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Ladakh is the home to numerous natural wonders, but the most precious gift bestowed upon this magical land is the Chadar Trek. The ultimate thrill of walking upon the frozen waters of the Zanskar river in extremely low temperatures sets this trek apart in the list of extreme adventures. Adding grace to the beauty of Ladakh with its unique adventure experience, the Chadar Trek 2021 has the kind of charm that is second to no other adventure.
The frozen Zanskar river trek is actually a connecting link between the villages of Zanskar Valley and the town of chilling in Ladakh and acts as the only and the most stable way of staying connected to the rest of world for the people here in the months of extreme winter. Passing through the deep valley, the frozen river is bounded by huge walls of mountains on both sides, making a person feel like walking amidst high castle walls. Frozen Waterfalls, flowing green river on the trek, the cold temperatures, and the warm smiles of the local Ladakhis who are going by their normal day are the elements that make the Chadar Lake and in fact, all of Ladakh a beautiful paradise to visit.
Located in the midst of two great mountain ranges of the world, the Himalayas and the Karakoram, the land of Ladakh is blessed with many of its own mountain ranges, like that of the Zanskar. And with all the amazing mountains, glaciers, and rivers, one of the better served frozen, Ladakh is never short of surprises to leave you spellbound.
About the Chadar Trek: Chadar Trek in Ladakh takes the element of trekking and adds its own element of extreme adventure in the form of walking on a thick sheet of ice. The river Zanskar freezes over in the months of winters in Ladakh, creates a kind of sheet of ice on it, hence the name “Chadar”. After arrival in Leh, you will be visiting the market of Leh for some shopping before getting checked by the government officials on your fitness for the rather challenging trek in the Himalayas. The adventure of Chadar trekking 2021 is planned in such a way that you will be covering a distance of almost 65 km by trekking.
You will get a transfer to Shingra Yokma from Leh via chilling and Tilad do for your first taste of walking on the sheet of ice. You will also get acclimatized with the sub-zero temperatures here, as well as figure out where is the best place to plant your foot on the ice. The Zanskar frozen river trek has taken its form because of the extreme temperatures, and so it is extremely important that you take ample time and precautions here. The next day will be the last day for you to opt for the physical wild card exits.
After this, the trek leads to several points on the way as you move on the Chadar frozen river trek, taking you to Tibb Cave, and the Naerak, where you will see the village and mighty frozen waterfalls, while the turquoise green water of the river flows right by you. As you turn around and make your way back, you will encounter Tibb Cave, Gyalpo, and finally Shingra Yokma, from where you will go back to Leh and bring the experience to an end the next day. All the while through this trek, you have gone from a minimum elevation of 10,400 ft to 11,123 ft above sea level, and have gained a lot of more attributes on the way.
Who Can Go:
- Experience of trekking or good fitness level.
- The climber must be fit and have sufficient stamina to cover 5 km of distance in 45 minutes without stress.
- The climber should be able to carry a 10 kg backpack.
- Heart problems, high blood pressure, asthma, and epilepsy cannot be reconciled on this mission. The climber must not have the conditions mentioned above.
Tips for Chadar Trek:
1) Prepare your mind first: This is a difficult trek that comes with a lot of extremities. From the weather to physical requirement. Train your mind to expect and accept the sub-zero level. Do bear in mind that there is a life that exists there as well; for centuries Chadar is used as the only way to commute to Leh during winters. Your mental strength will signal your body to withstand the cold climb.
2) Be Warm: Next is to keep oneself warm as the temperature falls severely on this trek. To keep going and not be deterred by the weather conditions, use 4 layers for the Torso that includes a jacket and a wind sheeter which is waterproof and has a fleece lining. For the bottom, a base layer, thermal underpants and waterproof pants with a fleece lining should suffice. Make sure your fleece and jackets have zips down the front so that you can unzip them as the day grows progressively warmer.
