Chadar Trek in Ladakh | UFO Adventure Travel
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Difficulty

Moderate- Difficult

Max. Altitude

3700m

Duration

9 Days

Best Time

Jan, Feb,

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You can download our complete tour details and guide for CHADAR TREK . Also, you can schedule a callback from UFO Adventure Travel.


Tour description

The word "Chadar" means "white sheet or blanket". And that's what it appears like when you walk over the white frozen Zanskar River. This trek, a demanding one, gives you all the thrills of a great adventure. Temperatures can plummet to as low as -30° and there will are challenges the guide and the group will have everyday navigating the course of the river. You walk through amazing landscape and gorges and be prepared for a cold experience all the while we keep you warm by the glowing fires lit up each evening at camp. Our daily trek begins at around 9:00 am and by then the sun's up and blue skies bring cheer despite the cold temperatures. The Chadar trek experience gives you a 10-day experience of what the ancient winter route was taken by villagers and traders who wanted to go from Leh to Zanskar region with 3850m / 12,628ft. Being the highest altitude reached. Many of these spots cannot be accessed during the summer months as they go through spectacular deep canyons and gorges. A once in a lifetime trek!


Virtual tour of
CHADAR TREK

Is this Holiday for you ?

The Chadar trek is not a technically difficult undertaking. However, the high altitudes involved during the trek (between 3500 and 3850 metres) and the winter cold in Ladakh hitting below -10 to - 30, it is also not for the faint-hearted. And definitely not for someone who does not like the cold! There is fair amount of danger involved in the Chadar trek experience as the frozen river can be unpredictable. These can be overcome by climbing the gorges on the side and then getting on the river where it is frozen again. It is essential that you acclimatize well in order to make the best of the week. You will be advised by the UFO guide to rest and keep your body hydrated as much as possible on the first day of arrival. Your oxygen levels will be monitored from time to time to check on the level of acclimatization. There is a fair bit of walking to be done every day, and we would encourage you to do a bit of walking/running and breathing exercises to enjoy the Chadar trek. A fair level of fitness will be required.

Walk the famous Chadar trek, on frozen River Zanskar

A lifetime experience walking an ancient route linking Leh to Zanskar region

Fantastic winter holiday to experience Ladakhi winter and adventure





  • 9 Days, 2 nights hotel, 6 nights camping
  • 8 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners
  • max group size: 10
  • On the high plateau of Ladakh, the maximum daytime temperature low down on our trip (and at Leh) will be around 5°C, with night-time lows below 0°C going down as low as -30°C. At high altitude, the sun has a very strong effect and at the height of the day it will feel hotter than the indicated temperatures. However, high altitude regions do generate their own weather systems.

Please contact info@ufoadventuretravel.com for quotes.

  • Local English speaking guide
  • Airport transfers as described
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as per the Meal Plan
  • All permits and entrance fees in the itinerary
  • Chemical toilets
  • All costs are applicable for double occupancy
  • Oxygen tank (for emergency only)
  • Private group toilet
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Some meals as per the Meal Plan
  • Airport transfers other than those described
  • Tips for local staff including the local guide and drivers
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.
  • Personal camera equipment & gear
  • Flights and airfare
  • Meals will be a mix of local and comfort food. Breakfasts will consist of bread, cheese, honey, jams, fruit, tea and Nescafe along with eggs, paranthas,etc. For lunch there will be a variety of momos, thukpas, and other dishes from which we can select, or a full packed lunch. Dinner will usually be a soup followed by lentils, vegetable curry and meat as available. Vegetarians can be catered for.
  • A single group transfer will be arranged from Leh Airport to the hotel in Leh. This transfer will meet the arrival of the flights from Delhi at 1030hrs. At the end of the trip there will be a single group transfer from the group hotel to Leh Airport at 8 am. This transfer will be after breakfast on Day 9 of the trip itinerary. A representative of our local agent will assist with the transfers between the airport and the group hotel. If the arrival transfer does not work with your flight, you will need to make your own transfer arrangements at Leh Airport. Should you require an airport transfer, these can be arranged by the hotel reception staff or alternatively please contact the UFO office.
  • During this trip the group will spend 2 nights in Leh and 6 nights camping.. All accommodation is allocated on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. All accommodations used by UFO adhere to hygiene and comfort norms. For Hotel prices and single supplement costs please contact UFO office.
  • Before we go for a Chadar trek experience, we start our day will start with a hot cup of tea served to you in the tent at around 7.00 am. At around 8 a.m. breakfast will be under way and by 8.30 we should be back on the trail to our next camp. You will have plenty of time to get up and pack your trek bag which will be transported safely to the next camp by porters. Please make sure you fill you water bottles for the trek ahead. After breakfast, you can pick your packed lunch prior to setting off. Usually we walk for around 5-6 hours every day. On arrival at camp, we can relax in our mess tent and take tea or coffee. Dinner is ready at around 7 p.m. in the mess tent. This is a great time of day for reliving the events of the trip so far and for general socializing. After dark, the temperature starts to fall and everyone will soon be tucked up in their sleeping bags.

