Frozen River Chadar Trek

The Chadar trek is one of the most iconic treks in India, and offers you the unique experience of trekking on a frozen river. In the summers, the Zanskar river rages through narrow gorges and out across the stark landscape of Ladakh. But in winters, when temperatures drop to sub-zero, the river freezes over, forming a thick sheet of ice over the river.

When the roads are snowed in, this river trek is the only way for locals to travel from one village to the other, and they've mastered the art of walking on ice. You, however, will have to learn this quite quickly. Your guides will teach you how to walk with the peculiar shuffling gait that you need to get by on the ice, and hopefully your trekking boots will help.

NOTE: This is a high altitude trek that takes place in the coldest winter. The Chadar trek is recommeded only to trekkers who have previously attempted at least one high-altitude trek.

MEDICAL TEST: If you are not cleared in the medical test in Leh, you will not be allowed to join the trek. There are NO cash refunds in this case, but the operator will give you a voucher for 70% of the trip cost, to be redeemed for a year. No alternate arrangments will be made.

Destination

The Zanskar river has flown through the deep gorges of Ladakh, chiselling the rock into a path over the centuries. You'll be trekking along the river, on a largely flat surface without any steep inclines, with the towering walls of the gorge on both sides. On your trek, you'll see jaw-dropping sights like frozen waterfalls, bubbles from the river trapped under the ice, leafless trees with icicles hanging off the branches, and the ancient Dibb cave. Even in this weather, you might be able to spot the pugmarks of the ibex, foxes, or if you're lucky, the snow leopard.

Destination highlights

Take on the challenge of one of the most iconic treks in India. | Take on the unique experience of trekking across a frozen river. | Drink hot butter tea in ancient caves. | Visit a waterfall that is frozen in mid-flow. | Experience a real Ladakh winter.

11000

11123

10580

78 kms

42 hrs

12 kms

Leh

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Leh

Private SUV

Chilling

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10:00

08:00

The snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas will welcome you as you land in Leh. You will check into your guesthouse, and should spend the rest of the day resting and acclimatizing. Try to go for a short walk in the evening, but avoid too much exertion. Overnight at Leh in guesthouse.

Today you'll check into your guesthouse. Spend the day resting and sipping water to help you acclimatize. You will be staying in triple-sharing rooms with attached washrooms. Try to go for a short easy walk in the evening.

Food

No meals are provided today.

Veg

Day 1 Milestone

Leh

Leh

10:00 AM

Spend the day resting in your guesthouse at Leh. This day is kept aside for you to acclimatize to the high-altitude climate of the city. Keep yourself hydrated and have frequent meals. Go on short walks to explore the city and do any last minute shopping, but avoid too much exertion and activity. Overnight at Leh in guesthouse.

Overnight at Leh in guesthouse. | You'll stay in the same guesthouse as the previous day. Spend the day acclimatizing to the high altitude. Keep yourself hydrated. At an additional cost, you can have meals at the guesthouse or at any of the restaurants in Leh.

Food

No meals are provided today.

Veg

Day 2 Milestone

Leh

Leh

08:00 AM

Today you'll set off into the wilderness of Ladakh. Head out in a vehicle to Chilling, along a twisting route that takes you along the Indus river. En route, you'll make a pit stop to visit the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and click photos at the Magnatic Hill. The vehicle will stop at Chilling, where you'll take your first steps on the frozen river. | Begin the Chadar trek by walking over the snow and ice. The initial stages of the trek will be difficult, as you begin learning how to walk on a frozen river with you gumboots. You'll slip and fall down several times as you make your way across with the rest of your group. After a 2-hr trek on the river, you'll arrive at Tsomo Paldar. Overnight at Tsomo Paldar in tents.

You'll be provided with tents on triple sharing basis, warm sleeping bags and sleeping mattresses on the Chadar trek. Your campsite is also equipped with a kitchen and dining tent, and toilet tents.