3) Keep a woolen cap and gloves (a must): Essentially you need to sleep well during the night to keep you fresh for the next day of the trek. Keep an insulating water bottle to keep your sleeping bag warm during the night. Use Silk liner inside your bags to keep it warm enough.
4) Footwear: Hiking shoes + Gumboots At occasions, trekking on the Chadar involves wading through knee-deep cold water. Though hiking shoes are highly recommended, gumboots help keep your shoes and feet secure from the icy cold water. It is practically impossible to dry anything at Zanskar trek in Ladakh, so gumboots are a compulsory and crucial addition to the footwear.
5) Expect sweet pain: The Chadar is a glossy, slippery sheet of ice and will never let you walk carelessly. But no matter how careful one is, everyone falls and slips more than once on the Chadar. If you fall, just get back up by rolling on your knees and keep walking with confidence. Gumboots might give you shoe bites, but you’ll get used to it as you walk.
6) Observe and keep moving: The locals can give you firsthand training on how to cross the lake on your foot. On closer observation, you would notice that they walk fast and take Penguin like strides on the ice. As you watch them, you will learn their ways of maneuvering around on the ice blanket and learn when it is wiser to wait than to carry on or the reverse.
7) Keep your electronics warm: Extreme cold climate can ruin electronics. Hence keep them warm by keeping them safe by tucking them into your pockets closer to your body it will keep them warm and long-lasting.
8) Protect your fingers and toes: In sub-zero temperatures, fingers and toes are the most exposed and can be frozen resulting in bad pain when camping. Carry waterproof woolen socks and gloves. An extra pair of socks would help as they gather moisture while wearing gumboots.
9) Warming pads: Warming pads are very helpful for those who feel cold sooner than others. These are exothermic pads to be slipped in your gloves and socks. They release heat and keep you warm for up to 10 hours.
Do’s and Don’ts On Chadar Trek
Do’s of Chadar Trek
– It’s always good to plan for an additional day to accommodate any unforeseen conditions like bad weather, broken bridges, flight delays, casualties that may arise.
– One should inform one’s family before coming for this trek, so in case of an emergency, they can come for help.
– The temperature extensively drops down in the region. Therefore, it is advisable to keep warm clothes and shoes at hand. The shoes must also be waterproof.
– As there won’t be any pharmacies on our trek, please do carry required medications and a first aid kit, in case of any bruises or cuts
– The area of this trek has hardly any shop to stop for food or drinks, hence it is advisable to carry water and energy giving food like energy bars and other eateries to be had at regular intervals. We also travel with plenty of water
– Always take note of the weather reports and avoid getting caught in any sort of natural ravages.
– Trekking in Frozen river is certainly a difficult task and thus, one should not try to be over-smart. Following the tips and guidelines is a must to carry out this trek safely.
– It is advisable to consult an expert trekker before backpacking a heavy backpack might slow down your trekking speed.
– While visiting the monasteries and other religious sites, abide by the instructions and guidelines laid by the authorities.
– Abide by the instructions given by the trek leader or instructor in order to enjoy a safe and sound trekking
Don’ts of Chadar Trek
– Since you will be trekking in an eco-friendly zone, make sure you do not litter the vicinity and carry your leftovers back.
– Flowy and frilly clothing might hinder your movement. It is better to avoid such type of clothing.
– Do not rely on sports or casual shoes as they might compromise grip on the snowy surface.
– The wonderful waterfalls should not be contaminated by the use of shampoos and soaps. Thus one should avoid using them. The local habitat tribes use this water for drinking purposes so one should keep it as clean as one expects its drinking water to be.
– When meeting monks or other locals on the way, pinpointing is not advisable as they make take offense.
– Respect the serenity of the shrines and thus one should never disturb the monks or prayers in the monasteries on the route.
– Avoid heavy meals during the trek as it leads to tiredness.
