Leh Frozen River Trek
from £630 Per Person
11 Nights / 12 Days
Chadar Trek The Frozen River Trek
Leh (Ladakh) can be a dificult place to travel during winters. Leh and its surrounding areas at this time,is almost covered in snow. Hence, the only way to reach Leh is through flight. The mountains here aresteep and snowfall closes many of the mountain passes thus making the roads hazardous to travel.Also due to snowfall, some villages become completely inaccessible from November upto March byroad. Therefore, one of the methods of accessing snow-bound villages during the winter is trekking ontop of the frozen rivers. The Chadar trek is one such route, connecting villages in the Zanskar valley(deep in the mountains) with Chilling (on the road to Leh) along the frozen Zanskar River.The locals or Zanskaris as they are popularly known usually take a road from to the Zanskar to Nerakand further for work which mostly consists of trading goods in the summers. During winters, the roadis blocked and dangerous to travel so the locals tread along the Zanskar River which is frozen at thistime. This route has been used for centuries for trade and transportation, and is most reliable in Januaryand February when the ice is most stable.The thick blanket of ice that the Zanskar river forms resemblances a white blanket which in the locallanguage is called ‘Chadar’. Hence the trek along the frozen Zanskar River is known as the Chadar Trek.The Chadar Trek or The Frozen River Expedition is one of the most unique and challenging treks inIndia. The Chadar trek across the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh takes place during the latter part ofJanuary till end of February or sometimes even in the rst week of March, depending on the weather.The 7 days walk from Tilat Do to Nearak and back, is both challenging as well as an incomparablyexiting experience. The landscape aquires a pristine grandeur in winter as the trail enters into thegorge of the Zanskar, where temperatures sometimes drop to –30 to - 35 Degree Celsius.Imagine walking across frozen sheets of ice, with mountains enveloped by snow on one side and astream, slowly freezing or melting right on the other, as you walk alongside it. And while that seemsfascinating, look up, ahead and around; to witness surreal beauty for as far as you can see. This is theChadar Trek , the Frozen River Trek, only multiplied a hundred-fold. Just imagine being a part of thistranscendental journey. Those picture and memories will make for great conversations and storiesback home.
On arrival meet and greet at airport and proceed to Hotel for freshnup, evening borad to train towards Haridwar. Over night in train.
Meal: No Meal
Flying over the heavily snowed mountains to reach Leh will enlighten you about the fact thatwhy is it impossible to reach there by road in the winters. While on the flight do not forget to takesome beautiful pictures of the completely snow capped mountains! On landing at Leh airportwhich is one of the highest airports in the world, you will feel the fresh and crisp air with a drasticdrop in the temperature. This is the time when the city of Leh is completely covered in snow, withvarying temperature of -10 degree during the day and falls to -15 or below after sunset.A 30 minutes drive from the Leh Airport and there you reach our Guesthouse in Leh, where warmbreakfast awaits you. This day will be spend for acclimatization and if you are able to survive thiscold, then the journey forward will become a lot easier for you.Take a nap, relax your muscles andget set for local exploration towards the noon. Partly closed during winters, but one can surelypurchase the essentials and small eateries from the Leh Market.Though we advise getting every necessary item for the trek before you arrive at Leh, but ifrequired, you may indulge into some last minute-shopping from here. Not to miss the downywoolen warmers and the basic gears, in case you have missed out any! While taking a strollthrough the Leh market, one will feel the chills and will surely get into the sink with the temperature.Roaming around in the evening will help one to acclimatize well before stepping onto theChadar. You just have to becareful of slipping on the roads as they will be coated with thin layerof ice..The night will be spent in our cozy guest house followed by the dinner.
Meal: Lunch, Dinner
The next morning’s sun will be welcomed from Shanti Stupa, where you can get a panoramicview of the entire town of Leh and its surroundings, including an amazing view of Stok Kangripeak, beckoning you to climb it. But going by our agenda for the day, we put Stok Kangri in thefuture to do list and head for the picturesque and thrilling drive towards Tilat Do. Thisroller-coaster drive follows the route of River Indus and further leads us to the village of Nimu,where river Zanskar converges into Indus. After spending some time by the confluence point andclicking some heart-warming pictures, the drive continues and the road starts descendingtowards the river valley. While on this road trip there will be several gripping moments, one ofwhich is when the vehicle takes a turn on the steep hairpin bends, over the snow covered road.Driving throughout the road from Chilling to Tilad Do, one will realize the vastness of these mammothmountains, and the tiny existence of human race in front of them.The road ends at Tilat Do and from there we walk for 30 mins and then descend. This is themoment when you make your rst step on the Chadar. Just remember to take tiny steps while onChadar so as to get the feel of the frozen pathway beneath. It will take a while to get a hang ofliterally walking on the frozen river bed. Our suggestion to you here is, observe what the localsand the guides have to say and eventually, you’ll understand the technique of walking on thewhite flurry surface.
