Popularly known as Chadar River Trek or Zanskar trek or Ladakh Frozen River Trek - it is the only one of its kind in the whole world. The word “Chadar” means “blanket” and is representative of the sheet of ice cover that forms over the frozen Zanskar river in the dead of winter. You will realize on the trek, that it cannot be better described. The Chadar Frozen River Trek Ladakh as it is known today, is a walking route connecting villages along the Zanskar River during the winter. For centuries, this frozen river-bed has been used by the locals, for trade and transportation. This route is most reliable in the month of January or February when the sheet of ice is most stable and thick.
Zanskar river is a big and fast flowing river all round the year. It flows through a steep canyon, for the most part, between Chilling and the Zanskar valley. The trek is unique, it’s in high altitude and it’s on a frozen sheet of ice. This Ladakh trek from Chilling to Zanskar Valley takes more than a week. We would do most of the walking in the daylight hours, and have our own small private camp.
Viktorianz conducts Zanskar Valley trek only once a year and at a PREMIUM level and what makes us different from others is that, you are led by best in class guides, our groups are small & intimate, they are very well looked after with personal attention, our hotels & tents are superior and sited at better locations, our food would be variety & freshly cooked, the trekker to porters ratio is the best - you basically trek only with a small day pack. We are thus more committed to your privacy, safety, personal care, daily comforts - and directly contribute to sustained tourism practices. Once you land in Leh, except for the lunches and dinners during your Leh stay, we have everything you need for Zanskar trekking (from permits, insurances, airport transfers to equipment) all catered. Accommodation in Leh: Hotel Sinnge Palace or similar.
While it remains one of the most unique treks in Himalayas and has no comparisons anywhere in the World, the Chadar frozen river ice trek is sadly an endangered activity. We estimate that it will cease to exist within the next 5 years - due to environmental factors. There is over-use, global warming, receding glaciers and a road construction activity which is disturbing the natural rock face of the river gorge. In five years or so, once the road comes up, the life of the Zanskaris will be much simplified during winters and the Zanskar River trek will turn into an ancient local ritual, that once used to abuzz with activity for thousands of years. The road will steal the remoteness of the trek and bring hoards of local tourists to these pristine lands.
Important Notice : The local administration has made it compulsory for every trekker to get a Medical Fitness certificate from the local SNM hospital in Leh on the 3rd day of your arrival in Leh. You will not be allowed to perform Ladakh trekking without clearance from the hospital.
Join Viktorianz on this dream journey that is a winter trek in Ladakh, that would take you back in time, to experience simplicity of elements and stark nature.
You would arrive at Leh from various parts of India, in an early morning flight. From the plains once you land at altitudes like 11,000 ft, you sure are breathing lesser oxygen. We would advise you to keep thick woollens handy in hand baggage to be worn before you land at Leh airport. You also have to consciously take things easy on Day 1 without any exertions.
Once you have taken your luggage, and you step out of the airport, one of Viktorianz staff would receive you, drive you to your hotel and you check in into the hotel. The first day is to be taken super-easy and relaxed. No exertion whatsoever. Its a day to allow your body to adapt to changed environment, and only relaxation and recuperation. We shall be conducting a small briefing and kit check up, for your impending trek just before your dinner. We shall also regularly keep an eye on your level of adaptation to low oxygen levels, BP etc. A minor headache is normal on first day. The night will be spent at the hotel.
Alt: 2,800m - Lukla| 2,652m Phakding | Walk 8km, 3-4 hours
You are advised to spend the second day too acclimatizing to the high altitude. Your adaptation would get better today. We shall also make sure that you have all the necessary equipment for the trek. Spend your time at leisure. Short walks to nearby Leh Market by the afternoon would be a nice thing to do. All those who are keen, we would arrange for you a visit to Leh market, Leh palace and Central Asian Museum. Overnight will be at your hotel.
Today being you 3rd day of arrival in Leh, you would be taken to SNM Hospital for a medical check up and to get a mandatory Medical Fitness certificate. The rest of the day is free for you to take a local tour of Leh region. Mild walking and rest is recommended.
Early morning we will drive to Tilad Do via Chilling. It is a 65 km long drive, and takes a little less than 2 hours to reach. Tilad Do is the start point of Chadar trek. We trek 8-10 kms, along the frozen Zanskar River to Gyalpo via Shingra Koma. The trek is at an altitude, lower than Leh, and hence you should be good to take on the walk. Your camp and tents would have been set before-hand by our team. Spend the night in cozy tents under the open skies.
Alt: 3,870m | Walk: 10km, 6 hours
After an early breakfast, we gear up today for a long day’s walk. The trek to Tibb Cave is 15 km long, though the altitude remains almost the same. On the way you would see some unique vistas like frozen waterfalls, sheet of ice, natural caves etc. We would reach the camp by afternoon. We spend the night in tents at Tibb Cave.
In the morning we again gear up for a 12.5 km trek to the base of Nyerak Village. You would feel a lot more at ease on this day. The newly constructed Bailey bridge and the giant frozen waterfall, is the last point of this trek. Its a turning point - from where we return back to Chilling.
