The Chadar Trek or the Zanskar Gorge is a winter trail in the Zanskar region of Ladakh, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Traditionally the only means of travel in the area during the harsh winter months. Its walls are near vertical cliffs up to 600 m high and the Zanskar River (a tributary of the Indus) is only 5 metres (16 ft) in places. The overall distance is approximately 105 kilometres (65 mi) – an average trekker walks 16 kilometres (10 mi) per day. The best time to do the Chadar trek is January to February, when the temperature during the winters drops sometimes to -30 to -35 degrees.
Chadar trek’s location is accessible through Leh, Ladakh. Chadar trek is a lifetime of experience. It’s unlike any other trek in India. It literally makes you walk on ice! For miles and miles, you walk on the ice formed by the frozen Zanskar river. The difficulty levels of this trek would be categorized as somewhat difficult, as the trek is spread over 4-5 days.
Un-trekkable during the summer months, the winter months pave way for a corridor of ice allowing the trekkers to pass but only so very carefully. The best time to visit is between January-February, when the ice formed is at its strongest. This trek is not for the faint hearted.
You will experience a harsh and cold climate with mere basic facilities and only the surreal snow covered mountains and your spirit as well as your enthusiasm to rely upon for entertainment. The first two days are spent getting acclimatized to the weather conditions. It’s very important that your body should get used to the temperature which ranges from -10 to even -30 degrees in the course of the trek.
One of the noteworthy points of this trek is that it lies at an altitude of nearly 13,000 feet. During the trek, there are no ascends or steep upward climbs. The trek mostly comprises of a flat terrain and the altitude increases gradually and hence the weather conditions remain in the same range.
On the third day, you have to get cleared for a health check-up by the Sonam Narbu Hospital which states that you are medically fit to undertake this trek. This has been mandatory by the Government recently.
The fourth day, you will be driven to Shingra Koma, the way to which is nothing short of a delight. The glorious mountains in the backdrop are a perfect view to see. From here on, you start walking towards Tsomo Paldar, and get used to walking in your boots on the ice as you will be doing so in the many days to come!
You will gradually learn about which ice terrain to trust and which you must avoid. Your walking stick is also a great help while determining the ice strength before actually walking over it. The first campsite at Tsomo Paldar will be a new experience altogether. Sleeping amongst glaciers, ice and snow-covered mountains is one of the most thrilling things you will do in your life.
You will eventually get accustomed to sleeping like this – Or so we shall hope! The next morning will require some will-power as getting out of your sleeping bags will be a task. After a warm and fresh breakfast, you will proceed towards your next campsite at Tibb.
Imagine this now – Clean and cold air in your lungs, snow mountains in the background, gigantic rocks to keep you company throughout, and patches where you can see the river flowing right beneath you. Truly a glorious sight!
You will also come across a few frozen waterfalls on your way which will the set the tone for your next day – visiting the massive frozen waterfall in Nerak. Rest assured, you will be getting your hot and delicious meals at the right time throughout the day. After covering distance over 6-7 hours, you will reach your camping destination for the day.
Day 5 is another long day where you’ll be covering a distance of around 11-12 kilometers. Since we wish to reach our campsite before evening, get an early start in the morning. The trek to Nerak is an interesting one, with the ice sheets differing in their patterns and strength. You eventually reach the much talked about, acknowledged Nerak waterfall, some people take on this trek just to marvel at this wonder of nature.
The frozen in time waterfall stands till in its place before your eyes. Besides it you can see the age-old wooden bridge and a newly built modern bridge above it. A few minutes’ walk ahead will take you the Nerak village where you might spot some domestic yaks.
Your night here might be the coldest one yet with temperatures dripping as low as -25 to – 30 degrees. Your return to Leh is essentially the same route that you took to get here but with the new layer of Chadar formed on your way back will make it seem like you’re traversing this route for this first time.
The ice breaks and forms again with a new pattern, texture and feel. You might spot the foot marks of a few wild animals here. The sight and warmth of the locals here will energize your spirits. In spite of the cold and harsh environment here, the villagers here gleam with health, happiness and contentment.
After reaching Shingra Koma, you are transported back to Leh to your guest houses. Here, your trek is concluded and you are free to roam around as you like. The Chadar trek brings you back to to nature, your instincts and thriving on the basics. It’s a brilliant way of rising above materialistic things and
learning to be more grounded and humble.
Some trips change your perspective and outlook on life. And we believe, Chadar trek can do that for you.
All you got to do is to give it a chance….
Share your ‘insta-worthy’ travel pictures with us and get an opportunity to
feature on our Instagram feed Tripffee.
Are trekking shoes mandatory for the trek?
Trekking shoes are usually more comfortable and make your trek easier but are not mandatory. Shoes which provide good grip and high ankle support are important.
What all documents do I need to carry during the trek?
You just need to carry and original ID card and a photograph.
Do we get mobile signals during the trek ?
Usually there are no networks during the trek. You may get intermittent signals at some points.
Are smoking and drinking permitted during the trek?
