The temperature in Leh is always in the negative. Keep a jacket, woolen cap and gloves handy in the flight to face the blast of cold air the moment you land from the plane. Leh is totally covered by a blanket of snow. It’s white all around. Sometimes the roads have a coating of a think sheet of ice. Watch out when you walk on them and be wary of slips and falls. The city of Leh only partly open during the winter months only the shops catering to the local needs are open. Buy all your gears from your city and don’t keep any major shopping to do at Leh. Leh at 11,800ft is higher than your entire trek. It is colder too. Daytime the temperature hovers at around -10 degrees and after sundown drops to -16 or more. Get used to the cold at Leh during the day in the sun but get into your rooms once the sun goes down.
Take your first few steps on Chadar carefully getting a feel of the surface you are stepping on. The Chadar surface can be of various kinds – a coating of fresh powder snow, hard and shiny ice, a freshly formed chadar (sheet of ice), chadar thats weak and breaking or another new texture. It is easy to walk on a fresh coating of snow. The snow gives you good grip and you can walk normally. An old hard and shiny surface of ice is what is tricky in initially. Do a penguin kind of walk on such a surface without lifting your feet too much off the ground. The Tilat Sumdo campsite comes within an hour of your trek. Sumdo means confluence. A local tributary joins the Zanskar from your left. An elevated level field makes a good camping spot. On the opposite side are a few caves were those not carrying tents can camp. The locals on their journey through the Chadar tend to stay in caves. Tilat Sumdo will be your first experience of camping out in the freezing temperatures. A campfire will make it better but it comes at the cost of the last traces of vegetation (dried) left on the banks of the Chadar. Camp at Tilat Sumdo
Wake up with the sun at about 7 am and prepare to leave the campsite by 9 am. Though the sun is up, Tilat Sumdo like most parts of the Chadar gets direct sunlight only during mid day. Another reason why the Chadar forms and remains. The morning walk on the Chadar may feel like a walk inside a deep freezer. Your face should be the only exposed skin but its enough to give the deep freeze feeling. As you walk on the Chadar, listen to the sounds it makes. Depending on the thickness of the Chadar, the sounds change. You will soon start recognizing where the Chadar is thick and where it is thin and dangerous. Shingra Koma is a big camping ground on your right as you walk up stream. Its right below a huge stone wall which is straight out of a hollywood movie. The Zanskar river takes a beautiful turn right in front of the camp site and sharp peaks rise on the other side of the river.
The trek from Shingra Koma to Tibb is a long one. It is also one of the most beautiful days of the trek. Watch the small waterfalls on the left standing still in the form of icefalls. A couple of hours into the days walk brings you to a massive waterfall on the left. Prayer flags flutter on the trees in front of the waterfall. You know that the place is revered by the Ladakhis. Surprisingly the waterfall is not frozen. Notice the greenish moss growing on the rocks under the water.
The trek from Tibb to Nerak is 12 kms long. This is the day when you encounter the much awaited frozen waterfall. The day is beautiful too going through the cliffs and gorges and valleys of Chadar. 5 hours into the trek and after your lunch break is when you see the first sights of Nerak. Prayer flags around Juniper shrubs by the Chadar signal that you are now close to Nerak and before that the waterfall. Nerak is a village located about 2,000ft higher than the river bed. The Chadar trekkers camp not at the village but at the camping ground 200 ft higher than the river. There is a lone shelter at Nerak campsite which serves as a Rafting point in the summer months. During winters, it serves as a shelter for the Chadar trekkers.
The return path is theoretically a retrace of the route you took the last 3 days but in reality can feel like a totally new one. The dynamics of the Chadar can make the whole place look and feel different. Old Chadar breaks, new ones form where there was none earlier, texture of the Chadar changes and so on. Sometimes the Chadar breaks right under your feet and floats away like a raft. You have no option but to run on to the safer sheet ahead. You see the same broken raft getting stuck somewhere downstream and other icicles clinging on to it to form a whole new Chadar elsewhere. The Chadar trek is an experience. Your experience and what you see will be totally different from anyone else’s.
|Stay at The Hotel / Camps on Triple sharing basis||Airfare to & fro from Leh||Day 1||Fly to leh, transfer to Hotel (Rest and Acclimatize)|
|Veg meals during the trek||Any airport transfers||Day 2||Local Sight Seeing Leh-Hall of Fame, Gurdwara Pathar Sahib, Sangam / Khardungla.|
|Services of qualified & experienced Guide,Cook, Helpers & Porters.||Any personal expenses including Laundry, TIPS & insurance||Day 3||Drive to Chilling (3 hrs drive) and trek to Tilad Do camp 3100m (2 km, 1hrs trek)|
|T3 Quechea & Lafuma (-10 Extreme ) sleeping bags & Mats along with Dining, Kitchen & Toilet tents.||Any fees ( May / May not ) imposed by ALTOA on trekkers individually.||Day 4||Tilad Do to Gyalpo camp 3170m (9 Km, 6 hrs trek)|
|Personal equipment including Walking sticks, Gumboots & water bottles||Day 5||Gyalpo camp to Dib Cave 3225m (14 km, 8 hrs trek)|
|Porter to carry personal luggage, if required, shall be chargeable@750/- per bag.||Day 6||Dib cave to Naerak camp 3390m (10.5 km, 7 hrs trek)|
|Day 7||Naerak to Tibb|
|Day 8||Return from Leh.|