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Chadar Trek

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  • Small groups - (6-12)
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  • 8 Days/7Nights
  • Hard
  • 11100 ft./3384
  • 12 Participants
  • Winter
  • Ladakh

Chadar Trek Overview

Imagine a long stretch of a frozen river, a white wonderland featuring a frozen waterfall that seems straight out of Chronicles of Narnia. Chadar Trek in Ladakh is no less than a dream. Every landscape you encounter on the trail teleports you to a dreamy winter wonderland. From walking on a thick sheet of ice to navigating a translucent river bed with azure blue water beneath, Chadar Trek checks all the boxes to feature as one of the most thrilling adventures to embark on. 

Your eyes are in for a treat at every step. The landscape changes, the form of the river changes, and temperature and weather fluctuate every hour, making this trek one of the most unpredictable terrain to traverse. Embarking on Chadar trek is equivalent to signing up for an adventure of a lifetime. 

One of the most glamorous trekking trails, the Chadar trek in Ladakh attracts hundreds of adventure seekers as the Zanskar river completely freezes with the onset of winter. Zanskar River enwraps itself in a white sheet of snow allowing explorers to admire its unprecedented beauty. A challenging walk along the frozen river is a dreamy sight. The river changes its appearance throughout the trek. In some places, you gently walk on a thick sheet of snow while many sections of the trail require you to tackle the icy cold water of Zanskar. 

While the frozen water of Zanskar appears like a dream, trekkers are boggled by the completely frozen waterfall of Nerak. It takes a moment to soak in the beauty of this sight. 

Chadar Trek takes you on a life-altering journey and unravels the hidden wonders of Ladakh. While it is a dreamy escape, the trek is physically demanding, primarily because of harsh weather conditions. The trail opens in the peak winter months of January to February, providing an adrenaline-packed experience to last a lifetime. 

Chadar Trek Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive in Leh (11,450 ft.)

Experience a scenic drive through the valleys of Himachal Pradesh, following the Sutlej river for approximately 6-7 hours and covering a distance of 203 km. You’ll have the opportunity to visit one of the most remote villages in the region.

Day 2 : Acclimatization in Leh (11,450 ft.)

It is recommended to rest in Leh for a minimum of two days after arriving. You can spend the day exploring Leh city and visit the monasteries nearby. It is strictly prohibited to consume alcohol or smoke. Remember to indulge in hot soups and keep yourself warm. 

Day 3 : Rest and Acclimatization in Leh (11,450 ft.)

Today is the last day of acclimatization. Trekkers have to get their medical check-ups done at the Tourist Information Centre. It is mandatory to pass this test to proceed further. The medical check-up is compulsory to obtain an NOC for the Chadar trek. 

Day 4 : Leh to Singra Koma (75km drive) followed by a hike to Tsomo Poldar (10,500 ft.)

Trek Distance –  3km 

Trek Duration – 2 to 3 hrs

The real adventure begins on day 4. Your journey to a most thrilling trek starts with a drive from Leh to Singra Korma. A picturesque drive along the Zanskar River takes you to the starting point at Singra Koma. 

Chadar remains completely frozen in some sections with thick ice formed over the blue water of Zanskar, while in some sections it is a thin layer that requires utmost care to traverse this geographical marvel. As the river changes its form throughout the trail, you tread your path in a slushy river bed or climb to the rocky portion to reach the other side. 

After walking for 2 to three hours, you will reach the first campsite at Tsomo Poldar. 

Day 5 : Tsoma Poldar to Tibb Cave (10,950 ft.)

Trek Distance – 14 km 

Trek Duration – 7 to 8 hrs 

The trail is long today and you will cover a distance of 14 km. It takes roughly 7 to 8 hours to cover the distance as traversing a frozen river is strenuous. Though it’s a gradual walk along the river bed, the diverse forms of Chadar and frigid temperatures make the walk a tedious affair. But, you will have soothing blue shades of Zanskar to keep you company. 

The landscapes surprise you throughout the trail. You cannot help but halt for a while to soak in the beauty of the trail. Zanskar flows silently, guarded by giant rocky cliffs on both sides. Frozen waterfalls pique your interest on the way to Tibb  Cave. 

The next campsite is Tibb Cave, a naturally formed small cave that acts as a resting place. 

Day 6 : Tibb Cave (10,950 ft.) to (Nerak 11,100 ft.)

Trek Distance – 13 km 

Trek Duration – 6 to 7 hrs 

The most iconic landmark of the Chadar Trek awaits you today. Located roughly 13 km from Tibb Cave, Nerak is home to a frozen cascading waterfall. A first glimpse of the waterfall mesmerises you. Trekkers often gawk at this nature’s marvel in awe. This breathtaking beauty, however, comes with harsh temperatures, dipping as low as -25 degrees Celsius. 

