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The Chadar Trek is a one-of-a-kind trek. You get to walk on the frozen Zanskar river! What more could you ask for? It is one of the must-have adventures in the Indian Himalayas.
The word Chadar comes from the Arabic word chadar, which means “white bedsheet”, and if you look at the pictures, the scenery is exactly that! A white bedsheet of pure unadulterated snow!
Chadar Trek trek can only be done in the peak winters (January & February) when the river freezes and the temperature is sub-zero to maintain the Chadar. In the past few years, Chadar Trek has gained a lot of popularity among Trekkers all over the world.
It is a long trek but an easy one in comparison to other treks in Ladakh like Markha Valley Trek. There is neither significant ascent nor descent in the Chadar Trek. However, the main challenge is the cold. The temperatures in Chadar Trek can go as low as – 25 C if the weather turns against us.
Your adventure begins the moment you board the flight to Leh. If you’re lucky enough to find a window seat, you are sure to be mesmerized. You can see the views of snow-capped mountains from thousands of feet up in the air. In winters, Ladakh is a completely snow-covered haven.
You’ll be flying over long stretches of snow-covered Himalayan mountains, and you’ll find out why driving to Ladakh in the winter is impossible. When you arrive in Leh, you will be greeted by cold, crisp air, and the temperatures will drastically change. The chill in the air will only be a taste of what to expect on the Chadar trek. With only a few shops open, Leh is a quiet place in winter.
You will be transferred to the designated hotel once you arrive in Leh. The first day will be spent getting acclimatized to the high altitude so spend your day outdoors but don’t exhaust yourself. Drink plenty of water to naturally acclimatize your body. This is critical in the days ahead.
Keeping in mind that some trekkers may feel the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), Ladakh Government has implemented new regulations that require all the trekkers going on the Chadar trek to spend at least two days in Leh to fully acclimatize to the sub-zero temperature as well as the high altitude.
It is mandatory for every trekker to adhere to these guidelines. It will be easier and more comfortable for you to stay in your warm hotel room but it is very important that you go out and explore. Your trek leader will be taking you for an acclimatization walk today and will brief you about the details, do’s and don’ts of the trek. The Leh market is also a great place to spend the day shopping and remain active. You can do last minute shopping for your trek.
It is critical that you become familiar with the cold in Leh, as the temperature will only continue to drop as you begin walking along the frozen Zanskar River, where temperatures can drop below zero even during the day.
According to government guidelines in Leh-Ladakh, all the trekkers must undergo a medical examination after which they will be issued a fitness certificate. You’ll be taken to a local hospital in Leh for a health examination.
You will be given a green signal for the Chadar Trek only after you have been cleared by the medical officer. The trekkers will also receive their wildlife permits, insurance, and other necessary documents today.
Distance: 70 km (Drive to Shingra Koma) & 3 Km Trek
Time Taken: 4 Hours (Drive) & 2 Hours Trek
Altitude: 3,170 m (10,400 ft)
We’ll be starting the trek today. On this day, we will be travelling to the road head of the Chadar Trek, i.e Shingra Koma. The road to Shingra Koma goes through some of the famous sightseeing places around Leh like Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill, and the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers (Sangam)
As you reach the road head, your trek leader will brief you about the proper way to way on the Chadar. It will take some time to get used to walking the Penguin Walk with your gumboots on. You’re sure to fall a couple of times but that’s where all the adventure is. Make sure to follow the sledge path to avoid stepping on thin portions of the Chadar. You will be mesmerized by the different ice and rock formations throughout your trek.
The first campsite of the trek is Tsomo Paldar where you’ll be camping in sub-zero temperatures. This is an experience of a lifetime.
Distance: 15 Km
Time Taken: 7 hours
Altitude: 3,291 m (10,800 ft)
We’ll be starting the morning with warm bed tea, and finding the strength to get out of the warm sleeping bags and into the biting cold of the early morning. We will have a warm breakfast and prepare ourselves for the trek.
Chadar Trek is a flat trek, which means that we will not be gaining or losing significant altitude. After 5-6 hours of walk, we’ll only be gaining 300 ft in altitude.
In some places on the Chadar, you can even see the river running underneath the sheet of ice.
On the way to Tibb cave, we’ll come across several waterfalls that stand frozen in time, they’re sure to leave you astounded! There are several stories about the mysterious origins of these waterfalls. Make a note to ask your guide about it.
