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50 Must Read FAQs Before your Chadar trek

June 18, 2021

Chadar trek is a dream for many. This trek over the frozen Zankskar river is satisfying and challenging at the same time. We bring to you the answers of some of the doubts most people have about Chadar trek

  1. How to reach Leh during Chadar trek season?  Is road transportation available?

    Chadar trek is conducted during peak winter season. The two roads connected to Leh will be covered with snow and it will be closed. 

    Leh will not be accessible by road at all. You will have to fly in & out.

    NB:  Transportation charges from your location to Leh are not included in the fee.
  1. Why are flight charges not included in the cost?

    Chadar trek participants would be coming from different parts of the country and may even travel on different dates.  Flight charges would be different for different locations.  
  1. Do you have any suggestions to book a flight?

    🡪 Try to book flights as early as possible. This will reduce the flight charges. Remember, flights to Leh are a bit expensive.
    🡪 If you have a connected flight, try to book the same carrier so that, in case of any delay of any of the flight, the operator will help you with alternate flights. 
    🡪 Try to book with carriers who have multiple flights in a day to Leh. This would be very helpful if your connected flight gets delayed. Indigo, GoAir, Air India, etc are some of such operators.
    🡪 Keep at least 3 hours delay between 2 connected flights. 
    🡪 Expect cancellations, delays or rescheduling of flights during winter season. 
  2. How cold does it get during the Chadar Trek? 

🡪 The toughest part about this trek is to deal with the extremely low temperatures.

🡪 Some days the minimum temperatures can drop down to -30°C.

🡪 Day time temperature : -5°C to -15°C. 

🡪 Nighttime: -15°C to -30°C

  1. I have not done any Himalayan treks before. Can Chadar be my first Trek? 

Yes, but you need to train your mind and body. 
🡪 Apart from the extreme cold and the glassy terrain, Chadar is not a difficult trek.

 🡪 There aren’t many difficult climbs. 

 🡪 The altitude is between 3400m to 3700m.
🡪 Once you have acclimatized, you might not have any high-altitude related problems on this trek. 

  1. How do I need to prepare for achieving physical fitness? 

Check our instagram post below to know more about the physical fitness routine you need to follow.
Chadar Trek Preparations By Lets Go For A Camp (@letsgoforacamp)

  1. Are hotels open during the winters? Which hotel will Lets Go For A Camp be booking in Leh? What are the facilities that we can expect from this hotel?

    Compared to summer, only a few hotels will be operating during the winter. Temperature during winter will always be below -5°C. Running water availability is the most difficult problem faced during this season. All water pipes will be frozen and the number of staff will be less.  Considering the operating cost most of the hotels will be closed during winter. 

    Don’t expect the same facilities that you might get during summer in winter season from any of the hotels. 

    Accommodation in Leh:  Hotel Rafica or similar
    Facilities Available:  Centralized heating (Heating won’t be available all the time. Staying in a cosy temperature is not recommended for Chadar trekkers)
    Hot water availability (Specified time)
    Restaurant facility 
    2 sharing rooms.
  1. I am coming with 2 of my friends. Can we get a 3 sharing room?

    Yes, you will get a 3 sharing room but you’ll need to inform us beforehand. There will not be any change in the trek fee, even if you choose a three sharing room.  Any internal inconveniences including space constraints among the three, will have  to be handled by themselves.  Team LGFC will not take any responsibility for such cases.  Last minute requests to make room 2 sharing will not be entertained.  
  1. Will hotels have running water all the time?

    🡪 There is no running water in most of the hotels during the winters. 
    🡪 The extreme temperatures (minus 10 to 20°C) freeze the water in the pipes which leads to rupturing of the water lines. 
    🡪 In the worst case, the only method is to deliver hot water in buckets to the hotel rooms. 
    🡪 A select few hotels these days have running water wherein they use motors to circulate water in the pipes throughout the night when temperatures are the coldest, and water tends to freeze if not moving (This cannot be expected every day). So, prepare your mind accordingly.
  1. What about the food included in the Chadar trek package?

    All meals (Breakfast +Lunch +Dinner) during trek time i.e., from Day 4 to Day 8 (Till the trek ends) is included in the package

    Food at Leh i.e., Day 1- Day 3 and Day 8 (after trek and Day 9) are not included in the package.
  1. Why is food at Leh hotel not included in the package?

