Chadar Trek 2022 – The Chadar Frozen River Trek

Chadar trek map

Chadar Trek

The exciting and adventurous Chadar Trek in Ladakh is a dream trek for most nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. This awe-inspiring Chadar trek on the frozen river of Zanskar is a thrilling adventure experience of a lifetime.

Chadar trek trail

The road to the Zanskar valley gets blocked by the heavy snowfall in the winter, and the villages of Zanskar get isolated from the rest of Ladakh. The Zanskar river, which gets frozen during the month of December, creates a trail of thick ice sheets. This trail is the only way that connects the villages of Zanskar to the other places of Ladakh. The trail for the Chadar trek on the frozen Zanskar river gets thick enough in the month of January for the trekkers to walk on.

The above map shows the trail of the Chadar trek through Nerak, Tibb cave, and Gyalpo. So, in the Chadar trek, the trekkers walk on thick ice sheets formed on the river Zanskar. In March, the trail of the frozen river trek starts melting, due to which the Chadar trek can not be done. So, the month of January and February is the only two months for the Chadar trek when the trekkers walk on the frozen river of Zanskar.

An adventurous trek

The majestic view of the mountains covered with snow, the frozen river, and the ice over the lake are the biggest attractions for the people visiting this place. And one glimpse of this enchanting place is more likely than not to entice you to embrace the breathtaking experience of a lifetime.

Chadar trek is known for both its spiritual and physical aspects. The route crossing over the Zanskar River is known for its vast sums of snowfall. However, the journey is not without its dangers. The travel can be both exhilarating and adventurous as you will often encounter breaking ice and jolting mountains to traverse across this vast land.

To enjoy every single moment of Chadar Trek without any problems, you need an agent who would arrange your tour. And that’s exactly what we do for our Chadar trekkers in Ladakh. So, pack your bag back and get ready for this adventure-filling experience of the Chadar trek on the frozen river of Zanskar.

Chadar trek Ladakh

Overview

Location: Zanskar River (frozen) in Ladakh
Trekking Time: January and February
Duration: 8 days
Trekking Distance: 62 Km
Difficulty Level: High
Altitude: 11,000 Feet

Temperature: -5°C to -30°C
Camps: Leh (Base-camp), Gyalpo, Tibb cave, Naerak camp.


Itinerary:

Day 1: Leh Arrival-Base Camp
  • Fly to Leh
  • The destination airport is Kushok Bakula Leh Airport.
  • Temperature in Leh: -5°C to -15°C
  • Night Stay would be at Leh Hotel.
  • The road to Leh from Srinagar and Manali usually gets blocked by the end of November. So, you need to travel by air. You’ll be landing at the Leh airport.
  • The temperature in Leh would be around -5°C to -15°C. Before you deboarded the plane at Leh airport, make sure you are wearing enough warm clothes. Keep your heavy winter jacket, woolen gloves, and woolen cap easily accessible with you in your hand baggage to wear before leaving the plane.
  • Your hotel booking would be in Leh. Complete your check-in procedures at the hotel. After breakfast, you need to rest for few hours for acclimatization. As you have traveled from a lower altitude to a very high altitude place, acclimatization is very important. After taking a nap, in the late afternoon, you can visit Leh market.
  • Carry enough warm clothes with you, as the month of January and February is extremely cold in Leh with a freezing temperature beyond -15°C at some point.
  • You may also experience heavy snowfall during this time. So, make sure you are wearing enough warm clothes and have enough rest to acclimatize to the harsh weather at a very high altitude. And drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated, which helps your body to regulate temperature and acclimatize faster. 


Day 2: Leh Base Camp – Acclimatisation

• Acclimatization Day
• Sightseeing

  • While enduring extreme cold weather and maintaining high altitude differences, Trekking is a challenging task your body has to accomplish. So, your body needs to acclimatize properly and get ready for the Chadar trek ahead. And the process of acclimatization for your body would take some time.
  • Many tourists faced health issues caused by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) due to lack of acclimatization. So, DM (District Magistrate) of Leh Ladakh issued a standard operating procedure which is mandatory to comply with if you want to go for the Chadar trek.
  • As per the standard operating procedure, you need to acclimatize for the first three nights and then start the Chadar trek on day 4.
  • So, in the meantime, you can visit the surrounding places of Leh. You can discuss the day plan with us and book a taxi to visit a few nearby places.
  • As body acclimatization is still in progress, you should not travel long distances or visit higher altitude places.

Day 3: Leh Base Camp – Fitness test:
  • Fitness test at designated medical camp between 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Obtaining permit to continue the Chadar trek
  • Completing Insurance formalities if you get the permit for Chadar trek
  • Refund/Ladakh winter tour; if you are deemed unfit for the Chadar trek.
  • Thank you for your patience and persistent efforts to acclimatize faster. Today your efforts would be finally rewarded.
  • As per the SOP issued by the DM of Leh Ladakh, you are supposed to undergo a medical examination to make sure you are fit enough to pursue the Chadar trek.
  • And if you have complied with the instructions for acclimatization, chances are very high that you would be qualified to continue the Chadar trek.
  • The permit will be issued by the officials at the tourist information center (opposite to JK bank main branch)
  • After obtaining the permit, we will complete the insurance formalities.
  • However, you can’t continue the Chadar trek in unlucky circumstances if you are denied of permit (very rare chances).
  • But don’t worry, we are always there for you to help. You can ask for a refund, or there are many other places in Ladakh where you can travel in winter. And you would definitely enjoy it a lot by walking on the frozen lakes, or the great scenery of majestic mountains covered with snow blankets, and much more. So, discuss the itinerary with us, and we will plan a mind-blowing tour of Ladakh. If the amount of the Chadar trek would cover the charges of the trip, then you don’t have to pay anything. Otherwise, you have to pay the extra charges.

