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Chadar Frozen River Trek – How to Walk on Snow

Ladakh is one of the most coveted tourist destinations in India. However, in spite of its popularity, it does not see the massive influx of the tourists. This is because it is not an easy place to travel. The mountains of Ladakhs are very steep. During the winter time the snow falls down heavily and many of the passes are blocked. In fact, some of the roads become either vary dangerous to ply or completely impassable. Usually from November to March some of the villages become totally inaccessible.

If the roads are blocked and you can’t take your vehicles up, there is only one way to reach the villages – trekking. Chadar trek is one of the treks through which you can reach the villages situated somewhere deep and distant in the mountains in the Zanskar valley. It connects these villages with Chilling. You have to trek along the frozen river of Zanskar. It is indeed one of the most popular routes and in the month of February you can even take vehicles all the way up into the mountains.

Walk the snow but be cautious

Before you start the Chadar trek, you should be very clear about one thing – It is not going to be an easy trek. In fact, the trek is also not devoid of dangers. Zanskar is a big river that flows pretty fast. While trekking between Chilling and Zanskar you will have to trek through steep canyons too. You will be carrying huge backpack with all the utility items as you can’t expect to find much of use in the villages.

Carrying a heavy bag while walking on the frozen water could be pretty tough. At the same time it can be scary too. The river isn’t completely frozen. It is only the few inches of the surface that get frozen during winters. So, when you will be trekking along the ice turned water, remember that Zanskar River would still be rushing fast beneath your feet only a few inches away.

You will have to be careful. You will need to carry the things that you need in your bag. But, you cannot make it very heavy. Sometimes the ice breaks and puts the trekkers in danger. Many people have also died on the trek. But, they are usually the local people who have no choice but to carry heavy items for their livelihood. Chadar frozen river trek could last for up to a week before you reach the villages. You will need to sleep in the caves that are naturally built into the walls of the canyon. trekking in india

Get a Guide

It is best to take a guide along who knows the Chadar frozen trek well. Walking over the thin layer of ice could be pretty intimidating. Someone who is new to the place may not be able to gauge the thickness of the frozen ice. You will also sometimes need to walk along a very narrow strip of ice flanked by the deep, fast moving water on one side and the wall of the canyons on the other.

 

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