The most fascinating trek in Ladakh

Why always dream of flying in the sky, and not of walking barefoot on an ice lake in winters? If your bucket list of 2019 has not yet welcomed trekking on the frozen Zanskar River then definitely your adventure experiences are remaining undone this year. This high altitude trek (13000 feet) is a winter trek which is best undertaken during the months of January and February. Chadar trek can treat your soul with the tranquility of the snow-clad landscapes like no other trek could do. Out of all the beauteous possessions of this place, the best yet remains to be the adventurous hike on the frozen river.

chadar trek
Zanskar River. Credits: Manik Taneja (@goodwavekayak)

Here are a few things that make this trek peculiar and worth traversing during the winter months:

  1. The dynamic weather and landscape

    Be prepared to alter your trek routes anytime while you are hiking on this trek because the changing weather and landscapes might block your trails and make them challenging anytime. The temperature in this region of Ladakh is generally in between -10-degree Celcius to -15-degree Celcius in the morning and may drop to -27-degrees Celcius during the night! The extremely low temperature makes this trek hell of a cold place to stride.
    The temperature keeps fluctuating which results in changes in the landscape. The pieces of frozen river slabs might deform one moment and reform the other moment which looks completely magical.  Unforeseen snowfalls and temperature drops are quite prevalent during this trek which makes this trek unpredictable yet rewarding.

  2.  Walk more and climb less during the Chadar trek!

    Trekking does not necessarily always has very tiring climbs on the mountains. Sometimes a really long and serene walk in the harsh weather is more than enough to satisfy your adrenaline. The Chadar trek involves hiking on the blanket on ice (frozen river) for about 105 kilometers. The trek takes around 5-6 days to be accomplished and each day will make you cover a distance of 15-20 kilometers on the frozen lake. There will come a time when your legs would scream to put a halt and not move a step but your heart will not let you stop.

  3. The inconvenient yet enthralling stays
    You may not get the comfiest accommodation during this trek, but whatever you get is definitely going to give you memories for the lifetime. Most of the times camping is done inside a cave or under a tent and the nights will be freezing cold. A sleepless night can also be experienced during this trek. However, this time will be the best to showcase the best with all you have and create memories.
  4. A variety of fauna welcoming you on the way

    You might also catch yourself being gazed by a snow leopard during the trek you never know! There are several species of animals that can be seen during this trek. If you are lucky enough, you can see snow leopard, ibex or the blue sheep. It is advisable to search for a feasible shelter during the night because of the presence of wild animals.

  5. Tests the limits of your body

    Check how far your body can assimilate with the changes in atmospheric pressure and weather. Chadar trek is the best examination to undertake. The sudden changes in climate and pressure cannot be adopted by a human body so easily. Therefore it is advisable to reach few days before the trek and let your body absorb the changes. A sudden 10,000 feet rise in altitude makes this trek very difficult to accomplish. Be prepared for conditions of nausea and nose bleeding due to high altitude and atmospheric pressure. A medical kit and proper layering for your body can be the saviors during this trek!


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