CHADAR TREK- 9 days 8 nights

The journey starts at the mountain town of Leh. The only way to reach Leh is by flight and it is surrounded by snow giving it a complete white look. One can catch a glimpse of the snow capped mountains from the flight as it descends toward Leh which is located at 11400 feet above sea level. The trek is over the Zanskar River which lies frozen during the winter. The most preferred time to cross the ice would be in February. During that time, the ice tends to be at its most stable state. The Frozen River Trek begins from the small village of Chilling from where the Zanskar River begins to freeze.

Overview

Chadar Trek, one the most spectacular and majestic voyage, is filled with series of unforgettable adventures. It is a trek over the frozen Zanskar river, a journey that a person will remember for his lifetime. The idea alone of walking over a frozen river in one of the most beautiful places in the world sends chills down one's spine. It is a dream come true for any adventurist. In case of unforeseen weather conditions or government restrictions, certain activities may be cancelled or change of dates might happen, and in such cases the operator will try his best to provide an alternate feasible activity. However no refund will be provided for the same and in such cases the operator will try his best to provide an alternate feasible activity. However no refund will be provided for the same.

Brief Itinerary
Day 1 :- Fly to Leh.

Altitude 11,400 ft. Stay in guest house. Keep your woollen cap and gloves handy. Flying over miles and miles of heavily snowed mountains will tell you just why it’s impossible to reach Ladakh by road in the winters. The moment you land at the Leh airport, one of the highest airports in the world, you will feel the fresh and crisp air, and a drastic drop in the temperature. The town has just begun shedding off the thick winter slumber and is slowly coming to life. Taking a stroll through the Leh market, you will find that very few shops and eateries in the town are open for business; but if required, some last minute-shopping for the trek can be done here. The chill in the air will serve only as a preview of the temperatures during this winter Trek. The night is spent in a copy guest house.

Day 2 :- Acclimatization and Medical Checkup

Acclimatization and Medical Checkup

Day 3 :- Drive to Shingra Koma.

10,390 to 10,550 ft. Trek 10 kms. Stay in tent. The biggest challenge of this day, and all the remaining days, is to get out of the warm toasty sleeping bags and go out into the giant freezer outside, but the steaming cups of tea being served provide ample motivation. Today is a long walking session, about 10 km, on the Chadar. The trek leaders give a briefing about the day, and give tips on how to walk on the Chadar. Depending on the weather, the Chadar can assume various forms. It can be a cold and hard surface of slippery ice, or it can have a dusting of snow over it, providing a good grip. The ice can be thick or thin, and its best to keep closely following the guide. The locals, it appears, have a sixth sense as to where exactly to step on the Chadar. At places, it might be necessary to wade through ankle deep water, or climb on the cliffs at the side of the river. Eventually you get used to walking on the Chadar, which looks like a cross between gliding and skating. Mid way to Gyalpo, the porter-cum-cooks prepare hot bowlfuls of soupy noodles for lunch. It is important to keep up a decent level of fluid intake. Nothing makes you adapt to the conditions faster than nicely circulating blood in your system. After passing Shingra koma, you reach the camp-site for the day at Gyalpo. The Gyalpo campsite is at a bend in the river, surrounded by high peaks and walls of rock-faces which almost look man-made. All that is left to do is to soak in the views, have an early dinner and call it a day.

Day 4 :- Shingra Koma to Tibb Cave.

10,550 to 10,760 ft. Trek 15 kms. Stay in tent. This day follows the same early morning routine: bed tea at 7, breakfast at 8, and quick-march at 8:30. Have a good breakfast, as today is the longest walk of the day – almost 15 km. But that is nothing to worry about, all the walking keeps you incredibly warm. Today’s walk through the deep ravines of the Zanskar is stunning. The sublime walls of the mountains on either sides of the river keep the sunlight away from the Chadar for most part of the day. There are numerous caves in these mountains, big and small. Today is the day when you can see frozen waterfalls, some higher than the others. As the fable goes, centuries ago the local villagers faced a dearth of water and went to Tibet to plead for water. They were given a box which they were to open once they reached the village, and not any time sooner. But curiosity got the better out of them, and when they opened the box, two fishes jumped out of it, creating two huge waterfalls. One of those waterfalls, miraculously, is not iced-up even in such freezing cold. The rocks below this waterfall are covered with moss, and this is the only greenery you’ll see on this trek. At Tibb, there is a big cave. This cave is the dwelling of all the porters, and they welcome you warm-heartedly in here. The highlight of the day is to share a cup of butter-tea with them!

