Chadar is one of the unique treks out of all the other Himalayan treks. This trip involves walking over and along the frozen Zanskar River. The name comes from the thick layer of snow like a blanket or ‘Chadar’ that forms over the river during the winter months.
During Chadar trek in Ladakh, one will encounter extreme weather conditions, vast snow-covered landscapes, frozen waterfalls, caves and an ever-changing frozen river, which together contribute to making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
However, this tour is not suitable for first-time trekkers or beginners as the Chadar trek difficulty level is high. Nevertheless, before embarking, one should have a clear idea about certain essential aspects which will enable them to chalk out a proper plan for this trek. It includes points such as the itinerary, necessary equipment and safety measures that should be adopted.
Before planning for this trip, individuals should keep in mind that Chadar trek best time is from January to March. The duration of the trek is about 5 days, which starts from Chilling or Tilad Sumdo and ends at Nerak.
The base of the tour is at Leh, which is at 11,800 ft from sea level. The temperature during the day is around –10°C, and after sundown, the temperature drops to approximately –16°C. Trekkers need to acclimatise themselves with the weather, which is why they should spend a day at Leh.
Besides acclimatisation, they should also avail a medical check-up and a fitness certificate, which has been made mandatory before embarking on Chadar trek Ladakh.
Even after taking the necessary measures, unplanned events like landslides, accidents, injuries can take place.
The tour itinerary
Individuals have to reach Tilad Do via car, which is the start point of this trek. They will commence their trip from this point and enjoy a long hike alongside Zanskar River to reach Gyalpo via Shingra Koma. After spending the night at Gyalpo, they will walk till Tibb cave. Enroute from Gyalpo to Tibb cave, one will come upon beautiful waterfalls and natural caves which are a treat for the eyes.
After one night’s rest at Tibb cave, trekkers will hike to Nerak, which is the last point of this tour. At Nerak, one will see a massive frozen waterfall, which is a stunning sight. From Nerak, trekkers will return to Chilling.
Some parts of the Zanskar River can be a little thin if the temperature is slightly high. In that case, experienced guides will take detours through the mountains. These detours will also be a different yet exciting experience.
After returning to Chilling, one can also opt for a day trip to the frozen Pangong Tso Lake. It will be an equally pleasing experience. Considering the extreme weather conditions, the terrains on Chadar trek Ladakh can be quite challenging even for a seasoned trekker.
Trekkers can avail insurance policies like backpacking travel insurance cover to keep their belongings financially protected in case of loss.
One of the Chadar trek tips is to carry a few essential items. These include –
- Dual-layered tent.
- Sleeping bag.
- Rubber gumboots.
- First aid box.
- Safety ropes.
- Adjustable trekking poles.
Individuals also need to adopt a few safety measures before going on high altitude treks like Chadar trek Ladakh. These safety measures include doing basic exercises to keep your body fit, keeping yourself hydrated, acclimatising properly and the likes. If you are travelling alone, you can also opt for a solo traveller cover insurance plan to avail financial assistance in case of any unforeseen events.