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Hello!!
You have landed here because you have got to know about this fantastic trek!! Thanks.! I have written down my experiences and I will be delighted if my blog has helped people in taking their decision to take up this trek. I desire to have this blog alive by answering all the questions/providing all the info with everything you want to know about Chadar trek.

Lets trek!!!

This is fairly a big blog with write up having details right from the time i knew about chadar till the last day of trek. If you want to read only my experiences of chadar trek, scroll down to “Day 0 – Jan 14” and read from there.

About the Trek:Mind Over Body
One of the toughest trek in the world often fancied by many novice trekkers for the uniqueness that this trek offers and second to none. Yes!! – It is one of the most unique trek that the mother nature offers in the world. Trek on the frozen Zanskar river that flows through the Himalayan ranges in Kashmir. Zanskar river is a wild river that offers river rafting in summer and Chadar trek in winter. Trek route has been in use for centuries by the locals which connects to the remote villages of Zanskar valley.

How did I know about this trek?
Dhanya,my cousin tells my wife Sowmya about this trek in a random conversation somewhere in early 2014. Sowmya reads about the trek and finds it very interesting. Dhanya comes back with an email after couple of months to our cousins group asking for interest to Chadar trek in Jan 2015. The response was Yes from all sides and the count was 8. Enough count for Sowmya to get me interested and join for the trek. We had to quickly decide and book tickets as Leh-Delhi routes gets expensive.

I had no prior experience of treks but had around 6 months of time to prepare. I developed a myth that no amount of trek/training can help me overcome the fear after I read that the temperatures can get to anywhere between -20 to -30 degree celcius in the night and -15 degrees celcius in day. I have always lived in Chennai where the average temp is 30 degrees celcius.

As I read through various links, articles, blogs and looking at some of the photographs, the beauty of frozen river inspired me to take up the challenge and test my mental strength. I took up the responsibility of collecting details from providers as I had a bunch of questions to ask. I started dialing to trek organizers looking for details and answers for my questions.

Who all we reached out to?
India Hikes(Most popular and preferred trek org across the country): Offers Standard 9 day Chadar itinerary listed in their website. Group Size – Around 25 trekkers + guides and help.
Rs.22900 + Taxes – 100% Refund for canc before 30 days. They asked me to refer the websites for more details and FAQs. http://indiahikes.in/chadar-trek/ (Note : IH has discontinued Chadar hike from their offerings)

Trek the Himalayas:
Same standard itinerary with different date options – Rs.22500+Taxes – 5% Canc Charges – http://www.chadartrek.com/

Himalayan Explorers Club:(Run by a graduate from Univ. of Delhi, Adventurer + Trek Enthusiast – Rohit Khattar):
Spoke with Rohit and he explained about the trek elaborately and its itinerary. He gave options for 9 day and 11 day itinerary but recommended the 11 day itinerary as it covers a beautiful solar village called Lingshed which is not usually offered by many trek org. He also patiently answered all the questions that I had including some very silly ones.

11 day Itinerary
(Day-01) – Fly from Delhi to Leh (3500 m). Local sightseeing in Leh. Stay in hotel.

(Day-02) – extra day for Acclimatization, Local sightseeing in leh.. Stay in hotel.

(Day-03) – Leh – Chilling – Tilath sumdo (By Road)–Shingrak. Night Stay in Camp near cave.

(Day-04) – Shingrak – Muska La – Choumo Cave (By Trek) Night Stay in Cave / Camp.

(Day-05) – Choumo Cave – Tipouma – Dib Cave – Nyrakpula Village (By Trek). Night Stay in Camp / Home stays in Village.

(Day-06) – Nyrakpula Village – Lingshed Village. Night Stay in Camp / Home stays in Village.

(Day-07) – Spend an entire day resting in Lingshed, one of the most remote villages in Ladakh. Visit monastery, school for monks and explore the village. Night Stay in Camp / Home stays in Village.

(Day-08) – Lingshed Village – Nyrakpula Village – Dib Cave. Night Stay in Camp/Cave.

(Day-09) Dib Cave – Choumo cave/Muska La. Night Stay in Camp / cave.

