Chadar trek is one of the glamorous and adventurous trek in india.It is located in the zanskar valley of ladakh,state of jammu and kashmir.During winter when the river froze,connect the zanskar valley with leh.The villagers come to leh to buy the necessary things for living for the rest of the year.The most of the trekkers goes up to narek to see the enormous frozen waterfall.This is around 75km round-trail on the frozen zanskar river.
Now a road is under construction through the side of the river for the round year connectivity.It will help the local Peoples and their life will lot easier.But it’ll also affect the ecosystem of zanskar valley.May be the trekking activity will no longer in recent year.
IDEAL TIME: January and February
TEMPERATURE: Always sub-zero temp.during day-time up to -10 degree and night-time up to -40 degree.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: In view of harsh climate,the trek is moderate grade.Usually the trail is very easy,only walk over the frozen river.But sometimes you have to climb at few places if chadar is not properly form.
FOOD AND STAY: Basic tented accommodation with a very good quality sleeping bag.All camp site has permanent toilet made by govt.
We started our journey from leh and it took almost 2 hrs to reach the tilad do camp site via chilling.The name says it all.The narrow winding road along the frozen zanskar made you feel chill through your spine.And for the very first time we set foot on the chadar.It feels really good and adventurous.There are nothing in this barren rouged mountain but the beauty is astonoshing.The clear blue sky,the grey mountain and the white frozen river makes the terrain otherworldly.
Today our destination is shingra koma.We are walking like a penguin by sliding the foot because of very slippery chadar.The chadar was very thin initially and one of my friend broke down into the ice-cold water.Disaster like this happen now a days for ill-formed chadar due to global warming.Anyway change all your clothes immediately to prevent hypothermia. There are few frozen waterfall along the trail.We reached the camp site without any further incident.The camp site is at high ground along the river,pretty good but congested.We treked uphill and the view from there is priceless.
Today we have to trek to tibb cave camp site.The terrain is almost same throughout the trek.The trail is through the river gorge surrounded by vertical cliff.Today we faced little difficulty.The chadar was partially broken here and there.At few places,there were only 1ft slippery ice sheet along the flowing river.
There are a very beautiful semi frozen waterfall at the left bank of river,a perfect spot to relax and take some jaw dropping pics.
Today we are going to narek village,the final destination.On the trail,there are several frozen waterfall.The last 200m of chadar was fully broken so we had to trek uphill to reach the iconic frozen waterfall.The magnificent frozen waterfall takes all my tiredness and the feeling of achievement makes me cheer loud.
Today we came back to tibb cave.What a drastic change of terrain overnight.We couldn’t relate the geography of the trail with yesterday’s one.It was almost 1ft deep freezing water at many site to cross.But we enjoyed a lot.
Now we are at shingra koma.On the way the chadar was fully broken at two places so we had to rock-climbing a little.This is very surprising and also painful to see how the climate change affecting the chadar.
We came back to tilad do.Today is the last day to feel the beauty of the chadar so we didn’t want to miss any chances.We dipped into the freezing water of zanskar.holy shit!!! Nothing feels after dipping.
After taking a group photo,we say goodbye to chadar and hop on the car to back to leh.Yesssssssss we made it……………..”Been there , done that”
Pic courtesy:Priyankar da,Rittwik,Somnath,Sayan
If you have an extra day in hand then pangong lake is the next best idea to explore.