The long march along the river is as hard as it is fulfilling. Today the tents will be set up by the river for the night. The ice cold water of Zanskar River and the cold winds would be a fun to feel. Incidentally on this whole trek, Nyerak Village is the only place where some communication can be expected - there is a satellile linked STD phone. In case of dire emergency, one can trek up to the village that takes about 90 minutes one way. However there is no guarantee that the communication link is working. It worth checking about it enroute.
Get up early and enjoy the view as your breakfast is prepared. We will trek back to Tibb Cave today (12 km). We get there by late afternoon to set up camp. The walk down the river is a bit easier than going up. While there is always a shortage of fire wood, but it would be an endeavour of the team to give you some bonfire - wherever the firewood can be collected.
Spend the night in tents by the river.
Post breakfast, we’ll continue trekking back from the same route that we came from. You would be a bit low on energy after trekking for 5 days so we will take it easy. Once we reach Gyalpo, we’ll set up camp by a warm fire. Spend the night in tents by the river. At times if the nights are warm, the Chadar may melt and we may have to take some detours. This means that for the sake of safety, we would leave the weak Chadar and take a route along the mountain face - your guides are an expert at these and they would systematically lead you over these de-tours. At times they are a good change from the Chadar walk.
This will be the final day of the magical Chadar Trek. We will trek back to the starting point, Tilad Do via Shingra Koma.
We will reach there, by noon, if all goes well and as planned. Your trek ends here. Many people take a customary dip in the melted waters of Zanskar river, before they board the trek. I did, everyone else does - you may do too. Please infrom your guide before-hand if you have any such plans. They are the best guys to guide you through the process of this holy dip. Unforgettable high point it is ...
A seat in your mini bus or jeep will be such a welcome thing after the trek. And so will be the comforts of you hotel room in Leh. As we drive to Leh, you would carry the memories of an awesome ancient ritual of Zanskaries. Not many in this world will have an opportunity to do a unique trek like Chadar. The hot shower after the trek in your hotel, would be one of the finest you would have ever had in your life - your just dont want to stop it. You would spend the night at Leh Hotel.
Also it is the last day to re-collect the amazing memories you made during the trek, over a simple dinner with your trekking mates.
After an early morning breakfast, we shall transfer you to Leh airport for your flight back home. Weather is at times unpredictable, and flights cancellation and delays is quite common. One of the many uncertainties that are typical of a high altitude region - further complicated by the fog conditions in North India in Jan - Feb months.
In case you wish to stay an extra day and travel to frozen Pangong Tso lake, you will have to extend your journey. We are happy to help you with that if you are keen. Please infrom us beforehand for such a requirement as we will have to make special arrangements for it.
Optional Add On Day : Pangong Tso Lake Day Trip
If you wish to take a day trip to the frozen Pangong Tso Lake, this can be organised by us at the end of your trek. It would require you to opt for an extra day in Leh, and book your fligts accordingly. Please let us know well in advance about this add on. Well it sure is a sight to see the frozen Pangon Tso Lake.
INR 48,000 + 5% GST Per Trekker (Twin Share accommodation)
Single room or Tent Supplement : + INR 18,000 + 5% GST
Additional Day for Pangong Day Trip : + INR 12,000 + 5% GST
There are group discounts for 4 or more trekkers booking together
- Accommodation: Premium Hotel in Leh on twin sharing basis ( you could upgrade to single share basis)
- Transport: Airport transfers, transfers to & from trek points - Chilling - to hotel in Leh, transport for Medical check up
- Meals: Breakfast only in the Leh hotel. While on the Trek all (veg) meal & snacks will be provided. Meals will be freshly prepared on camps and will have variety
- Professional trekking guide, one Assistant guide, helpers and kitchen staff would accompany the group.
- Mandatory Trekking permits and environmental fees
- Medical check-up on Day 3 at Local Hospital
- Equipment: Military grade sleeping bags, 2 men dual layered tents, 4 inch mattresses with thermocol water protection, safety gear for detours, oxygen cylinders, first aid box, safety ropes etc
- Rubber Gum Boots, are best suited for this trek - these would be provided as per your size
- A Porter would carry your ruck sack or luggage, except for a small day pack that you would carry with you.
- Adjustable Trekking Pole / stick per trekker - you actually would not need two.
- A welcome lunch on Day 2 and a Farewell dinner on last day
- Adventure Sports Insurance cover for a 10 day duration of trek
- 5% GST
- Transport for local sightseeing
- Personal equipment such as 2nd walking stick, rain coats, gloves etc
- International & Domestic flight and visas
- Medical emergency and evacuation - would be additonal costs
- Lunches and dinners in Leh or expenses of personal nature such as mineral water, laundry.
- Tips to porters, camping team, driver, guide, etc.
- Cost incurred due to change / extension in the itinerary due to roadblocks, bad weather condition, flight delays, vehicle breakdowns, etc
What to carry?