    Trekkers are coming from different parts of the country and will have different food preferences. Options to keep all the different varieties of food during winter are scarce. So, we let the trekkers choose their own food based on their budget. You can order food at the hotel.  Please note that you’ll need to order at least 2-3 hours before to get it on time.  
  1. Will I get vegetarian food? 


Yes, hotels will have options for both veg and non-veg food. You can order according to your preference. 
During the trek we will provide only veg food and eggs.

We recommend trekkers not to eat too much oily food on the first 3 days before the trek. Even if you eat normal food, most people experience stomach upset when you reach high altitude.  So, try to have normal, less spicy, less oily food for your first 3 days. 

Drink more and more water and take good rest. It will help your body to get acclimatized.   

  1. What are the items that I can buy from Leh Market? 

1. Trekking pole
2. Gumboots
3. Gloves 
4. Jackets 
5. Socks 
6. Thermals 

We recommend every trekker to carry all the required winter clothes from your place itself.  Because when you land at Leh airport you should wear all the winter clothes to avoid sudden cold shock. 

In case you need any additional winter clothes or equipments, you can get it from Leh Market. 

There is no need to buy Gumboots from your home location as they will be available in Leh Markets. You will get it for rent on a per day basis (Normally 100/- per day) or you can buy it for Rs 500-600. 
You will also get good quality gloves from here for rent (Normally 100/- per day). 

  1.  What kind of footwear do I need to wear on this trek?

    Most of the local porters wear gumboots for the Chadar Trek which are easily available in Leh. This seems to be the most practical and inexpensive option for walking on ice. A lot of people do the whole trek with gumboots.

However, it is not easy walking in them all the time as they are not very comfortable. They come quite high up around your shin & sometimes people get severe rashes on the shin & blisters on their feet. We advise that you bring waterproof boots with you.

At times when Chadar does not freeze very well, we advise people to use gum boots only. We use them only when it is required to wade through the water in which case the normal boots are no good.

We recommend every trekker to use gumboots during the trek.

  1. Do I have to wear crampons? 

We do not think you should wear crampons as it is quite tiring to walk with crampons the whole day. It is also not easy to walk with them on uneven terrain and at places where the ice sheet is not thick, it is enough to break open the surface. 

  1. Do I need a fleece Jacket or a down Jacket? 

Yes, you need both a fleece Jacket and a down Jacket and that too, good ones! It is cold throughout.  Never compromise on winter clothes. These are the only things which protect you from the cold.
Please check the link below to know more about the things that you need to carry for Chadar trek. 

Our trek lead will give you instructions on how to make layers during the trek in the WhatsApp group formed.

  1. How will my backpack be transported from Camp to Camp during the trek? 

You’ll have 2 options. 

  1. Carry your bag and trek (Recommended) 
  2. Or you can give the bags to porters.  They will charge extra for carrying your luggage.  You can directly talk to the porters and fix the cost and pay them directly.  Normally porters’ charge Rs. 800/- per day.  LetsGo ForACamp will not take any responsibility of fixing cost and payment with porters for your own trek bag.  
  1. How are the duffel bags and camping equipment transported from Camp to Camp? 

Porters are the mainstay for transporting luggage on Chadar Trek.
Most of the porters come from Zanskar and walk the Chadar four times to complete one trek with clients.
Most of the time, loads are tied to sledges and are pulled on ice. At places where the chadar is broken, the load is lifted on the back like a big backpack.
Apart from the load given to them, porters have their own personal bags and their own ration to carry. 

  1. Does drinking water freeze on Chadar? How can we counter that?

    Every morning and evening during the trek, we will provide hot water.  You need to fill your thermal flask and drink only hot water during the trek. 

    Hot water supply time will be communicated with the trekkers by the trek lead. It will not be possible to make hot water every time a trekker asks. So, we recommend every trekker to fill their thermo flask when hot water is ready.
     
  2. What kind of sleeping bags do you provide during Chadar Trek? 

We provide a double layered sleeping bag to each trekker, which is of good quality. 
We provide sleeping bags that can withstand -20 degree Celsius. Such sleeping bags are used only by mountaineers climbing summits above 6000m+ in the Himalayas or people who do winter expeditions. These sleeping bags come in 2 layers – a Down Inner and a Holofoil Outer and are generally like the ones used by the Indian Army on the Siachen Glacier where temperatures can get severe. These sleeping bags have been successfully used on the Chadar Trek and are great to keep you warm during those bitterly cold nights. 

