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The Chadar Trek - Once in a Lifetime Experience

Date Saturday, 07 January 2017 05:24

Featuring a surreal backdrop of natural colours, the Chadar Trek is a winter trail like no other. Walking along the ice-clogged river lying between the mountains under the blue winter sky, passing through valleys, gorges, mountain caves and frozen waterfalls - this is one of the most popular treks of Indian Himalayas - one which is all about endurance, focus and fitness. Though the weather and terrain might shake your confidence, however surpass that and let this journey be the most enriching experience of your life.


Day 01: Fly to Leh  / Acclimatize / Team Introduction.

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 cozy guest house. 


Day 02: Drive To Tilad Sumda Via Chilling (4 hours drives )

Post breakfast drive to Tilat Sumdo and today’s drive and trek includes a very picturesque and thrilling long-drive to Chilling. The roller-coaster ride takes you along the Indus to the village of Nimu, where the Zanskar converges into Indus. After stopping at this confluence point to take in the view, the drive continues and the road begins descending right into the river valley. There are quite a few heart-stopping moments as the vehicle negotiates the steep hairpin bends over snow covered road. The road goes past Chilling to Tilad Sumda. Among these mammoth mountains, the feeling of insignificance of one’s being does not escape anyone. To reach the camp-site, you have to cross the frozen Zanskar; and this is when you take your first steps on the Chadar. It takes a while to get a hang of walking on the ice sheet. As the evening comes, our expedition team pitches tents on the banks of the Zanskar, and hands out thick warm sleeping bags. To get some exercise and keep warm, you can climb up the nearby mountains and get a good look at the frozen river. 


Day 03: Tilat Sumdo To Shingri Koma

Today is a long day, about 13 km, on the Chadar. Ladakh Expedition guide and 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 closely follow the trek lead. The locals, it appears, have a sixth sense as to where exactly to step on the Chadar. The kitchen team arranges the hot bowlfuls of soupy noodles for lunch. It is important to keep up a decent level of fluid intake after passing Shingra Koma, you reach the camp-site & settle down for the evening.


Day04:Shingri Koma to Tibb   

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 14 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. These caves are the dwelling of all the porters, and they welcome you whole-heartedly in there.



Day 05 : Tibb to Nyerak Falls 

Today is the most spectacular of all days on this trek. Walking on the river you cross deep gorges and reach a point where the porters give you a twig of a 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 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 06 : Nyerak Falls to Tibb 

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 woolen 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. 


Day 07: Tibb to Shingri Koma 

Starting from Tibb, go up to Tsomo (bao) 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 08: Shingri Koma to Tilat Sumdo

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 Zankar & the support. We will drive to Leh , where we shall have a small celebration. Return to civilization bring with it the creature comforts we are used to , a bed & hot water shower awaits. Dinner & O/n at Leh Guest House.


Day 09: Leh Departure. 

As this unforgettable adventure 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 beautiful feeling– one of having undertaken and endured an extraordinary and challenging trek. 


  • Accommodation in Lodge in Leh / Tents while on Trek on Twin Sharing Basis 
  • Experienced Trek Lead with Support Staff 
  • Separate Dining & Kitchen Tent along with Separate Toilet Tents for Male & Female Guests 
  • High Quality Tents with Sleeping Bags & Gumboots
  • 01 Designated Porter Per Trekker
  • Hot water bags
  • First aid assistance if required.
  • All Meal (Veg & Egg) 
  • All transfers & sightseeing as per the itinerary in non ac vehicle appropriately sized.
  • International and/or domestic flights and airport taxes 
  • Visas 
  • Porterage, tipping and gratuities to staff and guides 
  • Drinks, laundry, telephones, festive supplements and all other personal extras 
  • Any sightseeing not mentioned on the program 
  • International travel and medical insurance  

Hotels used

Hotel  Holiday Ladakh / Similar