Best Time For The Trek
The best time to take the Chadar Trek is the winter months. January and February are probably the best for trekking as the Zanskar River will be completely frozen at that time. As a ritual, most trekkers and travelers typically prefer mid-January to end of February for trekking. While you can visit this area anytime from December to March, if you are interested to take the trek, we would suggest the first two months of every year.
Let’s be honest. This will not be an easy trek. For most trekkers, this could probably be the most difficult trek that they would ever take. During the trek, you will have to cover almost 105 kilometers by walking. The average temperature is close to -15 to -20 degrees during the daytime. It can go as low as -25 degrees at nights.
As you might know already, most of the trek involves hiking or walking. Of course, you would not be covering all the 105 km in a single day, but still, you will be walking quite a significant amount each and every day.
What’s more? The trekkers will have to hike over icy boulders during their journey. In general, you wouls have an excursion that involves walking on sheets of ice during the daytime. During late evenings and nights, you can stay in the caves.
If you are a novice trekker, then this would be quite a difficult experience for you. We would recommend this trek to intermediate to advanced level trekkers. Also, to successfully complete this trek, you need to have tolerance for low temperature and oxygen levels. If you are trekking for the first time, then Chadar Trek would not be the right option for you.
However, if you have quite some experience in trekking, especially in high altitude spots, then Chadar Trek would be an amazing experience for you. We recommend you to decide wisely based on your health and physical conditions. Of course, we would not recommend this trek for people with breathing or heart issues.
Things to carry
Backpack with sturdy straps – at least 20L capacity
Trekking shoes – don’t opt for sports shoes; carry proper trekking shoes
Gumboot – you can purchase this in Leh
Synthetic track pants – yes, track pants are more comfortable to trek than jeans.
Full sleeve tee-shirts
Fleece or any other thick jackets
Thermal inners or undergarments
Woolen caps to cover your head and ears
Hot water kettle or bottle
Scarf or muffler
Lip balm and moisturizers
Cold cream and sunscreen lotions
Personal medical kit
Personal toilet kit
Plastic bags to carry any wet clothes
Camera, power bank, and other required gadgets
Travel light as you would be carrying the backpack. Porters can be arranged at times to carry your bag, but in either case, it is wise to pack light. Carry only the essentials, but that doesn’t mean you must leave out things that you might need apart from the list given above.
What to do on the Chadar Trek?
Inform close people about your trek itinerary. Therefore, even if your phone is not reachable, they will know where you are exactly on a particular day. Also, leave the number of your trek leader or the company that organized the trek, so they can contact you in case of any emergency.
Always keep yourselves warm. Wear warm clothes as the temperature can drop extensively, unexpectedly.
Eat and drink water as frequently as possible. There are high chances of people skipping to drink water due to cold climate and eventually getting dehydrated.
Carry your own first-aid kit and necessary medicines. Bruises and cuts during the trek are quite common.
Walk briskly and carefully. The ice sheets will be slippery, and you need to be careful.
What not to do on the Chadar Trek?
Do not litter anywhere. Littering will spoil the beauty of the route. Do not throw away plastic and non biodegradable stuff on the trail. It is your responsibility to take care of the trek trail.
While bathing in waterfalls, do not use chemical soaps or any other harmful substances. The locals in nearby villages use the water from the falls for their drinking purposes.
Do not be loud or rude towards co-trekkers. Try to voice your indifferences in a matured and polite manner.
Do not disobey the advices of your trek leader. He/she will be more experienced and know the situation better.
Do not skip a meal or drinking water. You will get easily tired as there is a requirement of high energy during the hiking.
Do not take things for granted and wander on your own. Stay with someone always.