Chadar Trek

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About Chadar Trek

“Chadar is a hindi word with the meaning Blanket. As the river Zanskar freezes it forms a sheet of ice which became know as Chadar by the locals. as it is a flat sheet of ice on which they could walk”

Why the Chadar Trek

For the people staying in the Zanskar valley the connecting roads to the main market of Leh gets closed with the start of Winter snowfall. Their entire produce of cheese, milk based products can be sold only in Leh. Their only 2 options will be to either trek through the snow clad mountain which involves risking ones life, or Walk on the Frozen Zanskar River.

Ladakh map

While it seemed to be a difficult option over the years Locals have mastered the art of walking on the frozen river & reach Leh town in 48 Hours. For the localities chadar is a way of life.

It was the foreigners who started trekking this route to experience Chadar. In the last 3 to 5 years indians have taken keen interest & today Chadar is considered to be on top of the trekking lists of budding trekkers.

What is the Chadar Trek Route

Actual Chadar Trek route started from Sangam In Ladakh region to Padum in Zanskar region, Over the years roads have been built, the distance of Chadar has now been reduced to a 70 Kms between Tilat Sumdo to Zangla in zanskar.

Tilat Sumdo → Shingra Yokma → Tipkyeak Bawo → Nerak → Lingshed → Tsarak Dho → Padum

This trek is normally done in 14 days (Both ways) if you wish to complete the entire route. Once you reach Zangla you will have to return in the same path back. Today trekkers have variants of the experience they can get from Chadar

  • Half Chadar – Tilat Sumdo to Nerak & back – 7 Days on Chadar
  • 3/4 Chadar – Tilat Sumdo to Lingshed & Back – 9 Days on Chadar
  • Full Chadar – Tilat Sumdo to Zangla & Back – 14 Days on Chadar

What makes Chadar Trek so exciting

Imagine yourself facing temperatures of -15º centigrade during the day, add to that you are walking a frozen river which if cracks you will be inside freezing waters. An exposure of more than 5 minutes the person will die of Hypothermia. While chadar poses great danger, it is still one of the safest treks in the country, There have been no deaths in the past few years. Does that mean walking on the frozen chadar easy ?? –

Answer is a big “NO”. Walking on Chadar is purely by experience of knowing

  • which part of the river is frozen
  • which is soft chadar
  • how to identify the chadar thickness & stability
  • how much weight can a chadar take
  • how you can walk & how fast you can walk
  • when to take the land route etc

Answer to all this comes in having the right guide. Chadar trek cannot be completed unless you have experienced locals who exactly know how to identify the above


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