Chadar Winter Trek Ladakh - 9 Days

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When winter arrives in Jammu & Kashmir, Zanskar gets cut off from the rest of the state. The Pensi La, which is the usual route from Ladakh to Zanskar gets snowed out, making vehicular traffic impossible at this time of the year. For years now, the frozen Zanskar river has been the only way for the people of Zanskar to make contact with the outside world in winter. It used to be a busy trade route back in the day. The Zanskari used to visit Leh to trade butter, cheese and animal hide for household items such as food grains and clothes. Though the Zanskaris are self sufficient these days, there are still a lot of the locals who still use this route, keeping the tradition alive. The frozen Zanskar river thus got its name – the Chadar, a magnificent white sheet of ice and snow which flows through some of the most rugged rock faces. And this setting makes it one of the most stunning treks in the world.

Day 1: Reporting day at Leh

  • Altitude 11,400 ft.
  • Keep your woollen cap and gloves handy at Airport
  • Orientation & Briefing of the trek at 12:00 noon (Mandatory)
  • Check in Hotel (10:00 am) (Centrally heated room)
  • Bring a copy of ID proof and 2 photo graphs. Foreigner, a copy of passport and visa
  • Network is available (only post-paid)
  • ATM is available
  • Visit of any very high altitude place or pass is not advisable
  • Consumption of alcohol and smoking is strictly prohibited
  • Spend the day in the room itself to acclimatise

Day 2: Acclimatization Day

  • Rest + Acclimatisation day
  • Sightseeing included in the cost (Hall of Fame, Santhi Stupa, Shey Monastery, Thiksey Monastery
  • Visit of any very high altitude place or pass is not advisable
  • Consumption of alcohol and smoking is strictly prohibited
  • Stay in Hotel (Centrally heated room)

Day 3: Leh to Tsomo Paldar via Chilling & Tilad do

  • Altitude 11,400 to 10,400 ft.
  • Drive 65 km, 3-4 hrs
  • Trek 3km, 2 hrs
  • Gumboots are mandatory
  • Carry two thermos flask of 1 litre each
  • Stay in tents
  • Drive through Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill and the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus

Day 4: Tsomo Paldar to Tibb Cave

  • Altitude 10,400 to 10,800 ft.
  • Trek 15 km / 6-7 hrs)
  • Hot Lunch on the way
  • Make sure you fill your thermos with warm water before you leave
  • Pass through a waterfall which never freeze
  • You will only get sunshine around 9-10 am
  • Stay in tent

Day 5: Tibb Cave to Nerak

  • Altitude 10,800 to 11,100 ft
  • Trek 13 km / 6-7 hrs)
  • Hot Lunch on the way
  • Make sure you fill your thermos with warm water before you leave
  • Nerak is the first village of Zanskar region
  • If we reach on time at Nerak camp, accordingly we can go to visit Nerak village
  • Attraction Frozen waterfall
  • Stay in tent.

Day 6: Nerak – Tibb Cave

  • Altitude 11,100 to 10,800 ft
  • Trek 13 km / 5-6 hrs)
  • Hot Lunch on the way
  • Make sure you fill your thermos with warm water before you leave
  • Stay in tent

Day 7: Tibb Cave to Gyalpo

  • Altitude 10,800ft to 10,500 ft.
  • Trek 12 km / 5-6 hours
  • Hot Lunch on the way
  • Make sure you fill your thermos with warm water before you leave
  • Stay in tent.

Day 8: Gyalpo to Tilad do to Leh

  • Altitude 10,500ft to 10,300ft and drive to 11,400 ft.
  • Trek 06 km. / 3-4 hrs
  • Drive 65 km, 3-4 hrs
  • Hot Lunch on the way
  • Make sure you fill your thermos with warm water before you leave
  • Reach Leh by 06:30 pm
  • De- briefing and certificate distribution just before dinner
  • Stay in Hotel (Centrally heated)

Day 9: Fly to your desired destination

  • Checkout 10.00 am from Leh Hotel

Day 1
Reporting day at Leh

Day 2
Acclimatization Day

Keeping in mind the health problems that trekkers are facing (AMS), as per the new regulations applied, anyone doing the Chadar Trek should be atleast spending two days in Leh to get your body fully acclimatize to the weather conditions. It is irrevocable and it is important that it is strictly followed by every trekker. You can spend the day by visiting the places around the city. It is advisable that you avoid visiting places which are at a higher altitude. Crosscheck you essentials before going to bed.

