Featuring a surreal backdrop of nature colours, the Frozen River Trek, commonly known as the Chadar Trek, is one of the challenging treks in the Ladakh region. The strenuous mountain trail on the ice-clogged river under the blue winter sky passes through valleys, mountain caves and frozen waterfalls. It is one of the most arduous treks of Indian Himalaya as the trekkers will pass through craggy rocks and the temperature may dip to below minus 10 degrees, a rare climatic condition which can be difficult to survive.
Walking on the frozen river is an ultimate experience for adventure lovers. The traditional name of the trek is “Chadar Trek
” the frozen sheet trek, which was only way in and out for the people of Zanskar in winters when all other ways are closed due to heavy snowfall at high passes.This is a trek into some of the most isolated yet inhabited regions in the Zanskar
Mountains, Trekking on ice, the frozen Zanskar River, on an average five to seven hours daily at an easy pace. But a reasonable degree of physical fitness is needed to sustain walking for nine days during winter
conditions.The trek commences from the village of Chiling located not far from the confluence of Indus and the Zanskar River. The trek follows the river gorge through a spectacular landscape, a photographer’s paradise,offering occasional sightings of wildlife. Although pleasant on clear, sunny days, the weather conditions can change abruptlywith winds & temperatures falling up to minus 20 to 30 degree Celsius.
Spot rare Ladakhi animals like snow leopard, ibex, Himalayan Thar, blue sheep, etc.
January to February : This is the time when the upper layer of the Zanskar River freezes. The river looks like a sheet of ice; hence, it is referred in the local language as ‘Chadar’.
During the winter season, the Zanskar River converts into ice, giving trekkers a perfect platform for trekking. The trail to the Zanskar valley is going to be a challenging yet exciting one as the ice walls are vertical cliffs, which are up to 600 m high, and the Zanskar river is narrow, approximately 5 m wide. Once upon the time, the trail used to be traditional trade route
Upon arrival at Leh Airport you will meetour representative and transfer to the Hotel for Check in. On the first day of your
trekking trip in Ladakh, you will spend your entire day in Ladakh for acclimatization. Although there are many things to do in Leh town, it’s best that you spend your entire day at leisure allowing time for high altitude acclimatization. Full day rest. Overnight in Leh.
Rest or leisure day for acclimatization.
Overnight in Leh
After the breakfast visit Leh SNM hospital for medical check up and to get a medical certificate. Overnight in Leh
After breakfast we will drive from Leh to chilling with our support staff to begin this amazing and most exciting winter trek. Shortly after leaving Leh, we reached Nimoo, the confluence of Zanskar and Indusrivers. The sight is amazing as the iced up and frozen Zanskar meets the fast flowing Indus. We stop here for around 5-10 mts for all tohave a view and a click. We then turn down from Nimoo following the track parallel to the frozen River Zanskar, a drive towards the road head beside the frozen river is another amazing experience. Travel distance between Leh and Chilling is around 64 KM. We reach now to the point, past the village of Chilling to where the road head ends. Touching the Chadar for the first time, we started the trek for 1-2 hrs along the magnificent frozen river Zanskar till Tilat Sumdo. Hearing the different sounds of Chadar forming and breaking, you will soon get familiar where the Chadar or the ice cover is thick and thin. With an early lunch break in between, we would soon reach the majestic. Lunch is in between the trek, where we all stop where sunlight is abundant though duration is much less as the river flows through a gorge and directsunlight time is limited. We trek again on frozen ice towards theWe trek again on frozen ice towards the designated camping site for the day. Overnight at camp.
Today we will have early breakfast, it isanother day of ice expedition among some of the most fantastic landscapes and ice vistas. Vast mountain sides rise up abruptly from the river as it flows through the gorge. We might even catch sight of bharals or blue sheep as we trek along the frozen river. Though today is the longest day of the trek, we pass through some magnificent beautiful waterfalls and frozen ice cliffs on the left. It is life walking through a giant freezer. The walk also crosses through a narrow gorge, where the trekker may have to climb briefly on to the rocky river bank. We trek again on frozen ice towards the designated camping site for the day. The sharp bends and current of the river breaks the ice in some places. Lunch in between a flat rocky hill side by the river with a magnificent day on the chadar trek. However, the caution being that this can become difficult if the Chader is not very firm. The vistas are stunning though as we pass through giant frozen waterfalls, ice cliffs and one may even catch sight of the mountain fox. After lunch we
pass the incense tree, so called because the locals use its branches to burn in their morning rituals and the prayer flags draped tree marks the entrance to Zanskar proper. The porters will normally trace a few twigs from the tree. We reached the Naerak campsite by late afternoon. An old, dilapidated bridge on the river as folklore goes is thought to be more than 1000 years old. A trail is normally beaten through in the snow towards the village up high in the mountain. Overnight in camp.
Though technically it is the same way back,it is also quite different. The Chader or the blanket of ice that is forming on the River Zanskar is always changing, breaking up and forming itself again. As the Chader dynamics are ever changing, the same route and place would look and feel different as the texture and conditions change. All along the way, trekkers will pass by and meet a lot of locals wearing their traditional woolen dresses, trekking their way towards the villages of Padum, Lingshed and Neyrac. Pleasantries are exchanged and even a few stories and legends about the Zanskar and
its people can be heard. Their warmth and smiles is amazing among all the hardships.
Overnight at camp.
Starting from Tibb, go up to Shingra Koma today. The high walls of mountains rising from the sides of the river almost look like castle walls. You can see several trails of pug–marks all along the trek-footprints belonging to foxes ,ibex or even snow leopards. You might be lucky to see a snow leopard but you can almost be sure that you are being watched by one all the time.
Overnight in camp.
Today is the last day of this amazing unique trek. We finally return back to the road head where our vehicle will be waiting to take us back to our hotel at Leh. A huge goodbye to the supporting staff, thrie absolute dedication and support is
nothing short of amazing. Finally on reaching Leh the hotel room of Leh after some 8 days is most welcome, yet the
experiences of this ice trek linger and will be remembered forever. Overnight at Leh.
Tour concludes. Travel To Himalaya thank you for your patronage and ensure a punctual transfer to Domestic Airport to catch flight to Delhi.