The Ultimate Guide to Chadar Trek 2024: A Thrilling Frozen River Quest!


If you’ve ever dreamt of walking on a frozen river, Chadar Trek is where your dreams become a reality. It’s a remarkable adventure that takes you into a world of icy wonders, an extraordinary adventure on the frozen river in Ladakh, India. This trek is not for the faint-hearted, as it presents unique challenges due to extreme temperatures and walking on a constantly changing ice blanket. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about Chadar Trek, including the route, itinerary, difficulty level, weather conditions, best time to visit, and tips for preparation. So, let’s dive into this exhilarating journey!

Chadar Trek

Chadar Trek: An Overview

Chadar Trek, also known as the Zanskar Trek, is a winter trek that takes place on the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh. It is a 6-day trek that offers a truly unique experience amidst inhospitable conditions. The average mean temperature during the day ranges from -10 to -20 degrees Celsius, while at night, it can drop to -25 degrees Celsius or even lower. The trek requires walking on a frozen river, where the ice formations change color and break every few hours. It is a challenging adventure that demands physical endurance and mental strength.

Chadar Trek Itinerary

Chadar Trek Itinerary

The Chadar Trek itinerary typically includes several campsites along the route. Here is a brief overview of the day-wise trek details:

Day 1: Leh

  • Arrive in Leh, the base camp for Chadar Trek.
  • Spend the day acclimatizing to the high altitude of Leh (11,400 ft).

Day 2: Leh to Tilat Sumdo

  • Drive from Leh to Chilling, the starting point of the trek.
  • Trek to Tilat Sumdo (10,390 ft), the first campsite on the frozen river.
  • Experience walking on the Chadar and get accustomed to the icy terrain.

Day 3: Tilat Sumdo to Shingra Koma

  • Continue trekking on the Chadar from Tilat Sumdo to Shingra Koma (10,550 ft), covering a distance of 2 km in approximately 1 hour.
  • Observe the changing sounds of the frozen river and learn to navigate different types of ice formations.

Day 4: Shingra Koma to Tibb

  • Trek from Shingra Koma to Tibb (10,760 ft), a distance of 9.5 km that takes around 6 hours.
  • Marvel at the frozen waterfalls and narrow gorges along the way.
  • Enjoy a hot meal of Maggie and tea at a sunny spot during the midday break.

Day 5: Tibb to Nerak

  • Trek from Tibb to Nerak (11,150 ft), covering a distance of 12 km in approximately 7 hours.
  • Witness the awe-inspiring frozen waterfall near Nerak and cross the Nerak pul, an old wooden bridge.
  • Camp at Nerak for the night and experience the extreme cold of the region.

Day 6: Retreat from Nerak

  • Begin the return journey from Nerak to Tibb, retracing the same trail.
  • Encounter different ice formations and appreciate the ever-changing beauty of the Chadar.
  • Camp at Tibb for the night.

Day 7: Tibb to Shingra Koma

  • Trek from Tibb to Shingra Koma, enjoying the familiar path with a fresh perspective.
  • Admire the stunning landscapes and find comfort in the familiarity of the surroundings.
  • Camp at Shingra Koma for the night.

Day 8: Shingra Koma to Tilat Sumdo and Leh

  • Trek back from Shingra Koma to Tilat Sumdo, completing the final stretch of the trek.
  • Drive from Tilat Sumdo to Leh and conclude the Chadar Trek adventure.

Please note that the itinerary may vary depending on weather conditions and the guidance of experienced trek leaders.

Chadar Trek Route Information

The Chadar Trek trail offers a truly unique experience amidst breathtaking landscapes and challenging terrain. Here is a closer look at the trail and what you can expect along the way:

Walking on the Frozen River

Walking on the frozen river is the defining feature of Chadar Trek. The ice formations on the Zanskar River change constantly, creating a dynamic and ever-changing environment. Trekkers must adapt to different types of ice surfaces, ranging from fresh powder snow to hard and shiny ice. Learning to walk like a penguin, with a low stance and minimal foot lifting, helps maintain balance and prevent slipping on the ice.


