case a contingency happens?
During unforeseen contingencies like illness or injury of participant/s wherein the person is unable to continue the trek, a backup support team arrives to take the sick trekker back to base camp at Leh. If there is dangerous calamity like a landslide or earthquake in the region then the entire team will be assisted by rapid action team from the base camp to evacuate the area and abandon the trek.
What if we fall in the river with the freezing water?
Though falling in the river is an extremely unlikely situation given the circumstances with experienced trek leaders and guides that know the terrain and landscape very well, every team is prepared for contingencies like these. If such an incident occurs then the leader swings into action immediately by first taking the participant out of the icy water and then changing him/her into dry and warm clothing as early as possible. The person may be sent back to the base camp with the help of a rescue team if their general health shows signs of decline after the accident or will be put in a warm tent inside a sleeping bag with extra body warmers until doctor arrives.
Who will pay for the rescue if any trekker gets unwell and needs to be taken back to the camp? What are the other costs involved the trekker will have to bear?
It is the duty of the trek organizing team to ensure the well being of very participant and in case of accident and illness their first priority is get the person to nearest medical personnel and provide all assistance to recover as early as possible. But if the trekker’s condition gets serious and he has to be airlifted out of Leh to another location then the cost of necessary arrangements and medical assistance has to be borne by the trekker.
What if Chadar trek is cancelled this year again?
Though Chader Trek is rarely cancelled unless there is a large natural calamity that can endanger lives of trekkers like last year, there may be chances of cancellation after bookings are made due to inclement weather conditions. Under these circumstances the organizers will arrange for other treks in the region with equally breathtakingly beautiful locations like a trek on Indus River which is also frozen during this period to ensure that money and time of participants is not wasted after arriving at Leh.
What all include in the camping and permit charges which are mentioned in the inclusions?
In the trek package charges all the statutory costs related to government permits for trekking, camping and using base camp facilities are included. However if there are some extra charges included by local organizations and facility providers in Leh are suddenly imposed then trekkers may have to pay for it.
What are some highlights of the Chadar trek?
Chadar Trek is considered one of the most glamorous treks of India as some parts are on a frozen river with shifting ice blocks visible underneath it. The mesmerizing pictures of stark landscape and frozen river on several online and offline magazines encourage trekkers to take up this trek as a challenge despite the high altitude and freezing temperature. Besides the excitement of walking on ice sheets above a frozen river that may crack or break anytime plunging the trekker into freezing water and sleeping in natural caves, trekkers can look forward to twin waterfalls at Tibb one of which is frozen like a giant icicle while the other one just a few kilometers away never gets frozen.
How is Ladakh as a destination? Which places can we see in winter?
Ladakh is one of the best places to visit if you want to experience snowfall and beautiful vistas of high altitude snow clad mountain peaks. You may be able to visit famous Buddhist shrines and monasteries besides temples in Ladakh that are accessible by road like Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Tsemo Fort, Basgo Fort, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and Spituk. But as most of the scenic vantage peaks and roads leading to monasteries and temples are covered by snow it is difficult to visit the best locations of Ladakh in winter.
Can Chadar be my first trek?
If your doctor considers you physically fit to do the trek then most probably Chadar can be your first trek but as it is categorized as difficult you may have to take a chance. The trek is at an altitude of 11400 feet so every trekker needs strong endurance to stay on without suffering from altitude sickness.
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