(Day-10) Choumo Cave/muska La – Shingrak – Tilath Sumdo (Road head). from Tilath Sumdo shifted to leh by Car

(Day 11) Fly Back to Delhi (with pictures & memories for life)

Smaller group of 10 – 12 trekkers + guides + porters/cook. Personal porter for everyone to carry the trek back bag + sleeping bag + sleeping mat + few others included in the premium amount that he quoted. The cost was almost 12k more than the other preferred org. (India Hikes) quoted. – Yes – 35k per head

Cost is inclusive of everything you need from the time you land in Leh till the time you depart.

Airport pick up and drop
Centrally heated Hotel
Homestay at Lingshed village
Porters (with personal porter for your heavy bag)
Guide
Helpers
Food
Kitchen stuff & cook
Necessary trek equipment
Permit fee
Transfers to points where trekking starts
Transport for Sightseeing

List of Questions that I asked Rohit and his answers:(Documented as i spoke to him)

Q: Fitness level required and what preparations are to be done?
A: This trek is done mostly by freshers who have no prior trekking experience. This is more of walking than trekking. Walking on the frozen river and not like climbing the mountain or terrain. So, mental toughness and strength is more important in addition to some basic physical fitness. It will be easy if you can jog for 15 to 30 mins a month before the trek.

Q:AMS and have heard of people die in roopkund trek?
This trek is very much on a lower altitude and does not have complications like the other roopkund or himalayan treks where we will have to trek higher altitudes/mountain routes and can cause AMS during trek. No prior experience required for this trek.

Q: Medical preparedness from you and your team?
A: They carry first aid kid with required medicines/drugs. Trek leader is trained to handle emergencies.

Q: We have a doctor accompanying.? Do you have any discounts for Doctor?
A: This trek does not require a trek doctor. Trek doctors are taken for hardcore climbing and high altitude treks. So, there wont be any additional doctor discount for this trek.

Q: Few of us have high power spectacles. Is it safe to use contacts in extreme low temperatures and also is goggles mandatory.?
A: Contact lenses are totally safe to use. Mountain goggles are mandatory as we are directly exposed to sunlight during trek.

Q: How different are you from India Hikes.? 😀
A: IH is a big player and HEC is a small one. IH takes a group if 18-20. HEC takes a group of around 10 trekkers. IH charges 24K and HEC Charge 28K. IH provides a guesthouse to stay in Leh. HEC provides a hotel to stay in Leh. IH does not provide 1:1 porters. Trekkers need to pay additional of Rs.300 a day for this. HEC provides a personal porter included in the charges.

Q : What’s the difference between 9 day trek and 11 day trek.?
A : Difference is Lingshed village and sight seeings covered in the 11 day trek.

Q : Cost of 9 day trek?
A : 28000.

Q : What do porters carry.?
A : 1 : 1 porters will be given. He suggests us to give the luggage to porter and just carry camera bag for the walking.

Q : Things we need to exclusively carry for this trek apart from what is provided by them.
A : They provide us things like sleeping bed, mats, etc. They used to provide trek pole which they don’t provide now as people just loose it or break during the trek.
Things to bring : Warm clothes from home + trekking shoes if we have, else bring normal shoes.
1. Suggests us not to buy trekking shoes. Instead we can buy gum boots from Leh/Ladakh. Helps a lot for this trek as gum boots are easier to walk on the ice. We can carry additional shoes to wear when we sleep. Gum Boots costs around 350 to 400 in Leh.
2. We need to buy warm socks, trekking pole, which can be bought from Leh. Better to buy in Leh as we get very thick socks to wear which will help in extreme conditions. Not expensive too. costs around 100 a pair and pole will cost around 500.

Q: Food during Trek? Will lunch be packed in morning and carried.?
A: Cook will accompany with helpers. They trek faster than us to camp site and prepare the food. They provide us with Soups, biscuits, vegetarian food and some continental food. Food will be prepared and consumed. No packed lunch/dinner. 🙂

Q: Why is it mentioned Camp/Cave or Home/Camp Stay? Is it optional?
A: It is optional provided we reach a camp site and have place in the caves. There will be multiple groups trekking and if we reach early and cave is empty, we can sleep in the caves.

Q: Is Frozen waterfall a part of this 11-day itinerary route?
A : Yes…. 🙂

Q: What’s the booking procedure?
A: Book your flight tickets and email to him. This will be the booking confirmation. After this send 5% of the charges as advance payment and 95% to be paid a month before the trek start date. He suggests us to take Go Air or Indigo flights as they are good in Leh services and also less chances of cancellation.

