Chadar Trekking – All You Need to Know

(Last Updated On: November 13, 2022)

Chadar Trekking refers to the trek in which you need to walk on the frozen Zanskar river also known as the Chadar trek.

It’s one of the most difficult treks in the world because of its unpredictability, its freezing cold, and its unpredictable natural conditions but it’s also one of the most adventurous activities that you can do in India.

What is Chadar Trekking?

The Chadar Trek is a popular winter hiking trail in Ladakh, which attracts hikers from all over India and also some other countries. Located at an altitude of 3,500 meters (11,500 feet), it leads through a frozen Zanskar River bed across the Leh-Ladakh area in Jammu and Kashmir region.

The trek route starts from the Indus River bank near Harmukh Mountain Range on its way to Hemis High Altitude Lake. Trekkers need to cross five high passes during this 5-day trek including Shanti Stupa, Trongsa Pass, Kunzum La Pass, Lipu Lekh Pass, and Namika La pass while crossing the frozen Zanskar River where they have an extremely limited time period during which they can complete their trek.

How do you participate in the Chadar Trekking?

The Chadar Trek is a two-part event that involves one month of acclimatization in Leh, J&K followed by a three-day trek on the frozen Zanskar River. The trek starts from Turtuk and ends at Padum, traversing 80 kilometers of the frozen river over three days.

The expedition kicks off with treks from Turtuk to Hanu and Marang La, where it remains for one night before setting out for its final destination, Padum.

Who can join?

Only suitable for trekkers who are physically fit and at least 12 years old. The maximum height is around 6ft 8in (2m). Trekkers must be able to carry their own weight in equipment, including a tent, sleeping bag, cooking utensils, food, and water.

Porters carry a share of equipment and supplies. For more information on porters: click here. It is forbidden to wear snowshoes on Chadar Trek. Snowshoes are not allowed because they damage trails over time; most trekkers prefer to use crampons that attach directly to boots for traction on ice-covered sections of trail.

Read More: Bike trip to Leh Ladakh from Srinagar-2022

What are the things I need to bring with me?

There are a few basic things that you will need before you start off on your trek: a sleeping bag, water bottle, warm clothing, a first aid kit, and hiking shoes.

Where do I register myself for Chadar Trekking?

It is a good idea to get yourself registered with a trekking agency like banbanjara for Chadar Trek. Make sure that your travel agent is reliable and can provide you with proper equipment and advice. The agent should also have great credentials, like years of experience in organizing treks and having dealt with clients in all kinds of weather conditions.

 Who will pick me up from Leh and drop me off at Ladakh?

Chadar Trek is one of a kind. It is not operated by tour operators so you can’t book Chadar trek from Leh or drop back in Leh with them. The best way is to ask your friends/family/colleagues who are traveling in Ladakh on the same dates as you if they can pick and drop you at their pick-up point/drop-off point.

If no one then you will have to rely on yourself i.e get details about where pickups and drops are happening at that time, contact those places and coordinate your pick up or drop off accordingly. Google search will help you a lot here as it has all relevant information regarding chadar treks organized by locals.

What will be my food arrangements during the Chadar Trekking?

Food arrangements will be made according to your requirement. There are many restaurants and homestays available en-route that serve traditional Ladakhi food at very affordable prices.

What do I need for trekking in Ladakh? : Clothing should be sturdy and warm, with full-length trousers; even a poncho or plastic raincoat is recommended during spring and autumn. Wear layers of loose clothing as you can layer up if it gets too cold.

What sort of permits am I required to carry on my person while doing the trek?

Each trekker will be required to show their Personal ID Proof while in Ladakh. If you are a foreign national, then your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your departure date from India and it should have at least two blank pages for your stamping needs by our immigration office.

Anything else I should know before starting the trek?

The Chadar is frozen solid between December and March when it’s at its most appealing for trekkers. At other times of the year, there’s always a chance that melting snow will make parts of the trail impassable or leave them muddy and slippery;

if you do decide to trek in April, May, or September (or anytime in between), check on trail conditions before you go.