Winter Chadar Trek (Ladakh / Zanskar)

  • Destination: , ,
  • Duration: 9 days
  • Departs: 19/02/2016
  • Arrives: 09/01/2016
  • Price: $21,800

Day 1:  Arrive in leh by morning flight to give more acclimatisation time : The temperature in Leh is always in the negative. Keep a jacket, woolen cap and gloves handy in the flight to face the blast of cold air the moment you land from the plane.

Leh is totally covered by a blanket of snow. It’s white all around. Sometimes the roads have a coating of a think sheet of ice. Watch out when you walk on them and be wary of slips and falls.

The city of Leh only partly open during the winter months only the shops catering to the local needs are open. Buy all your gears from your city and don’t keep any major shopping to do at Leh.

Leh at 11,800ft is higher than your entire trek. It is colder too. Daytime the temperature hovers at around -10 degrees and after sundown drops to -16 or more. Get used to the cold at Leh during the day in the sun but get into your rooms once the sun goes down.

Day 2: Leh to Tilat Sumdo (by private bus or jeeps), camp at Tilat Sumdo.

Take your first few steps on Chadar carefully getting a feel of the surface you are stepping on. The Chadar surface can be of various kinds – a coating of fresh powder snow, hard and shiny ice, a freshly formed chadar (sheet of ice), chadar thats weak and breaking or another new texture. It is easy to walk on a fresh coating of snow. The snow gives you good grip and you can walk normally. An old hard and shiny surface of ice is what is tricky in initially. Do a penguin kind of walk on such a surface without lifting your feet too much off the ground.

The Tilat Sumdo campsite comes within an hour of your trek. Sumdo means confluence. A local tributary joins the Zanskar from your left. An elevated level field makes a good camping spot. On the opposite side are a few caves were those not carrying tents can camp. The locals on their journey through the Chadar tend to stay in caves. Tilat Sumdo will be your first experience of camping out in the freezing temperatures. A campfire will make it better but it comes at the cost of the last traces of vegetation (dried) left on the banks of the Chadar.

Camp at Tilat Sumdo

Day 3: Trek from Tilat Sumdo to Shingra Koma, 9.5 kms, 6 hrs.

Wake up with the sun at about 7 am and prepare to leave the campsite by 9 am. Though the sun is up, Tilat Sumdo like most parts of the Chadar gets direct sunlight only during mid day. Another reason why the Chadar forms and remains.

The morning walk on the Chadar may feel like a walk inside a deep freezer. Your face should be the only exposed skin but its enough to give the deep freeze feeling. As you walk on the Chadar, listen to the sounds it makes. Depending on the thickness of the Chadar, the sounds change. You will soon start recognizing where the Chadar is thick and where it is thin and dangerous.

Shingra Koma is a big camping ground on your right as you walk up stream. Its right below a huge stone wall which is straight out of a hollywood movie. The Zanskar river takes a beautiful turn right in front of the camp site and sharp peaks rise on the other side of the river.

Camp at Shingra Kogma

Day 4: Trek from Shingra Koma to Tibb, 15 kms, 7 – 8 hrs.

The trek from Shingra Koma to Tibb is a long one. It is also one of the most beautiful days of the trek. Watch the small waterfalls on the left standing still in the form of icefalls.

A couple of hours into the days walk brings you to a massive waterfall on the left. Prayer flags flutter on the trees in front of the waterfall. You know that the place is revered by the Ladakhis. Surprisingly the waterfall is not frozen. Notice the greenish moss growing on the rocks under the water.

Camp at Tibb

Day 5: Trek from Tibb to Nerak, 12 kms, 7 hrs.

The trek from Tibb to Nerak is 12 kms long. This is the day when you encounter the much awaited frozen waterfall. The day is beautiful too going through the cliffs and gorges and valleys of Chadar. 5 hours into the trek and after your lunch break is when you see the first sights of Nerak. Prayer flags around Juniper shrubs by the Chadar signal that you are now close to Nerak and before that the waterfall.

Nerak is a village located about 2,000ft higher than the river bed. The Chadar trekkers camp not at the village but at the camping ground 200 ft higher than the river. There is a lone shelter at Nerak campsite which serves as a Rafting point in the summer months. During winters, it serves as a shelter for the Chadar trekkers.

Camp at Nerak

Day 6: Return from Nerak to Tibb, 7 hrs.

The return path is theoretically a retrace of the route you took the last 3 days but in reality can feel like a totally new one. The dynamics of the Chadar can make the whole place look and feel different. Old Chadar breaks, new ones form where there was none earlier, texture of the Chadar changes and so on. 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. You see the same broken raft getting stuck somewhere downstream and other icicles clinging on to it to form a whole new Chadar elsewhere. The Chadar trek is an experience. Your experience and what you see will be totally different from anyone else’s.

Camp at Tibb

Day 7: Trek from Tibb to Shingra Kogma.

Camp at Shingra Kogma

Day 8: Trek from Shingra Koma to Tilat Sumdo and drive back to Leh

Hotel or Guest House in leh

Day 9: Departure


  • Accommodation in Standard room on triple sharing basis.
  • 02 nights stay at specified hotels or Guest House in Leh with attached bath.(bed+breakfast)
  • 06 night stay at camps.
  • Stay on AP Basis. All meals during the trek
  • Transportation by NAC Tavera / Scorpio / Innova (as per availability) for arrival / departure transfers, drop and pickup.
  • Assistance at the airport while arriving and departing.
  • Mics. charges are inclusive like
  • Permits
  • Potareges at hotel and airport
  • All applicable luxury/ road taxes
  • Trekking equipments ( Tents / Dining Tent / Mattress / Sleeping bags )
  • Staff ( cook / guide / helpers / porters )


  • Airfares.
  • Any monastery entrance fees, Any Joy ride or rafting.
  • Medical expenses (apart from first aid) and insurance of any kind.
  • Tips, laundry, liquors, wines, mineral water, telephone charges, camera fee and items of personal nature.
  • Transportation is not on disposal basis. It is strictly as per the program, any extra running will be charges extra.
  • Any expenses arising out of unforeseen circumstances like flight delay / cancellation / hike in fare, strike or any other natural calamities or any emergency evacuation expenses.
  • Any other item not mentioned in the cost includes section.

