Ladakh is an Indian union territory bounded by two of the country’s oldest and most majestic mountain ranges, the Himalayas and the Karakoram. It is one of the most popular tourist places in the world. Every year, over 3 lakh tourists from India and other countries visit Ladakh. It has become quite popular among the world’s adventure travelers due to its natural beauty and challenging landscape. This region is ideal for an adventure due to its snow-capped majestic mountains, icy cold weather, and irregular terrain. Thousands of people go trekking in Ladakh each year. The Chadar trek is one of the most popular in this area.
Because of the cold weather and high altitude, it is quite difficult. However, the nicest vistas come with the most challenging climbs, and finishing the Chadar trip will leave you satisfied and revitalized. Only 30 to 40 days are available, usually between the 10th and 20th of January, depending on the solid formation of Chadar, the carpet of ice.
Do you have any experience with the Chadar trek? Have you added this to your bucket list of adventures? If you haven’t already, you will after reading this comprehensive guide to the Chadar trek.
About Chadar Trek
A lengthy cover (like bed sheets) is referred to as chadar in Hindi. This Chadar trek necessitates walking on the frozen Zanskar River. The frozen river resembles a blanket or cover made of snow, hence the name chadar trek. The Chadar trek is also known as the Zanskar Gorge trek (as it near Zanskar River). It is found in Ladakh. Previously, it served as a traditional route for the indigenous people who lived there. Due to heavy snowfall, all roads were closed during the winter months. It is now a popular destination for people seeking adventure. As Chadar Trek, Brahmatal Trek is also one of the best treks.
The path winds through vertical cliffs that can reach 600 meters in height. All mountain passes were closed due to the snowfall, leaving Chadar or the frozen Zanskar River as the only options. A 150-kilometer one-way path is also the only way in and out for the Zanskari locals who live there, even in an emergency. The trek requires perseverance and survival – learning to survive below zero in harsh terrain, engaging with locals and understanding how they live, especially in the world’s most inhabitable regions, as you walk over a dramatic gorge frozen by a waterfall along the frozen Zanskar road, which spans over like a “Chadar” (that is the name), and acts as a frozen waterfall.
Why Should You Visit?
If you want to discover the undiscovered natural beauty of the Himalayan region, the Chadar trek is the way to go. The natural beauty of snow-covered mountains is truly breathtaking. If you want to get away from your monotonous daily routine, the Chadar trek is ideal. The difficult paths, fresh air, and natural beauty help to relieve the soul and body from the stresses of daily life. If you want to do something that will get your adrenaline pumping, you should go trekking at the Chadar trek.
How Long You Have To Walk on Day Basis?
The Chadar walk is 105 km long, however the trekking path is usually 60-70 km long. It is determined by the package and organizer you select.
To complete the trek in 9 days, a trekker must walk 12-14 kilometers per day on average.
The winter months of January and February are ideal for trekking at Chadar trek. Because this trek requires walking on Zanskar’s frozen river, it is critical that the river be completely frozen.
You would be subjected to extremely cold weather conditions during this trek. During the day, the temperature on the Chadar trek ranges between 0°C and 20°C. During the night, temperatures can drop to between -25 and -35°C.
The Chadar walk is one of the most challenging and perilous hikes in the country. As a result, it’s a good idea to come fully prepared.
The following is a list of items that you must bring with you on your Chadar trek in Ladakh:
- A medium-sized backpack that can hold all of the necessary items.
- Duffle bag and sleeping bag (many organizers provide these; if your organizer does not, bring your own).
- Trash bag (generally polythene bags)
- Trekking boots with spikes to aid in ice walking.
- Thermal clothing (the ones which dry quickly like hiking pants, hiking long-sleeved t-shirts, fleece jackets, woolen socks, woolen caps, insulating gloves )
- Because UV rays are stronger in the mountains, bring sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses.
- Bottles of water and water purification tablets
- Medication for personal use (if any)
- An emergency first aid kit includes medications for rehydration, altitude sickness, nausea, and diarrhoea, as well as a pain reliever gel and a few bandages.
- Toilet paper, soap paper, hand sanitizer, and other necessities
- Jackets that are waterproof
- Food for emergencies (packed food items like nuts, chocolate bars, energy bars)
Trekking is a soul-refreshing activity, but it is a financial burden because the necessary trekking equipment is quite expensive. Renting trekking equipment is a good idea if you are a first-time trekker who is unsure whether you will go trekking again.
In fact, many locals in Leh make a living by renting out trekking equipment to hikers. They offer a wide range of trekking products, from backpacks and sleeping bags to high-end trekking shoes. This way, you can save money while also learning about the different types of equipment available to you.
How To Reach
Leh has its own airport, so you can board a flight and land in Leh. Roads can also be used to get to Leh. You can also travel to Leh by train. The nearest railway station is in Jammu Tawi, about 700 kilometers from Ladakh. You can either take a bus or a cab from there. If you don’t want to take public transportation, you can take your own vehicle, such as a car.
What Will Be Covered in The Trek?
In Zanskar valley, you will also come across various monuments such as stupas and gompas built by kings, as well as various monasteries that serve as shrines to local deities. The chadar trek begins in Chilling. Many organizers, however, drive trekkers up to Tilad Sumado, which is 1 km from the first base camp. The journey includes stops in Zaribago, Deepyokama, Nyarakpulu, Lingshed, Nerak (the frozen waterfall and point of return), and Tso Mopoaldar, among other places. The number of locations covered is determined by the organizer and the package you choose.
The Chadar trek Ladakh difficulty level is subjective. The level of difficulty may differ for different people. Due to the extreme weather and icy terrain, this trek will undoubtedly be difficult for beginners. This trek entails enduring extremely cold chadar trek temperatures. You’d even have to scale the icy rocks and boulders. As a result, you must be physically and mentally fit.
Because this is one of India’s most difficult and dangerous treks, you must follow all instructions carefully. And several people must opt out before they can enter the first base camp. Mostly because of low blood pressure, the possibility of hypothermia, strokes, and other issues that pose real risks to all travelers, regardless of medication history.
Prepare Yourself By This Way
- The Chadar trek is one of the most difficult in the country, so you must be mentally and physically fit to complete it. You must have good endurance and tolerance levels, be in good health, and have no major health issues.
- It is a good idea to start preparing for the trek as soon as possible. Here is a list of things you can do before your trek to get your body used to strenuous physical activities.
- Begin walking and jogging for 30 minutes every day for at least two months before your trek.
- To improve your lung capacity, avoid using elevators and lifts and instead take the stairs. Starting out walking and jogging with weights on your shoulders is a good idea.
- Breathing exercises should help you improve your breathing capacity. It will help to increase the capacity of your lungs and improve the circulation of oxygen in your body.
- You should increase your endurance and strength by incorporating strengthening exercises into your daily workout routine, such as sit-ups, push-ups, squats, and so on.
- Avoid using heaters or warm quilts before the Chadar trek to acclimate to the cold weather.
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