This is the most thrilling and adventurous trek and one of our team’s favorite as well. There is no better way to experience the Zanskar Valley Chadar Trek (bed sheet) as the name suggests denotes a thick sheet of ice that forms over the Zanskar River
, Chadar trek is meant for seasoned trekkers as it is a vigorous trek and walking throughout on the snow adds to its difficulty. We will experience extreme conditions while trekking here and subzero temperatures that go as low as -30 degrees. We also suggest getting ready for the trek prior to enrolling.
Chadar Trek in Ladakh is a thrilling and adventurous trek in India. “CHADAR” is a hindi word that refers to a “blanket” or “sheet” as the Zanskar river transforms itself from a rapid river into a white blanket of ice during winter, a frozen spectacle awaits the trekker to be experienced of glass ice ranging from a bluish tinge to golden yellow that is seen during the few hours that sunlight reaches directly into the gorge to the milky whitish on a moonlit night – as said a trek journey like no other!
You walk on a frozen river called the “Zanskar”. The frozen Zanskar river served and still serves as the traditional and only way of connecting between Leh and Zanskar for the locals in the harsh winter months of January and February. It’s being used by the locals for centuries. It is also the only frozen river in the world to attempt trekking.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Have a briefing session in the evening over tea where we share the entire details of the trek once again. Hydrate well today as it helps in acclimatization.
Walk around the Leh Market and pick up gum boots for Chadar and do some sightseeing today. Have lunch and get back to the accommodation in time. Some local cafes can also be explore. Wanderers also has a Cafe in the main market. Make sure not to exert too much though.
By the end of the Chadar season 2018, a new policy for the safety of trekkers was introduced by the J&K Govt. As per this policy each trekker has to visit the Sonam Norbhu Memorial Hospital and get a routine check-up done. On completion of this we sort the wildlife permits and permissions and head back to our accommodation and get ready for the next day to start.
Drive 75 kms of picturesque landscape along the river Indus. Once we reach we assemble for a short briefing and start the trek. Depending on the weather, the path will be decided on the way. After passing Shingra Koma, you reach the camp-site for the day at Sumdo/Gyalpo, where the tents have already been pitched by the porters. The Gyalpo Campsite is at a bend in the river, surrounded by high peaks and walls of rock-faces which almost look like man-made. All that is left to do is to soak in the views, have an early dinner and call it a day.
Post the briefing with the Trek Leaders start the trek for the next 13.5 kms. 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. At Tibb, there is a big cave. This cave is the dwelling of all the porters, and they welcome you warm-heartedly in here. Stay in tents at Tibb Cave campsite.
This day will be 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 colors 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 2 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.
Trek 12.5 kms retracing your steps to Hatong. Hatong is a few kilometers ahead of Tibb Cave and is a beautiful Camping locations with fewer trekkers camping in Hatong Campsite Campsite. By now the whole landscape would have changed. The Zanskar River reacts to the slightest change of temperature, and constantly keeps repackaging itself. The Chadar would have taken a completely new form and will it will almost be impossible to say whether you have been here before. Stay in tent.
Starting from Hatong, reach the road where the vehicles will be waiting for us. The high walls of mountains rising from the sides of the river almost look like castle walls. If you are lucky, you might spot a snow-leopard; but you can almost be sure that you are being watched by one all the time. Drive from here till Leh will take about 4 hours.