Day 4: Chadar Trek; First day of trekking:
  • Travel to Shingra Yokma (70km) after the breakfast
  • Sightseeing on the way
  • Trek to Gyalpo/Tsomo Paldar (3km) by walking on the frozen river of Zanskar.
  • First Night of camping at Gyalpo/Tsomo Paldar
  • Finally, the day is here; today is the first day you would walk on the frozen river of Zanskar.
  • To start the Chadar trek, you need to travel to Shingra Yokma, which is around 70km away from Leh. It would take around two hours to arrive, but you will make few stops for sightseeing.
  • Some of the famous tourist attractions you will visit on the way are the Hall of fame, Sangam-the confluence of the Indus & Zanskar river, Magnetic hill, Gurudwara Pather Sahib, and more.
  • After the sightseeing, you will be heading towards the beginning point of the frozen river trek, which is Shingra Yokma.
  • Time to put on your gumboots/trekking shoes and start the walk on the frozen river of Zanskar.
  • If you are walking on a frozen surface of water for the first time, you will find it a little challenging. And the gumboot would make this walk more thrilling and wonderful.
  • You would need your walking stick on the first day of the Chadar trek. But later, you would be comfortable enough to walk on the frozen river of Zanskar without a stick.
  • The distance you will cover would be around 3 km, and it would take around 2 hours to arrive at the first campsite at Tsomo Paldar.
  • After walking for a while on the frozen surface of the river Zanskar, you would start enjoying it a lot.
  • You will find a range of different kinds of surfaces on the Chadar trek. Some surfaces are very thick to carry enough weight, and some surfaces are fragile, ready to break. While following your guide and your mates, you’ll also start to learn how to judge the fragile surfaces from the stronger ones.
  • After completing the first day of the Chadar trek, you will arrive at your first campsite in Tsomo Paldar.
  • Congratulations, you have just proved that you can do it.
  • Enjoy the first-night camping at Tsomo Paldar.

Day 5: Tibb Cave – 6 to 7 hours
  • Trek to Tibb Cave
  • 15km to cover in 6 to 7 hours
  • Lunch will be served on the way to Tibb Cave
  • Night Camping Around the Tibb Cave
  • After spending the first night camping, you would find the next morning very exciting. Enjoy a hot breakfast on a very cold morning.
  • As you are acclimatized properly and trained fully yesterday, now you are ready for the long trekking of today (15 km).
  • Today you will witness mind-blowing sceneries on the way to Tibb cave. The enchanting view of the waterfalls and the flowing river with sparkling rocks (reflecting sunlight) around. And the giant mountains of different sizes covered in snow blankets would offer a wonderful view. The most beautiful scenery of this trekking would be the waterfalls which come in the way.
  • For the first time after visiting Ladakh, you will feel starving after a long walk. A hot lunch around the cold frozen river would be served. After having lunch, you will continue the walk with a few small stops.
  • After covering around 15 km, you will finally arrive at Tibb cave.
  • Night camping would be around the Tibb cave. It’s a beautiful place of sand and small stones beside the river.

Day 6: Nerak – 6 to 7 hours
  • Trek towards Nerak after breakfast
  • 13km to cover in 6 to 7 hours
  • Lunch will be served on the way to Nerak
  • Night camping around Nerak
  • After breakfast, the trek would continue towards Nerak.
  • Lunch would be served on the way.
  • Nerak is the last post of the Chadar trek.
  • At Nerak, you are going to witness the most beautiful waterfall with unique features you have ever seen.
  • Tonight you would witness the coldest temperature of your life, which you heard only in the news. It’s the coldest time of the year in Nerak, and the temperature goes as low as -30°C around Nyerak village. And the heavy snowfall blocks the road to these areas, isolating Zanskar from the rest of Ladakh. And you have accomplished a marvelous task of penetrating this isolation, bravo.
  • If time allows, you can visit the Nerak village. Visiting this area would give you a chance to catch a glimpse of the challenging life endured by the people of Zanskar throughout this distinctive time of the year.
  • Night camping at Nerak.

Day 7: Return to Tibb Cave – 5 to 6 hours
  • Return from Nerak to Tibb cave
  • 13km to cover in 6 to 7 hours
  • Lunch will be served on the way to Tibb Cave
  • Night camping around Tibb Cave
  • Well done, you are a pro now and a trained walker of frozen surfaces.
  • Have a nice and hot breakfast, and then you will start returning to Tibb Cave. Hot delicious lunch around the cold frozen river would be served on the way to Tibb Cave.
  • You have covered all the trails of the Chadar trek and endured the weather harshness at its extreme point. But, don’t take the trek lightly from now on, assuming it, as only a trail you have already completed trekking. Be careful and cautious, as you can never predict the weather of these areas.
  • Night camping at Tibb Cave.

Day 8: Return to Leh – 7 to 8 hours
  • Return from Tibb cave to Shingra Yokma
  • 18km to cover in 7 to 8 hours trekking
  • Drive back to Leh from Shingra Yokma
  • Night stay at Leh Hotel
  • After breakfast, the last day of trekking would start from Tibb cave. Today you will cover a distance of around 18km trekking to arrive at Shingra Yokma.
  • Bravo, you have done an incredible job completing the challenging Chadar trek. You are a pro now, and you have really earned it.
  • Make sure you have taken pictures and recorded a few parts of trekking to show your family and friends.
  • From Shingra Yokma, you will drive back to Leh. If your flight is on the next day, you should buy some souvenirs for your friends and family. If your flight is a day later, you should rest today and visit Leh market the next day.
  • The hotel at Leh would be cozy enough to keep you warm tonight after few nights of enduring extreme cold weather.
  • Celebrate your achievement, have dinner, and rest for the night.