– Avoid: Denim or jeans clothing, soda and alcoholic beverages, plastics of all kind, and tobacco
Temperature: -5 to -15 degrees (during the day) and -20 to -30 degrees (during the night)
Trekking distance: 62 km
Maximum Altitude: 11,123ft
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Stay during your Frozen River Chadar Trek:
- The entire place is frequently sanitized following all protocols to ensure maximum safety of all guests, Double occupancy or triple occupancy in room or tents.
- Day 1: Room accommodation without heaters (so you can acclimatize).
- Day 2 to Day 7: Tented accommodation on day 2 and 3
- Day 8: Room accommodation with heaters
Meals during your Frozen River Chadar Trek: Breakfast, lunch and dinner (vegetarian) are included in the package.
Transport during your Frozen River Chadar Trek: From Leh to road ahead on day 4, Return to Leh on day 8.
Fly to Leh | Arrival:
- Altitude 11,400 ft.
- Arrival in Ladakh
- Overnight stay at the hotel/guest house in the outskirts of Leh city.
- Keep your woolen cap and gloves handy.
You will be flying over long stretches of snow-covered Himalayan mountains, which will make it evident why it’s impossible to reach Ladakh on road in the winters. The moment you land in Leh, cold and crisp air will greet you, and you will experience a drastic change in the temperature. Leh has just begun to wake up from its sleep with only a few shops open.
The chill in the air will serve only as a preview of the temperatures during this winter trek. Be sure to take enough rest to acclimatize to the weather here and remember to drink enough water and keep yourself hydrated, The night is spent in a guest house.
Acclimatization Day: Keeping in mind the health problems that trekkers are facing (Acute Mountain Sickness), as per the new regulations applied by Ladakh Government Authorities, anyone doing the Chadar trek should be at least spending two days in Leh to get your body fully acclimatized to the weather conditions here. It is irrevocable and it is important that it is strictly followed by every trekker. You can spend the day shopping at the Leh market. It is very important that you get used to the cold temperature in Leh because the temperature will only tend to fall as you start walking on the frozen Zanskar, where the temperatures reach way below zero even in the daytime. It is advisable that you avoid visiting places which are at a higher altitude.
It is also advised that you check and crosscheck all the essentials before going to bed.
Medical Checkup | Day of Wild Card Exits: As per the Government guidelines in Jammu and Kashmir, the trekkers will need to go through a medical check up.
Only after you get cleared by the officer will you be allowed to get a green signal for Chadar. Also, the trekkers will be issued there wildlife permits, insurance, and other important documents.
Before the morning of the 4th day, if you feel that you want to opt-out, or have been deemed unfit by the government bodies, you can take a physical wild card and opt for a ‘Flavor of winter Ladakh’ tour, without any extra cost.
Leh to Shingra Koma via Chilling & Tilad do and Trek to Gyalpo:
- 11,480 to 10,500ft
- Drive 3-4 hrs, trek 5 hrs/11 km
- On this day, you will be heading to the starting point of the, which is Shingra Koma.
One of the most scenic drives in the entire region of Ladakh, you will get to see many top spots like Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill and the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus. a drive of about 90 minutes along the Zanskar River will bring you to Chilling.
The car will drop you where the road end and this is where you start walking on Zanskar. Walking with you gumboots on will definitely be a challenge in the initial stage. To get the hang of patterns of ice formation will take some time. You will have to judge the fragile surfaces from the strong ones as there are a number of different kinds of surfaces on Chadar trek, but once you start walking you will know more about it. Planting your foot will be important in most of the cases, you can check for the ice for its steadiness with your walking stick before stepping on it.
Make sure your backpack is light and small so you can manage and use the weight on your own effectively.
The trek for the day will take you to the first campsite of the journey, Gyalpo, situated at the river bend, covered by High peaks and amazing rock faces.
This will be your first experience of camping under sub-zero temperatures.
Overnight at Gyalpo
Gyalpo to Tibb Cave:
- 10,500ft to 10,800 ft
- Trek 12 km/ 5 to 6 hours
Chadar is not a trek where altitude keeps on the rise at a fast pace. As you trek for 5 to 6 hours, you will only gain an altitude of 300ft from Gyalpo to Tibb Cave. Wake up from a chilling night and enjoy a warm breakfast.