The campsite for the day will be near Tibb cave. The area is surrounded by dry sand.
Distance: 13 Km
Time Taken: 7 hours
Altitude: 3,398 m (11,150 ft)
Today is the most awaited day of the trek! We’ll be trekking to the magnificent Nerak waterfall. The Nerak waterfall remains frozen in the peak months of winters. After breakfast, we’ll cross the beautiful gorge and make our way to Nerak village. This trail will take you to the frozen waterfall, which is the most scenic and most awaited feature of the Chadar trek. The Nerak village also serves as a rest stop for rafting trips that take place between August and September.
The Nerak waterfall is a 25-minute walk from the campsite. Next to the Nerak waterfall is a bridge that connects to the Nerak village. If we reach the waterfall on time, we can go ahead and visit the Nerak village. Recently, the road has reached the Nerak village.
Trekkers and adventurers from all over the world visit this frozen waterfall, which is a natural wonder. With temperatures dropping to -30 degrees at night, Nerak will be the coldest of all campsites.
Take your time to explore and photograph this once in a lifetime experience. After that, head back to the campsite for a hot dinner.
Distance: 13 Km
Time Taken: 7 hours
Altitude: 3,291 m (10,800 ft)
Once we reach Nerak waterfall, we’ve only come halfway on the trek. Now, we’ll be retracing our steps back to the road head.
The weather on the Chadar Trek can be very fickle, and the Zanskar river is quick to react. The Chadar can be there one day and disappear the next. At times, the route that we followed on the way to Nerak can completely change. You will get a completely new perspective of the trek when you’re coming back.
You will see a lot of locals negotiating the Chadar on your way back to Tibb cave. Try to imitate them and their jolly nature while walking on the Chadar the best you can.
We will be camping at Tibb campsite.
Distance: 17 Km (Trek) & 70 Km (Drive to Leh)
Time Taken: 7 hours (Trek) & 3 Hours (Drive)
Altitude: 3,500 m (11,482 ft)
Today is the last day that you’ll be trekking on Chadar. We’ll be starting our trek from Tibb and trek to Shingra Koma. By now, you’ll have gotten used to walking the Penguin Walk and negotiate the Chadar quicker. We will pass the previous campsite of Tsomo Paldar and Gyalpo on the way back. Keep your eyes hooked and keep looking out and see if you can find any fresh footprints left by Foxes, Ibex or Snow leopards along the Chadar trail.
This is your final chance to see and observe the gorgeous Chadar. Take a look back, and breathe in all the unrealistic days on Chadar Trek that you just experienced. Bid adieu to the staff who helped you wholeheartedly.
You can expect to arrive in Leh by evening. Stay at a guest house/hotel.
You’ll be saying goodbye to us today and making your way back to the comfort of your home. You’ll once again be flying over the magnificent Himalayas!
If you wish to continue your travels and explore Ladakh in winter, you can ask for suggestions and discuss your plans with anyone from our team.
You can only do the Chadar Trek in peak winter months i.e. January and February. The ice sheet on the Zanskar river forms in only these two months.
Chadar Trek is a walk on the frozen Zanskar river. Zanskar river is in Ladakh. The road head of the Zanskar river is Shingra Koma which is located 70 km from Leh.
The main challenge in Chadar Trek is the cold because the temperatures can go as low as -30 C. So, you have to be more mentally prepared. Of course, you’ll need a basic fitness level to complete the trek.
All participants are expected to be confident that they are physically and mentally fit and able to complete the itinerary of their chosen event as defined in the itinerary.
Any minors between 10 and 17 years of age must accompany their parent or guardian who assumes full responsibility for them to participate in the adventure activity or event. Any unaccompanied, underage minor will not be allowed to participate in the adventure activity.
You must be at least 18 years old to make a booking with us. After the booking, our team will send you a confirmation of the booking.
We understand that you may have to change your travel plans due to the Covid-19 situation, so considering this we have introduced a Book Now, Pay Later facility for all the participants. However, you will be required to pay the full amount at least 30 days prior to the departure date.
If you wish to cancel/modify your existing booking, you can do so by logging in to www.advenchar.com, and pay through the dashboard or you can drop us a mail at email@example.com with all the details of your booking, and we’ll cancel it for you.
You can claim a 100% refund if you choose to cancel your booking before 15 days. The refund will primarily be in the form of a voucher valid for 12 months. You can also opt for a cash refund provided the booking is not part of a promotional offer or a coupon code provided by Advenchar.