Day 3
Leh to Tsomo Paldar via Chilling & Tilad do

On this day, you’ll be headed to the first campsite which is Tsomo Paldar via Chilling & Tilad do. It is one of the most scenic drives which lets you witness some of the top spots in Ladakh. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill and the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus are some of the places where you can take a pit stop for clicking pictures. An hour and a half drive along the Zanskar will get you to Chilling. The car will drop you right where the road ends, this will be your starting point of walking on the Zanskar. Walking with you gumboots on will definitely be a challenge in the initial stage. Understanding the ice patterns will take time, slowly but steadily you will know which surface is fragile and which is trustworthy. There are multiple number of ice surfaces that you would come across while walking on the mighty Zanskar and as 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 wholeheartedly. A small and light backpack will help as you will able to manage your body weight in an effective manner. After an hour and half of slipping, falling and trying to gather your balance you’ll be reaching your first campsite at Tsomo Paldar. This will be your first experience of camping under sub-zero temperatures.

Day 4
Tsomo Paldar to Tibb Cave

Chadar is one such trek where your not gaining altitude in quick successions. Slowly but gradually from Tsomo Paldar to Tibb Cave (6-7 hours), you will be gaining an altitude of 400ft. (Tsomo Paldar: 11,400 to Tibb Cave: 11,800) After spending a cold night in the tent at Tsomo Paldar get done with you breakfast that will re-energize your senses in the morning. The much needed hot cup of tea will be special in such frosty conditions. As you start heading to the next campsite which is Tibb Cave, this trek route has some of the most eye-catching frozen waterfalls that you’ll see. Waterfalls that stand frozen in time. The source of some of these frozen waterfalls is still unknown and there are a lot of myths amongst the villagers. The mighty Zanskar will be flowing all along with you on the trail and the emerald green water will have a smoothing effect. You will be served lunch midway to Tibb cave. After walking for a couple of hours you’ll come across different rock patterns along the way which look artistic when the sun rays fall on them making their way from behind the clouds. You will be camping near the Tibb cave which is surrounded by dry sand.

Day 5
Tibb Cave to Nerak

As you move on to the most awaited campsite of the trek which is Nerak, the 13km long trail will take you to the most iconic landmark of the Chadar trek. i.e. The frozen waterfall. The frozen waterfall is a natures masterpiece in itself that attracts trekkers around the world. Hot lunch will be served on your way to Nerak. By far, Nerak 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 in layers to stay safe from the biting cold. If you manage to reach the waterfall on time, there are chances of paying a visit to the Nerak Village as well. You will be camping at a distance of 15-20 minutes from the waterfall.

Back from Nerak:

You might have heard stories of how unpredictable the weather patterns can get here on the Chadar trek. There are instances where the formation of Chadar no longer exists on your way back from Nerak. In the same way, you will witness a new layer of Chadar formed at some. Even though it’s the same route, you’ll be amazed to see how different it appears while coming back. Chadar Trek is an experience of a lifetime that every trekking enthusiast should witness. And then, what if we told you that these eight days of your life are going to be some of the best days you’ve lived so far and that you’ll cherish these moments till the very end.

Day 6
Nyerak – Tibb Cave (Trek 15-17 km. / 9 hours)

11,100ft to 10,760ft. Stay in tent.

After four days of walking on ice, you will now be an expert. So feel free to look around and soak in the surroundings. There’s a good chance of spotting ibex and bharal on the high slopes, and if you’re lucky, even a snow leopard walking along the ridge. Also look out for birds such as lammergiers and choughs sailing high above the valley. It’s the longest day of the trek through narrow gorges, which means climbing up a short distance by the bank of the river in places where a solid walking surface is unavailable.

Day 7
Tibb Cave – Gyalpo (Trek 10-11 km. / 5-6 hours)

10,760ft to 10,550ft. Stay in tent.

Way back is tiring at the same time very interesting. After 5 days in this chilling region you get use to this environment. Snap shots of your favorite place, lying on the bed of ice, sharing your experience are the memories of trek.

Day 8
Gyalpo – TilatDo – Leh (Trek 10-11 km. / 4 hours)

10,550ft to 10,390ft to 11,000ft. Stay in Guest house.

We make our way back along the same way that we came, giving you the opportunity to soak in the sights that you probably missed. Trekkers along the way are sure to check with you on the route ahead, so be prepared to play guide and share your experiences.

Day 9
Checkout 10.00am from Leh. Fly to your desired destination.