Day 5 :- Tibb cave to Naerak camp.

10,760 to 11,150 ft. Trek 12.5 kms. Stay in tent. Attraction Frozen waterfall. Today is the most spectacular of all days on this trek. Walking on the river you cross deep gorges and reach a point where Juniper trees are covered with prayer flags. The porters give you a twig of this tree tied with a piece of prayer flag as a badge of good-luck and good-health. A few steps away stands the mother-of-all frozen waterfalls – a huge instance of suspended animation several feet tall and equally wide. You can see dozens of colours in this enormous ice structure as sunlight plays off its surface. Right next to the waterfall is a bridge across the river which is a part of the summer-time road from Zanskar to Leh. The Naerak village lies several feet above the river, a vigorous hour-long trek can take you to the village if you want to see the life of a Zanskari. The camp is set up close to the river.

Day 6 :- Naerak to Tibb Cave.

11,150 to 10,760 ft. Trek 12.5 kms. Stay in tent. Today you start the return journey and go back to the Tibb cave. And if you thought that it was just a matter of retracing your steps back to Chilling, you can think again. The Zanskar River reacts to the slightest change of temperature, and constantly keeps repackaging itself. The Chadar would have assumed a completely new form, and will it will almost be impossible to say whether you have been here before. On the way, you can meet a lot of locals wearing their traditional woollen Gonchas – some of them monks who are hiking from the Lingshed Monastery to Leh, some of them young students accompanied by their parents returning to their schools in Leh after the winter vacation. Watching the locals negotiate the Chadar is a fascinating sight. They are suitably adept to the climate and seem very much at home in the sub-zero temperature and the biting cold winds. Nothing wipes the smiles off their faces and dampens the warmth of their spirit.

Day 7 :- Tibb Cave to Shingra Koma.

10,760 to 10,550 ft. Trek 15 kms. Stay in tent. Starting from Tibb, go up to Gyalpo today. The high walls of mountains rising from the sides of the river almost look like castle walls. You can see several trails of pug-marks all along the trek – footprints belonging to foxes, ibex or snow-leopards. You would be lucky to view a snow-leopard; but you can almost be sure that you are being watched by one all the time.

Day 8 :- Shingra Koma to Tilad Do and drive to Leh.

10,550 to 10,390 and drive to 11400 ft. Trek 10 kms. Drive 65 kms. Stay in guest house. This is the last day of treading on the Chadar – the last chance to immerse in the pristine beauty of the frozen river. Once you reach Tilad Do, it is time to say good-bye to the Zanskar and the Zanskaries.Our team and our porters will take good care of you and make this trek one of the most memorable experiences for you. Tonight you get to sleep in a warm guest-house again.

Day 9 :- Return from Leh.

As this unforgettable journey gets over, you depart from Leh having a newfound respect for the Zanskaries who brave all odds and survive with style in their beloved land. This trek also leaves behind 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.

*In case of unforeseen weather conditions or government restrictions, certain activities may be cancelled or change of dates might happen, and in such cases the operator will try his best to provide an alternate feasible activity. However no refund will be provided for the same.

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Cancellation Policy

In the event of cancellation of your booking due to any avoidable / unavoidable circumstances at your end, we must be notified of the same in writing. Cancellation charges will be effective from the date we receive the advice in writing, and cancellation charges would be as follows:

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Chadar trek the Frozen River Trek begins from the small village of Chilling from where the Zanskar River begins to freeze. The ice can be as dangerous at times as it can be safe during others. One needs to figure out the safe paths over the precarious sheet and must always be aware of the ice conditions below the feet. The trekkers can choose to camp in the caves along the banks like the locals or set up tents where the ice is the most stable. The setting is close to twenty degrees below freezing point and decreases further after sundown as well. Warm and layered clothes are recommended as is being on the move as much as possible. These help invariably in keeping the body warm and prevent cold sores and also keep the blood from freezing.