Chadar trek trail

Inclusions:

  • Accommodations: 4 nights in Leh, 4 Nights in Camps on a double or triple sharing basis.
  • Transportation: From Leh to Chadar trek vehicle-accessible point. Return to Leh after Chadar trek.
  • Meals: All meals (Vegetarian) during the Chadar trek on the frozen river.
  • Trek equipment: Sleeping bag, mattress, kitchen & dining tent, utensils, tent, and toilet tent
  • Permit for the Chadar trek 2022
  • Qualified guide certified for Chadar trek and support staff.
  • First Aid Medical Kits
  • Oxygen Cylinders

Cancellation Policy for Chadar trek 2022
  • Transfer of a booking can be done (for the same dates) without extra charges.
  • Suppose you want to cancel 24 days before the start date of the Chadar trek. Then you will get a 90% refund, no question asked. Also, you can opt for a special coupon for the next year (2023) of the Chadar trek. The coupon can be used by anyone approved by you for the Chadar trek. However, the coupon holder has to pay the difference if the rates go higher next year.
  • If cancellations are made within 14-24 days before the Chadar trek, you will get a 70% refund. Or you can choose any other date for the chadar trek 2022.
  • Suppose you want to cancel 14-10 days before the start date of the Chadar trek 2022. Then you will get a 50% refund. After that no refund, but you can transfer it to anyone else (for the same dates).

Things to do after you have booked your Chadar trek with us:

  • Book your flight tickets to Leh as per the Itinerary. And book the return ticket to your hometown two days after the Chadar trek ends. If the Chadar trek ends today, your flight should be the day after tomorrow to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances.
  • Don’t forget to inform your family and friends about the dates and the location of the Chadar trek; in case of any emergency during the trek, you might need them.
  • Keep your documents in order.
  • If you haven’t brought your first aid kit from your hometown, buy it in Leh before going for the Chadar trek as there are no shops/chemists around the trekking area.
  • After getting the permit for the trek in Leh, show your trekking backpack to our expert guide; they will guide you on what to pack and how. Also, show them the clothing and gears you are planning to wear on the trek.

Packing list for the Chadar trek:

The famous Chadar trek in Ladakh is highly adventurous yet demanding because you need to consider all of the requirements of the Chadar trek. From basic personal equipment to the emergency kit, you need to ensure you are well equipped before you commence your journey.

The gear includes some-what basic equipment which will allow you to reach Chadar in safety and security. You will be required to carry an emergency and overnight kit along with yourself. Understanding the local weather condition and adhering to them makes the Chadar Trek a safe and successful journey. Winter is coming, and you are going to challenge it, so get prepared… as you are going to challenge the harshest winter of India at -30°C.

Given below is a comprehensive packing list for the upcoming Chadar trek

Weight restrictions for flights to Leh:

Before starting to pack your bags, keep in mind the weight restriction policies of the flights flying to Leh. Air India allows 30 kg per person. So, check with your airlines to confirm the allowable weight that you can carry to Leh Ladakh.

Dividing the bags

You should carry at least two bags—the main bag to carry on the Chadar trek and an additional bag. In the base camp Leh, you should divide your luggage into the trek and non-trek items. In the rucksack, you should carry all the trek items, and the rest of the items should be stored in another bag.

Backpack for the Chadar trek (55 – 65 L)

Choosing the right backpack. All of your trekking gear and clothes should fit in the backpack. So choose a backpack with a capacity of around 60 liters. Make sure the shoulder straps are comfortable enough with the supporting frames, as you have to trek for around 60km carrying the bag. Choose a backpack made from rugged, waterproof material to keep everything dry. Avoid backpacks with fancy handles and wheels, as these make the backpack harder for porters and mules to carry.

You can also hire a porter from us to carry those heavy bags for you. But you need to inform us at least 15 days in advance.

