If you are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, this is it.
Anyone who is familiar with the famous Chadar Trek in the Zanksar region of Ladakh will already be well aware that this is a cold destination. It literally takes trekkers across the sheet of ice that forms over the frozen Zanskar River during the winter months – an adventure that words simply cannot do justice.
The journey itself is actually quiet ancient – it is the only way for the people of Padum (the capital of the Zanskar Valley) to reach Leh during the winter. A road is currently being constructed through the mountains to increase accessibility in this region; when it is complete, the trek will quickly become obsolete.
To ensure that you are fully prepared for everything that your Chadar Trek has to throw at you, we have compiled this preparation toolkit:
Extreme cold and roadblocks are beyond your guides’ control, so it’s always best to be over prepared. Bring adequate trekking gear and winter apparel, including: fleece jackets, gloves, waterproof hiking boots, sunscreen and woollen socks.
You will be provided with military grade glacier sleeping bags with inners, dome tents with thermocol, camping mattresses, dining tents and toilet tents. Hot meals will also be provided for the duration of the trek, although you may want to bring along snacks.
This trek is no walk in the park, so it’s important that you have trained for it beforehand. Daily running and cardio exercises will help to build up your stamina and help you to cope with the lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. Previous trekking experience is also an advantage.
It’s essential that you allow your body to adjust to the climatic conditions of Ladakh before commencing the trek. Some ways to achieve this include staying hydrated and starting off at a slow pace, gradually increasing it later as you get used to the conditions.
Always carry your own first aid kit containing: aspirin, Diamox, Crocin, Digene, Norflox, Betadine/Soframycin, Dettol, cotton buds, bandages, band-aids, wet wipes, Moov spray and hand sanitiser. If you have any health conditions, be sure to consult with your doctor first.
As you literally walk across a sheet of ice, the trail changes every year. This can make for some surprises. You need to be prepared for sudden detours over rock faces and extreme weather conditions. There is also a possibility that you will run into some wildlife during the journey.
If you have an open mind and are ready to embark on a once in a lifetime experience, the Chadar Trek is waiting for you.