The Chadar trek 2020 is set to be one of the best treks in India, and what a way to start the year! It’ll be one of the most EPIC adventures of your life! You’ll never forget the sight of waterfalls frozen in mid-flow, or a stark landscape of weather-blackened trees against the white, or the thrill of walking on a river that is frozen under your feet.
BUT you should know that you’re travelling to one of the most remote parts of the country, during the coldest part of winter, in a month when roads are closed, and water freezes in taps. There are a number of things that could change just before or even on the Chadar trek 2020, and we want to make sure you’re prepared.
In addition, most operators will book (and pay for) hotels, meals, porters, rations, transport in advance. That means that the cancellation/refund policies are more stringent than any other Himalayan trek, so make sure you read all the notes below BEFORE you make your booking for the 2020 Chadar trek.
Understanding Leh and the Chadar trek 2020:
The weather changes every day in Leh. If the temperature increases by even a couple of degrees, the river may not be suitable to trek on. To ensure your safety, the operator may decide to delay the start of your trek for a few days.
If the start of your Chadar trek 2020 is delayed, you will have to pay for the extra night/s in your hotel/homestay/guesthouse. This is not included in the trek package costs.
If your trek is delayed, you may have to do a shorter trek so that you can get back to Leh on time to catch your return flight. There are no refunds in this case.
If the weather is not right for the Chadar trek at all, your operator will try to find an alternative trek/activity. However, this too might not be possible and you might have to spend all your time in Leh.
Leh is a small place, and in the winter, it’s largely off-season. Many locals leave Leh during the harsh winter months, so many hotels/restaurants/homestays are closed. If all the trek departures are delayed due to bad weather, Leh will get crowded with all the trekkers waiting for their treks to start. Your hotel will be dealing with full rooms, angry trekkers, and with the harsh conditions. You might have to wait a long time for things like hot water buckets, meals and/or room service. You are requested to be patient with the staff in the hotel.
Depending on the budget and operator of your trip, you will have certain comforts and amenities. Some hotels in Leh are centrally heated, while some offer heaters in rooms and common areas only, and some offer heating for just a few hours every night. Consider this when booking your trip; a higher budget means a hotel with better amenities.
Most hotels have running water, although this too is not guaranteed to work in winter. Usually, home stays and guest houses do not have running water. In this scenario, water is provided in buckets. Based on your package or the situation at the time, you might be asked to pay per water bucket.
In Leh, you may not be able to find conveniences like ATMs, the brand of cigarettes, alcohol, personal medications, gear, clothing, toiletries, etc that you are used to. You may not be able to travel far to find them. Do come prepared.
Before the Chadar trek 2020:
From Jan 2019 onwards, it was made compulsory for all Chadar trekkers to undergo a medical test in Leh. This is done even if you come with a certificate of medical fitness from your own doctor.
The medical check-up will take place in SNM Hospital in Leh. If you are cleared, you will be allowed to go for the trek.
If you are not cleared by the doctor, you will not be able to do the trek. In this case, you will not get a refund.
If you cannot accompany the trek group, you will have to arrange and pay for your own accommodation if you plan to stay in Leh after your group leaves. The operator will not be responsible for helping you find alternate accommodation.
On the Chadar trek 2020:
During the Chadar trek, your crew carries all the basic equipment that the team will need. However, do not expect luxuries, especially on a budget trip.
The food will usually be hot, nutritious, and suitable to the weather and your activities that day. However, do not expect elaborate menus or innovative dishes. Do remember that your trek crew is cooking in sub-zero temperatures, at an immense altitude.
During the winter, Leh is almost cut off from civilization, and it is hard to get supplies. You may not have much variation in your meals.
Premium operators offer cleaned, fresh sleeping bags and tents. Budget operators may not be able to offer the same. It is recommended that you carry a sleeping bag liner so you can sleep comfortably.
Most operators provide gear on rent, but for peak dates, your operator may run out of gear completely and/or not have your size. Make sure you carry the essentials: sturdy thermal wear, warm gloves and hat and socks, warm clothing, and good shoes.
The trek may not proceed as per the itinerary you have seen before your booking. If for any reason beyond the control of the operator (weather conditions, landslides, medical emergencies), the trek route has to be changed, you will not have a say in it. The trek leader will make the final decision.
You might see other groups undertaking an activity, camping at a different location or getting some amenties/facilities that your operator refuses to provide. This decision is at the discretion of your operator and trek leader.
The Chadar trek is a serious winter trek and you are expected to follow the instructions of the trek leader. Always remember that there is a fierce and freezing cold river under your feet, and harsh conditions all around. Please don’t treat this trek lightly: do not take any risks or pull pranks on other travellers or staff.
A participant can be expelled from the group if he/she poses a risk to themselves or to the rest of the team, or if he/she is not following the instructions of the trek leader. There will be no refunds in this case, and the participant will be liable to pay the extra costs of transport, accommodation, etc for themselves.
There may be delays in your itinerary. This could be due to vehicles not being able to make it to pick you up on time, or because there is another trekking team ahead of you, or for other related reasons. Be mentally prepared for this.
Your staff is usually comprised of local Ladakhis who know this area and the weather like the back of their hands. However, due to language or cultural differences, it might be difficult for them to communicate with you. Please be patient and respectful, and follow their lead during the trek.
We urge you to not make comments that are racist, intolerant, discriminatory or likewise, to either your fellow travellers or the local staff, team members, guides etc. Anyone disrupting the group experience will be asked to leave, at their own expense. There will be no refunds in this case.
It may not always be possible to provide all the inclusions/facilities promised during, before and after the trek. Participants cannot claim any refunds for the same.
During the trek, if you fall ill, experience symptoms of high altitude sickness, or are injured in any way that makes it impossible for you to continue, the operator will do their best to evacuate you to the nearest medical centre.
The trek package does not include any of the extra costs associated with the evacuation or medical treatment you may require. You will be expected to pay this amount in Leh itself, before departing for your home town.
It is imperative that you provide correct details of your emergency contact, to be informed in case of an emergency or injury. This person should not be accompanying you on the trek, and should be able to make decisions for you if needed.
Do plan your return bookings a day after your return to Leh. You should not miss a flight because of delays on the way back from your trek.
It is recommended that you book refundable flight tickets (even at an extra cost). The Chadar trek depends entirely on the weather and the temperature, and you may need to change your plans at the last minute.
Due to changes in schedule, you may incur additional costs (cancellation fees, transport arrangements, new bookings to be made, etc). The operator is not responsible for any of these additional costs.
It’s not as scary as it sounds! We know all this is intimidating, but it’s not meant to discourage you. Ladakh is one of the most compelling destinations for adventure-seekers, because it is so wild and unpredictable. If you’re ready for this and can approach the Chadar trek 2019 in the spirit of adventure, you’ll have a great time.
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If you want to book the Chadar trek 2020, talk to our travel advisors, ask questions, find out about the packing list or inclusions, or read more about the trip, there are a lot of ways to get in touch.
See all Chadar 2020 packages and book your trek here.
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