As you head to the next campsite at Tibb Cave, you will come across some of the most beautiful frozen waterfalls. These waterfalls have a mystery revolving around their origin or source but are nonetheless breathtaking.
With the Zanskar flowing right beside you with its emerald green waters, you will stop midway to Tibb Cave for Lunch.
As you move ahead, you will come across various rock patterns which will shine distinctively as the rays of the sun fall on them.
The campsite for the day will be near Tibb Cave which is surrounded by dry sand.
Tibb cave to Naerak camp:
- 10,800 to 11,100 ft
- Trek 13 km/ 6 to 7 hours
The campsite for the day is the most awaited one, as you will be going to Naerak today, after breakfast. The 13 km long trail will bring you the chance of seeing the most scenic landmark of Chadar trek, which is the frozen waterfall. This frozen waterfall is a nature’s masterpiece in itself and attracts trekkers and adventurers from across the globe.
Hot lunch will be served on your way to Naerak.
Naerak will be the coldest of all the campsites on the trek where the temperature goes down to as low as -30 degrees during the night. It will be important that you wear proper clothing and in layers to stay safe from the biting cold.
Reaching the waterfall on time would mean that you will have plenty of time to pay the village of Naerak a visit as well.
You will be camping at a distance of 15-20 minutes from the frozen waterfall.
Overnight at Naerak camp.
Naerak to Tibb Cave:
- 11,100 to 10,800 ft
- Trek 13 km/ 5 to 6 hours
- After breakfast today, you will start the return journey and go back to the Tibb cave.
If you have the notion that going back is the easier part of the journey, the Chadar will force your mind to think again. The Zanskar River reacts to the slightest change of temperature, and constantly keeps repackaging itself. The Chadar would have assumed a completely new form, and will it will almost be impossible to say whether you have been here before.
On your way back to Tibb cave, you will be seeing a lot of locals negotiating the Chadar wearing the traditional woolen Gonchas, where some of them are monks coming back to Leh from the monastery at Lingshed, while other are young students going back to schools in Leh after their vacations, accompanied by their parents. To see this sight is warming enough. You will be in awe of the way these people have adapted to the temperatures below zero and still smile
Overnight at camps in Tibb cave.
Tibb Cave to Shingra Yokma via Gyalpo, Drive back to Leh:
- 10,800ft to 10,300 ft and drive to 11,400 ft.
- Trek 18 km/ 7 to 8 hours
Starting from Tibb, go up to Gyalpo, and then trek on to reach Shingra Yokma today. The high walls of mountains rising from the sides of the river almost look like castle walls. You will be noticing a lot of fresh trails and footprints all along the trek, belonging to Foxes, Ibex, or Snow leopards.
Although you would be lucky to spot a Snow Leopard; but you can almost be sure that you are being watched by one all the time.
Retracing the steps we took, this will be the last chance to look at the majestic and mesmerizing Chadar, which you will miss for sure. Trekkers along the way, who are about to start their trek will for sure ask you the experience. It will be amazing to play a guide to these people and to talk to someone about the experience while it is still fresh in your head.
You will reach Leh by approximately by 6:30 in the evening. It is recommended that you book your return flight on the 9th day instead of the 8th day. Tonight you get to sleep in a warm guest-house.
Overnight in Leh.
Departure – Return from Leh: After breakfast, you will be checking out of the guesthouse and will get a transfer to the airport. Continue with your return journey on the flight. The experience ends here.
- Outdoor Games
- Expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone, fax, internet, beverages, snacks, medical expenses, minibar of hotels, etc.
- Supplement for Meals not mentioned in inclusions.
- Permissions of photo/video shooting at the museums and objects.
- Optional activities/experiences attract supplement charge.
- Any other services not mentioned in Included above.
