Many adventurers and fans trekking describe Chadar Trek as a unique experience, special. The road and weather conditions are hard, however, the influx of tourism has led to an improvement in its conditioning.
At a height of about 4000 meters, you walk on the frozen river of Zanskar. Thus, a route is traveled that the locals have been using for more than 1000 years.
The origin of the Chadar TrekZanskar River
To find out, we have to travel to the Zanskar River. It is located to the southwest of the city of Leh and surrounded by the mountain ranges of Ladakh and Zanskar, about 6000 meters high. This river, which takes its name from the capital of the same name, occupies an area of 5000 km².
During winter, the only road between the towns of Zargil and Padun with the capital of Zanskar is covered by heavy snowfall. The main communication channel is closed for six months a year, approximately.
When the road is unused, the locals who are isolated in their small towns and villages turn to this route over the frozen river.
Thanks to the sharp drop in temperatures, which reach -25º C, the river is completely frozen and the transit over the thick ice sheet is safe. It would be the Zanskaris, the native residents, who began using this route to reach the city and thus cover their basic needs.
With the years, this seasonal route began to gain fame among lovers of mountain tourism. Thus, it was baptized as Chadar Trek, which in the region's language means 'ice carpet'.
Discovering the itinerary of the Chadar Trek
The arrival of a greater number of travelers interested in making the road on the frozen Zanskar river has resulted in an improvement of conditions for tourists. But nevertheless, nothing prevents you from feeling an overwhelming and unrepeatable feeling when walking in the most raw and wild nature.Icy waterfall on the route
The duration of the tour is approximately one week.. During the route through Zanskar until arrival in Lingshed, we can experience direct contact with nature and Tibetan folklore. And we will visit towns like Zangla, Pishu and Karsha, a village located very close to the capital, Padum.
The zanskaris are a very hospitable town and they offer their camps with bonfires to rest, as well as dishes of their regional cuisine. In the city of Leh you can also visit several Buddhist monasteries to learn about the influence of this religion in popular culture.
On icy road, we will cross the impressive gorges of the Himalayas that make up this narrow valley and only path. The crossing offers a landscape at this point already mythical, of white mountains, mighty frozen waterfalls, steep canyons and virtually virgin nature.
The Chadar Trek route gives us the opportunity to walk on a river for magical moments. The colored ice that goes from the purest white to the deepest blue will accompany us during this unforgettable journey.
Previous tips before starting the route
You may have encouraged yourself to experience first hand the sensations offered by this route of trekking. Then, you must take into account a series of guidelines to follow to fully enjoy the tour.Chadar Trek - Partha Chowdhury / Flickr.com Route
The first thing will be to have the help of a guide. The natives of the region will bring you closer to the native culture and will give you all the necessary knowledge to find the best alternatives during the tour.
In addition to making the way through the frozen river, it is convenient to make stops to visit those villages and monasteries that we mentioned. Getting advised by the guide will help you enjoy the itinerary much more.
On the other hand, although there are no large slopes and the height does not become extreme, you must be prepared to take alternative routes if unforeseen occur. No great physical preparation is required. However, part of the charm of living this experience is to test our resistance.
It is also necessary to have a conveyor to load the goods. It is also advisable to bring rope and two sleeping bags to make sure you are not exposed to low temperatures during the night. Thus, it only remains to enjoy the adventure.