Chadar Expedition - The Frozen River
Fancy a real adventure trek with breathtaking views? The Chadar Frozen River Trek is your best bet. This trek covers a staggering 105 km one-way, with an average of 15-17 km per day. The winter snowfall closes most mountain passes and the ‘Chadar,’ meaning blanket refers to the frozen Zanskar river which becomes the only way for the residents near Zanskar to connect with the rest of the world.
At times, the temperature drops to -30 to -35 degree Celsius. Despite the freezing temperatures, the sun and the blue skies are up by 9:00 am and that’s when our daily stay begins. While most of the trekking will be done on the frozen river, chadar or the normal trail used by the people in Zanskar, sometimes we will climb icy rocks or trails.
Day 1: Leh Arrival
As most roads are blocked during winters, air is the only way to reach Ladakh. The temperatures in Leh will always be in the negatives, so wear your warm clothes in the flight itself to avoid the drastic drop in temperatures from affecting you as you descend from the flight. Leh is immersed in snow and at times the roads will also be hidden under a thick sheet of ice. Due to this, the city will only be partly open. Only the shops catering to local needs will be open and hence, buy all your gears from your city. Overnight stay.
Day 2: Leh – Chilling – Tilat do
Your day will start with a climb to the Shanti Stupa from where you will witness your life’s most magnificent sunrise, amid the snow clad peaks of the Himalayas. 64 km away from Leh lies the start of our trek on the frozen Zanskar river. A thrilling ride to Chilling along the Indus river will take you to the Nimu village where the Zanskar converges with the mighty Indus. Next, we will start our trek, with varied challenges, on the frozen river. In between, we will reach Tilad Do and by evening we will cross the Zanskar river to reach the campsite. Overnight stay will be on the banks of Zanskar River where the Aahvan team will pitch tents and hand out warm sleeping bags.
Day 3: Tilat Do – Gyalpo
The day will start with a few stretching exercises, breakfast and a briefing by our instructors on how to trek on the Chadar. The weather at Chadar is not very predictable, at times it can be cold with hard surface of slippery ice or it can be soft fresh snow. A 12 km trek will lead us to Gyalpo through Shingra Koma. Surrounded by towering mountain peaks, we will do an overnight stay in our tents at a bend in the river.
Day 4: Gyalpo – Tibb Cave
After breakfast, we will kick-off today’s 14 km trek with scenes of frozen waterfalls and sky-reaching mountain walls which block most of the sunlight. The trek ends with a hot cup of Ladakhi tea and an overnight stay in tents waiting for us in the Tibb Cave.
Day 5: Tibb Cave – Nyerak
A 5 hour trek after breakfast through the beautiful cliffs, Juniper trees covered with prayer flags and the valley of Chadar will take us to the region’s largest waterfall, Nyerak waterfall. After a refreshing stop at the Nyerak waterfall, we will continue towards our destination, Nyerak village, where we will camp overnight at the side of the frozen river, in tents.
Day 6: Nyerak – Tibb Cave
This day marks our return journey and although the trek is the same, there is a slight change in weather conditions and therefore the sceneries. Overnight stay in tents inside the cave, just like last time.
Day 7: Tibb Cave - gyalpo
The second day of our return journey will show us mesmerizing views of frozen waterfalls. The destination for today is Gyalpo with an overnight stay in tents.
Day 8: Gyalpo – Tilat Do - Leh
The last day of our exciting Chadar Frozen River Trek will leave you wanting more of the snow and mountains. However, soon it will be time for us to say goodbye to the Frozen River and the people of Zanskar. At Tilat Do, a vehicle waiting for us will take us back to Leh.
Day 9: Leh Departure
Flights from Leh will take us back to our homes but we promise this Chadar Frozen River trek will be etched in your mind forever!
- Accommodation during the trek (camping)
- All meals - vegetarian
- Trekking permits and forest camping charges
- Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
- Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
- Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
- Services of an expert trek team (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)
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