ITINERARY FOR THE TREK

DAY 1

MEET AT THE GROUP HOTEL IN LEH.

Meet at the group hotel in Leh. A single group transfer at 10.30 am from Leh Airport to the group hotel in Leh is provided. The first day is reserved for acclimatization and you will be advised to rest and drink water as much as possible. Before we go for a Chadar trek experience, the UFO guide will do a checklist of your personal gear before tea to see that everyone has the required equipment. A short walk in the town market in the evening for last minute shopping can be arranged.



  Accommodation
Hotel in Leh
  Meals
LD

DAY 2

DRIVE TO TILAD DO VIA CHILLING

We make an early start as today we will leave for our starting trekking point.  After tea and breakfast at the hotel, we leave for a 2-3 hour drive to Chilling. The roller-coaster ride takes you along the Indus to the village of Nimu, where the Zanskar river converges into Indus. After stopping at this confluence point to take in the view, the drive continues and the road begins descending right into the river valley. To reach the campsite, you have to cross the frozen Zanskar river; and this is when you take your first steps on the Chadar. It takes a while to get a hang of walking on the ice sheet. The UFO guide will give you tips regarding walking on the frozen river and where not to walk for the safe Chadar trek experience. The evening will be at leisure and you can climb the nearby gorges and hills to get some exercise and keep yourself warm.



  Accommodation
Camping
  Meals
BLD

DAY 3

TREK FROM TILAD DO TO GYALPO

Today is a long walking session, about 12 km, on the Chadar river. Depending on the weather, the Chadar can assume various forms and offers an exhilarating Chadar trek experience to their trekkers. It can be cold and hard which can make it slippery or snow dust which gives a better grip. It is best to keep close to the guide and group during the Chadar trek. At places, it might be necessary to wade through ankle deep water or climb on the cliffs at the side of the river. Eventually, you get used to walking on the Chadar river, which looks like a cross between gliding and skating. Midway to Gyalpo, the porter-cum-cooks prepare hot bowlfuls of soupy noodles for lunch. It is important to keep up a decent level of fluid intake. Nothing makes you adapt to the conditions faster than nicely circulating blood in your system. After passing Shingra Koma, you reach the camp-site for the day at Gyalpo, where the tents have already been pitched by the porters. The Gyalpo campsite is at a bend in the river, surrounded by high peaks and walls of rock-faces.   



  Accommodation
Camping
  Meals
BLD
  Time
5-6 hrs (12 kms)

DAY 4

GYALPO TO TIBB CAVE

An early start to the day helps us to get ready for the longest day of the Chadar trek experience. We walk through stunning deep ravines of the Zanskar river.  The almost vertical walls of the mountains on either sides of the river keep the sunlight away from the Chadar river for most part of the day. There are numerous caves in these mountains and we will also spot some frozen waterfalls. Legend has it that centuries ago the local villagers faced a dearth of water and went to Tibet to plead for water. They were given a box which they were to open once they reached the village, and not anytime sooner. But curiosity got the better out of them, and when they opened the box, two fishes jumped out of it, creating two huge waterfalls. One of those waterfalls, miraculously, is not iced-up even in such freezing cold. The rocks below this waterfall are covered with moss, and this is the only greenery you’ll see on the Chadar trek.  We camp at the cave for the night.



  Accommodation
Camping
  Meals
BLD
  Time
6-7 hrs walking(14 kms)

DAY 5

TREK FROM TIBB CAVE TO NAERAK

Another glorious day on the frozen river for a marvelous Chadar trek experience. We walk on the river crossing deep gorges which would be inaccessible in the summer and reach a point where Juniper trees are covered with prayer flags. The porters give you a twig of this tree tied with a piece of prayer flag as a badge of good-luck and good health. A few steps away stands the mother-of-all frozen waterfalls – a huge instance of suspended animation several feet tall and equally wide. You can see dozens of colors in this enormous ice structure as sunlight plays off its surface. Right next to the waterfall is a bridge across the river which is a part of the summer-time road from Zanskar to Leh. The Naerak village lies several feet above the river, a vigorous hour-long Chadar trek can take you to the village if you want to see the life of a Zanskari. The camp is set up close to the Zanskar river.



  Accommodation
Camping
  Meals
BLD
  Time
4-5 hrs walking(11-12 kms)

DAY 6

NAERAK TO TIBB CAVE

Today we start the return journey back to the Tibb cave. Though it sounds like retracing your steps it is not the case. The Zanskar River reacts to the slightest change of temperature, and constantly keeps repackaging itself. The Chadar river would have assumed a completely new form, and it will almost be impossible to say whether you have been here before.  On the way, you can meet a lot of locals wearing their traditional woolen Gonchas – some are monks who are hiking from the Lingshed Monastery to Leh. Watching the locals negotiate the Chadar is a fascinating sight. They are suitably adept to the climate and seem very much at home in the sub-zero temperature and the biting cold winds. Nothing wipes the smiles off their faces and dampens the warmth of their spirit



  Accommodation
Camping
  Meals
BLD
  Time
4-5 hrs walking(11-12 kms)

DAY 7

TREK FROM TIBB CAVE TO GYALPO

We continue our walk back to Chilling by leaving for Gyalpo today.  The high wall of the gorges give us a fantastic feeling of walking between castle walls. In this Chadar trek experience you might spot a few pug marks on the trail and if very lucky, a sight of Tibetan fox or Bharal (Blue Sheep). Snow leopards have been spotted in the area in the past but they are not called the 'Ghost of the Mountains' for nothing and are almost impossible to spot.