Food

Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 3 Milestone

Leh

Tsomo Paldar

08:00 AM

The route winds through a deep gorge, with the walls towering above you. You'll find it easier to navigate the ice today, and will be able to enjoy the caves and small frozen waterfalls on your trek today. You'll be stopping for the day near Tibb cave, an ancient cave that has sheltered cold travellers for decades. You can share a cup of hot tea with the travellers and trekkers who have gathered here, and then set up camp nearby. Overnight at Tibb Cave in tents.

You'll be provided with tents on triple sharing basis, warm sleeping bags and sleeping mattresses on the Chadar trek. Your campsite is also equipped with a kitchen and dining tent, and toilet tents.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 4 Milestone

Shingra Koma

Tibb cave

08:00 AM

This stretch of the trek is one of the most beautiful days on the Chadar trek. You will spot juniper trees with fluttering prayer flags tied on the branches. Further ahead, you will come upon the famous Nyerak waterfall, the tallest frozen waterfall on the Chadar trek. This is a great spot for photographs. Your campsite is near the village of Naerak, and this marks the halfway point of the trek. Overnight at Naerak in tents.

You'll be provided with tents on triple sharing basis, warm sleeping bags and sleeping mattresses on the Chadar trek. Your campsite is also equipped with a kitchen and dining tent, and toilet tents.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 5 Milestone

Tibb cave

Naerak camp

08:00 AM

Begin your trek along the same route. This gives you the chance to take in the spectacular frozen waterfall again, but even though you just visited yesterday, you'll be surprised to see the changes in the route. The ice on the river is always cracking and thawing and refreezing, forming new patterns and views. Overnight at Tibb Cave in tents.

You'll be provided with tents on triple sharing basis, warm sleeping bags and sleeping mattresses on the Chadar trek. Your campsite is also equipped with a kitchen and dining tent, and toilet tents.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 6 Milestone

Naerak camp

Tibb cave

08:00 AM

You'll be at your most skilled now, in terms of navigating the slippery ice, so you can focus on the other attractions of the trek. Admire the mountain slopes on both sides of the river, almost looking like tall walls. Keep an eye out for pugmarks in the snow. The Zanskar valley is home to the ibex, the snow leopard, and the fox, and if you're lucky, you might spot one. Overnight at Gyalpo in tents.

You'll be provided with tents on triple sharing basis, warm sleeping bags and sleeping mattresses on the Chadar trek. Your campsite is also equipped with a kitchen and dining tent, and toilet tents.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Veg

Day 7 Milestone

Tibb cave

Gyalpo

08:00 AM

On the last trek of the trip, you'll make your way back to Chilling, and cross the river one last time. From here, you'll board vehicles and will be driven back to Leh. Here, you can check into a welcoming guesthouse, and spend the evening enjoying the warmth and bragging about completing the tough Chadar trek. Overnight at Leh in guesthouse.

You'll be back in the guesthouse in Leh today. Enjoy a warm bed and a hot shower after days of camping on the frozen river.

Food

Breakfast | Lunch

Veg

Day 8 Milestone

Gyalpo

Leh

08:00 AM

Check-out of the guesthouse in the morning. Your trip ends here.

Check-out of the guesthouse by 10:00 hrs. Your trip ends here.

Food

No meals are provided today.

Veg

Day 9 Milestone

Leh

Leh

10:00 AM

Includes / Excludes

Includes

  • Travel arrangements from Leh-Leh, as per itinerary
  • Accommodation in guesthouse and tents on triple-sharing basis
  • All equipment required for camping: sleeping bags and tents
  • Common kitchen/dining and washroom tents
  • All technical equipment required for the trek
  • All vegetarian meals from lunch on Day 3 to lunch on Day 8
  • Services of experienced trek leader and camping crew
  • Porters and mules to carry common camping equipment
  • First aid kit (including oxygen cylinders)
  • All applicable taxes