Carry these items to reduce the risk of getting infected.
  • Masks
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Disinfectant wipes/spray
  • Tissues / Napkins
  • Extra towels
Documents to carry:
  • A photo ID proof like driving license, voter ID, passport. ID proof would be required at the airport and the hotel. Also, the ID proof would be required to make the permit for the Chadar trek.
  • 4 Passport size photos to make the permit and insurance.
  • A medical certificate of your fitness for the trek. The medical certificate should be from a recognized doctor.
  • Indemnity certificate
Packing items to wear on the Chadar trek:
  • Gumboot: Experts recommend gumboot to be better than any other trekking shoes for the Chadar trek. At some point, you might have to walk in knee-deep cold water. The wet hiking shoes, socks, and pants will instantly freeze and won’t dry in the freezing cold temperature of Zanskar. So, gumboots are the best solution during situations like these to keep your feet and shoes dry. At the start, you will find it a little harder to walk comfortably on ice in those heavy gumboots. But soon, when you learn the expert way of “penguin walk” on the ice, and you will enjoy the walk on the frozen river of Zanskar.
  • Hiking Shoes: A pair of good-quality (and waterproof) hiking shoes with a sole that would not slip on the glossy ice of the frozen Zanskar river. Avoid shoes with a smooth flat sole and heels. Shoes with plastic and leather-sole tend to be the worst for walking on ice. While purchasing the hiking shoes, make sure that it fits properly after you wear heavy woolen socks.
  • Track pants: Carry 2 pairs of synthetic track pants.
  • T-Shirts: Carry 2 full sleeve tees with collar.
  • Inner thermals 3-4 pairs. Wear two layers at a time.
  • Winter jacket/feather jacket
  • A waterproof wind protector
  • Cap: 2 woolen monkey caps that can cover the ears too.
  • Socks: 2 pairs of sports socks and 2 pairs of woolen socks.
  • Gloves: Woollen gloves + synthetic glove (waterproof).
  • Muffler: A woolen headscarf or muffler.
  • Sunglasses with 100% UV protection to protect your eyes from sunlight and the reflections of snow. The clean snow on the way reflects most of the sunlight, creating a white appearance, which would be harsh for your eyes. Therefore, sunglasses are mandatory for the Chadar trek. And if you wear spectacles, you can wear contact lenses, so that you can wear sunglasses. Also, a photochromatic spectacle may be a good option if you don’t want to wear contact lenses. But at any cost, if you want to wear your specs, then buy bigger size sunglasses to fit them above your spectacles.
Toiletries and skin care to pack for the Chadar trek.
  • Shampoo, face wash, soap, Toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, and toilet paper should continuously be within your quick access during the whole trip.
  • Deodorant, Razor and shaving cream
  • Chapstick or lip balm and cold cream
  • Cold cream
  • Sunscreen lotion (SPF 40+).
Few other important thing to put on your packing list for the trekking.
  • Hot water bottle
  • A thermos to carry hot water while trekking
  • If you feel cold much more than others, you can carry exothermic warming pads.
  • Trekking pole: It is mandatory for walking aid on the ice, and also, you can check the ice to be strong enough to walk on.
  • Towel 2-3 small sizes microfiber towels with quick-drying features.
  • 2 Water bottles (1 L each). Insulated water bottles are a better option. Also, normal water bottles can do the job.
  • Non-prescription medicines kit: You must consider keeping all the basic medication that should keep you safe from potential common medical issues. For instance, you must have remedial medicine for headaches, stomach issues, cold & fever, band-aids for skin cuts, and any other medication you think you might need for yourself. You can slip and fall many times during the Chadar trek, as the ice would be very slippery, but slipping on ice won’t hurt you much, and you won’t need any medication for that. A bandaid will do the job if there is some minor skin injury.
  • LED headlamp with extra batteries
  • Small repair kit consisting of safety pins, needle, thread, and string (very important).
  • Plastic bags: For wet clothes and to carry waste items to dump it later in a trash bin.
  • Camera: The camera is a must-have item on the Chadar trek if you are interested in taking pictures. When you would be walking on the frozen river, you will find breathtaking attractions, and you would definitely want to capture the moment. So, don’t forget this ‘magical capturing moment device’ and its charger.
  • Mobile phone and the charger: Cell phone is now a part of our lives, so, obviously, you won’t forget it. But still, write it in your checklist to check before leaving. The batteries of your phone can be consumed rapidly in the extremely cold weather of Zanskar. So, try keeping your devices warm.
  • A waterproof case for your mobile
  • Power bank: Keep your power bank ready with the other things to carry on the Chadar trek, as there would be a lot of power cuts in Leh. And there won’t be any power connection in the camps. So, carrying the power bank is very important to charge your phone. Your phone batteries can be consumed at a very rapid pace by the extreme temperature (-30°C) around the frozen Zanskar river. So, make sure that your phone is not out of power in Leh Ladakh. Always keep your power bank with you to prevent your phone from getting out of battery.
  • Watch with alarm (if the mobile battery goes out of power).
  • SIM: As of now, postpaid SIMs of BSNL, Airtel, and Jio are functional in Ladakh for roaming service. The signal for BSNL is better than Airtel and Jio. Internet speed is good in the main Leh area, but in remote areas like Zanskar, the signals would be very weak or no signal at all. We highly recommend subscribing to a BSNL post-paid SIM to use it on the Chadar trek.
You can also carry these items (Not very important)

Journal
Pen
Book/Novel
Small binoculars

After packing your trek backpack, measure the weight. It should be below 10 kg if you intend to carry it yourself.



Things to avoid:

  • Do not carry non-essential items, as you have to walk 62 km in the ice of the frozen Zanskar river during your Chadar trek. So, make your backpack lighter.
  • Denim or jeans – not suitable for the Chadar trek
  • Junkfood, juice, etc. – Don’t carry too many of these items. Instead, carry snacks with high-fat like chocolate, nuts, etc.
  • Don’t carry any disposable plastic bottles like (Bisleri, Aquafina), plastic wrapped/packaged items.
  • Do not bring any non-biodegradable material.
  • Carry a garbage bag with you to carry the leftovers. The Chadar trek area is an eco-friendly zone, so don’t dump trash there.
  • During the trek, you will come across a few waterfalls, don’t use soaps and shampoos as local inhabitants of these areas drink this water. And the chemicals in these shampoos and soaps would contaminate the water.
  • You will see a lot of local inhabitants and Lamas (monks) during the trekking. Don’t stare a lot, mock or pinpoint them, as they won’t like it.

Tips on keeping yourself warm during the trek.

  • The temperature on this trek can go as low as -30°C, so try keeping yourself as warm as possible. Wear 2 layers of thermal sets, a heavy winter jacket, and a waterproof wind protector on the top.
  • Wearing enough clothes is very important, but those clothes don’t produce heat; they just trap the heat produced by your body. So, keep moving or doing something during the trek to make your body produce heat all the time. When you stop for more than a few minutes, wear the windshield jacket to prevent the body from rapidly cooling off.
  • Dressing in layers is found very effective in the extremely cold weather of the Chadar trek. The air trapped between each layer will hold your body heat. Plus, layers would help your body to regulate the body heat better and avoid sweating too much. Also, don’t forget to wear a good sweat absorbent undershirt.
  • Make sure that the warm thermal layer underneath your clothes fits snugly against your body so that your body heat would trap properly in them.
  • Walk-in a slow and steady pace like the other trekkers of Chadar. Otherwise, you would sweat and damp your clothes. And wet clothes conduct heat away from your body.
  • Sometimes, it would be windy in the freezing cold temperature of the Chadar trek, so you need to wear a waterproof windshield layer of fleece. It would prevent your body from cooling down. Please make sure the fleece is breathable, or it has a working zipper at the front to open it when it’s not windy.
  • Fill your thermos with hot water and add sugar to it every morning before you start trekking. The weather conditions during the Chadar trek would be very cold and dry, which would make your body dehydrate more quickly than you realize. So, drink the hot water frequently during the trek.
  • Keep the hot water bottle in your sleeping bag to keep you warm during the camp night.
  • Make sure to keep your finger and toes warm. If your finger and toes get cold too quickly, it might get swelling which can cause irritation and pain. So, carry two pairs of woolen gloves and socks during the trek. When your finger or toes gets cold, take off the gloves or socks you are wearing. Now, warm your fingers or toes and wear another pair of gloves or socks. Similarly, if your warm cap gets damp by sweating, remove it and wear the spare one.
  • Put exothermic pads in your socks and gloves; it would release heat and keep you warm for up to 8 hours.
  • Eat chocolates, nuts, and other snacks with high-fat, calories, and protein. It will keep generating heat in your body, which would keep you warm.
  • Please don’t sit on the ice of the frozen river of Zanskar, as it will conduct the heat from your body. Instead, sit on the rucksack/backpack.
  • Please don’t drink alcohol during the night camps of the trek, thinking it will warm your body. Alcohol will make you feel warmer, but it doesn’t actually keep you warm. Instead, drinking alcohol lowers the core temperature of your body.