- Train Tickets / Domestic airfare.
- Any other services not mentioned in Price Inclusions above.
- Goods and Services Tax (GST) 5% on the package cost.
- The above-mentioned price varies accordingly to date and is only valid for certain dates.
- GST @ 5% is applicable on the above prices.
- A medical certificate is a pre-requisite document for this trek and without which you will not be allowed on the trek.
- Meals during your stay in Leh is not included in the package cost. Camera Charges, Alcohol, soft drinks, beverages, etc. will also be an exclusion
- Personal expenses like tips, telephone calls, laundry, etc. are not included in the cost.
- Trekking during the nights is extremely dangerous and might lead to unwanted circumstances.
- It is the responsibility of every trekker to maintain the serenity of the surroundings. Thus, one should not litter anywhere and spoil the magnificence.
- Try not to interrupt or disturb the locals during the trek or other times.
- Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances like landslides, roadblocks, bad weather, expenses incurred on account of sickness etc.
- If the trek doesn’t take place due to any reason beyond the control of the operator, you will be offered an alternate experience to substantiate your trek in Leh.
- Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like a change in flight and train schedule; cancellation of flights/trains, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc will not be accommodated.
- Please Note: Local authority (LAHDC, ALTOA) charge fee for Environment and Wildlife for the trek which totals to 5000 INR per head (The fee may be revised) will have to be paid by trekkers before starting the trek in Leh, So keep some cash handy.
- Overseas Travel Solutions does not have any liability in getting a receipt of the Charges paid to local bodies.
- Medical Checkup may happen either at SNM Hospital or as advised by ALTOA association.
- The applicable price is based on minimum of 2 adults traveling together.
- The above price is not valid for travel during the trade fair period and special events.
- There is no refund for any non-utilization of any services.
- We recommend you to book an airline ticket in advance to avail the lowest airfare. Airfare pricing is real time and is subject to change unless ticketed, please check details of amendment and cancellation before going ahead.
- Exchange rate will be applicable on the day you make the payment as per company rate card.
- It is advisable for all clients to have overseas travel insurance for the entire travel duration of your holiday. Please check details with our travel consultant.
- At this point of time, no services are confirmed and the same is subject to availability.
- Should the period of travel, the number of participants, the type of accommodation, and the type of transport or the duration of the trip, change the quote will be revised accordingly.
- Request for early hotel check in or late checkout is to the discretion of the hotel unless pre-booked and pre-paid in advance.
- Please check Terms & Conditions before proceeding to book with Overseas Travel Solutions.
- All payment to be made strictly by Cheque / Online / Demand Draft / Direct bank transfer in favour of Overseas Travel Solutions.
- SIC transfers do not operate between 08:30 PM – 07:30 AM.
- Luxury Hotel rates are applicable on Weekdays (Monday – Thursday) only.
- In case of unavailability, similar category Hotel will be provided.
|PAYMENT AT THE TIME OF BOOKING||BALANCE PAYMENT||CANCELLATION CHARGES||AMENDMENT CHARGES|
|45 days prior to departure||100% of the airfare, visa and insurance if booked through Overseas Travel Solutions + 10% of the tour price.||30 days prior to departure.|
|30 days prior to departure.||100% of the airfare, visa and insurance if booked through Overseas Travel Solutions + 25% of the tour price.||20 days prior to departure.||25%||USD 50 per booking / amendment|
|15 days prior to departure.||100% of the airfare, visa and insurance if booked through Overseas Travel Solutions + 50% of the tour price.||20 days prior to departure.||50%||USD 50 per booking / amendment|
|10 days prior to departure.||100% of the airfare, visa and insurance if booked through Overseas Travel Solutions + 100% of the tour price.||20 days prior to departure.||100%||USD 50 per booking / amendment|
|NFR bookings||100% of the airfare, visa and insurance if booked through Overseas Travel Solutions + 100% of the tour price.||Immediate at the time of booking||100%||NA|