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.
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.
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.
Location: Zanskar River (frozen) in Ladakh
Trekking Time: January and February
Duration: 8 Nights / 9 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.
Hotels in Leh: The White Yak, Mandalchan Hotel, Welkin High or other same category hotels.
• Acclimatization Day
Inclusions and Cancellation policy for Chadar trek 2023 booking
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. 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
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.
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.
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.
After packing your trek backpack, measure the weight. It should be below 10 kg if you intend to carry it yourself.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
When you walk on frozen river, 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:
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:
Be vigilant and careful all the time as your safety lies in your hands.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Suv: ₹ 800/-
Van/Omni: ₹ 600/-
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Chadar trek in 2023 would start from the 7th of January 2023 to 12th of February 2023. If there is any cancellation or changes in dates, the information would be updated accordingly.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 tents would be there at every campsite.
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.
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.
There are few caves with limited seats, so, if you book early we can look for the availability of a cave.
No, a bonfire is not possible, given the weather condition and the non-availability of wood.
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.
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.
Sam K. Pandepa is a travel enthusiast and right from the early years, he had a thirst for adventure. he likes to explore and document new places, trek in the mountains, and share his travel experiences with other travel enthusiasts. His vision is to explore and document new trails, hike in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking. He loves sharing his Himalayan experiences and motivating people with his travel stories. When not traveling, he likes to spend time with like-minded travel enthusiasts and read books on travel and mountaineering.