Chadar Trek: All You Need to Know

Every year numerous people from different parts of the world go for trekking in Ladakh. Among them Chadar trek is definitely one of the popular trekking trails due to its unique path and challenges.

Length of the Trail

Chadar trek follows the ice-covered frozen river of Zanskar with a total distance of 105 km. On an average a person needs to walk for 12 to 14 km per day in order to complete the entire trek in a period of 9 days.

Although the average distance covered per day highly depends on your tour operator and packages.

Temperature in Zanskar

The only time you can do Chadar trek is between December to February as the upper layer of the Zanskar river turns into a sheet of ice, hence the name Chadar Trek.

The temperature is always in the sub-zero range from -5 degree Celsius to -35 degree Celsius. Although, if you are lucky during day time the temperature fluctuates between 0 degree to 20 degree Celsius.

Also, due to global warming around the world you should check the condition of rivers prior to your trekking.

Things to carry

Clothing: your regular wears plus light thermal wear, windproof jacket, heavy woollen jacket, raincoat, woollen caps, gloves and muffler.

Trekking: Trekking gears, hiking shoes, sleeping bag, hot water bag, trekking pole, tent.

Accessories: Sunglasses, gloves, Sunscreen, lip balm and toiletries like paper soap, sanitizer, toothpaste, brush, comb

Document: carry your photocopy and identity card/Driver’s license.

Electronics: Camera with extra batteries, power bank and spare charger.

Equipment on rent

Trekking equipment and gears can burn a hole in your pocket as they are usually not cheap to come by. If you are unsure of your next trek and want to try different gears that will suit you, rent the trekking gears from local.

There are a number of shops selling all types of equipment like high quality hiking shoes, sleeping bags and backpacks. In fact, you can help the locals earn their livelihood by renting the gears instead of buying them.

Permits for the trek

In 2019, strict rules and regulations are imposed to ensure the safety of the trekkers and help preserve the beauty of mother nature.

First three days after your arrival to Leh are dedicated to acclimate yourself to the surroundings. You need to show your boarding pass in order to confirm the day of arrival.

Then you need to get a clearance from a government hospital after a thorough medical checkup.

Once you get a go-to from the hospital you need to apply for adventure travel insurance from an insurance operator.

Finally, you need to get a permit from the wildlife department and a NOC from All Ladakh Tourist Operator Association(ALTOA).

How to prepare yourself

Chadar trek being one of the most challenging treks around the world requires a certain level of physical fitness and stamina. Apart from the physical strength one must be strong willed and mentally prepared as this trek is not going to be easy at any point of the time.

In order to get into the shape of scaling such a trek you can follow these exercises beforehand for at least 1-2 months.

  •       Stairs climbing
  •       Cycling
  •       Sprinting
  •       Burpees
  •       Squats
  •       Pull ups

Dos and Don’ts


It is really important to acclimatize, your body needs to get accustomed to the altitude and the bone chilling weather of Chadar Trek.

Always follow the alpha trekker, the experienced one, who has all the knowledge of weather conditions and technical information about the trek. Always trust your guide and follow them

Inform your family member about your itinerary beforehand, also it is better to travel in a group or make friends on your solo trip so that you don’t feel left out.

Keep your body hydrated throughout the trek and always pack for instant food like cup noodles along with energy bars.

It is advisable to keep your first-aid with yourself rather than depending on others.


Do not litter. While visiting this rare beauty a responsible citizen should help protect mother nature.

Don’t push your body too much, if you feel breathlessness or any other discomfort inform your guide.

Don’t skip your meal or intake of water, as your body needs to be hydrated and needs nutrition to scale the challenges.

Do not panic in any situation and create hysteria in the group. The trainer always walks ahead and knows about the thin ice or weather conditions.


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