- Valid ID proof (Passport/Voter ID/Drivers Licence)
- 70 to 90 litre backpacks and a small day pack
- Water-proof trekking shoes - to be used in camps as also as an alternative
- One down jacket with hood, one fleece jacket, 2 full sleeeves sport Ts
- 2 Sets of Thermal inners - upper and lower body
- 2 Trekking pants that can be closed at bottom
- Sun block cream
- Warm balcalava, and two warm buffs
- UV protected Sun goggles preferably with a strap
- Strap on Studs for shoes to help walk on ice sheet ( optional & available on Amazon)
- Spare under garments and 2 layers of socks ( plan for four changes at least)
- Flashlight with extra batteries (preferably a compact head wearable)
- Heat retaining water bottle, preferably wide mouthed, with at least one litre capacity
- Personal toiletries - hand sanitiser, toilet roll, tooth paste & brush, UV protected moisturiser
- Qucik drying camp hand towel
- Power bank for phones or camera with charging cables, your music may be
- Something to munch - energy bars, chikki etc
You Must Read This Before SIgn Up for this Trek :
By signing up for a trip with Viktorianz, you acknowledge that you have voluntarily applied to participate in this trip and that you have read the description of the trip as it appears on the website and the information below:
Delays are expected on account of roadblock & weather conditions. Our effort will be to continue with the trip as per the schedule & make you as comfortable as possible. But in some situations, beyond our usual control, we may have to compromise on the campsite & adjust to these situations then & there. The final call will be taken by our Lead Guide on location.
The itinerary mentioned here should be viewed as one in the ideal conditions & we may have to make some on the spot changes due unavoidable circumstances.
The distances & altitude mentioned in the above itinerary are to the best of our knowledge & information; marginal variance in the actual distances & altitudes is possible while trekking. Some situations such as detours cannot be predicted with accuracy, which may disturb the time plan. That is normal in Himalayan treks.
You are expected to be in reasonable shape and fitness, being able to walk for several hours at a normal pace as well as to take care of your own equipment. We expect you to know the usual camping rules and etiquettes.
You are required to produce a Medical Fitness certificate to undertake this trek, before starting the trip.
The minimum age restriction for this trip is 18. Please do not ask us to compromise on this aspect.
All outdoor related activities involve a certain level of risk. You are expected to sign an Indemnity Form in agreement to the risks involved through part-taking in such outdoor activities.
Viktorianz reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals and photographs submitted by them on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes.
- We have a zero trash tolerance policy. We always clean up ourselves on all hikes and trips.
- We use portable T3 tents and portable toilets and wash basins at our campsite which are cleared and wrapped up at the end of each journey.
- Our camp locations are temporary and we don’t keep any permanent fixtures at the location.
- We say NO to plastics
- Be Local – there is no harm learning a few local words while you are there. It always helps in building a rapport with the locals and blend in. Try to eat and buy locally.
- Carry your own water bottles.
Equipment & Safety
- We use comfortable mattresses with minus 30 degree sleeping bags
- There is no electricity at most of our campsites as they are at remote locations. We use solar powered tent lamps. Please conserve them to last for whole trek
- Our trips require a moderate level of fitness. As a rough yard stick, If you are able to walk 12 kms with a 5 kg back pack in 3 hours, you should be good to go for this trek
- The maximum altitude for treks can go upto 11,400 ft. There is not much of climbs or descent except for detours if any
- Drink lot of water to stay hydrated and to avoid mountain sickness
- We always carry a first aid kit and a portable oxygen canisters for emergencies
- Average of two guides are provided for a group of 10 people - to provide close monitoring and safety
|09 Jan 2021||18 Jan 2021|
|Trip to Pangong Tso Lake with Extra Day in Leh||1|
|Single Occupancy Room or Tent||-|
" What was unique about the trip was the huge safety factor that was built into the trek- without which we could have had accidents in the treacherous terrain and the extreme weather. Right from the pre-trek preparation - where we were constantly told and monitored about our physical, mental and medical preparedness; to the selection of the best guides and porters, the amazing guide-to-participant ratio (2 for 10), the medical and safety equipment carried, the duty of care exercised by the guides, and the focus on 'slow and steady'. In addition, the administrative arrangements were superb, ensuring that we had good hot food at the end of every arduous day, excellent sleeping arrangements and eco-friendly toilets. There was huge emphasis on an 'eco-friendly' approach, and all of us were encouraged to clear the litter of other thoughtless trekkers, to preserve the pristine look of the locale. All in all, a fantastic experience for the discerning and responsible adventurer - as opposed to the lackadaisical attitude of the so called 'budget tours’!"
" Felt like a winner after completing the trek...and gave the confidence to conquer the world. What an extraordinary experience!! Thanks to Viktorianzs who made this trip seamless and an unforgettable experience. In the hardest of conditions and weather extremes all our basic needs were looked after and all that we had to do was explore the place and embrace the challenges. The food was great and evenings well planned. The omnipresence of Mike and his team was a great support and gave the confidence to keep moving on. I strongly recommended Viktorizan to all those who love adventure. It was absolutely amazing trip....Thankyou."
" An awesome trek organised in a flawless manner. All aspects specially preparation, advice, logistics and briefings were done in an extremely professional manner. Kudos to Viktorianz. Will recommend to family and friends for their wide range of pathbreaking initiatives"