Are you fit enough to go on the Chadar trek?

If you are fit enough, with high levels of stamina and strength, then only you should go for the trek. If you have any health issues, consult your doctor.

How to know whether you are fit enough for the trek?

  • If you are an experienced trekker with no recent health problems, then you are ready for the trek.
  • Your stamina must be good enough to cover 5 km of distance in 45 minutes without stress.
  • You should be strong enough to carry a 10 kg backpack on a trek of 6-7 hours.
  • Don’t go on the trek if you have health complications like heart problems, asthma, high blood pressure, epilepsy, etc.

Tips on preparing yourself for the Chadar trek:

As mentioned earlier, the Chadar trek is a challenging trek that demands great fitness and prior trekking experience. The weather involved is freezing, and you have to walk on ice. But with the right attitude and perseverance, you can train yourself and get fit for the trek.
So, start training yourself and get your body fitter each passing day. The more you train for the Chadar trek, the easier it will be.

  • Prepare your mind for the extreme weather you have to endure on the Chadar trek. Keep reading and watch videos about the Chadar trek regularly to prepare yourself mentally for the upcoming trek.
  • You have to walk for 6 to 7 hours a day for 3 days on the Chadar trek. So, the best way to prepare for a really long walk is to do some long walks. Start with short distances and keep increasing the duration of the walk. You should be able to walk 6 hours comfortably.
  • Walk up the stairs to strengthen your legs and to build stamina.
  • To prevent acute mountain sickness, you should know about its symptoms, prevention, and treatment. So, start reading about it.
  • Train with a backpack. You are carrying a backpack of 10kg on the trek. So, start training with a 5kg bag and then keep increasing the weight until it reaches 10kg.

An Amazing Trek To Explore The Beautiful Valleys:

Chadar Trek is a dream trek for many adventure seekers who want to have an awe-inspiring trek in Ladakh. The frozen Zanskar trail has immense natural beauty and charm. And the surreal experience on this trail leads the trekkers to cherish the moment of a lifetime. The amazing and fascinating nature of the Zanskar gives you a feeling of freedom and makes the journey on this trail amazing. This place, with its unforgettable experience, has been a unique destination for travelers for ages.

The scenic wonderous frozen Chadar trail superbly winds its way amidst lofty mountains, deep valleys, and surging rivers. This forbidding, however, is a pilgrimage of the brave. It is an arduous trek that goes hand in hand with great peril. And It’s a trek to be proud of, with sheer beauty and tranquility, undiminished by clouds of altitude and luring to the heights of mountain ridges abound. Get set for an experience that is here to stay unforgettable.


A wonderful beginning

Your journey to the wondrous and intriguing Zanskar Valley begins at Leh city, best known for its inexpensive accommodations, good restaurants, and central location. The airport is in Leh and around 7km far from the main Leh Bazaar. On your arrival to Leh, you would notice the great scenery this beautiful place has to offer. The majestic view of the mountains covered with snow, the floating ice on the great Indus river, and the ice over the lake are the biggest attractions for the people visiting this place. And one glimpse of this enchanting place is more likely than not to entice you to embrace the breathtaking experience of a lifetime.

Chadar Trek begins from Shingra Yokma. The walk on the frozen side of the river beside the magnificent flowing river – Zanskar River, which shimmers under the sun, makes the trek amazing. It inspires all travelers who come across with a passion for experiencing the astounding beauty that lies beyond the periphery of the human world.

The trail located offers the perfect balance between nature and spirituality, making it a well-renowned and visitor-intensive route. And as you walk across the beautiful and mesmerizing Zanskar River, you encounter great panoramas of the high-altitude valleys and isolated villages. And the awareness of spiritual values, the preservation of local culture, and prayer are often apparent as you get across the marvelous and mystical sunrise over the Zanskar.


The difficulty ahead

The trek on the frozen river of Zanskar is very thrilling and amazing. However, this trekking is not without its dangers. The travel can be both exhilarating and adventurous as often you will encounter breaking ice and jolting mountains in order to traverse across this vast land. The precarious sheet of ice crossing over the river blanks in and out is the most difficult passage, and some travelers even see the “ice smudges” as they slowly move in and out of the land. Thus trudging along the frozen Zanskar river during the Chadar trek is not an easy job, especially when the weather conditions are always unpredictable and you wither unsure what you are likely to see.

To envision your way through these dangerous and trying conditions, you will need an expert guide around you who will remain vigilant, careful, and will be able to predict the weather conditions, and will provide you the right types of equipment and instant support in case of any emergencies. So, don’t worry, we will provide you all with all requirements as mentioned.

The expedition is highly likely to be successful if the objectives are taken a little more seriously as, unlike other individual treks, it requires a great deal of planning to be well-paced. In case you are taking this trail independently, then the best bet is to be accompanied by a local guide who will step by step guide you through the trail and will take care of any emergencies. Contact us for an expert guide for your Chadar trek.


