Chadar Trekking in Ladakh, India, attracts trekkers from all over the world to enjoy one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. While there are many things to do while on Chadar Trek , these are 5 amazing things you must definitely add to your bucket list. This article will help you prepare for your Chadar Trekking trip to Ladakh and give you some tips about things to do on Chadar Trek .
What is Chadar Trek?
Chadar trek is one of the most popular treks in Ladakh that attracts thousands of tourists every year. In fact, Chadar Trek has been listed in Lonely Planet as one of ten treks around the world. Unlike Zanskar and Markha, which are family-friendly treks, only adults can walk in and across the frozen Zanskar River. On the other hand, you will see many families walking with kids while going through Chadar trek because the route remains safe for them. However, if you are planning to bring your family with kids then talk to local tour operators first because there have been cases where even kids have fallen into frozen rivers and died later after getting thawed out.
Where is Chadar Trek?
Ladakh, India is home to one of Asia’s greatest treks – ‘The Chadar Trek’. At 7300 feet above sea level, it takes you over frozen lakes and ponds which are formed after heavy snowfalls in winter. Every year between December and April, a 3-4 mile wide ice sheet forms over these seasonal rivers and lakes. The water underneath remains unfrozen due to its high salinity, but is strong enough for people with proper shoes and equipment to walk over safely. It’s an unforgettable experience that you shouldn’t miss if you love hiking! In addition, at least three hours of every day are spent in total darkness so plan your trek accordingly!
Is it safe?
Many people have heard about trekking in Ladakh and they are aware of how dangerous it can be if not done correctly. People who go trekking here do so at their own risk and agree that it is safe to go alone, but one should not put anyone’s life in danger, which means those accompanying you must have a basic knowledge of medical treatment and CPR. You must also know your limits and be prepared for anything. One needs good shoes, plenty of water, adequate clothing for extreme weather conditions, a packed lunch and snacks such as chocolate bars. It is best not to consume alcohol before setting out on your journey; if you have been drinking heavily please don’t take any risks by going on a trek.
How much does it cost?
A tent, food and an off-roader cost Rs 1,200 a day. For novices, it costs Rs 800 per day. Many operators, who rent tents and camping equipment, are available at all major trek destinations. However, always check that they provide blankets and mosquito nets in their tents as some of them leave these items out or rent them at extra cost (around 50% higher than normal). So be careful while choosing your operator. The need for ‘beds’ is not very high during winter and so prices remain reasonable during off-season too. You can cut down on costs by arranging your own food through cooks or buying it locally at reasonable rates.
Things to know before you go
The first time you go for a trek you need to know a few things. First, how will you reach Spiti valley? There are a number of ways that include, hiring a vehicle or joining an organized tour. To explore Spiti valley by road, first drive to Chandigarh airport and then drive through Shimla-Manali-Leh highway and reach Kaza after 5–6 hours of journey. The second option is reaching Delhi and taking flight till Chandigarh Airport then connecting flight till kaza which will take roughly 2–3 hours. Tourists mostly prefer flights as it saves time, money and also helps in carrying heavy luggage easily.
Travelers planning a Chadar trek may wish to learn how to use their ice-axes and crampons before going. If you’re an experienced hiker, these basics are probably second nature. But for beginners, these tips may prove helpful.
First things first, it is essential that you stay safe while chadar trekking. The frozen lake is known for being a more risky place than many other treks in Ladakh, so follow these basic safety precautions when trekking there: be sure to have a professional guide along with you, carry water and food, use ice-axes when necessary and make an effort to stick together as a group. And if all else fails, take help from your guide.
Possible Risks Involved
Chadar trekking is adventurous and can pose risks to your health and life. Common risk involved in Chadar trekking includes getting lost, frostbites and hypothermia, falling off frozen waterfalls, altitude sickness etc. Heavy snowfall during the winter season can cause avalanches which might prove fatal. We recommend only those who are medically fit should undertake chadar trek. Get professional training before undertaking any adventure sports.