Q: Trek Cancellation procedure.?
A: He can refund the 5% amount if confirmed earlier or say till December.

Q: We are planning to reach Leh a day earlier than your itinerary. What are the options.?
A: Not much can be done in Leh in the month of Jan. Day 1 is advised for acclimatization and sightseeing is advised on day 2. As we reach 1 day early, we can visit the frozen Pangong lake which is very beautiful. It’s a one day program where we will start early in the morning and come back the same evening. He can help us get the permits if we confirm on this early.

I quickly relayed the above info to the group and we all felt it would be better if we trek in a smaller group. We also read about the solar school in Lingshed village and everyone wanted to do this instead of the standard 9 day itinerary.

We finalized with Rohit Khattar(https://himalayantramp.wordpress.com/) Email : khattarrohit@yahoo.com / Mobile : +91-7602865245

Preparation and Shopping 🙂
For prep, I signed up for some 5k and 10k runs in Chennai from July.

Rohit emailed us a standard checklist of things. I will list out things that you need to take from the list if you take the trek from Rohit. Me and Sowmya are the only one’s from Chennai. We drove to Bangalore and joined our cousins for our trek shopping at Decathlon.(Now we have Decath in Chennai too!!)

We got the below things from decath!

1. Thermal Inner’s – 2 cotton pairs and 1 dry fit pair. – Actually 1 cotton + 1 dry fit is good enough for the entire trek. You hardly get a chance to change in those freezing temperatures.
2. Fleece t-shirt & pant. – 1 pair. (Fleece pant is not mandatory, but good to have for night).
3. Full sleeve t-shirts(3 or 4 Nos.), Cotton/Cargo trousers(2 Nos.) & Dry fit track pants.
4. Mountain goggles that covers the sides also.
5. Trek pole.
6. Torch (We bought winding ones which does not need battery. But, LED torch is better.)
7. Quick dry sports towels(Very useful and can be used for any wet travel later.)

We always used 4 layers in the entire trek(Thermal inners, tshirt & cargo trousers, fleece tshirt & track pants + down jacket.)

Other things that are required and bought out are as below.

1. Hot water bag (One is mandatory. Two is recommended – Will be very useful)
2. Personal medicines + general medicines(Crepe, Cotton, Moov Spray, Digine, Dolo 650, Norflox, Eldoper and medicine for AMS.)
3. Dry fruits mix(Badam + Cashews + Pista. We added Raisins + frozen fruits + Gems also)
4. Hot water flask.
5. Trek bag – 65L
6. Sun screen(SPF 40+) and cold cream
7. Personal backpack to carry camera, water, snacks during trek.
8. Some zip lock bags.
9. Take good pair of shoes, scarf, gloves(Thicker/Woolen), socks(Thicker/Woolen) whatever you have from home to manage till you get these in Leh.

Apart from the above, one important thing i needed was to buy contact lens. I did not have contact lens and not used to it too. Tried some sample lens once for the scuba dive few months ago. So, I decided to go for daily disposable lens as they are very soft and also can be used for a longer period.

Things that i bought in local markets in Leh : Listed below are mandatory ones and I strongly recommend you to buy these in Leh except down jackets.

1. Gumboots – Rs.350 – Get 1 size higher than your normal shoe size. Highly recommended for this trek. All of us bought this and got comfortable within few hours on day-1
2. Down jacket – Mountain Hardwear look alike – Roughly around Rs.2500
3. Military socks – Carry 2 or 3 pairs normal socks(Thick Ones) from your house and buy 3 pairs of military socks from Leh. Helps you if your socks gets wet and can change once in 2 days. Costs around Rs.80 to Rs.100 per pair.
4. Gloves – You see a range of options from cheap ones to good ones. Just be careful to select good ones. We got a branded one for around Rs.450 which had inner cotton glove + outer gloves.
5. Balaclava – The ones you get here covers your full face and fits well. Around Rs.70
6. Woolen scarf.

Rental:
If you are living in Delhi the below things can be hired from IMF – Indian Mountaineering Foundation. (AIMS is the nearest metro and you have to take an auto from there to IMF.)

1. Down jackets
2. Trek shoes – Not the gumboots 😛
3. Wind jackets and Pants.
4. They almost have everything reqd. for trekking for rent at nominal cost.