Helpful tips on how to trek on the frozen river of Zanskar:

When you walk on frozen lakes, it is important to be aware of the dangers that can happen around you. Icy and unpredictable conditions are something that you will have to weather if you are interested in visiting Chadar Trek. Trekking on the frozen river may seem like a fun and easy task, but It is true that you might face some dangers while trekking on the frozen river, but you can also rest assured that those dangers can be avoided if you know some tips about trekking safely on the ice. Here are some tips:

  • The first and most important thing you have to remember is not to trek alone on the frozen river. Always make sure to have the guide around you or at least one person close to you.
  • Stay alert at all times while walking on the ice. Don’t use a mobile phone while walking.
  • Move slowly and keep your hands free. Don’t keep your hands in your pocket.
  • Bend slightly forward and walk flat-footed; your center of gravity should be over your support leg.
  • You will encounter ice cracks in your way. Instead of trekking near this opening, you may opt to walk through the hips of ice towards the other side.
  • You should be wearing a pair of gumboots which does not have any holes or cuts in them. Make sure that your gumboots aren’t slippery, as these would make it easy for you to slip and fall once you start walking on the ice. This might seem strange, but flat-soled shoes are more likely to slip on the slippery ice than those with pointed toes.
  • Another thing that you should take into consideration before trekking on the frozen river floors is your weight and how much you are carrying with you as you walk across. So, carry the important things only and walk as lightweight as possible.
  • As you trek on the ice, you will also want to wear thick gloves so that if you slip and fall, you might slide a little, and your hand would get injured. Wearing thick gloves would protect your skin not only from the extreme cold but also from getting injured.
  • Also, it is a good idea for you to carry a first aid kit with you.
  • Ice is not your friend, so you must secure a good pair of ice clothing. Carry an extra set of clothes and keep them in a waterproof bag. So, that if you accidentally fall in the water, you have extra clothes to wear.
  • Maintain some distance while walking, as walking closely in a group might put a lot of pressure on the ice, and it may break.
  • Bend your back a little and head forward so that if you slip and fall on ice, it will avoid hitting your head against the ground.

How to know if the frozen surface is safe for trekking?

Seeking professional advice from the local guide will be of great help if you are planning to do a “Chadar trek” as paired with a professional guide, you will be able to evaluate the condition of the trail. You will mentally and physically prepare yourself against deterioration and mishaps.

Enlisted are precautions you need to take during Chadar Trek:

  • Always look out for routes with thick ice, for they are best for walking as they are less prone to breakages.
  • The thickness of ice should be 4 inches to make it safe for walking. However, the Zanskar river keeps flowing, making the thickness vary from time to time. So, if you have measured the thickness while going towards Nerak, you should measure the surface’s thickness again while returning.
  • If cracks appear below your feet, it’s advised to carefully place your trekking poles and move away from the danger zone.
  • Be careful if you feel a temperature rise in Zanskar that might impact the ice quality. If the sunshine is of high intensity in Zanskar, then temperatures will vary widely, weakening the ice during sunny days and refreeze at night. As a result, the ice formed at the side of the river would weaken and float away with water flow, making it difficult for you to return.
  • Avoid ice beneath the snow, as you can’t see if it’s thick enough or there are cracks. And the ice beneath the snow is often weak because of the insulating effect of snow which slows down the freezing process.
  • Newer formations of ice are stronger than the older ones, and clear ice is the newer ones, so walk more on clear ice than white ice.

Be vigilant and careful all the time as your safety lies in your hands.


Three types of Ice to avoid during the Chadar Trek

  1. White ice is formed by freezing wet snow, and it would not be strong enough to walk. Ice formed by snow has air pockets making it weak and prone to break.
  2. Grey ice is also weak to walk on, as the color grey shows the presence of water in it, which weakens its density. So, try to avoid grey ice too.
  3. Slush ice; the slush is a sign that ice is no longer freezing and might be melting. So, if you find slush on the ice, stay away from it. And if you find a lot of slush on the Chadar trek trails, inform the guide to know whether you should continue the trek.

What to do if the ice breaks and you fall in the water?

If you would be careful enough and follow the instructions properly, it’s very unlikely that you would fall in the water through the ice, but there is a chance that it may happen. That’s why it’s very important to know the tips and tricks recommended by the experts for these types of situations. So, what to do if the ice breaks while trekking on the frozen river and you fall in ice-cold water? Here’s what the Washington Post has to say on what to do if you fall into the water through the ice?

  • Stay calm: It’s natural that a person goes into shock in such a situation. But don’t let the shock of falling into the ice-cold water take over. Clearing your mind would make it easier to come out of the water.
  • Jacket to the rescue: Your heavy winter jacket would act as a buoy, and it won’t let you drown in the water.
  • Kick, and pull,” Gordon Giesbrecht, a professor at the University of Manitoba who studies hypothermia and is known as “Professor Popsicle,” told ABC News. “Put your arms on the ice, and just kick your legs, and just try to pull yourself along the ice.”
  • Stay horizontal: When you come out of the water, lie down horizontally on the ice. As the ice around the hole is weak, it might break again if you stand up too soon. “Roll away from the hole to keep your weight spread out,” the Minnesota guide advises.
  • Keep yourself warm: Get out of the wet clothes immediately, as it would start freezing instantly. Wear the extra set of clothes and drink something hot, and keep yourself warm.

How do I get to chadar Trek?

Located in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, the land of high passes and fair valleys, is one of the most beautiful and spectacular places in this world. However, the journey to this place is quite difficult as, during winter, it’s impossible to move around through the high passes, as the road to Ladakh gets blocked by the heavy snowfall. And if one wants to travel, you need to fly miles before you can reach your destination.

