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Chadar – Well known as India’s wildest treks and for the very right reasons it is !
The perfect medley of uniqueness, adventure and thrill can be felt as soon as you step foot on the frozen waters of holy Zanskar river and pave a long path of around 60 kms on the same icy formation. In sub zero temperatures of extreme winters of Ladakh, traversing through those never seen before valleys with mighty mountains, by the gushing blue streams, gigantic frozen waterfalls, caves, a road of ice that is a mirror for sky makes it an exhilarating experience for lifetime.
Gather at Leh
Since Chadar trek occurs in extreme winters of Ladakh which is also a high altitude region, it is mandatory for all participants to must go through a mandatory three days acclimatization process so that their body is well adapted to the cold and sudden elevation gain. On third day, participants need to appear for a medical check up at government tourist centre for basic oxygen and blood pressure check up, when cleared this medical round you will get your permit to take part in Chadar trek.
While you fly, soak in the views of miles and miles of heavily snow covered mountains, which is also the reason why it is impossible to reach Leh-Ladakh by road in winters. Keep your woolen cap and gloves handy before you land at Leh airport which is one of the highest airports in the world. Feel the fresh, crisp & thin air, alongside a drastic drop in temperature. Today you rest and acclimatize with this new altitude and temperature. Stay in Guest House.
This day is reserved for acclimatization. Get up early in morning and let your body adapt with altitude and extreme winters by going out. Take a walk and enjoy the vibe around Leh city and visit places like Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Leh market. Acclimatizing yourself nicely will also help in clearing medical checkup happening next day.
This day is reserved for preliminary medical check ups. Oxygen levels and blood pressure are measured and recorded. The trek is challenging in nature, hence it is mandatory for all participants to attain this medical certification for Chadar. Various permits can also be obtained once medical round is completed.
Drive from Leh to Shingra Koma (70kms, 3-4 hrs) and then
Trek to Tsomo Paldar (3km, 2 hrs)
After breakfast, take a scenic drive through popular spots like Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill, Indus-Zanskar Confluence. Once you run alongside zanskar river, scenes get even prettier. At Shingra korma you deboard the vehicle and trek towards Tsomo Paldar campsite.
Gumboots are mandatory to walk on Chadar trails. While you learn to walk on frozen river on day 1, there may be some slips and falls. It is advisable to carry small rucksack to protect your back for the same. Also carry Two thermal flask to store warm drinking water, otherwise water may freeze in your regular bottles. Night stay at camp.
A long day trek of around 15kms is to be covered today. You will be walking in huge valley surrounded with giant rocky mountains and caves while colorful & vibrant Zanskar river flows by your side. Nature here is miraculous with so many striking elements, one of them are those small frozen waterfalls whose sources are known to none. Reach your campsite by early evening.
Today’s trail offers the most iconic experience including the views of the surreal Nerak frozen waterfall. This 56 ft high waterfall attracts visitors from across the world. The icy blue tone may even hint to flowing water behind those frozen verticals. Surrounded by surreal landscapes, this whole region is nothing short of a nature’s masterpiece. Spend some time here at waterfall and head towards the gorgeous Nerak village to camp there. Today’s campsite may also be the coldest of all.
Today you start your return trek and retrace your steps back to Tibb. The trail may not be the same as before. The frozen river of Zanskar quickly reacts to any change in the temperature and might have taken an entirely new form. You may also observe glass like surface patches or slush depending on the weather conditions. This will also be the last camping night.
Trek from Tibb to Shingra Koma – 13kms, 5-6 hrs ; 3300 – 3200 m / 10,800 – 10,400 ft
and then Drive to Leh – 70 kms, 3-4 hrs
We would start early and take one final long walk on the icy Chadar. Soak in the last glance of the majestic views, blessings of holy Zanskar river and the last ounce of happiness from this trail. Reach Shingra Koma by day and drive to Leh to reach by evening. Stay at Guest house in Leh.
This trek leaves you with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment – one of having undertaken and endured an extraordinary and challenging trek. The Chadar trek will be a cherished memory for life.
Participants with good trekking experience of winter treks with elevation of atleast 4000m alongside physical fitness and stamina and no ongoing medical condition. They must be of age 18-50 years.
From first week of January to the Second Week of February, depending upon ice sheet formations.
Your oxygen level and blood pressure are checked and recorded. This mandatory process happens at Tourist Centre in Leh, you may have to wait in long que due to tourist influx.
The temperatures on Chadar trek are extreme. During nights they drop as low as -30 degree Celcius. There will always be snow as you walk on frozen river during the trek.
You can get your permits right after clearing medical check up at Tourist Centre in Leh. You may pay for your permits on spot directly at the government counter. The estimate cost of these mandatory requirements: Medical check up, Environment fee, Wildlife Permit, ALTOA NOC certificate, Insurance etc can be around 5500/ – INR (the fee may get revised by government).
Only post-paid connections work at Leh. Once you start trekking, network connections will fluctuate and eventually disappear. ATMs are easily available in Leh town.
Most important and mandatory. You must arrive in Leh 3 days before you appear for medical check up. You should take walks around Leh for your body to adapt well to the extreme cold and sudden gain in altitude. Keep yourself well layered and hydrated at the same time.
Winter Clothes, Gumboots, Two Thermal Flask / Thermos to store warm water (water in your normal bottle would freeze during trek), personal basic medical kit, Aadhar card & ID proofs.
– gumboots are most important, helps you traverse through water, you can buy them from Leh
– high ankle waterproof trekking shoes
– Crocs or open-toe slippers to roam around campsite
– polypropylene based inners to abosrb sweat while you trek
– layers of warmers, thermals, insulators – down jackets, fleece
– full sleeve tshirts, wind cheater
– warm synthetic trek pants, leg warmers
– woolen socks, woolen cap covering head and ears , woolen neck cover/shawl, waterproof gloves – raincoat for you and your rucksack
Moisturizer, Sunscreen, Eye Shades, Two Thermal Flasks