Five minutes of walk and we reach our rst camp-site. Here we are all set to pitch our tents on thebank of River Zanskar, providing you with two options. Either devote some time practicing walkingon the Chadar or help us in xing tents for the nights’ camping, as both will be a new learningexperience altogether. As we inform you about the dos and don’ts of the campsite, hot maggiwill be served as lunch for the day followed by interactions and distribution of warm sleepingbags for a comfortable night. We recommend you to hike around the nearby mountains and getan amazing airplane view of the frozen river; this will keep you warm and active.Day 2Drive from Leh to Tilad Do via ChillingAs the sun bids adieu, the temperature decreases and now it’s time to step into the dinning tentand make new friends, while sharing your travel stories over a cup of hot soup. Have a sumptuousmeal here and then retire to your tents. Have a good night!
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mornings at the Chadar trek are cooler than you can imagine. Though the sun rises here by 7 inthe morning yet you will have to wait till the noon to feel the direct sunlight. Being on this trail forquite a few days, the biggest challenge that one will face is stepping out of the warm sleepingbag to a giant freezer eagerly waiting outside. But the steaming cups of tea will surely help here!Today will be a 13 kms of walk, which is comparatively a long walking session on the Chadar andto complete this it will take about 6 – 7 hours. Thus, a short brieng session will be held by thetrek leaders during the breakfast where they will guide you on multiple situations with examples,depending upon the various weather and snow conditions. There will be situations when itmight be necessary to wade through ankle deep water, or climb on the clis at the side of theriver but eventually you will learn to walk on the Chadar!
On the mid-way to Tsomo i.e. Gyalpo, the cook will prepare hot lunch for us. And you will have tothank him for this blissful hot meal. What you just need to remember is a decent amount of fluid intake at regular intervals to keep your body hydrated. So, ll in your bottles with hot waterwhenever possible, mostly at lunch breaks. This will lend a hand in nicely circulating your bloodin cool weather conditions.Following our way through, as we pass Gyalpo, we reach the camp-site for the day at Tsomo. Thisis a beautiful campsite, where witnessing the sunset over the mountains is magical. Tonight’scampsite is set near the river bend, surrounded by high peaks and rock-faces which more or lesslooks like creation of man. After the long hours, all we need is to soak-up in the incredible views,have an early dinner and call it a day.
Meal: Breakfast,Lunch, Deinner
Following the usual morning routine, today’s march will start at 8 am, a long but the most beautifulwalk is awaiting for you. Today we will cover the distance of 15 kms in 7-8 hours. This incrediblylong walk will surely keep us warm the whole day!Today we will walk through the deep ravines of the river Zanskar. The sublime walls of the mountains,on either side of the river keeps the sunlight away from the Chadar for most part of the day.There are numerous caves in these mountains, big and small. Here we will also come across tinywaterfalls frozen into dangling icicles. The mid-way views that we get while walking on this trailare simply awesome.It is said thatNerakonce ran out of water and a holy man went to Kailash to pray for water for hispeople. On his way back he was carrying a pot of water with two shes with the instructions ofnot keeping it down anywhere along the way. But he happened to put it at this spot and twoshes jumped right out to create this large waterfall. Legend has it, that this waterfall traces itsorigin back to Kailash. This waterfall, miraculously, is not completely iced-up even in such freezingcold. The rocks below this waterfall are covered with moss, and this is the only greenery you’llsee on this trek.
A couple of hours more and you arrive at todays campsite, Tibb. Tibb is a large camping area withcaves alongside large enough to t 7-9 people. The cave here is the dwelling place of all theporters, and they welcome you warm-heartedly in here to have a look inside. The highlight of theday is to share a cup of butter-tea with them! After a tiring day we have dinner and retire to ourtents. Tomorrow is the much awaited day for all, Nearak Waterfalls it will be Goodnight.