  Accommodation
Camping
  Meals
BLD
  Time
6-7 hrs walking(14 kms)

DAY 8

GYALPO TO TILAD DO. DRIVE BACK TO LEH

We wake up to our last day of the Chadar trek experience. We walk back to Tilad Do where our vehicles are waiting to take up back to Leh. We bid goodbye to our trekking crew and head back to the city to check in the hotel.  



  Accommodation
Hotel in Leh
  Meals
BLD
  Time
5-6 hrs walking(10-11 kms)

DAY 9

DEPARTURE DAY

We have an early start and go to the airport to catch our flight to Delhi. If you want to extend your stay in Leh, please let us know.



  Meals
B

Why trekkers love us?

I have done two treks/expedition with UFO in the last two yeas. Stok Kangri (6150m) & Kang Yatse II (6250m) via Markha Valley trek. You can really see the effort UFO puts in each of their clients. I have experienced the best food that anyone can get at such altitude, best guides, tents/ equipment, organisation, management. If you want to see the real beauty of being in mountains then no other company can give you what UFO has in store for you.

Dushyant Singh Jhala

We did Goecha la trek in Sikkim with UFO. Beautiful trek with nothing to complain. We had great trek food healthy and hygienic. The staff was well behaved they thought of everything so caring and running to make us happy . I will definitely do more treks with team UFO. Thanks for making our experience wonderful.

Kumar Jagwani

This trip was easily the trip of a lifetime for me and my mom .it will be quite some time before we stop talking about it!! We have a done a lot of travel with each other , but the experience and warmth that we found around every corner on a first ever trip to North East of India , Nagaland were beyond our expectations. All thanks to UFO!!

Sugandha Agarwal

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Frequently asked questions

How long do we have to trek each day?

Average walking distance is 10- 12 km each day and trekkers make it mostly in 5-7 hours. You will definitely enjoy it, don’t be disheartened. We try to reach the camp site by the afternoon everyday so that the rest of the day can be enjoyed at leisure.

How cold does it get on the Chadar Trek?

Temperature in the day time usually hovers between -5 to -10 Degrees. A sunny day can make the environment warm as well due to the reflection of the sunrays from the ice. Temperatures till -38 degrees have been witnessed in the night time. It is quite warm inside the sleeping bag and tents but the psychological feeling of cold will be there. Cold winds or if your body part is wet ads to the feeling of cold. Temperature in Leh ranges between -10 to -15 deg C

What is the level of fitness needed for the Chadar Trek?

Apart from the extreme cold and the glassy terrain, Chadar is not a difficult trek. There is hardly any gain in altitude. You would always be between 3400m to 3700m. Once you have acclimatized, you should not have any high altitude related problems on this trek. Next, the trek is not very rigorous. You do not have to be super fit to do this trek. All we are doing is walking carefully on ice with occasional crossings over rocks if the chadar is broken. Walking on ice is also something you will pick up pretty fast. Clients normally have problems adjusting to the penguin gait on the first day and do take a few falls. But from the second day itself you can see the confidence in their strides.

What kind of footwear do I need to wear on this trek?

Trekking shoes is one of the most important things needed in any trek, so you have to be very careful before buying it. Recommended only high-ankle and waterproof shoes which are branded and are specifically designed for trekking purposes.Quechua, Zamberlan, Lafuma, Conquest and The North Face are some high quality brands dealing in High Altitude trekking shoes. Most of the local porters wear gumboots on the Chadar Trek which are easily available in Leh. This seems to be the most practical and inexpensive option for walking on ice. A lot of people do the whole trek with gumboots; however it is not easy walking in them all the time as they are not very comfortable. They come quite high up around your shin & sometimes people get severe rashes on the shin & blisters on their feet. We advise that you bring waterproof boots with you. Quechua has some good trekking boots which work well for Chadar too. Forclaz 500 is good enough. At times when Chadar does not freeze very well, we advise people to use gum boots. We use them only when it is required to wade through the water in which case the normal boots are no good. Gum Boots are easily available for cheap in Leh (Rs 400 to 500). 

What are the sanitary conditions like during the trek?

Toilet tents will be pitched near the campsite. Do not forget to bring wet wipes and toilet kits.

How many people are there in each group?

We do not take more than 10 people in a group on the chadar trek.

What is the evacuation plan in case of emergency?

We have a backup of support team with all the equipments required to take the patients back to Leh and keep the batch moving ahead. But this can only be done once. If any emergency, happens the second time with the same batch. The entire Batch will have to come back and stand together as a group. All emergency costs are to be borne by the person.