Ideal time : 4 days
Timings : January-February
The Chadar Trek or The Frozen River Expedition is one of the most unique and challenging treks in India. The 6-day chadar trek across the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh takes place during the latter part of January till the end of February or sometimes even in the first week of March, depending on the weather.
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Approx trekking distance (Both sides) : 105 Km
Base Camp : Chillling
Difficulty : Challenging gradient
Highest point of trek : 11,123 ft
Nearest Airport : Leh Airport
Nearest Railhead : 764 km
Region : Ladakh
Snow : January and February are the best time for the trek.
Starting point of trek : Chilling
Day 1 : Chilling to Tilak Sumdo
Distance: 2 Km , Duration: 1 Hr
Take your first few steps on Chadar carefully getting a feel of the surface you are stepping on. The Tilat Sumdo campsite comes within an hour of your trek. Sumdo means confluence. A local tributary joins the Zanskar from your left. An elevated level field makes a good camping spot. On the opposite side are a few caves were those not carrying tents can camp.
Day 2 : Tilak Sumdo to Shingra Koma
Distance: 9.5 Km , Duration: 6 Hrs
Wake up with the sun at about 7 am and prepare to leave the campsite by 9 am. Though the sun is up, Tilat Sumdo like most parts of the Chadar gets direct sunlight only during mid day. The morning walk on the Chadar may feel like a walk inside a deep freezer. 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. Shingra Koma is a big camping ground on your right as you walk up stream. Its right below a huge stone wall, where the Zanskar river takes a beautiful turn right in front of the camp site and sharp peaks rise on the other side of the river.
Day 3 : Shingra Koma to Tibb
Distance: 15 Km , Duration: 7-8 Hrs
The trek from Shingra Koma to Tibb is a long one. It is also one of the most beautiful days of the trek. Watch the small waterfalls on the left standing still in the form of icefalls. A couple of hours into the days walk brings you to a massive waterfall on the left, which is highly reverred to by the Ladakhis. 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 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 walk through the various hues and forms of Chadar brings you to a large camping area on your right Ð Tibb. To the left again are caves were 8 to 9 people can be comfortably accomodated. The Tibb campsite also has more dry vegetation around.
Day 4 : Tibb to Nerak
Distance: 12 Km , Duration: 7Hrs
The trek goes through cliffs, gorges and valleys of Chadar and is spectacular. 5 hours into the trek and after your lunch break is when you see the first sights of Nerak. A kilometer 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. The bridge is an old wooden bridge but can still take wait of 4-5 people at once. Its a nice experience walking on the rickety bridge and catching the sight of the waterfall from the top. The trail goes along the Chadar and 20 minutes of walk brings you to Nerak where a small trail takes you up to the Nerak campsite. Next day onwards, you trek back the same way to Chilling.