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Chadar Frozen River Trek

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5 Nights / 6 Days
Tour Details

The Chadarice-covered river trek is a splendid trek.
It is a 6 day trek in frostycircumstances. It is a trek over a frozen stream in Ladakh. The average temperature during the day is -10 degrees. In the night, temperatures fall to -20 and 25degrees. Ice forms, breaks and fluctuates colour on the river every few hours. With sensible trekking, the Chadar trek is not a very difficult trek but what sets it apart is its exceptional experience.

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Day 1Report at Leh

The only way to get to Leh in the winter months is via flight. The temperature in Leh is always in the negative.The city of Leh is partly open during winter months. Leh at 11,800ft is higher than your entire trek. The day temperature floats at around -10 degrees and after sundown drops to -16 or more than that.

Day 2Drive to Chilling (3 hours trek from the road head to TilatSumdo.)

On the second day we start to walk on the frozen Zanskar river is 64 kms away from Leh. We can see the Indusriver while we drive on the Leh Srinagar highway till Nimuwhere it meets the Zansakar. We drive along the Zanskar spoting the frozen sheets of ice or Chadar forming on the river. After 30 minutes as we drive to Zanskarwe are at Chilling. We start our excursion from Chadar carefully getting a feel of the surface you step on. It is easy to walk on the snow. The snow gives you good grip and you can walk normally. The TilatSumdo campsite shall arrive soon within an hour of your trek. An elevated level field makes it a good camping spot.

Day 3Trek from TilatSumdo to ShingraKoma (9.5 kms, 6 hours)

Wake up early and prepare to leave the campground by 9 am. It’s surprizing that, TilatSumdo gets direct sunlight only during mid-day. As you walk on the Chadar, listen to the sounds.Depending on the thickness the sounds change. You will soon start identifying where the Chadar is thick and where it is thin and perilous. There can be certain sections where the Chadar has formed only on the real corners of the river and the corner is under a low over hang. Do not hesitate to get down to your fours or even lie down on your tummy and crawl through those sections. ShingraKoma is almost 10kms away from TilatSumdo. The distance can be covered in about 6 to 7 hours. Mid-way through the trek around noon, we can search for a sunny region to halt and cook a quick lunch for all. The big cats roam around pretty freely though they are elusive to the human eyes.

ShingraKoma is a large camping ground as you walk up stream. ShingraKoma gets its name due to the plenty of a plants called as Shingra.

Day 4Trek from ShingraKoma to Tibb (15 kms, 7 – 8 hours)

The trek from ShingraKoma to Tibb is a long route. It is also one of the most beautiful treks of the journey. Small waterfalls that stand still look immensely beautiful like in form of icefalls.

Prayer flags flutter on the trees in front of the waterfalls. A huge waterfall can be seen here which is surprisingly not frozen. Legend goes that, one year Nerak (the huge waterfall) ran dry and a priest went to the Kailash to pray for water. He came back with a vessel full of water and 2 fishes. The only condition was that he should not place the pot on anyplace. On his journey back, it so happened that he placed the pot on the ground (where Nerak flows today) and two fishes jumped off creating this massive waterfall. The rocks behind seem to have two nostrils. One is full of water and the other dry. According to legend, this waterfall has its source at Kailash in Tibet. The lunch point for the day is precisely on the mid-way and under an overhang of rocks.

2 hours of walk through the numerous varieties and forms of Chadar brings you to a large camping area in Tibb. The Tibben campment also has more dry vegetation around.

Day 5Trek from Tibb to Nerak (12 kms, 7 hours)

The march from Tibb to Nerak is 12 kms long. This is the day when you encounter the much awaited frozen waterfall. Walking through the cliffs and gorges and valleys of Chadar is a beautiful experience in itself. 5 hours of the trek and after a lunch break is the time when you see the first sight of Nerak. Prayer flags around Juniper shrubs by the Chadar signal that you are now close to Nerak.

A kilometer ahead around a bend under the shade of the gorge lays the famous Nerak waterfall. The Nerak Bridge is just ahead of the waterfall. The trail goes along the Chadar and20 minutes of walk brings you to Nerak where a small trail takes you up to the Nerak campsite.

The Nerak is a village located about 2,000ft higher than the river bed. The Chadar trekkers do not camp in the village but on camping ground which is 200 ft. higher than the river. There is a lone shelter at Nerak campsite which serves as a Rafting point in the summer months. The temperature can dip as low as -25 or lower.

Day 6The return from Nerak

The return path is supposedly a redo of the route you took the last 3 days but in reality can it feels like a totally new one. The changing aspects of the Chadar can make the whole place look different. Old Chadar breaks, new ones forms.
Sometimes the Chadar breaks right under your feet and floats away like a raft. You have no option but to run on to the safer sheet ahead. The Chadar trek is an experience in itself.