In case you need to carry your own sleeping bag, you can bring and use it as an inner sleeping bag.  

  1. What kind of Lunch is served during the Chadar trek? 


Lunch is generally prepared fresh and hot, mid-way through the trek. Maggi/Pasta etc will be the dishes served. 

  1. Will we light a campfire at camps on the Chadar Trek? 

During winter, wood is in short supply. Whenever it is available, our porters climb nearby mountains and collect it for making fire. But we need to pay them a small tip to do this.  The cost is not included in the fee, because it’s highly uncertain.  

  1. What is the group size? 

The maximum number of people in a group will be 14 including one coordinator.

  1. Do you have any recommendations on our arrival in Leh? 

We always recommend trekkers to reach at least a day before the start date of the itinerary because, during winter there will be a lot of changes in the flight schedule. Reach early so that it won’t affect your itinerary.
During this extra day, you need to find accommodation by yourself. In case you need any help, we can provide. But please note that these extra days are not part of the itinerary and you’ll need to pay extra for everything during this extra day. You will not get any other service mentioned in the itinerary from LetsGoForACamp coordinator during extra days.
3 days acclimatization is mandatory at Leh.  
During your medical check-up, you’ll need to submit your boarding pass. 
The government officials will verify your date of arrival, based on which you’ll get the approval.

  1. How will someone wearing glasses manage?  


You will get polarised glass fit on your specs. You need to start checking about this a bit early.

  1. What is the status of the phone network accessibility for communication? 


You’ll have phone connectivity only in Leh. Mobile networks won’t be available during the trek. The villages do have a satellite phone each installed by the government, which you can use by paying a minimal charge, but connectivity is not very reliable. 

In Leh – Only BSNL, Airtel postpaid sim works. 

If your sim is prepaid and online transactions are connected to that sim it won’t work. GPay or Paytm won’t work on prepaid sim as you will not get any OTP.  

  1. What kind of cameras would work/not work in that weather? 

    Any camera would work here but be careful about the battery.  When the temperatures are low the batteries discharge faster.
    If you intend to take a lot of pictures on the trek, we recommend that you carry a couple of spare batteries with you and keep them wrapped up and warm at night.
  1. Is there any provision for Mobile Chargers? 


Mobile phone charging points or electricity won’t be available during the trek. 
Carry a power bank and use your mobile sparingly, just to take pictures.  

  1. What are the medical facilities available during trekking?

    Our trek lead and local guide will be  carrying a first-aid kit. Also, Insurance Co. and Leh Association has set up a small Medical Check-up Centre near Tilad Sumdo CampSite and Tibb cave. No other medical facilities other than these are available during the trek. 
  1. Should I take my first-aid kit or some general medicines along with me while on the trek?

    Yes, you should always carry your own personal first-aid kit with you.
    Click here to see the list.  
  1. How many members or trekkers will be sleeping in one tent? 

2 sharing tents. 

In case 3 friends are coming together and you need a 3-sharing tent, inform us beforehand.  There will not be any difference in the trip fee. Last-minute demands for 2 sharing tents will not be entertained.  

  1. What are the Sanitary Facilities?

    Sanitary facilities will be provided to you as toilet tents. No permanent toilet with running water will be available during trek/ camping time.  You might also have to go behind the rocks at some places.  
  1. What if we fall in the freezing river?
    We ensure that the layer on the river is thick enough to walk but still falling in freezing water or river can be dangerous or risky.
    You just need to be careful and follow the footsteps of our trek leader who ensures that the ice sheet is thick enough to walk or hold the pressure of a person. Our tour guides and porters are experienced enough to handle such situations.
  1. Can we intake alcohol during the trek? 


No, it is not advisable to intake alcohol during the trek as having drugs or alcohol will make you feel unwell and lead to developing symptoms of AMS. In any such case, the trekker needs to get back to Leh (down to lower altitude) immediately.
So, say no to alcohol or smoking while trekking or on heights.

