Chadar Trek in the Ladakh region is done on the river of Zanskar in the winters when the upper layer of the river is covered in ice.
To give you a complete idea of things you need to keep in mind while going for this trek, we have prepared this detailed guide for you.
How to reach:
Since Chadar trek is done on the frozen river of Zanskar in winter, it is advisable to avoid a road trip as many roads are blocked due to snowfall and it is also dangerous to drive.
The only and comfortable way to reach is by a flight from your city to Leh. It’s not only efficient but also an experience in itself, you will fly over some very stunning untouched regions of the Himalayas. The aerial view of snow-clad mountains will motivate you for your journey. There are several operators like Air India, Jet airways that provide at least one flight per day.
How to Acclimatize:
After reaching comes acclimatization, meaning the process of getting accustomed to a new climate or to new conditions. Trekkers may be prone to dizziness, nausea and Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). To avoid these problems, you should give yourself at least a day to acclimatize by resting.
Several medicines like Diamox, Aspirin and dexamethasone are suggested for mountain sickness.
How to prepare yourself:
Chadar trek is one of the most challenging treks around the world that requires a certain level of physical fitness and stamina. Apart from the physical strength, one must be strong-willed and mentally prepared as this trek is not going to be easy at any point of the time.
In order to get into the shape of scaling such a trek, you can follow these exercises beforehand for at least 1-2 months.
- Stairs climbing
What to carry:
Clothing: your regular wears plus light thermal wear, windproof jacket, heavy woollen jacket, raincoat, woollen caps, gloves and muffler.
Trekking: Trekking gears, hiking shoes, sleeping bag, hot water bag, trekking pole, tent
Accessories: Sunglasses, gloves, Sunscreen, lip balm and toiletries like paper soap, sanitiser, toothpaste, brush, comb
Document: carry your photocopy and identity card/Driver’s license.
Electronics: Camera with extra batteries, power bank and spare charger.
Medicines: your prescription if any, Diamox, Aspirin, Paracetamol and Glucose/ORS.
Eatables: Energy bar, dry fruits, water bottles, chocolates and snacks.
How to stay safe:
Precaution is always better than cure. Even though there are medical facilities available for any emergency, it is advisable to simply follow the Dos and Don’ts.
It is really important to acclimatize, your body needs to get accustomed to the altitude and the bone-chilling weather of Chadar Trek.
Always follow the alpha trekker, the experienced one, who has all the knowledge of weather conditions and technical information about the trek. Always trust your guide and follow them.
Inform your family member about your itinerary beforehand, also it is better to travel in a group or make friends on your solo trip so that you don’t feel left out.
Keep your body hydrated throughout the trek and always pack for instant food like cup noodles along with energy bars.
It is advisable to keep your first-aid with yourself rather than depending on others.
Do not litter. While visiting this rare beauty a responsible citizen should help protect mother nature.
Don’t push your body too much, if you feel breathlessness or any other discomfort inform your guide.
Don’t skip your meal or intake of water, as your body needs to be hydrated and needs nutrition to scale the challenges.
Do not panic in any situation and create hysteria in the group. The trainer always walks ahead and knows about the thin ice or weather conditions.
What to see:
Walk on the Zanskar river trail connecting Ladakh to Padum which was the ancient trading route.
Experience the water still flowing underneath the ice-covered sheet of the river as you go along the Chadar trek.
Enjoy dining with the locals and have a taste of the Zanskaris cuisine and have a chance to get a close look at their culture and rituals.
You can spot various wildlife that is rare to Ladakh like Snow leopard, Thar and ibex.
When to visit:
The only time you can do the Chadar trek is between December to February as the upper layer of the Zanskar river turns into a sheet of ice, hence the name Chadar Trek.
The temperature is always in the sub-zero range from -5 degrees Celsius to -35 degrees Celsius. Also, due to global warming around the world, you should check the condition of rivers prior to your trekking.