Challenge your physical endurance with the most mind-numbing Chadar Trek

Ladakh has always given endless reasons to be claimed as one of the dreamy travel destinations for tourists across the globe. But what sets it apart as a land for the adventurous heart is its Chadar Trek experience. Nowhere else on this blue planet, you will find such a mind-numbing winter adventure.

Throughout the winters, the Zanskar river of Ladakh remains wrapped up with a shiny white sheet of snow. This is the sole reason why the locals regard this piece of land as Chadar.  Trekking on the frozen sheet of ice is what calls for the direct attention of the adventure lovers. The icy boulders and the rocks make it a challenging trek, yet people enjoy this trek a lot.

Overview of the Chadar Trek –

Location – Leh – Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir

Duration – Depends on your trekking package provider

Difficulty Level – difficult

Maximum altitude – 11,100 feet

Approximate trekking distance – 105 km

Things to keep in mind before planning your Chadar Trek –

  • High altitudes might cause mountain sickness. So, you need to undergo an acclimatization period before the start of your trek.
  • Keep an emergency first aid kit with you.
  • Follow the instructions provided by your trekking guide on day 1.
  • As the Zanskar valley experiences a sudden drop in temperature during nights, make sure to keep yourselves warm to avoid hypothermia.
  • It is advisable to wear layers of clothes rather than wrapping yourself in thick clothes.

Best time to experience the Chadar trek –

No doubt, the beauty of Zanskar is amplified during winters. This makes winters the most favorable month to plan your trekking here. You can either opt for January or February. It is the time when the river freezes its top surface as the temperature drops below the sub-zero level. Besides, the surrounding hills and valleys all remain snow-clad. The scenic beauty of Zanskar in winters makes it a pristine trekkers paradise.

What is the difficulty level of the Chadar trek?

Undoubtedly, Chadar trek is placed amongst the challenging trekking experiences taking place across the globe. Participants, therefore, need to prepare themselves both mentally and physically to experience the harsh camping conditions and unsettling temperatures. Your total trekking distance turns out to be 105 km, which might surprise you with some slippery twists and turns. At some points, you might even need to climb those substantial icy boulders or rocks. But, if you are enthusiastic about the experience, be fearless as nothing is going to stop you.

What should your backpack look like?

A lot of things might be made available to you by your Chadar Trek organizers themselves. Yet, you should be vigilant on your part to pack the right things, especially when you set out for such a tedious trekking adventure. Here’s how your backpack should look like –

Medium-sized bottle with a liner (mostly plastic)

Stream crossing footwear

Fleece jackets

Trekking boots

Medications (if any)

Rainproof jackets

Insulation gloves

Water bottles

Water purification pills


Emergency first aid kits

Emergency food items

Hand sanitizers

Also read: Why hostels are considered as a good place to stay?


Things to do during your Chadar trek expedition –

  • The route that marks Chadar trek is actually a bridging link between Ladakh and Padum. As the majority of the other ways to traverse between these two destinations are blocked during winters, Chadar trek remains the only option. So, make the most of the opportunity and enjoy your Chadar trek experience to the fullest.
  • While trekking, you might come across many locals or natives of the Zanskar region. Get along with them and gain some insights into their customs, cultures, and traditions.
  • While you are enjoying your acclimatization period, get along the forts and Gompas of Leh for some quiet time.
  • The main attraction of the Zanskar region is its diverse flora and flora. So, while you trek, keep your eyes and ears open to spot on some rare animals. Who knows, you might get glimpses of snow leopards or Himalayan Thar or ibex.

Clare Louise

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