Chadar Trek

(Chadar Trek 21,500/- INR and 3.75 % service tax extra)Book Now

Chadar is considered as one of the most exciting and unique terrains


Chadar is considered as one of the most exciting and unique terrains, as it involves trekking on a shiny, slippery ice sheet on the bank of the Tsarap River. You can notice the water gurgling below your feet as you walk on the frozen blanket of the river. This trek is very challenging as we tread through a deep gorge, walking on thin ice or on the banks, staying at night in caves – the adventure is as raw as it can get. The narrow valley filled with breathtaking views of ice peaks and beautiful thawing icicles will attract your gaze. During winter months when all roadways are closed due to snow, the resourceful Zanskaris came up with this innovative idea of treading over a frozen river to travel to and fro from their villages.

This act of survival during winters for the Zanskaris has been transformed into an adventure challenge over the years. The biggest catalyst to drive you to take up this challenge is that this trek will eventually be rendered obsolete once the road from Chiling to Padum is completed. The road will certainly be safe and more convenient than the river, but its completion will mark the end of an ancient local practice. We at Alpine Wanderers feel this factor should act as an impetus to experience this ultimate feat.

Chadar Trek Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Report to Leh

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. Try reaching Leh a day ahead of the actual trek day so that you can acclimatize your body to the altitude and also the sudden change in climate. Leh at 11,800 ft is higher than your entire trek. It is very cold out here, ensure you carry your woolens and stay warm. All the trekkers and a representative from Alpine Wanderers shall gather at a pre-notified hotel in the evening to discuss the itinerary in details, precautions to be taken and what to expect from the trek.

Day 2: Leh to Tilat Sumdo, Camp at Tilat Sumdo

We start our day early, leave the hotel after breakfast and take a private bus/jeep up until the Zanskar River which is around 65 km away. We drive on the Leh-Srinagar highway till Nimu, where the Indus meets the Zansakar – a spectacular confluence of rivers. At Nimu, we take the road heading left and drive up along the Zanskar. Spot the frozen sheets of ice or Chadar forming on the river already. An hour and a half more along the Zanskar brings you to Chilling. The road goes a few kilometres beyond Chilling. We will drive ahead until we can see the end of the road. This is where we leave the road and hit the Chadar. Take your first few steps on the Chadar carefully – getting a feel of the surface you are stepping on. The Chadar surface can be of various kinds – a coating of fresh powder snow, hard and shiny ice, a freshly formed Chadar that is weak and breaking, or another new texture. It is easy to walk on a fresh coating of snow as it provides a lot of traction. The Tilat Sumdo campsite comes within an hour of the trek. The locals on their journey through the Chadar tend to stay in caves. Tilat Sumdo will be our first experience of camping out in the freezing temperatures.

Day 3: Trek from Tilat Sumdo to Shingra Koma

We wake up with the sun at about 7:00 am and prepare to leave the campsite by 9:00 am. Though the sun is up, Tilat Sumdo like most parts of the Chadar gets direct sunlight only during mid-day. Another reason why the Chadar forms over the river and remains that way the entire season. The morning walk on the Chadar may feel like a walk inside a deep freezer. Your face should be the only exposed skin but its enough to give the deep freeze feeling. As you walk on the Chadar, listen to the sounds it makes. Depending on the thickness of the Chadar, the sounds change. You will soon start recognizing where the Chadar is thick and where it is thin and dangerous. There can be certain sections where the Chadar has formed only on the real corners of the river and the corner is under a low over hang. Do not fear to get down to your fours or even lie down on your tummy and crawl through those sections. Our experienced group leaders will guide you throughout the journey. Shingra Koma is almost 10 km away from Tilat Sumdo, which generally takes 6 to 7 hours to complete. Mid way through the trek around noon, find a sunny section where your cook can dish out a quick hot meal of Maggie and tea. Packed lunches are ruled out on the Chadar trek because the food will become way too cold by noon to be eaten. Quick hot meals on the way is the only way out. While on the Chadar, do not be surprised to spot pug marks. The big cats roam around pretty freely, though they remain elusive to the human eyes. Shingra Koma is a big camping ground on your right as you walk upstream. Right below a huge stone wall, Shingra Koma appears to be setup straight out of a Hollywood movie. The Zanskar River takes a beautiful turn in front of the campsite and sharp peaks rise on the other side of the river.

