Chadar Frozen River Trek Tour detail, How to Reach Frozen River Chadar Trek, Best Time to Visit Frozen River Chadar Trek, Things to Carry for Frozen River Chadar Trek, Trek Preparation for Frozen River Chadar Trek.
Frozen River Chadar Trek
The traditional name of the trek is “Chadar trek” the frozen sheet, which was only way in and out for Zanskaris in winter when all other ways are closed due to heavy snow fall at high passes. Therefore, it had been trade route for centuries for Zanskari People. Now the route is also famous as winter trekking among adventure lovers. For last several years, we have been organizing this winter trek in three different options with trained local Zanskari potters and our well-experienced guide and staff.
Zanskar is like no place in India – it remains cut off from almost beginning of November till around June beginning [around 7-8 months in a year]; as of now it gets vehicular access only when the Pensi La opens up thus making the road journey from Padum and nearby places to Kargil possible and beyond then to Leh or Srinagar.
As such this region having an altitude of around 12,000 to 13,000 feet and covering an areas of 7000 sq km remain totally cut off. Zanskar river which takes it form onwards Padum after merging with its different tributaries flows in a north-easterly direction through the dramatic Zanskar gorge and merging with Indus river; the confluence being at Nimmu, just on the outskirts of Leh on the Leh-Kargil road.
The most isolated and made inaccessible for nearly eight months a year due to heavy snowfall resulting in closure of all the access passes, Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh, and thus one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. This geographical isolation together with the esoteric nature of Buddhism practiced here has enabled its some ten thousand inhabitants to preserve and perpetuate their cultural identity. This Chadar trek allows you to penetrate this isolation and to examine some of the villages along the Zanskar River in the midst of winter and thus catch a glimpse of the lifecycle during this unique time of the year. A visit to the ancient monastic establishments of Karsha and Zangla promises to heighten your insight into the mysteries of this Shangri-la, a land and culture frozen in time behind the ramparts of the Zanskar mountains. Chilling and Lingshed are the only sizeable villages on this trek until Hanamur and Pidmo before Pishu and Zangla in Zanskar, all the rest are names of places and caves along the route.
“CHADAR” refers to the 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!
Chadar Trek is one of the most thrilling & glamorous trek in the world. This trek is done in -15°C and -30°C which is one of the most challenging thing. You need to be mentally as well as physically prepared yourself to survive in such an atmosphere.
Your fitness is important although trek is not exhaustive. You need to cope up & be strong to handle such extreme weather conditions at this high altitudes. 3-4 kms of jogging or equivalent workout to this is required. Increase your stamina by doing it every day for 1-2 months. You need to increase you daily walk to make sure you do not strain yourself during trek. Additionally you can train yourself by avoiding hot water, warm clothes & blankets in your own city for couple of months before the trek. Plan the trek well in advance and start building your stamina, strength and lung capacity.
Acclimatization is important. You will get a day for this. Try and get acquainted with nature as much as you can. Avoid using heaters in room in Leh before the trek. Drink lot of Liquids (warm water, soup, tea) during trekking days. Embrace the climate & don’t just jump inside blankets. Soon the climate will become bearable & it would be fun.
Things to Carry for Frozen River Chadar Trek
- Duffel bag Down/synthetic camp booties
- Sunglasses, Light gloves
- Sleeping bag
- Flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
- One liter water bottles wide mouthed
- Trekking Boots
- Water purification/filter
- Camp shoes/sneakers
- Walking stick/Trekking pole
- Cotton socks
- Note book with pens and pencils
- Gore-Tex jacket
- Lip balm
- Light wind jacket Sunscreen / Moisturiser
- Down jacket/vest
- Camp towel/towel/sarong
- Fleece jacket/vest
- Personal toiletries
- Personal medicines
- Money pouch/belt
- Trekking pants
- Energy bars
- Thermal tops
- Vitamin tablets
- Thermal bottom
- Extra passport photos
- Warm hat and Bandana/scarf
- Sun hat/baseball cap
- Wind- and rain-gear with hood
- Swiss Army Knives (Classic pocket tool)
- One pair cotton trousers or shorts
- Two cotton shirts/T-Shirts One warmer (jacket with hood)
Best Time to Visit Frozen River Trek
January to February is the time when the upper layer of the Zanskar River freezes. The river looks like a sheet of ice; hence, it is referred in the local language as ‘chadar’.
How to Reach
During the winter season, it’s always impossible to reach Leh via roadways and railways’, thus traveling by air is the best choice. Airlines like Jet Airways, Air India, and Go Air provides daily flight service from Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar. Kushok Bakula Rimpochhe Airport, Leh’s airport, is one of the highest commercial airports in the world at 3,256 m.