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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.
The Chadar Trek, also known as the Zanskar Gorge Trek, is a winter trail over the frozen Zanskar River in the Indian union territory of Ladakh. It is one of the most challenging and beautiful treks in India, and it offers a unique opportunity to explore this remote region. The best time to do the Chadar Trek is from January to early-February when temperatures are at their coldest and the river is completely frozen.
The trek usually starts from Leh and takes around 8-10 days to complete. During this time, trekkers will experience some of the most stunning landscapes in India with dramatic mountains on either side of them. The route passes through many small villages along the way and offers spectacular views of snow-covered peaks, frozen waterfalls, and icy gorges.
At night, temperatures can drop below -25°C so it’s important that trekkers come prepared with appropriate clothing and equipment such as thermal wear, gloves, hats, boots, etc. It’s also important to be aware of altitude sickness which can occur due to the high altitudes reached during the trek.
The Chadar Trek is an amazing experience for those who are looking for an adventure off the beaten path. It’s not for everyone though; it requires physical fitness and mental strength as well as proper preparation before embarking on this journey. But if you’re up for a challenge then there’s no better time than January to early-February when you can witness nature in its most beautiful form – a frozen river!
The Chadar Trek is considered to be a moderately challenging trek even for experienced trekkers. The trek involves walking on a frozen river, and the conditions can be quite unpredictable due to changing weather conditions and the possibility of ice breaking.
The altitude and the extremely cold temperatures also make it a strenuous trek. Proper acclimatization, physical fitness, and mental preparation are essential before embarking on the Chadar Trek. However, with the right preparation and guidance, the trek can be an unforgettable experience for adventure enthusiasts.
The Chadar Trek is considered a challenging trek in India due to several factors:
Chadar trek involves walking on the frozen Zanskar River, which can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. While there are risks associated with any outdoor activity, experienced guides and proper safety measures can significantly reduce the danger.
It is important to note that the Chadar Trek is not recommended for beginners or those with limited experience in cold weather conditions and high-altitude trekking. The trek requires physical fitness, mental toughness, and proper gear to endure the harsh climate and terrain. It is highly recommended to go with a company and a guide who is knowledgeable about the area and the trek to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
The Chadar Trek is a challenging winter trek in the Zanskar region of Ladakh. Here are the requirements for participation:
Physical fitness: The trek involves walking on a frozen river, so you should be physically fit to undertake the journey. You should be able to walk long distances in sub-zero temperatures and navigate through challenging terrain.
Age requirement: Participants must be at least 14 years old, and those between 14-18 years must be accompanied by an adult.
Medical fitness: You should not have any medical conditions that may come in the way of completing the trek. Also, the region is prone to high-altitude sickness, so you should get a medical check-up before the trek.
Equipment: You will need proper trekking gear, such as sturdy trekking boots, a warm jacket, gloves, a cap, a backpack.
Experience: While prior trekking experience is not mandatory, it is recommended that you have some experience in high-altitude trekking to better understand the challenges of the terrain.
By meeting these requirements, you can participate in the Chadar Trek and experience the breathtaking beauty of the Zanskar region.
During the Chadar Trek, you will mostly be served hot and nutritious vegetarian meals, which will provide you with the required energy and warmth to complete the trek.
Breakfast usually consists of porridge, muesli, eggs, bread, jam, butter, and tea or coffee. Lunch will be packed, and it will consist of parathas, cheese, boiled eggs, cookies, chocolates, juice, etc.
Dinner includes soup, rice or noodles, lentils, vegetables, and chapatis. You will also have tea and snacks like biscuits, which will be served during the breaks.
As the trek is located in a remote area, the food options may be limited, but the meals are designed to provide you with the required energy and nutrition. If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, it is recommended that you inform us in advance so that they can make arrangements accordingly.
During the Chadar Trek, you will be staying in basic accommodations such as guesthouses or homestays in Leh. The guesthouses will have comfortable rooms with attached washrooms and may also have a common dining area.
While trekking, you will be staying in tents that are specially designed for sub-zero temperatures. The tents will have sleeping bags and foam mattresses to keep you warm and comfortable during the night. You will also have a separate kitchen tent and toilet tent.
It is important to note that the facilities may be basic, and you may not have access to showers or running water. Despite this, you will be provided with hot water for washing and a warm and comfortable environment to rest after a long day of trekking.
As the Chadar Trek is located in a remote area, medical facilities are limited. However, the Advenchar’s trek leaders carry a first aid kit, which includes basic medication for common ailments and injuries such as headaches, altitude sickness, and blisters.
In case of a medical emergency, they will provide assistance in getting you to the nearest medical facility. It is recommended to carry your own medication if you have any pre-existing medical conditions and inform us about your medical history.
Furthermore, it is recommended that you get a medical check-up before starting the trek and consult a doctor if you have any concerns about altitude or any pre-existing medical conditions. It is important to prioritize your health and safety during the trek, so it is essential to take necessary precautions and be prepared for any medical emergency that may arise.
The Chadar Trek takes place in subzero temperatures, so it is crucial to carry appropriate clothing and gear to keep yourself warm and safe. Here are some essential clothing items:
It is essential to carry suitable clothing and gear for the trek to keep yourself warm, comfortable, and safe, given the sub-zero temperatures and extreme weather conditions in the region.
Preparing for the Chadar Trek is essential, given the challenging terrain and sub-zero temperatures in the region. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the trek:
By following these tips, you can prepare yourself for the Chadar Trek and have a safe and memorable experience exploring the breathtaking beauty of the Zanskar region.
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 15 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 95% refund if you choose to cancel your booking before 30 days. The refund will primarily be in the form of a voucher valid for two years. You can also opt for a cash refund, provided the booking is not part of a promotional offer, coupon code, or discount provided by Advenchar.