When winter arrives in Jammu & Kashmir, Zanskar gets cut off from the rest of the state. The Pensi La, which is the usual route from Ladakh to Zanskar gets snowed out, making vehicular traffic impossible at this time of the year. For years now, the frozen Zanskar river has been the only way for the people of Zanskar to make contact with the outside world in winter. It used to be a busy trade route back in the day. The Zanskari used to visit Leh to trade butter, cheese and animal hide for household items such as food grains and clothes. Though the Zanskaris are self sufficient these days, there are still a lot of the locals who still use this route, keeping the tradition alive. The frozen Zanskar river thus got its name – the Chadar, a magnificent white sheet of ice and snow which flows through some of the most rugged rock faces. And this setting makes it one of the most stunning treks in the world.
Day 1: Reporting day at Leh (1800m)
Altitude 11,400 ft. Keep your woollen cap and gloves handy at Airport
Orientation & Briefing of the trek at 12:00 noon (Mandatory)
Check in Hotel (10:00 am)
Bring a copy of ID proof. Foreigner, a copy of passport and visa.
Medical certificate proving your fitness is required. This must be issued by a doctor.
Network is available (only post-paid)
ATM is available
Visit of any very high altitude place or pass is not advisable
Consumption of alcohol and smoking is strictly prohibited
Spend the day in the room itself to acclimatize. (Sufficient time would be given for visiting market and nearby places) Spend the day in the room itself to acclimatize to the high altitude. This is absolutely necessary and is most important for the days ahead. Overnight in the hotel.
Situated at an altitude of 3500m, the day will be spent soaking in the sights and sounds of Leh while at the same time, getting the body acclimatized to the oxygen levels. The Shanti Stupa and Leh market square will give you a good feel of the surroundings and the people. Get outside to stay aquainted with the temperature. Explore market and get your missing stuff from the market.
Day 2: Acclimatization Day
Rest Day/Acclimatization Day. You can go around for sightseeing, but going at high altitude pass is not recommended. You need to perform your medical checkup in LEH as per new Govt regulations. You need to be physically fit for this trek.
Day 3: Departing from Leh
Leh – Chilling – Tilat do – Tsomo Paldar (Drive/3-4 hrs & Trek/1 hr)
11,000ft to 10,390ft. Stay in tent.
We start off from Leh and head out towards the start point of our trek at Tilat do. En route, we will pass Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill and the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers just before Nimu. Once past Chilling, we arrive at Tilat do. You will commence one to 2 hour trek till Tsomo Paldar. We take our first baby steps on the frozen river, so be prepared for some slips and falls! Walking in gumboots too will take a while, so be patient as it’s only your first day for long trek. We start off along the left bank, past the cascading waters of the Zanskar river and frozen waterfalls until we set up camp at Tsomo Paldar. Our camp site is on a piece of flat land high above, giving you a stunning view of bend of the river.
Day 4: Tsomo Paldar – Tibb Cave (Trek 9-10 km. / 4-5 hours)
10,390ft to 10,760ft. Stay in tent.
Rising early would have its perks as the sun comes out from behind the mountains and lights up the valley. It will also help your body get used to the cold. Aching bones, if any, will be sorted by some scrumptious breakfast as the Zanskar comes to life with the rising sun. A relatively easy day of walking past higher waterfalls will get you to Tibb Cave, which lies at the intersection of two valleys. An evening walk down any one of them can make for good exploration.
Day 5: Tibb Cave – Nyerak (Trek 10-11 km. / 5-6 hours)
10,760ft to 11,100ft. Stay in tent.
It’s the most eagerly awaited day, especially because en route Nyerak – the first village of Zanskar – is a stunning frozen waterfall. While the ones you have seen so far are from high up, this one is also several feet in length which makes it one of the most picturesque sights on the trek. Just ahead of it is Nyerak, and while we camp by the river, a short walk early next morning will take you back to civilization for the first time in almost a week. At Nyerak, you can treat yourself to some goodies from the local shop and interact with the residents there, who are more than happy to indulge in a good conversation.
Day 6: Nyerak – Tibb Cave (Trek 15-17 km. / 9 hours)
11,100ft to 10,760ft. Stay in tent.
After four days of walking on ice, you will now be an expert. So feel free to look around and soak in the surroundings. There’s a good chance of spotting ibex and bharal on the high slopes, and if you’re lucky, even a snow leopard walking along the ridge. Also look out for birds such as lammergiers and choughs sailing high above the valley. It’s the longest day of the trek through narrow gorges, which means climbing up a short distance by the bank of the river in places where a solid walking surface is unavailable.
Day 7: Tibb Cave – Gyalpo (Trek 10-11 km. / 5-6 hours)
10,760ft to 10,550ft. Stay in tent.
Way back is tiring at the same time very interesting. After 5 days in this chilling region you get use to this environment. Snap shots of your favorite place, lying on the bed of ice, sharing your experience are the memories of trek.
Day 8: Gyalpo – TilatDo – Leh (Trek 10-11 km. / 4 hours)
10,550ft to 10,390ft to 11,000ft. Stay in Guest house.
We make our way back along the same way that we came, giving you the opportunity to soak in the sights that you probably missed. Trekkers along the way are sure to check with you on the route ahead, so be prepared to play guide and share your experiences.
Day 9: Checkout 10.00am from Leh. Fly to your desired destination.
Start Point: Leh, Jammu & Kashmir
End Point: Leh, Jammu & Kashmir
Best Time: Jan – Feb
January 5 – OPEN
January 12 – OPEN
January 19 – OPEN
January 26 – OPEN
February 2 – OPEN
February 9 – OPEN
February 16 – OPEN