After basking in the natural beauty of Nerak waterfall, the team heads back to the campsite. 

Day 7 : Nerak (Nerak 11,100 ft.) to Tibb Cave (10,950 ft.)

Trek Distance – 13 km 

Trek Duration – 6 to 7 hrs 

Retrace the same trail to Tibb Cave. However, the trail you navigated while on your way to Nerak appears different in many sections as Zanskar keeps changing its form due to slight temperature changes. 

You will reach Tibb Cave late afternoon and rest for the night. 

Day 8 : Tibb Cave (10,950 ft.) to Shingra Koma then Drive to Leh (11,450 ft.)

It’s time to be captivated by the surreal beauty of Zanskar for the one last time. You will reach the road head to Shingra Koma in the afternoon and head with Leh with memories of a lifetime. 

 

How to reach the base camp of Chadar trek?

Nearest Airport – Leh Airport, Ladakh

Chadar trek starts from a place Shingra Koma. The distance between Shingra Koma and Leh is around 70km and is covered in 3 hours. To begin the trek, one must first reach Leh, conveniently connected by air to major cities. 

Flying is the only option to reach Leh in winter. Leh is accessible by road before October. Both Srinagar-Leh and Manali Leh shut down in the peak winter season due to snowfall.

Chadar Trek FAQ

What is the distance of Chadar Trek?

The total distance of the Chadar trek is 62 km. You walk an average of 6 – 7 hours daily. 

Is Chadar Trek suitable for beginners?

The trek is not recommended for absolute beginners. We recommend prior experience with short hikes before attempting the Chadar trek.  

How difficult is Chadar Trek?

Chadar trek is a difficult grade trek. Traversing the frozen river becomes challenging and tricky, despite the minimal altitude gain. You will be navigating a frozen river for a few days. It is tricky and demanding to trudge the path carefully. 

What will be the temperature in Chadar Trek?

Chadar trek temperature ranges between -10°C to -25°C.  You will have cold and windy days and chilly nights with freezing temperatures. 

What is the best time to visit Chadar Trek?

The best time to visit Chadar trek is the peak winter months of December and January when the Zanskar River is completely frozen. 

Will there be snow on the trek?

Yes, snow will be abundant. There is a probability of witnessing snowfall on the Chadar trek. 

Where is Chadar Trek located?

Chadar Trek is in Ladakh. The trek starts from Shingra Koma

What is the starting point of Chadar Trek?

The trek starts from Shingra Koma. The place is around 2 hrs away from Leh city. 

What is the duration of Chadar trek?

The total duration of the Chadar trek is 7 nights and 8 days

It takes 8 days to complete the Chadar trek, including travel to and from the base camp and the acclimatization in Leh. 

 

What is the altitude of Chadar Trek?

Chadar trek is at an altitude of 11,123ft. The trek starts from Leh city at an 11,482ft. 

 

Can we do Pin Bhaba Trek on our own?

All trekkers heading to Chadar must obtain NOC from local authorities after clearing the medical checkup. It is suggested to book the trek with a reliable agency. 

Do we need prior experience to do the Chadar Trek?

Though prior experience in high altitude trek is not a compulsion, Chadar trek takes you to an altitude of 11,123 ft. It is recommended that trekkers must have adequate physical fitness with some exposure to hiking or trekking in challenging terrain.

FAQ

How should I prepare to avoid AMS?

The most important thing to do on a trek to avoid AMS is to drink water, more than your daily intake. Water is an excellent way to avoid AMS. Along with this, you should also have all the nutritious meals we provide on the trek. If you still are sceptical about getting AMS, we would advise you to carry Diamox tablets with you. However, according to the situation your Outdoor leader will advise whether or not you should take it.

I have a medical condition. Can I join the trek?

We encourage everyone to trek, even if or not they have a medical condition. We have an in-house doctor at OWLS with whom you can discuss your medical condition and accordingly, we can help you better prepare you for the trek.

What document do I need to carry?

Please keep the following documents ready before filling out this form

  1. ID proof
  2. Health form (for all participants of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh treks) and (for all participants <15 and > 60 years of age)
  3. RTPCR for children <15 years/Vaccination certificate for adults (for Nepal treks)

Should I bring snacks to eat on the trek?

Although we provide filling breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with morning tea and evening snacks, you can carry some light snacks for munching on the trail. You can carry protein bars, dry fruits, and homemade snacks like Shakkarpara to help you give that extra energy on the trek. 

