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Trekking the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh

Trekkers on the frozen Zanskar River
Image courtesy: ©Shutterstock/CreativesKit

The Chadar trek, on the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh, counts among the most difficult treks in the Himalayan region. The surreal feeling of walking on a sheet of ice with a river flowing just some inches beneath is an experience to cherish for a lifetime.

Usually starting from Tilat Do and ending at Nyrek, this trek offers an experience of how the locals walk on the frozen river to maintain their connection during the harsh winter season. The trek is not easy but obviously magnanimous, magnificent, and a dream of every trekker.

Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult

Average Temperature: Chadar Trek Camp Base +10° C to -25° C

It is advised to take 2 days for acclimatization after landing in the city of Leh. Trek begins on the third day from Leh city and a rough itinerary is mentioned below.

Leh – Chilling – Tilat Do – Tsomo Paldar

Once you reach Tsomo Paldar, you enter the Zanskar valley and reach the other side, which is the first camping site of the trek and trekkers camp for the night.

Tsomo Paldar – Shingra Koma 

The primary objective is to reach Shingra Koma by the end of the day but if needed teams set their tents earlier in case of any emergency.

Shingra koma – Tibb Cave 

The Tibb cave is a huge cave in the gorge and provides natural shelter to the local people when they travel through the frozen Zanskar.

Tibb Cave – Nerak 

On the way to Nerak village, the famous frozen waterfall greets trekkers

Nerak – Tibb Cave 

From Nerak trekkers start the backward journey. Though the route is the same, the trail mostly changes due to the course of the river and temperature

Also Read: Winter destinations around the world: a photo story

Also Read: Going local, for the locals

 

Image courtesy: ©Shutterstock/Supermaw

Tibb Cave – Shingra Koma

Upon reaching Gyalpo tents are set on the ground depending upon the availability & suitability.

Shingra Koma – Tilat Do – Leh City

At Tilat Do, trekkers cross the frozen Zanskar for the last time and then board their vehicles to drive back to Leh.

Tips:
-Temperatures go down to even below -25 degrees. Carry clothes and boots accordingly
-Drinking adequate amount of water is best for easy acclimatisation
-Keep superfoods handy with you to sustain during the trek, as there could be scarcity of food and water.

The best time to take the trek is from the mid of January to the mid of February when the ice is the thickest.