The Chadar Trek – also known as the Zanskar Gorge – is a winter trail located in the region of Zanskar in Ladakh. This trail features 600 meter high near-vertical cliffs as well as the frozen Zanskar River, which provides an access route to the Zanskar Valley. When the river is frozen over during the winter season, locals and tourists alike flock Zanskar Valley to check out the breathtaking view. During the summer season, thrill-seekers can go on a river rafting expedition.
Chadar means blanket in the local dialect. The Chadar refers to the blanket of ice that forms over the river every winter season, which starts on January to February. These periods are also the best time to go on a Chadar trek. And if you’re gearing up for a Chadar trek, we have put together a list to help you prepare for a fantastic winter adventure:
Protection from the Cold
Because the temperature can drop between -30 to -35 Degree Celsius, you will need all the insulation you can get your hands on. Stock up on hand and body warmers as well as thick, insulating outerwear. These winter gears will reduce the dissipation of body heat without trapping sweat, allowing you to stay warm and comfortable for at least 10 hours. Wear thick, woolen caps and gloves to protect the head and the hands from the biting cold and very thick socks to keep the feet warm.
Although a pair of trekking boots may seem like the best choice when going trekking, we recommend gumboots when you’re heading in extremely cold regions like the Chadar trek. Gumboots provide better traction so you don’t slip and slide over the thick ice. Gumboots are also lighter, less bulky than an average pair of trekking boots. This type of shoes will also work for those who do not have hiking shoes. Just wear your running shoes then walk in gumboots.
The only downside to using gumboots is sweaty socks. You might not feel it, but you will sweat a lot during your entire trip. Our advice is to bring a lot of extra socks and change to a fresh pair as soon as you reach the campsite.
Carry 2 Sleeping Bags
A sleeping bag is a mainstay in any outdoor adventure but don’t carry just one, get another one just in case. Usually, a trek agency will provide one sleeping bag but others don’t. Your best bet is to call your agency and ask if such gears will be provided for you. Apart from using the sleeping bag to keep you warm in the night, you can also tuck your extra gears to keep them warm in the morning. You see, anything you leave outside your tent will freeze because of the bitter cold.
Protecting Mobile Devices from the Cold
The cold temperature will drain electronics fast, more so during extreme cold when the temps drop to negatives. To protect your mobile devices from the harsh climate, tuck them away in your jacket pockets. Your winter clothing is enough to protect your precious gadgets from the cold. If the battery is dipping fast while you are using the device, just warm it up under your jacket for several minutes before using it again. Our advice is to carry several extra batteries especially for safety gears like flashlight, portable lanterns, etc.