If you are not from Delhi and plan to rent from IMF, please note the below points.
IMF is closed on weekends. Plan your onward travel such that you reach Delhi on a day they are open and you have time to travel, pickup your stuff and catch the connecting flight to Leh. Same for your return from Leh. Or plan 1 extra day to stay back and return. To hire, you need to give IMF a deposit cheque. So, carry your cheque with you. You can pay in cash when you return and get the cheque back.

Things you can ignore carrying that’s mentioned in standard list.
plates, tissue papers, cups, medicine gloves. – We never used them.

India Hikes cancels chadar trek
As we prepare ourselves and have shopped for the trek, one morning we read a post in India hikes FB page that they are cancelling all their bookings for chadar trek trips due to issues with the local trek operators. The locals org.(ALTOA) protested that trek org. like Indiahikes are taking away their business and put forward some unlawful demands for IH to follow. India Hikes was forced to cancel Chadar trek(http://indiahikes.in/indiahikes-calls-chadar-trek/). Few other trek org too had called off.

We called Rohit and he acknowledged the situation and told us not to panic. He added that the scene is not welcoming in Leh but assured our trek will go on as planned. We had great sigh of relief for not choosing IH to do this trek. He mentioned that we would be required to pay an additional of 2000 if the local operators created some issue when we are in Leh.

We reach Delhi on Jan 9th and did some local sightseeing + Amritsar + Wagah border.

All set for the travel – Me, Sowmya, Vinay and Kanthi planned to reach a day earlier to Leh.

Day 0 – Jan 14 :Delhi Airport:
We had booked an early morning flight from Delhi-Leh. Thanks to early morning rain + fog, our flight got delayed. We met few other people who had signed up for this trek with different org in the airport. After a two hour delay, we reached Leh at around 11 AM. It was 3 degrees when we landed. It was very cold and windy.

Which mobile network work in Leh.?
1. Airtel and BSNL work in Leh.
2. ATMs are available in market. Better to carry enough cash reqd. as you might have to stand in big queues sometimes.

Rohit received us at the airport and quickly transferred us to Hotel Auspicious. Hotel was good. We were informed that there will be power supply only for 4 hours between 6PM to 10PM. Water is supplied in buckets as they get frozen in the pipelines :). If you leave some water on the restroom floor overnight, the next morning there is a high possibility that you will be stepping on a layer of Ice :).

We were given a room in 2nd floor.It was all good till i climbed the second floor stairs to my room. Started feeling the dizziness and altitude sickness. Went back for lunch and we were served with some hot food which was delicious too. We met Sanket who is also a trekker in our group and had come 1 day earlier. Rohit checked on us he asked me to take some rest as he could see me uncomfortable. Rohit kept checking my status and monitored my oxygen levels and heart rate periodically. He advised me to take the AMS medicine. He made arrangements for the dinner to be served at my room. The day was fully used to rest. Rohit did not allow me to use the gas heater for night sleep.

I kinda expected that i would suffer from altitude sickness as I come from sea level altitude in Chennai and the extra one day that i took for acclimatization helped me recover for the trek.

Day 1 – Jan 15 – Hotel Auspicious.

Managed to get a fairly good sleep in the night and woke up in a better state than the the previous day. My other 3 cousins and 4 others in our group also arrived at our hotel.

Karthik + Sowmya.
Vinay + Kanthi.
Dhanya + Arvind – Parents of a one and half year old son.
Jayanthi – Mother of a 4 year old son and a 10 year old daughter. Had transferred her mother responsibility to her daughter and husband to take care of her son.

That’s the 7 of us and the 5 others were
Dheeraj from Germany who had his point of view for anything we spoke about! 🙂
Varsha from Mumbai – Solo women traveler/trekker and mostly found trekking in the western ghats. Carried a Pandora bag which always had some snacks to feed the entire group thorough out our trek.
Sanket – Business guy and loves to pen poems and travel. Recently did his spiti trip too with Rohit.
Bala – IT guy from Chennai mostly found trekking with CTC in the Nagalapuram.
Vittal – Senior most in our group – Professor from Hyderabad, excuses himself quite often from his routine to trek.. Has almost trekked all the popular ones in India. Last heard was he is trekking to EBC.

