Should you go on Chadar trek?
I was blown away, by the way, everything about Chadar trek looked on the internet. The very thought that I was going to Chadar trek was overwhelming! I wasn't prepared but was so ready to go on the trek. It hit me like a snowstorm when I got a call from Thrillophilia agent to check if I was working out and drinking enough water daily. It's important to exercise for a smooth trekking experience. You have to get your body ready to carry 5 kg backpack and walk 10 - 15kms every day on the ice.
Things to do before the trek
◾The most important thing to do is to get used to drinking a lot of water. Coz, in Ladakh, the oxygen layer is very thin. Your body can help you generate enough oxygen.
◾The second most important thing to remember is to rent trekking gears which you might not use later (like a poncho, gaiters, trekking pole, gumboots) I would recommend you'll go check out x-dog trekking rentals it's located in Begur area.
◾This is the most important point of all that you have to remember. Layering well. Buy a down feather jacket of -15/-20deg capacity or more only. You need to worry about your hands, feet and ears mainly. Just head to decathlon they have it all!
◾Start doing a brisk walk or jogging 3 months before the trek. Increase your stamina. This will help you finish the trek easily.
◾Know where you would be going. Read as many blogs as you can. Keep checking the weather report. Book your flight as early as possible. I would say any travel agency would charge you the same amount. Go according to your friend's recommendation or users reviews. I opted Thrillophilia.
I had my flight at 1:30 am from Bangalore to Delhi and then I flew from Delhi Terminal 1D (which is 5km away from Airport entrance you will have to hire a cab to reach Terminal 1D quickly so don't be late) to Leh. Trust me it's the best flight I have taken. You can see the majestic snow covered mountains from the top. I reached my hotel by 3, had my lunch and headed to the briefing about the trek. On the first day all you have to do is relax.
It's essential to drink a lot of water on the first day. Not less than 5lts. Your body temperature will be 28deg and outside temperature will be -17deg. You might feel difficult to breathe but don't freak out give some time for your body to adapt. As it got darker we all settled in our room to try and sleep in attention positions as it was -18deg😁
The second day is just about taking rest and getting your body acclimatized. My daily task was to drink 5lt of water and moisturising well.
We visited Thiksay Monastery, roamed in the Leh market, shopped 3 extra pair of gloves and socks. We were all ready to camp outside the hotel. Our bodies were well adapted. We had to rush to have our dinner because the food would get cold too soon.
Day 3 and 4
Leh to Shingra Koma via Chilling & Tilad do
On this day, we headed to the first campsite which is Shingra Koma viaChilling & Tilad do. It is one of the most scenic drives , we witnessed some of the top spots in Ladakh. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill are some of them. An hour and a half drive along the Zanskar got us Chilling. The car dropped us right where the road ended, this was our
starting point of walking on the Zanskar. Walking with our gumboots on was a challenge in the initial stage. I fell so hard on my back, it was hurting till the end of the day.😁 After a few hours we reached our campsite.
This was our first experience of camping under sub-zero temperature.
After spending a cold night in the tent at Shingra Koma we got done with our breakfast and were re- energized .The much needed hot cup of Kashmiri Khawa was special in such frosty conditions.
We started heading to the next campsite which was Tibb Cave, it was surrounded by
dry sand , we experienced the most beautiful bonfire night on the 4th day.
Day 5: Tibb Cave to Nerak
This was the most awaited day during our trek. We were all pros in packing the sleeping bag now, we quickly moved to the food tent, it was big day. We had our breakfast and started to trek toward Nerak. We walked for almost 1 hour and found out that Chadar ahead was too fragile and it was very risky for the porters to climb on the narrow edge rocks. We all were disappointed coz, we couldn't make it to the last point. Our guide Tunduk Bhaiya took the right decision for the team. We all started our return journey, we had to reach the second camp to finish the trek as planned. We all walk for 4 hours on the sand, rocks, ice, snow and we made it. We had a sound sleep in the quit warm sleeping bags.
It was 6th day of our trek. Everyone got up early to spot blue sheep but, no luck. Now we had to trek back to Chilling which was our starting point of the trek. It was our last day of trek and we had 5 hours of trek remaining. The Zanskar River reacts to the slightest change of temperature, and
constantly keeps repackaging itself. The Chadar had assumed a new form, it was impossible to say whether we had been there before.
We reached chilling by 5, waited for our vehicle to pick us up. I have a small request to make to all the readers who are reading this - please give away your gum boots, extra pair of socks , gloves to the porters. They work so hard for a living.
The sense of great achievement was in the air. Each one of us were so happy. We happily drove back through amazing landscapes and reached our hotel to collect our Chadar trek completion certificate.
Now, what do you think? Should you go on the trek?
I would say you should challenge your body at least once. See if you can get through and come back stronger for more :')
Chadar Trek essentials
◾Maintaining hygiene in the wilderness is important. Please carry a lot of quick dry towels, Pee safe pad for women, hand sanitizer, wet wipes (Organic ones )
◾To protect your skin from UV rays- high Spf sunscreen, cold cream (apply daily thrice), lip balm.
◾layering is the mantra 🐏 ▫ 1st layer - Thermals ▫ 2nd layer - fleece ▫ 3rd layer - polyester ▫ 4th layer - down jacket
◾2 Thermos flasks
◾ A lot of energy bars
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