Travelers are known for their deep observation skills, fun-loving nature, good sense of routes and of course their thrilling adventure activities which set them apart from those who snuggle down in quilts as soon as frosting winters creep their way in.
Well, before the summer begins to sizzle your days and scorching heat makes you sweat night and day, there is one activity you have to try this winters- The Chadar Trek!
The Chadar Trek or the Zanskar Gorge is a winter-trail in Zanskar region of Ladakh. The Chadar Trek, a thrilling and as adventurous as it may get, is the frozen Zanskar River which provides an access route to the Zanskar Valley and is used as a trail by locals and tourists during the winters.
In the local language “chadar” means layer- indicating the layer of ice that covers the river . This trek basically makes its way through the frozen river called the “Zanskar River”. Exciting, isn’t it?
When to go for The Chadar Trek?
The best time to go for the chadar trek is from mid January to February, it is just the right time to set out on this wonderful and adventurous trek.. The duration of this trek is usually is 9-10 days and you can book with any organizer as per your convenience.
Region :- Leh, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir
Duration :- 08-9 days
Max Altitude :- 11,123 Ft.
Approx Trekking Km :- 75 kms.
Why to Go For Chadar Trek?
Chadar Trek is one of the most fascinating treks in India and travel magazines worldwide show incredible pictures of Buddhist monks walking bare feet on the frozen river. The Discovery and the National Geographic channels have both made films on the same. The scenery, temperature, atmosphere, the frozen river, sledges, unusual camp sites, mystery caves and the ever changing Chadar makes this one an undeniably unforgettable experience.
This surely is the most unique trek in our India-hikes list of treks. The snow clad mountain peaks that will accompany you all along your way to your destination glisten and gleam in the morning rays of the Sun.
How Difficult is The Chadar Trek?
Undoubtedly, Chadar trek is one of the most challenging treks in the country. Trekkers who want to explore the Zanskar trek must be prepared for facing unsettling temperatures and harsh camping conditions. The total distance covered in the trek is around 105 km, slippery most of the way and is covered on foot. There might also be instances wherein the trekkers are required to climb icy rocks and boulders.
The temperatures are amazingly low during the day time and hover between 15 to 20 degrees while they plummet further to -25 to -35 degrees during the night time. The climatic conditions of this region are quite harsh and extremely cold.
Cheers to Fears!
If the idea of walking over frozen river ice with a large pack on your back and brain numbing rushing water inches below your feet is terrifying, then you are not alone. The hike from Chilling to the Zanskar valley takes more than a week, and at night, porters usually sleep in caves in the canyon walls.
Moreover, the beauty that opens up before the trekkers compensates for the all the trouble and effort put in. You can choose to camp in the caves along the river banks like the locals do or set up tents where the ice sheet is more stable.
What to Pack?
While a lot of facilities are provided by the organizers, yet it is always good to pack well when leaving for such a tough trek. Things you must carry with you-
Medium sized day pack with plastic liner, trekking boots, stream crossing sandals, water bottles, fleece jackets, rain proof jackets, insulating gloves, sunscreen and lip salve, sunglasses, water purification pills, personal medications (if any), emergency first aid kits, hand sanitizers, emergency food items such as chocolate bars, mouth wash etc.
- While setting out on a trekking expedition in the Himalayas, it is important that you pack all your stuff wisely.
- Keep your water bottles close and drink in as much as you can to avoid dehydration.
- Ice is not your best friend here. So, beware of any cracks that may appear underneath and step on more solid footing right away.
- Make sure you wear warm woolen and polyester clothes that suit the weather and help you trek easily.
- Finding places coated with snow is the best place to walk with ease.
- Avoid trekking at night no matter what.
- Strong and sturdy shoes with metal spikes are perfect for walking in the snow. There are different types of shoes for different terrains and you should choose your shoes carefully.
- Eat well when you are on such an expedition
- Do not forget to check the weather report before you start trekking.
Who Can Do It?
- Trekkers with at least one experience of a high altitude trek are more apt for this trek.
- You must be fit with enough stamina to be able to cover 5 km of distance in 45 mins without stress
- You should be able to carry a backback that weighs 10kg or more.
- Folks with asthma, high blood pressure and heart problems should not consider this trek at all.
“That’s quite exciting”, “sounds good”, “so adventurous”, “Too Challenging”, “Must be for tough hunks” “I wish I could go”… No! No excuses at all, just plan your trip, book your trek, pack your bags and get set go because such life-changing experiences are too valuable to give a pass. And don’t forget to share your mind numbing experiences with us when you come back. Bon Voyage!