Day 4: Trek from Shingra Koma to Tibb

The trek from Shingra Koma to Tibb is a long one. It is also one of the most scenic days of the trek. Watch the small waterfalls on the left standing still in the form of icefalls. A couple of hours into the day’s walk bring you to a massive waterfall on the left. Prayer flags flutter on the trees in front of the waterfall. The lunch point for the day is exactly mid way and under an overhang of rocks. Post lunch, the Zanskar River passes through narrow gorges where the width of the river can be covered by only 4 people holding hands. The narrow gorge hardly gets any sunlight and so the river is non existent. Generally, a thick Chadar forms end to end here. Two more hours of walking through the various hues and forms of Chadar bring you to a large camping area on your right – Tibb. To the left again are caves were 8 to 9 people can be comfortably accommodated. The campsite also has more dry vegetation around.

Day 5: Trek from Tibb to Nerak

The trek from Tibb to Nerak is 12 km. This is the day you encounter the much awaited frozen waterfall – going through the cliffs and gorges and valleys of Chadar. Five hours into the trek and after your lunch break is when you see the first sights of Nerak. Tibetan Prayer flags around Juniper shrubs by the Chadar signal that you are now close to Nerak and before that the waterfall. A kilometre ahead, around a bend under the shade of the gorge, lies the famous Nerak waterfall. The Nerak pul or bridge lies just ahead of the waterfall. It’s an old wooden bridge but can still take the weight of 4 to 5 people at once. It’s an exhilarating experience walking on the rickety bridge and catching a bird’s eye view of the waterfall from the top. The trail goes along the Chadar and around 20 minutes of walk brings you to Nerak where a small trail takes you up to the Nerak campsite. Nerak is a village located about 2,000 ft higher than the river bed. The Chadar trekkers camp not at the village but at the camping ground 200 ft higher than the river. There is a lone shelter which serves as a rafting point in the summer months. During winters, it serves as a shelter for the trekkers. Nerak is notorious for its really cold nights and winds. The temperature can dip as low as minus 25 or lower. This is going to be the coldest night of your trek.

Day 6: Return from Nerak to Tibb

The return path is theoretically a retrace of the route you took the last 3 days but in reality can feel like a totally new one. The dynamics of the Chadar can make the whole place look and feel different. Old Chadar breaks, new one forms where there was none earlier, the texture of the Chadar changes, and so on. Sometimes the Chadar breaks right under your feet and floats away like a raft. You have no option but to run on to the safer sheet ahead. You see the same broken raft getting stuck somewhere downstream and other icicles clinging on to it to form a whole new Chadar elsewhere. This trek is an experience. Your experience and what you see will be totally different from anyone else’s.

Day 7: Trek from Tibb to Shingra Koma

We trace our path in the reverse direction and camp at a safe place at Shingra Koma for the night.

Day 8: Trek from Shingra Koma to Tilat Sumdo and drive back to Leh

The trek remains the same but the direction differs. We reach Tilat Sumdo and catch a private bus/jeep to Leh. This marks the end of our services. We all gather and bid goodbye to each and everyone.

Day 9: Buffer Day

Trekkers are advised to keep an extra buffer day when signing up for the Chadar trek. The buffer day may be required if there is bad weather or if the Chadar breaks and the team has to wait for the ice to form again. This may happen on any of the trek days. If the buffer day is utilized, trekkers will have to bear additional costs associated with the extended stay.

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WHAT'S INCLUDED

1 - The package includes ALL meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), snacks and refreshments throughout the trek. Meals would be wholesome, delicious and abundant.
2 - Accommodation in tents on twin-sharing basis.
3 - Transfers from Manali to the starting point of the trek and back.
4 - Entry fees, permit to trek and forest camping charges in the region for the entire duration of the trek, wherever applicable.
5 - Needless to say, we'll provide you with sleeping bags, mattresses, tents and other safety equipment required.
6 - We'll have an English-speaking guides and a team of porters / mules to carry common group equipment.
7 - A trained cook along with helper/ requisite staff.
8 - First aid kit.

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

1 - Expenses that are personal in nature.
2 - Porters/ Mule to carry personal rucksack.
3 - Insurance
4 - Expenses arising out of emergency/evacuation/rain/landslides/unforeseen circumstances beyond one's control.
5 - Though we'll have a well-equipped first-aid kit, we suggest that you bring your own personal medicines.
6 - Anything not expressly stated.

Cancellation Policy

Up to 30 days – 90% Refund
Between 21- 30 days - 80 % Refund
Between 11 - 20 days - 50 % Refund
Less than 10 days - No Refund

NOTE

All programmes are subject to change without prior notice.

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