After doing over 30 treks by now, if there is one trek that stood out from all, that was CHADAR TREK. Putting it simply, I have never experienced anything like it before. It is the most overwhelming experience one can have, mesmerizing at every turn, cold but warm for the eyes. That one week of my life was extraordinary. I knew then that I am witnessing a once in a lifetime experience. This exciting adventure is amplified by the breathtaking landscapes that altogether make for one of the most unforgettable treks. 

Recommended workshops : Trekking in the Himalayas : Get Ready (7th Feb -5 -6pm), A Detailed Guide on Sandakphu Trek (7th Feb - 6-7pm)


What is Chadar Trek you ask?

Well, Zanskar is the first major tributary of the Indus river and flows through Ladakh. In Summers, it is a major attraction for people who are into river rafting.  The white-water river offers one of the most adventurous river rafting experience enhanced by its mind-blowing landscape.Now during the winters, the entire tributary starts to freeze and becomes the only mode of transportation to the far wide villages. The Frozen water forms a Chadar (blanket) over the river and thus the name. With time, it became a major attraction for adventure seekers and tourists alike.

Who can attempt the Chadar Trek?

Anyone with a fair level of fitness can attempt this trek. Since you’ll be trekking over a river, it's not tiring at all. The only difficult moments are those patches in between where the Chadar is broken. In most such patches, the guides make an alternative route around it. But even if you’ll be trekking over a flat surface, one has to be very well acclimatized to the high altitude of the valley.

All you need to know before going for the Chadar Trek

Region: Union territory of Ladakh. 
Duration: 7 to 11 Days  
Difficulty: Moderate.
Max Altitude: 11,100 Ft. 
Distance covered: 60 Km approx. 
Best Season: January - February

General Itinerary :

(Note: the itinerary may vary from the one provided by your trek operator, this is a general itinerary for the trek) 

  • Day 1 – Day 3: Acclimatization days (mandatory). 
  • Day 4: Leh to Tsomo Paldar via Chilling & Tilad.
  • Day 5: Tsomo Paldar to Tibb Cave.
  • Day 6: Tibb Cave to Nerak. 
  • Day 7: Nerak to Tibb Cave.
  • Day 8: Tibb Cave to Gyalpo.
  • Day 9: Gyalpo to Tilad do to Leh.
  • Day 10: Fly to your desired destination.

Ask your trek operator:  

Ask your operator the following questions: 

  1. Quality of sleeping bags to be provided. 
  2. The ratio of guide per person. Remember, porters are not your guides, they’ll just run ahead with the stuff instead of sticking around with you. There should be at least one guide per 7 people or lesser.
  3. Do your fees include all the permits (wildlife permits, etc.) They are an additional expense over your cost.

Points to abide by:

  1. Don’t dirty the area and use as many bio-degradable items as you can.
  2. Avoid cotton. It absorbs more moisture and therefore is troublesome to carry.
  3. Carry multiple socks. You’ll have to rotate them every day since they’ll get wet because of the sweating inside the gumboots.
  4. Don’t be afraid to fall. Fall or slide but don’t do anything near the river.
  5. Learn about frostbites and hypothermia and how to react if such a situation occurs.
  6. Everybody's ability to perceive cold is different. Know your body and prepare accordingly. 
  7. DO NOT USE CRAMPONS. You will spoil the Chadar for every group that follows.

Clothing :


Word of advice: Temperature in the Zanskar valley is extremely low. Never compromise on your clothing.  

This entire trail is blessed with beauty but cursed with a lack of sunlight. The temperatures go as low as (–)30 at certain points which makes camping difficult.  Here’s what I used: 

Upper Body :

Lower Body :  

  • Base Layer: Merino wool thermal.
  • 2nd Layer: Ski Pant. (use a ski pant instead of normal trek pants: its warm and waterproof at the same time, will work like a gaiter whenever you need them to. You’ll thank me later).

Feet :

(Carry A lot of socks because reusing wet socks in that cold is almost impossible.) Note: I used a lot of merino wool products for some simple reasons: 

  1. They are light and thin but warm.
  2. Extremely comfortable.
  3. Anti-fungal and odorless so you can wear one for a really long time.

Backpacks and Accessories :

  1. Ideally a 60–70-liter backpack works.
  2. A 20l day pack to carry essentials.
  3. Two walking sticks.
  4. Head Torch.
  5. Toilet paper.
  6. Paper soup.
  7. Good snow glasses (avoid fish eye lens).
  8. Woolen cap.
  9. Waterproof gloves.

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