We all met each other in lunch. Rohit assembled us at around 4 PM and introduced every one. Gave a brief about what we can expect from the trek and defined the rules to be followed. He also mentioned that there are many groups that are starting their trek on 17th Jan and this would make it difficult to find good place for camping. He told us if everyone is fit, we can start the trek next day(Jan 16th – One day early than what was planned). We were unsure of it and left it to Rohit to decide for the betterment of group. He told we would return one day earlier than planned and can do the local sightseeing on our return. He quickly took list of what all things are needed for the group and 4 of us from the group went with him to the market to buy gumboots, balaclava , socks, gloves, etc. We prepared ourselves mentally to start the trek next day. Rohit checked everyone’s state and told all of us are fit for the trek and will take a final call next day before we start.

Day 2 – Start to base point.
We all got ready by 8 AM in the morning for the trek. We dumped the things that are not required for the trek in Rohit’s room.

All set for Chadar 2015!!

All set for Chadar 2015!!

Rohit had one more group of 12 trekkers staying in a different hotel and starting for the trek on the same day. Van to transfer us along with porters, trek lead from hotel to start point was getting delayed for some reason and we started only after 10 AM. Rohit introduced us our trek lead – We called him babaji!! Local guy from one of the villages in zanskar valley – fairly old and an experienced guy. Very polite and soft spoken. Drive to start point is quite a travel and it takes around 2 hours to reach there. We were dropped at a point from where we have to get down to the Chadar.

Pictures clicked when we drove on the hills to reach our start point.

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Quite sunny it was and its about a 100 meter descend from road level into the valley of frozen river. Everybody was thrilled to have their first step. We walked for a very short distance and reached our camp site. Porters got our bags from van to camp site.

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Vinay and Kanthi Playing on the sledge. You see our porters getting our bag to our camp site.

Vinay and Kanthi Playing on the sledge. You can see our porters behind getting our bag to our camp site.

We saw a group that was on their last day of chadar trek returning back and was doing some crazy things like dancing in the chadar and removing their tshirts. The porters quickly setup the tent and the cooks started preparing our food. They gave us chai(You have an option to choose from Miluk tea or Black Tea :P) and biscuits as everyone was busy clicking snaps on chadar. There were 5 tents setup for 12 of us.

Camp Site - Day 1

Camp Site – Day 1

Then there was a dining tent and a kitchen tent. We luckily had a group that gelled very well in quick time, so dining tent was the place where all of us mostly spent our time chit chatting, massaging, getting to know each other well, etc. We used our tents only for sleeping. The other group setup their tent in the opposite side. We had some camp fire set near our tents for warming up and after sometime we were served Rajma + Chawal + Roti + Aloo curry for dinner. It was hot and was very yummy!! Trek lead checked on all of us if we are comfortable and filled our hot water bags with piping hot water.

We got back to our tents where the sleeping bags were nicely set for us to sleep. Got into the sleeping bag and placed the hot water bag below my ankle. Aw! Words cant express the feeling and comfort that it gave. They provided two sleeping bags for those who asked for. It was quite uncomfortable on day-1 to sleep in the sleeping bags.

Day 3 – Trek to Choumo

Some woke up very early even before there was some light, I woke up by around 6.30 AM and was struggling to place my contacts into my eyes. In-experience and also the freaking cold temperature made it difficult. By the time we wake up and refresh, our breakfast is ready for serving. It was Poori + Channa and again food was delicious!!

Chadar just after we woke up!

Chadar just after we woke up!

We packed our bags keep it outside the tent and started trekking with our back bags at around 8 AM with our trek lead. The porters pack the tents, kitchen stuff + our bags and start after us. They walk so fast that they cross us when we trek and go ahead of us, stop at a place and prepare lunch before we reach the lunch spot. Amazing they were.!!

Porters and Helpers busy packing in the morning

Porters and Helpers busy packing in the morning

People were slipping and sliding as we walked our initial steps into chadar. Chadar has various layers of ice. Rock solid ice, Water frozen in irregular shapes, Ice which crumbles as you step in, etc. Every step is a thrilling experience. At some places you can see rock inside the ice. You see Ice in so many hundreds of forms, colors and state. Words are just not enough to explain what you experience and see.

Ice2

Ice3

Stones

Slippery ICe

Slipper ICe2

As you trek in between the mountains, you also get to see some frozen water between the mountains. This day of trek, you cross a place where you see a waterfall with flowing water and they told us that this particular water fall has never frozen.