Excludes

  • Travel arrangements between base city and Leh
  • Extra charge of INR 5000 per person, for environmental and wildlife fee, permit fee by ALTOA and LAHDC, mandatory adventure insurance, medical test charges. This will have to be paid on the spot in cash, so please do carry enough cash per person.
  • Meals during travel in vehicles and stay in Leh
  • Porters and mules to carry personal luggage (can be arranged for INR 4,200 per person, for the entire trek)
  • Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, road blocks etc.
  • Personal expenses such as tips to staff, additional meals or beverages etc.
  • Adventure travel or medical insurance
  • Anything not mentioned in inclusions

What to Wear

What to Wear

  • 3 synthetic track pants
  • 3 full sleeved T-shirts (non-cotton)
  • 1 warm fleece jacket
  • 1 woollen sweater
  • 1 down feather/Hollofil jacket
  • 1 wind and waterproof jacket and pants
  • 2 pairs thermal inners
  • 1 poncho
  • 2 pairs of woollen socks
  • 1 pair of trekking shoes
  • 1 neck gaiter
  • 4 pairs of cotton socks
  • 1 pair of waterproof gloves
  • 1 pair of fleece/woolen gloves
  • 1 balaclava
  • Gaiters
  • Gum boots
  • Not to wear - Expensive jewellery and gadgets
  • Suitcases, trolleys or any other kind of hard luggage

What not to Wear

  • Loose clothing that will tangle around you while swimming
  • Restrictive clothing
  • Flip-flops

Equipment / Gear

We Provide

  • Tents
  • Warm sleeping bags
  • Sleeping mats
  • Toilet tents
  • Kitchen and dining tents
  • First aid medical kit
  • Oxygen cylinders
  • Technical equipment needed for the hike, if any

You need to get

  • Backpack with rain cover
  • Day pack with rain cover
  • Walking stick
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Insulated water bottle
  • Personal medical kit
  • Cold cream
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer
  • Lip balm
  • Toilet paper and wet wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Energy bars
  • Personal toiletries
  • Antibacterial powder
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Ankle-high, waterproof trekking shoes
  • Slippers
  • Thermal inner wear (top and bottom)
  • Down/Hollofil jacket
  • Wind- and waterproof jacket
  • Sun cap
  • Woollen hat
  • 1 pair fleece or woollen gloves
  • 1 pair waterproof gloves
  • 5 pairs cotton socks
  • 3 pairs woollen socks (for the night)
  • 1 pair gaiters
  • Scarf
  • Balaclava
  • UV protected sunglasses

Medical Kit

  • Please carry specific personal or prescribed medication, personal first-aid kit.

Cancellation policy

For cancellations made 24 days or more before departure of the Chadar trek: 95% refund, or you can use this amount to book any other trek with the same operator within a year.

For cancellations made between 14-24 days before departure of the Chadar trek: 70% refund, or you can use this amount to book the same trek with any other batch of the same operator within a year.

For cancellations made between 10-14 days before departure of the Chadar trek: 50% refund, or you can use this amount for the same trek in the same season.

For cancellations made less than 10 days before departure of the Chadar trek: No refund, but you can transfer the same trek to a friend.

No show: No refund.

All refunds will be processed after deducting any transaction charges.

Rules on trip

Travellers are required to adhere to instructions of the trek leader during the Chadar trek.

Consumption of alcohol and drugs is strictly prohibited during the trip.

Travellers are requested to treat the local culture with respect and avoid littering, defacing property and monuments and causing general disturbance. | If you are not cleared in the medical test in Leh, you will not be allowed to join the trek. There are NO refunds in this case, but you will be given a voucher for 70% of the trip cost. The operator will not be liable to make alternate arrangements for your time in Leh.

Additional instructions, booking policies, terms and conditions

The tour operator takes utmost care to ensure safety of the travellers and shall not be held responsible for any mishap, accident or loss of life during the Chadar trek.

The tour operator reserves the right to cancel or alter the itinerary of the trek to ensure maximum safety for travellers as well as staff.

Travellers will be required bear any additional costs arising due to unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, road blocks etc. | There are no refunds if you are not cleared in the medical test. However, the operator will give you a voucher for 70% of the trip cost, to be redeemed within a year.