  1. What are the edibles that we need to carry along with us? 


You can carry energy drinks, cookies, chocolates, dry fruits,nuts and Electral packets as they all consist of high calories which will give you energy. Fesh food will be provided to you during the trekking. 

Click here to know more about the list of items you can carry for chadar trek. 

  1. Who will bear the cost in case any trekker gets unwell and needs to be taken back to the camps or Leh?

    In case any trekker is unwell and unable to continue with the trek, he/she will have to bear the additional cost. The additional cost may constitute transport, meal & extra medical facilities to travel back to Leh. We will provide all the support. 
  1. What is the availability of hot & safe water during trekking? 


Stoves will be carried by a porter. Zanskar river water will be used as drinking water after boiling. Do carry your insulated water bottle.

  1. Do we need a walking stick during Chadar trek? 


Yes, it makes you feel comfortable while trekking or walking during the Chadar trek. It will give you a grip on slippery layers and will aid you in checking whether the river is frozen or not in case fresh snow begins.

  1. What if Chadar trek ends midway due to worse condition of weather or any other external reason? How much refund can I expect?

    After the start of the trek, if the trek gets cancelled due to bad weather/ army interference or due to any other unforeseen circumstances then no refund is possible.
  1. How many guides will be there in the group? 


There are 2 local guides and a coordinator for every 10/12 trekkers.

  1. Are Airport Transfers added in the fee? 


No.  Airport Transfers are not added in the fee because trekkers will be coming from different parts of the country and will arrive at Leh airport during different times.
In case you need airport pick up and drop, inform us. We will arrange a taxi for you.  You can pay the cost directly to the drivers. 

  1. Do I get winter dresses on rent? 


Yes, you will get the below mentioned items on rent but not in every part of India.  You’ll have to get it at the time when you land at Leh airport. 
Fleece Jacket, Down Jacket, Double Layer fleece/ water resistant pants.

  1. What if I fail in the Medical?

    Participants who could not clear medical examination or could not get necessary permits for the Chadar trek will have to bear all the costs for stay at Leh, food and any other expenses till the entire group returns on schedule from the trek. 
  1. What happens if the Chadar trek gets cancelled before we proceed for the same? 


Due to any reasons beyond our control or poor ice layer formation on the Zanskar River, no refund will be made, but we will try our best to organize a substitute tour around Leh. 

  1. What are the important recommendations from Team LGFC?

    Do not litter anywhere and spoil the radiance of the route. The trail holds a gripping panorama, and it is the responsibility of every trekker to maintain it.

    Do not use soaps and shampoos in waterfalls as it contaminates them. Moreover, the local inhabitants use this water for drinking purposes; thus, you should keep it clean.

Respect the tranquillity of the shrines that fall en route.

Never disregard the tips and guidelines provided by the guide.

Never skip a meal as high energy is required for the trek.

Do not overlook the weather report.

  1. How much additional money do I need to carry? 
  • Food in Leh 
  • Pick up and drop charges.
  • Insurance fee + Medical check-up fee + Envi Fee (This varies every year and we will get to know only a week before the trek, that’s why we are not adding this fee. This can be paid directly at the time of the medical check-up). This amount can be in the range of Rs. 4000-4500. 
  • If you have to do any shopping, you need to carry sufficient money.
  • If you plan to give your luggage to the porter, you’ll have to pay for that too. 
  • Tips
  • In case you plan to visit any place on the 2nd day of your acclimatization, you’ll need to carry extra money for transportation.  
  1.  What about the ATM availability?

ATM service is available in Leh. But during winter ATMs may not work or will not have sufficient money.  So, we recommend everyone to keep enough cash with you.  

  1. Will I get any companions to travel from my place?

Yes, you will! Once you are done with the registration, you will have the option to join a WhatsApp Group. Here you will get introduced to fellow trekkers and an opportunity to plan your journey together.

  1. What is the minimum age to join this trek?

18+

  1.  Do I need to carry COVID -ve certificate? 

We will update about this in the WhatsApp group.  It will be based on the government guidelines. 


Most importantly, participants must bear any additional expenses/ cost incidental to any change in the itinerary / stay caused by reason beyond our control such as Natural Calamities (Landslides, Floods etc.), any accidents, medical evacuations, riots, strikes, evacuation costs, flight cancellation for any reasons including bad weather, etc.

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