Smoking and drinking is strictly prohibited at high altitudes for your own good.
Do we require a trekking pole during the trek?
Trekking pole provides you extra support during the treks , it helps you share the weight of the backpack you are carrying. You can carry a trekking pole otherwise you can use a sturdy fallen branch on the trail and use it for support.
What is the source of drinking water during the treks?
Usually you are suggested to carry adequate amount of water with you, but even if your run out of water then natural streams , rivers or water springs are also safe to drink water from.
What kind of food is provided during the trek ?
An all around arranged menu appropriate for high altitude treks. Breakfast fluctuates from bread and butter, semia, poha to sandwiches and cornflakes. Lunch essentially contains roti or puri with sabzi. Dinner is finished with Dal, rice, roti. You may carry nuts , biscuits or energy bars if you wish to.
Can we expect rains during treks ?
Sudden showers are possible as weather can change unexpectedly at high altitudes, always carry a light rain coat or water proof windcheater/poncho.
1. Backpack with rain cover. Qty -1
2. Headtorch/Torch with spare Batteries. Qty -1
3. U V protection sunglasses. Qty -1
4. 1 Litre water bottle. Qty -2
1. Non-skid deep treaded hiking shoes Qty -1
2. Pair of light weight Slipper/Sandals Qty -1
1. Quick Dry Warm lower or Track Pants. Qty – 2
2. Full sleeves T-shirts/ Sweatshirts. 1 for every 2 days of trekking
3. Pair of thick woolen socks. 1 pair for every two days of trekking
4. Thermal Body warmer Upper & Lower. Qty-1
5. Undergarments. Qty – 1 for every day of trekking
6. Warm jacket closed at wrist & neck .Qty-1
7. Full sleeves sweater. Qty -1
8. Rain wear ( Jacket & Pants ) . Qty-1
9. Pair of Warm Gloves. Qty-1
10. Woolen cap. Qty-1
11. Sun shielding Cap/Hat. Qty -1
1. Personal toiletries kit (Small Towel, Toilet paper, paper soap, Bar soap, toothbrush,
toothpaste, cold cream etc.).
2. Sun screen lotion small pack . Qty -1
3. Lip Balm small pack. Qty-1
1. Camera (Optional)
2. Carry your medicines in plenty in case you have any specific ailment. Consult your doctor
before joining the trek.
3. Dry fruits, Nuts, Chocolate bars, Energy bars (Optional)
Mandatory Documents To Carry
1. Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (adhar card, driving license,
voters ID, etc.)
- Expert mountaineering guide
- Skilled local staff
- Transportation from Leh to trekking poing on day 4 and trekking point to Leh on day 8
- Vegetarian meals on the trek (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) starting on day 4 pack lunch to day 8 breakfast
- Stay in guest house on Triple/Quad sharing basis in Leh on day 1, day 2, day 3, day 8
- Hot water in buckets shall be provided on request while staying in guest house in Leh
- Stay in Alpine/Dome tents on Triple/Quad sharing basis on day 4, day 5, day 6 and day 7
- Common kitchen/dining/toilet tents will be used during the trek
- Cooks/Helper and other required staff.
- Porters for carrying common equipments (like rations/tents/utensils/groceries)
- Equipment – Tents on triple & quad sharing basis/sleeping bags/sleeping mats
- Basic first aid kit with a portable oxygen cylinder
- Facility of keeping extra luggage at Leh when leaving for trek
- GST @5% is included
- Personal trekking equipment – like gum boots, trekking poles or sleeping bag liners
- Personal insurance or cost of emergency evacuation
- Purchases of personal natures (like mineral water bottles/bottled or canned beverages/chocolates/dry fruits etc)
- Personal porters for carrying trekker’s backpacks @ INR 3750 per 10 KGs for 5 days for day 4 to day 8 subject to availability at the time of booking
- Any meals & transportation when in Leh on day 1, day 2, day 3, day 8 and day 9
- ALTOA permission, wildlife tax, environment tax, forest permits& camping charges of INR 2650/-(The fee may be revised)
- Airport pickup and drop
- Room heater at guest house in Leh(We suggest not to use the room heaters as the same dehydrate the body and your body won’t get acclimatize to gear up for the Chadar trek)
- Cost of transport, meals and stay if in case you leave the trek in between and return to Leh before the schedule arrival on day 8
- There is no centralized heating and portable heaters provided.
- ALL INCLUSIVEChadar TrekRs.19,999
- REGION: Jammu & Kashmir
- DURATION: 9D/8N
- TYPE: Adventure, Camping, Trekking, Sports
As soon you land at the airport, you will be greeted by dry and cold air, but what will take all your attention is the lofty, snow-capped mountains all around; a sight that will remain with you forever. After completing the arrival formalities and picking up your bags from the baggage counter, take a taxi and proceed towards the pre-arranged hotel. Enjoy an overnight stay in the hotel.
Stay hydrated as you spend your first day of the trek in Leh.
Your Chadar trek expedition starts here.
In the evening, drive back to Leh and stay overnight at the hotel.