Chadar Trek: A Perfect Detailed Guide
Chadar Trek, as the name suggests, is a trek on the ice covering of the frozen Zanskar river. Usually, the trek used to be on the sloping mountain terrain or in deep dense forest but to walk on the ice is a challenging and a whole new experience.
The trek starts by reaching the district of Leh in Ladakh. Here one has to stay for three days according to rules made by the government in Leh. Zanskar trek is a difficult trek since the temperature falls to -30 degrees Celsius during the night. Due to increased cases of mountain sickness, the government made it mandatory to stay in Leh at least for three days before going to the Zanskar trek. You can visit the city of Leh Shanti stupa, monasteries, etc during that time. On the third day, one has to go through the medical test which checks your fitness level for the chadar trek. One has to pass the test to go on the frozen river trek. The nervousness and curiosity of knowing the result of the test area at the next level. All one wants is to pass the test anyway.
Mesmerising Experience Of Chadar Trek
You are declared to be fit for the trek you will head towards Shingra Koma which is a 3-4 hr drive from Leh. After the car drive, you have to walk on the frozen river. To walk on ice is a whole new experience. The friction of ice is low, so walking on it is difficult. It will look like a challenge initially but gradually you will learn. The sight of ice and water merging so vividly is a breathtaking view. You will encounter the confluence of two rivers, Zanskar and Indus coming from two different directions. This is something we don’t get to see every day. With the trek of the day, you will reach the first campsite that is Gyalpo.
The next morning you will head towards Tibb cave which will be the next campsite. To experience the snowfall for the first time is something people dream of for life.
From Tibb cave, you will head towards Naerak which is the most awaited location of the trek because you get to see the frozen waterfall here. “Ice age is a long period for which the temperature of the earth decreases resulting in the formation of glaciers all over.” You will have travelled time and come into an ice age, happening for real.
Location and Weather
Chadar trek is one of the wonders of Ladakh,a union territory of India. It is a nine-day trek with a trek distance of 62km. The maximum altitude you reach is 11123ft. It is a difficult level trek where the temperature lowers to -30 degrees during the night.
All happy and done, the trek of nine days, covering the distance of 62km and reaching the maximum height of 1123ft, survived the temperature of -30 degrees celsius. It feels like a battle won.
From here you will start heading back. The return journey has a bunch of feelings all at the same time. You will feel sad that the trek is ending and at the same time, happy about going for the trek and gathering wonderful experiences for a lifetime.
Firstly one has to reach Leh, a district in Ladakh union territory. Leh is situated in northern India at an elevation of 3500m. The average temperature of Leh is -3.9 and 24.9 in winter and summer respectively. The best way to reach Leh is by Plane. The nearest airport is Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. One can also board a train to Jammu Tawi and then reach Leh via flight. You can explore the diverse culture and geography of Leh while you stay there.
Due to increased cases of Trek sickness, the governing body in Leh made it compulsory for everyone going for the Zanskar river trek to spend two days in Leh to adapt to the weather conditions of Leh. You can explore the diverse culture and geography of Leh while you stay there.
According to the government guideline, the trekker has to go through a medical check-up. Only if you pass the check-up, you will be allowed to go for a frozen river trek and if you are credited unfit for the trek you can opt for ‘ Flavour of winter Ladakh tour’ at the same cost.
You have a drive of 3-4 hr from Leh to Shingra Koma. This will be one of the most scenic drives in the entire region of Ladakh. You will get to see the confluence of Zanskar and Indus. The car drops at Chiling and from here you have to Trek on the Frozen Zanskar River. With the trek of the day, you will reach the first campsite that is Gyalpo.
Chadar is not a difficult trek if you consider it in terms of altitude because the slope is quite low. With a trek of large distance, the elevation gained is less as compared to other treks. From Gyalpo you will head towards Tibb cave. The campsite for the night will be Tibb cave.
From here you will trek for 13km and you will see the awaited wonder of this trek, the frozen waterfall- one of the wonders of nature. This point will be the end of moving forward. From here you will return back. The return journey is not a simple one, you will face the same number of challenges as you were heading forwards. The environment, the weather, and the nature of ice keep on changing with the slightest of temperature.
If trekking is your option of spending holidays then chadar trek must be on your to-do list.