"Chadar" refers to the blanket or sheet as the Zanskar river transforms itself from a rapid river into a white blanket of ice during winter.
The frozen spectacle awaits the trekker to be experienced of glass ice ranging from a bluish tinge to golden yellow that is seen during the few hours that sunlight reaches directly into the gorge to the milky whitish on a moonlit night. Chadar Frozen River trek is said to be a trek journey like no other. This is one of the toughest and most adventurous treks.
Dhaba food is available up along the way. You can pack essential food for the rest of the climb.
Guest houses are available at all destinations. Camping can also be adopted by trekkers on the trek because of the natural beauty that it boasts of.
Water is available in the guest houses along the way. It is advisable to stock up in reasonable quantities whenever a refilling option is available.
1. Make sure you carry warm clothes along with you no matter during whichever season you are travelling in
2. Be always prepared with your trekking gear and equipment
3. Carrying your medication and a good pair of shoes is a must
4. Make sure you obtain all the permits well in advance required for trekking in the region. Inner line permit is required in the region
5. Also, carry raingear along as weather at higher altitude changes at every moment
6. Choose a well-qualified and professional guide and fix the rates to avoid any misunderstanding
7. Carry spare batteries and film roll for the camera as there may be no electricity supply
Chadar Frozen river trek is the most uniquely rewarding trek one can take. The average mean temperature during the day is minus 10. In the night, temperatures fall to minus 20 and 25. Ice forms break and change colour on the river every few hours. At places, the Chadar (ice) does not form over the river. Trekkers then have to forge a new trail climbing over snow-covered embankments to descend to a spot on the river where the ice is more stable. Extreme conditions are not hard to beat with multiple layers and sensible trekking. But what sets it apart is the unique experience of the snow-covered scenery, temperature, atmosphere, the frozen river, sledges, unusual campsites, caves and the ever-changing Chadar.
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.
Rail: Take New Delhi- Jammu Tawi Rajdhani Express which departs delhi at 8:40 PM and reaches Jammu at 5:45 am. Take a bus to Srinagar from Jammu. From Srinagar, there are regular buses to Leh. From leh, hire a taxi to Chilling. It is advisable to fly to Leh from Delhi and rent a taxi to Chilling the next day, after acclimitization.
Road: Delhi to Leh is 1,266 Km via NH1. Leh to Chilling is 64 Km.
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