Meal: Breakfast,Lunch, Deinner
Welcoming the spectacular day of this journey, today we will trek fromTibb to Nerak which iscovering a distance of 12.5 kms in 8 hours. Walking on the frozen river you cross deep gorges andreach a point where Juniper trees are covered with prayer flags. A few steps away stands themother-of-all frozen waterfalls – a huge instance of suspended animation several feet tall andequally wide. You can see dozens of colors in this enormous ice structure as sunlight plays o itssurface. A little ahead from the massive waterfall is theNerak pull or bridge. It’s an old woodenbridge that can hold atleast 4 people at a time. You get a better view of the waterfall from here.About 20mins ahead, you’ll reach the Nerak campsite. TheNerak villageis 2000ft higher, whilethe camping site is 200 ft higher than the river bed. Nerak is known for its cold nights and shiveringwinds. This would be your coldest night on the frozen river trek, with temperatures possiblydropping to -25 or even lower. We can visit the local shops near the campsite as enjoy our timechatting and sharing experiences so far. Congratulations to all! You have made it to your destinationand completed Half the trek.
Meal: Breakfast,Lunch, Deinner
Today you start the return journey and go back to the Tibb cave or Hotang another new andbeautiful campsite for you. To reach Hotang we need to walk a little more and the walk will be ofaround 8-9hrs but its totally worth it.Also if you thought that it was just a matter of retracing your steps back to Chilling, you can thinkagain. The Zanskar River reacts to the slightest change of temperature, and constantly keepsrepackaging itself. This is one of the uniqueness of this frozen river trek,old chadar breaks, thereare snowfalls and new chadar forms constantly. The Chadar would have assumed a completelynew form, and will it will almost be impossible to say whether you have been here before.On the way, you can meet a lot of locals wearing their traditional woolen Gonchas – some ofthem monks who are hiking from the Lingshed Monastery to Leh, some of them young studentsaccompanied by their parents returning to their schools in Leh after the winter vacation. Watchingthe locals negotiate the Chadar is a fascinating sight. They are suitably adapted to the climateand seem very much at home in the sub-zero temperature and the biting cold winds. Nothingwipes the smiles o their faces and dampens the warmth of their spirit. Today if we reach Hotangand spend our night at this beautiful campsite, do not forget to set up your Tripods & cameras toclick some amazing night sky full of stars.
Meal: Breakfast,Lunch, Deinner
Starting from Tibb/ Hotang, we go up to Gyalpo or Shingra Yokma today. The high walls of mountainsrising from the sides of the river almost look like castle walls. You can see several trails ofpug-marks all along the trek – footprints belonging to foxes, ibex or snow-leopards. You wouldbe lucky to view a snow-leopard; but you can almost be sure that you are being watched by oneall the time. We have almost completed our beautiful yet challenging trek. It’s time for all of us toparty and congratulate each other for this accomplishment.The Chadar trek is absolutely as unique as it sounds and by now you the reason why? It is a farmore fascinating and enriching experience that you can imagine.Over night at Hotel.
Meal: breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This is the last day of treading on the Chadar – the last chance to immerse in the pristine beautyof the frozen river. Once you reach Tilad Do, it is time to say good-bye to the Zanskar and theZanskaries. Our team and our porters will take good care of you and make this trek one of themost memorable experiences for you. Don’t forget to thank them before you say the nal goodbye.We drive back to Leh at our Guesthouse and take a dry bath to wipe out all the dust. Tonight you get to sleep in a warm Guesthouse again .
Meal: Breakfast,Lunch, Dinner
As this unforgettable journey gets over, you depart from Leh having a newfound respect for theZanskaries who brave all odds and survive with style in their beloved land. This trek also leavesbehind a tremendous feeling of accomplishment – one of having undertaken and endured anextraordinary and challenging trek. The Chadar trek will be a cherished memory for life. Breakfast we will provide your transfer to Delhi airport enabling you to board the flight towards Delhi, on ariival transfer to hotel for over night stay.
Day at lesuire to explore Delhi by own.
After breakfast we will provide your transfer to Delhi airport enabling you to board the flight for your onward journey.
*Rates are Per person on sharing basis with minimum 2 pax travelling together.
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