The ruthless weather conditions and deep snow can crush any dream of exploring this amazing exotic place in the winter, but what is an adventure without a challenge! Many Indian airlines like Go Air and Air India offer flights to the destination. However, be sure to make your final booking much before you need to go, as flights are sometimes fully booked in advance!

The beginning of the Chadar trek is from Shingra Yokma. To reach Shingra Yokma, you need to follow the given route:

  • Arrive, Leh
  • Get the permit for the Chadar trek in Leh
  • Book a Taxi in Leh to travel to Shingra Yokma
How to reach Leh?

You can reach Leh by plane or land. But the road to Leh would be closed during the months of November to April. And the time of the Chadar trek is January and February, which are the coldest months of the year with heavy snowfall, so the roads would be closed during the season of Chadar Trek. Read this blog post about how to reach Ladakh.

Flight to Kushok Bakula Leh Airport.

The airport of Ladakh is Kushok Bakula Airport, located in Leh. It is around 7 km far from the main Leh Bazaar. There are regular flights to Leh, including direct flights from cities such as Srinagar and Delhi. When the weather is fine, there would be no clouds, and you can enjoy the magnificent view of the Himalayas during your journey to Leh.

Due to the mountain breeze in the afternoon, all flights take off and land in the morning. This method is challenging because it is unidirectional and has high terrain towards the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport’s east end. So, the timings of your flight to Leh would be in the morning.

From these cities flight goes directly to Leh Airport with no stops:
  • Air India – Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar
  • SpiceJet – New Delhi
  • GoAir – Delhi, Mumbai, Srinagar
  • Jet Airways – New Delhi

If you live in one of the above cities, the flight to Leh would be direct from your city. Otherwise, you need to make stops in one of the above-mentioned cities to reach Leh for the Chadar trek.

From Airport to Leh city:

You will find a lot of cabs outside Leh Airport. When you leave the arrival terminal, you will find a taxi booking booth to your left, outside the terminal. You can also book a taxi from there to your hotel in Leh.

Taxi charges from Airport to Leh City:

Suv: ₹ 800/-
Van/Omni: ₹ 600/-

Leh to Shingra Yokma:

You can book a taxi to Shingra Yokma in Leh. If you are in a group of four or less, then you should book an SUV. And if you are in a huge group, you can book a tempo to arrive at Shingra Yokma for the Chadar trek. If you have booked your trek with us, we will provide you the transportation to arrive at Shingra Yokma for the Chadar trek.



An interesting fact about Chadar trek

The Chadar trek is an excellent winter trek through the frozen Zanskar River, which lies within the Indian union territory of Ladakh. It is now becoming more popular among foreign adventure tourists. But do you know that the Chadar trek was started as a necessity by the people of Zanskar?

The Valley of Zanskar gets isolated from the rest of Ladakh for around 6 months. And the trekking route is the only viable means of travel from Zanskar to other places in Ladakh. So, the local inhabitants used the route to get their basic supplies and sell utensils, goatskin, and yak butter for livelihood. And the route which they used became the Chadar trek trail. Now it’s an easy task for the locals of Zanskar to trek on the frozen Zanskar river, as for 6 months a year, this is the only route that connects Zanskar to the rest of Ladakh.

During your Chadar trek, you will notice a lot of local inhabitants in traditional wear. You would get surprised at how easily they can walk on the ice of the frozen Zanskar River.


Few of the benefits of Chadar trek:

There are a lot of benefits to going on the Chadar trek. Spending 18-20 hours trekking on the frozen river not only improves your health and stamina but also adapts you to extreme cold weather. And that’s not it; you would also develop some skills.

  • Softer skill development: Chadar trek can also benefit your management skills. You have to plan the trekking, set goals, and work as per schedule to stay with the trek group. All of these would make you not only punctual but also mentally strong.
  • Reduces Stress: Spending time around rivers and mountains with beautiful sceneries would be the most relaxing time of all, which would reduce your stress.
  • Social benefits: During the Chadar trek, you won’t be busy with many devices that give you a chance to interact with your group mates. Also, you would be helping, motivating, and encouraging each other to keep going. So, you will be able to bond with other members of the group, and you can make lifelong friends.
  • Less junk or other harmful foods: On the chadar trek, you won’t be eating snacks, drinking beverages, and other junk foods. Also, you would be eating a lot of healthy foods.

Frequently asked Questions:

Do you have qualified and certified guides for the Chadar trek?

Yes, all our guides are qualified and certified, and the government authorizes them to lead the Chadar trek. Not only have the guides completed their advanced mountaineering course, but they are well experienced for more than 10 years. We also have guides from Zanskar village, near the Chadar trek area, who lived there for more than 20 years and knew the place very well. A certified guide would accompany every group.

How many guides and staff per group?

All the groups would have at least one authorized guide and one local who knows all the routes of the Chadar trek area. The rest of the supporting staff are from the rescue team, cook, porter, helper, etc.

Chadar trek 2022 dates?

The Chadar trek in 2022 would start from the 10th of January 2022 to 7 February of February 2022. If there is any cancellation or changes in dates, the information would be updated accordingly.

How long is Chadar trek? Duration of Chadar trek?

You have to cover 62 km trekking on the frozen river of Zanskar. However, the duration of the whole trip would be 8 nights and 9 days. For the first 3 days, you have to stay in Leh to acclimatize, and on the fourth day, the trek on the frozen river would start. The duration and the camping locations during the Chadar trek is given below:

  • Night 1, 2, 3 – Leh base camp. The permit for the Chadar trek will only be issued if you spend the first three days at Leh. On day 3, after the fitness test, you will get the permit for trekking.
  • Night 4 – Gyalpo: On day four, the Chadar trek would start from Shingra Yokma to Gyalpo. Gyalpo is located at a bend in the Zanskar river. You would enjoy the great scenery of the river and the peaks and walls of rock faces that look human-made.
  • Night 5 – Tibb cave: Tibb cave is a wonderful place of sand and small stones. It’s a great place for night camping. The view of the majestic mountains from the Tibb cave looks amazing.
  • Night 6 – Nerak: – Nyerak is the last post of this trek. After Nyerak, you have to return from you came from.
  • Night 7 – Tibb cave: On day 8, you would be returning to Leh from the Tibb Cave. This would be the last day of your Chadar trek.
  • Night 8 – Leh

What’s would be the temperature during the Chadar Trek?