The journey comes to an end. You get ready to depart and say goodbye after having your morning breakfast. Return back home with lifetime of memories

The Trip Cost Includes

  • Cost include GST of 5%
  • Accommodation: • Guest house (Centrally heated) in Leh on Day 1, day 2 and day 8 as per the itinerary.
  • • Camping during the trek
  • Meals while on trek (Veg.+ Egg)
  • Trek equipment's: Sleeping bag, mattress, tent (twin sharing), kitchen & dinning tent, toilet tent, utensils.
  • Necessary permits and entry fees
  • First aid medical kits, stretcher & oxygen cylinder
  • Mountaineering qualified & professional trek Leader, guide, cook and Support staff
  • Transport from Leh guest house to Tilad do and return as per the itinerary

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • Any kind of personal expenses.
  • Airfare
  • Food in Leh
  • Any kind of emergency evacuation charges
  • Pickup and drop from airport
  • Wildlife/environmental charges
  • Porter to carry personal luggage
  • Anything not specifically mentioned under the head

Bare necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: You will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable enough.
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.

Clothes

On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.

  1. Four warm layers: On the pass crossing day, you will need at least four warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece, one light sweater and one padded jacket) for this trek.
  2. Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry two pairs. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
  3. Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry two. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek.
  4. Thermals (Mandatory): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.

Accessories

  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. These are more important in June. There might be snow at the upper campsites regardless of the season. So carry a pair of sunglasses.
  2. Suncap: The sun is intense at higher altitudes and a sun cap is absolutely essential to keep your face and neck safe from sun burns.
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof gloves.
  4. Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
  5. Socks (2 pairs):  Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
  6. Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory

Others

  1. Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
  2. ToiletriesSunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
  3. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
  4. Two water bottles: 1 litre each
  5. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit 

  1. Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Dexamethasone – one strip
  3. Nifedipine – 5 tablets
  4. Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
  5. Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  6. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  7. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  8. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  9. Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
  10. Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  11. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  12. Gauze – 1 small roll
  13. Band aid – 10 strips
  14. Cotton – 1 small roll
  15. ORS – 10 packets
  16. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  17. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
  18. Knee cap, if you are prone to knee injury
  19. Anti fungal powder

Mandatory Documents

Please carry the below documents. Document two and three need to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp.
  • Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
  • Medical Certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF
  • Disclaimer form (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF

  1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Altitude Adventure will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please fill the cancellation form and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.

The cancellation charges are as under.

  • Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
  • Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.

Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (cancellation charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded.

2. Backpack offloading: Altitude Adventure expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.

Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1,650 plus GST of 5%. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 375 per day inclusive of tax. Partial offloading is not allowed.  The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/trolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.

Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.

  1. Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Altitude Adventure will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.

Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Altitude Adventure trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.

4. Non-liability: Altitude Adventure is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.

5. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.

6. Drinking and smoking: during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.

How safe is the Chadar trek?

a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatization, most treks in the Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced ascents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reasons for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.

b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Altitude Adventure reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Altitude Adventure trek leaders.

c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Altitude Adventure reserves the right to send a trekker back if, in the opinion of our trek leader, they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.

A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Altitude Adventure has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.

Cardiovascular endurance – Target 10 km in 60-70 minutes before the start of the trek. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.

In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.

Here’s a fitness routine that works:In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –

–>Target completing 5 km in 35 minutes when you begin. –> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in less than 35 mins. –>If you are above 45 years and is comfortable with brisk walking, then target covering 10km in 90 minutes.

If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek — one of you covering 5km in less than 35 mins along with your picture and the other with splits of your run.

Strength – Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each

This is another area you should work on. There is a lot of trekking distance that you will cover in high altitude carrying your backpacks.  You have to walk on uneven terrain during the trek. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help. You can do some squats to strengthen them. Start with 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.

Flexibility

Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.

Price From INR ₹ 25,725 INR  21,525/person
21525
Total 21,525 INR

Trip Facts

  • Leh
  • Moderate
  • 3450 Metres
  • 12 Years
  • Day time: -5°C-10°C; Night time: -20°C-30°C

Why Altitude Adventure?

-Altitude Adventure is one of the oldest and most widely recommended trekking Organisation in Ladakh, India.

-Altitude Adventure safety standards are the highest in Ladakh, India.

-Equipment like tents and sleeping bags are expedition standard and imported by Altitude Adventure.

-Altitude Adventure is recognised and is a member of all trekking and Travel organisations in Ladakh, India

Why Altitude Adventure?

-Altitude Adventure is one of the oldest and most widely recommended trekking Organisation in Ladakh, India.

-Altitude Adventure safety standards are the highest in Ladakh, India.

-Equipment like tents and sleeping bags are expedition standard and imported by Altitude Adventure.

-Altitude Adventure is recognised and is a member of all trekking and Travel organisations in Ladakh, India

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