It is always recommended to be aware of the ice conditions at all times. There are several factors to consider ensuring a safe journey. Most of these factors involve the conditions of the ice and the footing choices of the trekker. The precautions include:

The trekker must be aware of the ice sheet conditions.

There may be cracks in the ice which should be avoided.

Finding places with a coating of snow is the best place to walk normally.

Slippery ice can be found on several sections as well and should be walked on with utmost care.

Cracks may suddenly appear under one’s feet and it is required to run to more solid footing immediately.

The ice is not a trekker’s friend and one should always respect it and be aware of the conditions at all times especially while choosing the camping spot.

Trekking gear should be brought from home as there are not many places available at Leh during the winter where supplies can be bought. Food that can be preserved and made quickly such as instant noodles is an excellent addition. One should always have enough before starting off as it is recommended to be moving for the better part of the day in order to keep warm as well as keeping the journey in momentum. Ice picks, trekking boots, several layers of extra warm clothing are a compulsion in such conditions. Tents are recommended but optional as one can easily camp in caves like the locals who journey across the river. However, being a non-local, that idea may not be advisable and carrying tents is always commendable.

Before you start the trek, it is important to understand the implications of high altitude on your body. Be aware of symptoms of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) like mild headache, nausea and general discomfort.

If you feel any of these symptoms, inform the Guide on priority and follow his instructions. Every campsite has as stretcher, fully equipped first aid kit, oxygen cylinders to address the situation.

Weather is unpredictable in the Himalayas. Though we are always observant about the changing weather, no one can guarantee a snowfall, rain or Sun. Do understand that your security is of utmost importance to us and we will not proceed any further from the campsite if the weather is not favourable.

The decision of the Trek Leaders and Guides to proceed or wait for the weather to get better will be final.

Injuries Often, while trekking over difficult terrains, you might have minor injuries like leg sprain, bruises etc. Serious injuries like fractures or major cuts are very rare.

All our Guide are trained to handle emergencies and can tackle minor injuries with a well-equipped first aid kit. In case of serious injuries, the patient is carried on a stretcher to the nearest road-head and is led to nearest medical centre.

Lack of communication devices In the remote areas of the Himalayas, mobile networks do not reach. On a trek, one is cut off from the world of calls, SMSs or watsapps.

We rely on walkie-talkies and runners to communicate between the campsites and the base camps.

.Backpack (Rucksack) (60 ltr -70ltr) with comfortable shoulder straps, supporting frame and backpack rain cover

.Trekking pole,

.Thermo Plastic Water Bottle, Water Purifying Tablets, and Hot water bag,

.Gumboots for Chadar Trek

.3 pair of synthetic track pants

.3 Full sleeve woolen tees with collar

.Raincoat

.Thick jacket and sweater, both full sleeved

.2 pairs of thermal inners

.Woolen monkey cap/balaclava that cover the ear, hand gloves + synthetic waterproof glove, head-scarf or muffler

.2 pairs each of sports socks and woolen socks

.Head Torch & with Extra Batteries

.Cold cream and sunscreen lotion (SPF 40+)

.Snacks like chocolate bars and dry fruits

.Sun Glasses it should be U/V Protected

.Toilet Kit (Toilet Paper) & Quick-Dry Towels

.Personal and necessary medication

.ID proof like driving license, voters ID card, passport

.4 Passport size photos

.Medical certificate from a recognized practicing doctor certifying your fitness for the trek

.Indemnity certificate

Experience of any high altitude trek at least 1 trek The climber must be fit and have sufficient stamina to cover 5 km of distance in 45 minutes without a stress. The climber should be able to carry a 10 kg backpack. Heart problem, high blood pressure, asthma, and epilepsy cannot be reconciled on this mission. The climber must not have the conditions mentioned above.

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