Chadar - The Frozen River Trek
Chadar Trek in Ladakh is like no other trek in the Himalayas. Walking on a frozen thick glass like river, with dramatic mountains on both sides, is an experience of a lifetime. At only 11150 ft altitude Chadar Trek almost feels like an expedition to the North Pole, where the temperatures drop down to -30 degrees at night, the ration is transported on sledges, you find refuge in caves and life blossoms on survival instincts, making it an eminently ‘do before you die’ trip. The Chadar trek allows you to get to know the Zankari culture up close through the locals you meet on the trek and experience their hospitality. One of the highlights of the Zanskar frozen river trek is the most magnificent waterfall frozen completely from top to bottom called Nerak waterfall. The best time to do Chadar trek is from mid-January to mid-February, that is when the Zanskar river freezes and you get to walk on massive slabs of ice spreading for miles and miles. The landscapes and overall experience will leave their imprints on your hearts forever. When it comes to trekking In India, Chadar is the most glamorous trek. From 2019 onwards, the local administration has made it mandatory for every Chadar Trek participant to undergo a medical examination at SNM Hospital, Leh post which a fitness certificate would be granted. We would provide more information closer to the departure date on this aspect. Continue reading here for all important information like - Chadar Trek Temperature, Route Map, Itinerary, Photos, and Videos. We have some essential blogs linked at the end to help you prepare for Chadar - The once in a lifetime trek.
Chadar Trek is a winter trek walking over the blanket of frozen Zanskar River. The 9-day trek goes through extreme weather conditions with snow all around. Walking over ice can be tricky due to the uneven formation of ice. There may be places where there is no ice sheet formed. There you will have to forge a new trail trekking over snow embankments. The temperature in night falls down to - 30degree Celsius sometimes. The conditions are harsh but not unbearable. The experience is unique in itself as no other trek can claim to have such conditions. Anyone wanting to experience extreme weather conditions along with rarest of views should do this trek.
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
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The trek begins from Leh in Ladakh. The best travel option around Leh is by air.
By air: Jet Airways, GoAir, and Air India provide daily flights from New Delhi to Leh. It is recommended that you make your flight bookings well in advance not only to save on the price but also for a confirmed seat. You can also take an alternate flight route to Srinagar. Fly to Srinagar from Delhi and then drive to Leh from Srinagar. The 10 hour road journey from Srinagar to Leh can be covered by hiring a shared taxi which will cost you around INR 3000-4000. The drive route from Srinagar to Leh is scenic. For coming back, you can either take a direct flight from Leh to New Delhi. Or take the same route via Srinagar. Flights from Srinagar to Delhi are cheaper than Leh-Delhi.
By road: You can take the route from Manali to Leh. Travel from Delhi to Manali by a HRTC Volvo bus. From Manali get a seat in a shared taxi (INR 2500-3500). If you are on a tight budget, There is also a bus from New Delhi to Leh (via Manali) with one side fare of INR 1365. The bus journey begins at 2:30 pm from Delhi ISBT reaching Keylong next day at 1:30 pm. After an overnight halt at Keylong, it reaches Leh the next day. The another route to Leh can be taken through Srinagar. There are shared taxis from Srinagar to Leh available at cost of INR 3000-4000. If you are an ardent biker, you wouldn’t mind taking a bike trip from Delhi to Leh and back.
There are so many enchanting places to visit in Leh-Ladakh. During your acclimatization period, you can roam around the town and visit the monasteries; Diskit Gompa, and Lamayuru Monastery. Drive up to the Magnetic Hill and experience the crazy magnetic phenomenon on the hill. The picturesque Nubra Valley will take your breath away. The green oasis villages, the monasteries, the ruined palaces- Turtuk and Bordang; there is a whole different culture in this place. It is 150 km away from Leh. you can take a shared taxi to this route. How can you leave Ladakh without seeing Pangong Lake, the sapphire blue lake. You can also visit Gurdwara Pathar Sahib and Leh Royal Palace.
BSNL has the best connectivity in Leh-Ladakh region followed by Airtel. However, you won’t receive any connectivity once you move further on the trek.
The best time to do Chadar trek is typically from first- the second week of January to the Second - Third Week of February.
The minimum age limit is 13 years. However, minors aged between 13 to 17 should be accompanied by their parents or guardians. If you are above the age of 60, kindly carry a medical certificate from your doctor that deem you fit for adventure activities like trekking.
At Leh, trekkers stay at a guest house. During the rest of the trek, camping is done on the trail.
The temperatures on this trek are extreme. During nights they drop as low as -30 degree Celcius.
Yes, there will be snow on the trek.
Yes, you can offload your backpack. Weight limit for each bag is 12 kg.
A trek leader will be assigned to your batch nearing the date of the trek.
No, trekking poles are not necessary.
Only limited shops are open during winters in Leh. Therefore, you will be able to purchase only basic items like gumboots, gloves etc.
Yes, it is completely safe.
Yes, you will get certificates on completion of the trek.
We use four season tents for Chadar Trek. The sleeping bags we use are rated from -15 to -20 degree celcius.
There are no built up toilets on the trail. We comply with the rules and regulations given by the local authorities.
We provide gaiters and microspikes. But you must get your own goggles for the trek.
We will reach the hotel in Leh by the afternoon.
Boarding Pass, Id Proof and Medical Certificate. The medical certificate will be issued on the basis on your boarding pass.