The temperature during the Chadar trek can vary from -5°C to -30°C. Chadar trek can only be done in the months of January and February. And these two months are the coldest months of Ladakh, with temperatures dropping below -30°C.

  • On the first day of your arrival to Leh, the temperature at daytime in Leh would be around -5°C to -10°C. The temperature during nighttime in Leh would be around -10°C to -15°C. So, for the first three days of your Chadar trek at base camp Leh, the temperature would vary from -5°C to -15°C.
  • The fourth day of your Chadar trek would be from Shingra Yokma to Gyalpo. The temperature during the daytime of the Chadar trek would be around -10°C to -15°C. And during the nighttime camping at Gyalpo, the temperature would be around -15°C to -20°C.
  • On day 5, the temperature during the daytime would be around -10°C to -20°C. And during the night camping at Tibb cave, the temperature would be around -15°C to -25°C. On the 6th day of the trek, the temperature would be around -10C to -20°C. The night camping at Nerak would be the coldest night of the whole trekking, where the temperature can drop to -30°C.
  • After day 6, you have to return from where you came from. So, the temperature would vary according to the places of trekking and camping as mentioned above.

Why is the Chadar trek difficult?

The trekking difficulty is a very common question that is asked by many tourists who are planning a Chadar trek in Ladakh. Many people think it’s walking on the ice sheets of the frozen river that makes this trekking difficult. But no, walking on the ice doesn’t make this trekking difficult, it can be dangerous, but if you follow the guidelines then, it’s actually fun.

So, what makes the Chadar trek difficult? The answer is straightforward… The extremely cold temperature of Ladakh and the Acute Mountain Sickness due to high altitude is what makes the Chadar trek difficult. The harsh weather of Ladakh and the extremely cold temperature can drop to -30°C. But if you read the information given above on how to stay warm and how to acclimatize properly, you can manage through the freezing cold temperature of Ladakh during the Chadar trek.

Is Chadar trek dangerous?

No, if you follow the guidelines properly, then it is completely safe. The dangers include during the trek are suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness and falling in water through the ice. To prevent yourself from acute mountain sickness, you need to acclimatize properly by taking a rest on the first day of arrival, keeping yourself warm enough, staying hydrated, etc. The details about how to acclimatize properly and how to walk on the ice are given on this page; please read it before going on the Chadar trek.

Is Chadar trek for beginners?

Yes, as a beginner, you can go for the Chadar trek, given that you are physically fit for it. If you have a medical condition, you should consult a doctor to confirm whether you can go for the Chadar trek or not. Also, you should follow all the guidelines not to face any problems during the Chadar trek. This page consists of all the information about the Chadar trek, and the information is given by trekking guides of the Chadar trek who are experts in this field. So, read all the information given on this page before going for the Chadar trek.

Can Chadar trek be done solo?

No, the Chadar trek cannot be done solo. You need to be accompanied by an accredited guide. You can book your Chadar trek with us; we will include you in a group accompanied by a guide.

How much cash we need to carry with us during the trek?

It is important that you need to keep some cash for emergencies. However, don’t carry too much cash from your home town. You will find ATMs in Leh to withdraw the needed cash. Our guides in Leh would tell you what to carry and how much. So, it would be best if you ask our guides a day before the Chadar trek to know the cash amount carry with you.

Can we smoke or drink alcohol during the trek?

Smoking and drinking at a high-altitude place like Ladakh would harm your body. And it would make it difficult for your body to acclimatize properly. Also, there were few cases when the trekker suffered from acute mountain sickness due to smoking and won’t be able to continue with the trek. So, we strongly recommend not to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.

Do we need a trekking pole/walking stick while walking on the frozen river?

Yes, you would need a trekking pole if you are a beginner. However, if you are an expert in walking on ice without the help of a trekking pole, then you won’t need one.

What are the group sizes? How many trekkers are there in one group?

Usually, the least number of people in a group is 8. And the highest number is 22 people per group. However, if you have a group that wants a customized trek, we can arrange the same for you even if the number of people is lesser.

Do girls go on Chadar trek. Is it safe?

Yes, a lot of girls participate in the Chadar trek with us every year. It’s our top priority to provide a safe environment for the girls participating in the trek. Tents and rooms for girls and boys are separate.

Toilet facility during camping?

Toilet tents would be there at every campsite.

How to get hot water to drink while trekking?

Hot boiled water would be provided at the campsite. It is recommended to carry chlorine tablets to use with the boiled water. Also, don’t forget to carry boiled water every morning before you start trekking.

What medical facilities are provided during the trek?

All the needed equipment like oxygen cylinders, stretchers, first aid kits and more, would be available during the trekking. And don’t worry, our trekking guides are certified for first aid medicines.

Can we stay in the caves?

There are few caves with limited seats, so, if you book early we can look for the availability of a cave.

Will there be bonfires during the Chadar trek?

No, a bonfire is not possible, given the weather condition and the non-availability of wood.

What is the emergency evacuation plan?

If someone falls sick and requires medical attention, the support team would take the patient to Leh. The support backup team would always be there to attend to any medical emergency.

Where is the Chadar trek frozen river?

The Chadar trek frozen river is the Zanskar river which gets frozen during the winter, and the ice sheets get thick enough in January for the Chadar trek.




Please read the World health organization’s travel advice, before traveling anywhere.

Read Indian Government travel guidelines.

Prepare for the adventurous CHADAR TREK