Who will be leading my trek?

All our Outdoor Leaders are trained and experienced leaders. They have completed basic Mountaineering Course, and are equipped with basic first-aid knowledge. Our leaders are certified Wilderness First Responder course

Do I need to get my medical kit for the trek?

You don’t need to carry your medical kit. If you have your prescribed medications, you need to carry them on the trek

What kind of arrangement is available for accommodation on the trek?

The accommodation will be on twin sharing basis. One tent will be shared by two trekkers. 

Is there any arrangement for offloading on the trek?

Yes. Communicate your requirement to the trek leaders beforehand, as it will be difficult to arrange to offload at the last minute. The offloading charges will be Rs 350 per bag, and your bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. 

Note: At OWLs, we suggest our participants carry their backpacks and avoid offloading. However, in case of pressing circumstances, you can opt for offloading.

Is there any option to keep our luggage at the base camp?

Yes, you can leave the extra luggage at the base camp. However, do not leave valuables like laptops, jewellery, or any other expensive items in the base camp. 

What will be the toilet facilities on the trek?

The OWLS team will set up a toilet tent near the campsites. The toilets will be dry toilets and you will have to use toilet paper. There will be a pit dug by the team and you will have to cover your nature’s call with dry soil. Avoid using wet wipes, as they are not biodegradable. At OWLS, we thrive to leave no trace in the mountains. 

At the base camp, you will have regular concrete toilets.

What will be the food arrangement on the trek?

The food offered will be as per the nutritional requirements. As you will be walking every day for 4-6 hours, you will be burning a good amount of calories. The team makes sure that the food you will be offered is healthy and helps you sustain through the day. The regular meal comprises eggs, locally grown vegetables, rice, roti, and pulses. The menu changes from day to day. 

What will be the status of the mobile network on the trek?

You will have access to mobile networks in Leh. The network becomes sketchy once you move towards the starting point.  

Are there any ATMs at the base camp?

The last ATM will be in Leh. 

How to prepare for Chadar Trek?

Chadar trek is a difficult-grade trek. The trek takes you to an altitude above 11,000ft and has long hiking hours over multiple days. Although altitude gain is less than other difficult grade treks. Nevertheless, tackling some challenging ascents, especially navigating the frozen Zanskar River, demands you to be in good physical shape. To be able to explore the trek conveniently, you must intensify the fitness routine a minimum of two months in advance. 

Sample workout for Chadar Trek 

Getting fit for a Himalayan trek of difficult treks like the Chadar trek demands better strength and stamina. On these treks, you navigate challenging terrain for 6 to 8 days. The trek takes you to an altitude of  11,123ft.

Note – The time duration of each workout is 45 minutes with medium intensity. Along with strength-building exercises, improve your cardiovascular endurance and try to run 5 km in 30 to 35 minutes. 

Sample Workout for Chadar Trek

Day 1 

15 minutes Lower Body Strength Training Exercises + 20 minutes Aerobic Exercises + 10 mins Core Exercises 

Day 2 

Recreational Exercises (Swimming, Cycling, Walking etc.)

Day 3

Rest Day

Day 4

15 minutes Lower Body Strength Training Exercises + 20 minutes Aerobic Exercises + 10 mins Core Exercises 

Day 5

Yoga and Stretching 

Day 6

15 minutes Upper Body Strength Training Exercises + 20 minutes Aerobic Exercises + 10 mins Core Exercises 

Day 7

Rest Day

Find out a detailed Work Out Plan for Easy, Moderate and Difficult Himalayan Treks here. 

What to pack for Chadar Trek?

The Must-Haves

  • Trekking Backpack( 50/60 ltrs) -01
  • Trekking shoes -01

Trekking Clothes

  • Down Jacket -01
  • Raincoat/Poncho -01
  • Thermals -01 (If trekking in Winter)
  • Fleece -02
  • Woolen Gloves – 01
  • Waterproof gloves – 01
  • Dry Fit Full Sleeve Tshirts -02
  • Trekking pants/Trousers -02 
  • Woollen socks -03
  • Dry Fit socks – 03
  • Woollen cap -01
  • Sun hat -01
  • Spare undergarments – As per the requirement

 

Trek accessories 

  • Trekking poles – 01
  • Headtorch
  • Sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses)
  • Water bottles (1 litre each)
  • Lunch box, spoon, mug
  • First aid kit or personal medication
  • Small biodegradable bags to take the waste/ used clothes 
  • Toilet paper/tissues
  • Toiletries – Lip balm, Mouisteriser, Lightweight towel, toothbrush, toothpaste

Read more about trek essentials for Himalayan treks here.