  • 25% advance at the time of booking confirmation.
  • 50% balance 15 days prior to the travel date.
  • 25 % balance on the first day of trek.

 In case the booking is made within 15 days of travel, 100% advance is required at the time of confirmation.

Cancellation policy:-

  • 15 Days prior to date of arrival – 25% of the total bill will be charged.
  • 14 Days to 08 Days prior to date of arrival – 50% of the total bill will be charged.
  • 07 Days less prior to date of arrival – 100% of the total bill will be charged.

All the arrangements for the tour are pre-planned and prepaid. In case of not completion of the tour due to any reason whatsoever there will not be any refund for any unutilized services. Any extra expense due any alteration has to be paid extra.

Fitness required for the Chadar trek : Age: 14 min. and 50 max.

  • Fitness: The Chadar is a trek where you need to be in top physical condition before you start the trek. The cold is intense. A fit body manages the conditions on the Chadar well. You must be able to jog 4.5 km in 30 minutes before commencement of the Chadar expedition. This makes your lungs strong and gives it ability to process less air for more work. It also helps the body to acclimatize better to the bitter cold of the trek.
  •  Flexibility is the ability of muscles and tendons to relax and stretch easily. It determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. Stretching improves your posture and helps to prevent low back pain. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and low back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.
  • Backpack (55 – 65 L) with sturdy straps and supporting frame. Quechua Forclaz 60 is a good choice.
  • Trekking shoes: – no sports shoes. It gets really cold once the sun goes down and shoes are important to keep your feet warm. Ensure the shoes are well broken in before the trek. Forclaz 500 and Woodland are good choices. But you also need woollen socks. More expensive shoes are not really the answer to cold. Wearing 2 layers of woollen socks is the trick.
  •  Note: You can buy Decathalon products from online.
  • Sun glasses – curved ones will cover your eyes well. No blue coloured sunglass — they don’t block UV. Blacks, greens, browns are fine. Avoid multi tone sunglasses. Sunglasses prevent snow blindness. Sunglasses are mandatory for this trek. People who wear spectacles, choose one of these:
  • Woolen hand gloves + synthetic glove (water proof). If you don’t have synthetic gloves, get two pairs of woolen gloves and a surgical glove.
  • Woolen monkey cap and balaclava that cover the ear.
  • 4 pairs of sports socks. 2 pairs of woolen socks.
  • 1 pair of thermal inners.
  • 4 pairs of undergarments.
  • A full sleeve thick jacket.
  • 2 full sleeve sweaters. A fleece jacket would be an alternative.
  • 4 Full sleeve cotton tees with collar.
  • Ladies with smaller feet size find it a problem to get a shoe. Forclaz 500 has special trekking shoes for women.
  •  4 pair of track pants (at least one should be synthetic quick-dry kind). Or 3 pair of cotton pants with lots of pockets. Track pants are light and we highly endorse them. Plus when things get cold you can wear one over the other.
  • Use contact lenses.
  • Photochromatic glasses
  • If either of the above is not possible, wear your spectacles and carry a big sunglass that can be worn over your spectacles.
  • A woolen head-scarf or muffler.
  • Trekking pole is mandatory. You can buy a trekking pole
  • Light towel (should be thin, quick drying kind).
  • Chapstick or lip balm.
  • Cold cream and sun screen lotion (SPF 40+).
  • 1 Water bottles (1 L ). The insulated water bottles are good but even normal water bottles will suffice. Packaged drinking bottles like Biseleri, Aquafina and others not allowed.
  • LED Torch with extra set of cells (head lamps preferable).
  • Personal toilet kit (minimal) and toilet paper.

  • Alcohol is strictly prohibited on the trek including when at Leh.
  • Leave your denims behind – these are ill suited for treks and add weight.
  • Snacks, colas and personal food – No need to overburden yourself with food.
  • Do not carry any disposable plastic bottles like (Bisleri, Aquafina), plastic wrapped/packaged items. Do not bring any non bio degradable material.
  • Don’t get any sleeping bags. We are going to carry high altitude sleeping bags with us. We would also be carrying Dome tents, ice-axes, and other equipment required for such treks.
  • After packing, weigh your gear. It should be in the range of 7-8 kg – preferably on the lighter side. Anything heavier, you will need to iterate and remove what is not essential.
  • Carry light and what is essential. As an example, toothpaste should be bought in small size (that can last you 10 days). Do not plan for “if” situations. The list of things mentioned here are exactly what you need and nothing more.
  • Some general advice about clothing:- To protect you from cold, dressing in layers is the mantra. Two T-shirts worn one over the other is warmer than a T-shirt that is thick. 3 T-shirts worn one over the other is as good as a full sweater. This is just a guideline. If you are prone to cold carry an extra sweater.
  • Along with the above list, please ensure you also carry the following documents
  • An identification card (like driving license, voters ID card etc), along with a photocopy.
  • A passport size photo.
  • A medical certificate specifying the following points
  • Disclaimer certificate (to be fill here before the trek departure on the briefing session please ask your guide).
  • The documents are mandatory. Without them you will not be allowed to trek.


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