The campsites along the Chadar Trek route provide a respite from the icy surroundings. Tilat Sumdo, Shingra Koma, Tibb, and Nerak serve as base camps for trekkers, offering basic amenities and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The campsites provide a sense of camaraderie as trekkers gather around campfires to warm themselves and share stories of their Chadar Trek experience.

Chadar Trek Weather Conditions

Chadar Lake Trek takes place in the winter months when temperatures in Ladakh are extremely cold. During the day, temperatures can range from -10 to -20 degrees Celsius, while at night, they can drop to -25 degrees Celsius or lower. Trekkers must be prepared for these extreme weather conditions and dress in layers to stay warm and protected from the cold.

Best Time to Visit Chadar Trek

The best time to undertake the Chadar Trek is from mid-January to mid-February when the Zanskar River freezes sufficiently to support trekking. This period offers the most stable ice conditions, making it relatively safer for trekkers. It is essential to plan your trek during this time to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience.

What to Pack for Chadar Trek

Packing the right gear and essentials is crucial for a comfortable and safe Chadar Trek experience. Here is a list of items you should consider packing:


  • Multiple layers of warm clothes, including thermals, sweaters, and a padded jacket
  • Trek pants and tights for layering
  • Collared T-shirts for sun protection
  • Thermals to keep warm at night
  • Gloves, balaclava, and a scarf to protect from cold winds
  • Woolen socks and trekking shoes for traction on icy surfaces
  • Gumboots for wading through water patches


  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Sun cap to shield from harsh sunlight
  • Synthetic hand gloves for better grip
  • Headlamp or LED torch for night visibility
  • Trekking pole for stability and support
  • Toiletries, including sunscreen, moisturizer, lip balm, and toilet paper
  • Water bottles and plastic covers for storage and waste management
  • Personal medical kit with essential medications for altitude sickness, pain relief, and common ailments

Other Essentials

  • Cutlery set for meals, including a spoon, coffee mug, and lunch box
  • Two water bottles for hydration
  • Plastic bags for compartmentalizing and storing wet clothes
  • Mandatory personal medical kit with necessary medications

How to Prepare for Chadar Trek

Preparation is key to a successful Chadar Trek experience. Here are some tips to help you prepare physically and mentally for the challenges ahead:

Physical Fitness

Chadar Trek requires a good level of physical fitness. Prioritize cardiovascular endurance exercises such as jogging, swimming, and cycling to improve your stamina. Strength training exercises like squats and lunges will help strengthen your leg muscles for the trek. Flexibility exercises, including stretching and yoga, are also beneficial for preventing injuries and improving mobility.

Mental Preparation

Chadar Trek can be mentally challenging due to the extreme temperatures and icy terrain. Prepare yourself mentally by developing a positive mindset and focusing on the beauty and uniqueness of the experience. Practice mindfulness and meditation techniques to stay calm and centered during the trek. Visualize yourself completing the trek and overcoming any obstacles that may arise.


Acclimatization is essential to prevent altitude sickness. Spend at least 2-3 days in Leh before starting the trek to allow your body to adjust to the high altitude. Use this time to explore Leh’s attractions and engage in light activities to gradually acclimatize.

Packing Essentials

Refer to the packing list provided earlier in this guide to ensure you have all the necessary gear and essentials for the trek. Invest in high-quality clothing and equipment suitable for sub-zero temperatures. Test your gear before the trek to ensure it fits well and provides adequate warmth and protection.

Hydration and Nutrition

Stay hydrated throughout the trek by drinking plenty of water and carrying a sufficient supply. Pack energy bars, nuts, and dry fruits to provide a quick boost of energy during the trek. Consume a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats to fuel your body for the physical demands of the trek.


Chadar Trek offers an unparalleled adventure on the frozen river in Ladakh. With its unique challenges and breathtaking landscapes, it is an experience that will stay with you forever. By adequately preparing yourself physically and mentally, packing the right gear, and following responsible trekking practices, you can embark on this remarkable journey with confidence. So, get ready to conquer the icy trails and immerse yourself in the beauty of Chadar Trek.

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