The Zanskar River is a wild river that flows in the Himalayas’ summertime amid their deep valleys. It becomes an icy road in the winter. India’s Zanskar valley has remained remote for millennia because it is encircled by the imposing mountains of the Great Himalayan range which have peaks that reach heights of up to 7,000 meters and an average elevation of 3,600 meters.
The phrase “the country is so desolate and the passes so high that only our fiercest foes or our dearest friends would wish to visit us” is even used to describe the Ladakh area, of which Zanskar is a part. In the Indian union territory of Ladakh, the winter trail that crosses the frozen Zanskar River is known as the Chadar Trek or Zanskar Gorge Trek.
During the hard winter months, it has historically been the only mode of transportation in the region. The track is increasingly getting likes from international adventure travelers.
There is no other climb in the Himalayas that compares to the Chadar Trek, also known as Zanskar Gorge or The Frozen River. The term “chadar” means “white sheet.” The Chadar Trek, which begins at 11,150 feet, resembles an excursion to the North Pole. You must seek shelter in caverns since it gets down to 30 degrees at night and all food and drink must be brought in on sleds.
It appears that many people have The Chadar Trek on their bucket lists, especially adventurers who prefer strenuous hikes. Locals in the region are referred to as Zanskari, and they primarily cultivate and raise cattle. You’ll be pushed outside of your comfort zone by the Chadar Trek. When you are far from civilization, you will frequently feel cold. Be at the mercy of nature for a few days, but just try the controversial butter tea.
You will have a new perspective on life away from cities and become one with nature. You’ll discover a lot about the Ladakhen and their difficulties. You will gain a greater respect for the conveniences and pleasures of your regular life as a result of this humble experience.
Expectations from the Trek
The Ladakh scenery undergoes remarkable changes during the winter. The Zanskar River, particularly along the river valley, provides the most breathtaking vistas of this high-altitude desert. Discover waterfalls that have frozen over and created towering icicle walls. Under the ice, you can see air bubbles from the frozen river. You walk on a thick coating of ice covered by swirling water in various places along the trail. The Chadar around them is constantly changing.
Even a small increase in temperature causes the ice to melt, crack, and freeze. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to observe mountain goats climbing the challenging terrain. The surrounding trees lack leaves, and their weather-blackened branches stand out against the surrounding area’s white backdrop.
Other treks in India pass through valleys and old forts, as well as via passes and caves. Along the Zanskar River, this hike meanders. You will be able to walk on the ice where it is thick enough.
You will hike on the frozen riverbanks where the guides feel the ice is too thin. You’ll make a halt to set up the tent and take in the tranquility of the river and the starry sky. You can see Other trekking groups’ bonfires downstream. Enjoy singing classes and eat hearty meals to help you get through the chilly night. Tibb Cave is one of the highlights of the Chadar Trek and is a well-liked destination for hikers of all levels.
The walls of the cave are darkened by years of campfire soot. Sharing your experience with other hikers will make you feel like a true adventurer and promote a sense of togetherness.
Best Time to visit The frozen trek of India
Depending on the weather, the multi-day Chadar walk across the ice Zanskar River in Ladakh takes place in late January, late February, or at some point in March. A once-in-a-lifetime sensation is walking on the thick glass of an icy river with large mountains on either side.
The difficulty level of the Trek
As long as you are in good physical shape. the Chadar Trek walk is not challenging. There are no technical requirements, and there are no steep slopes. But one must not take it lightly. This hike is difficult because of the terrain and altitude. If you ignore your advisor, extreme conditions could endanger your life.
Your feet are constantly being swept along by a swift, chilly river. The fact that so few people dare to take up the Chadar’s challenge is what makes it so unique.