The never frozen water stream

The never frozen water stream

You can see the water stream that has never frozen and right next to it a stream that has frozen!

You can see the water stream that has never frozen and right next to it a stream that has frozen!

We stopped in between for a snack break and tried to click some pictures. This is one of the most difficult thing to do in this trek.

1. Removing the gloves.
2. Take the camera out, fix the lenses and by the time you focus and be ready for a click, your hands starts freezing. Not easy to click with the gloves on. Mobile touch screens do not work with gloves on. So, even for a mobile click, you need to remove the gloves.

After few click, We trekked further, reached our lunch spot, finished our lunch and then continued our trek. We reached Choumo at around 3.30 and checked with our trek lead if we can trek further more and camp. No was the reply and we were settling in the camp. The camp location was beautiful!

Camp site at Chumo

Camp site at Chumo

Kanthi got into the kitchen to give instructions to cook to prepare onion pakoda’s for us. We got our hot soups served along with some pakoda’s. Yummmm it was! The other group also reached and camped next to us.

Ice Breaking day to Heart Breaking day!
The local guy who Rohit has sub-contracted our trek came running to our camp. He gave us the shocking news that there is a block in river some 300 kms away and Government has suspended trek. We have to return back.!!! Shocking and unbelievable it was. This guy came running to give this info and he has to run back again in an hour to the starting point and get back to Leh. It was already 5 PM now.

Both groups got together and asked many questions to the guy and we got a standard response that Govt. has cancelled and we have to come back! Few people were angry that why Rohit has not come.? Lot of people believed that this is a conspiracy and trek is called off because of the local mafia!. Few people doubted if Rohit will be there in Leh when we get back or would have absconded with our money, etc.

Lots of things came up in the discussion including things like – is it safe for us to stay back.? Shouldn’t the govt do a chopper lift? Is it safe to trek back tomorrow? What if the river melts as we trek back tomorrow.? All sorts of questions from different direction which no body could even try answering it. Some of us were thrilled about this situation and was thinking of a situation where the block gets cleared and river comes flowing at a high speed and take away all the chadar when we wake up for the next day.

All we knew was, we need to get back to starting point next day and take the van back to Hotel. Both groups decided to trek back together.

Day-4 Chumo to Starting Point – Drama Day
We woke up early and wanted to start back quickly. We knew we are up for a day of drama or nothing 🙂 We started our trek back and it was just like another day in Chadar. People felt it was important to walk back as soon as possible.

Sighting the lunch spot was a unique feeling!! :)

Sighting the lunch spot was a unique feeling!! 🙂

Just after our lunch we saw a group of trekkers from the opposite direction. We stopped them and spoke to their trek leader and he told they got into the Chadar the previous day and they don’t believe the block can break and continued the trek. This created a lot of chaos among the 2 groups.

Chaos

The other group had some foreign nationals and few of us from our group felt that we also can go ahead with the trek. We consulted within both groups and found that around 12 people want to go back and 12 people want to go ahead with the trek. We spoke to both trek leaders and convinced one of them to take us ahead and one to take the group which want to return. They were not willing to take up the risk. Finally one of the trek leader accepted, but the porters denied the request and wanted to get back! We got stopped by an hour here and we could see no improvement in both sides. Everybody then decided to get back.

9 / 12

9 / 12

Varsha

Varsha

We see a plain surface of Ice which looked like a football ground. We all stop there to have some fun. Babaji took his axe and breaks some ice for us to play football.

Ice Football

Football

We trekked back and on the way we stopped at a place where there was a frozen waterfall in the shape of slide and was good enough for us to slide on the ice.

Kanthi - All set to slide!

Kanthi – All set to slide!

All Ladies from our group

All Ladies from our group

We reached the starting point by around 5 PM and could not see the van. We waited for sometime when the trek leaders tried reaching the people in leh to check if they have sent the van. We actually saw a Van which has come for the trekker group which we met today on the opposite direction. Their group went ahead with the trek and they have a van waiting for them to pick up. We have come back but no vans to pick up.

Dhanya checking her clicks

Dhanya checking her clicks

Again an opportunity many people used to bad mouth about Rohit for his attitude shown towards us. People told they were sure he has gone back, etc. I felt they didn’t send the van because they wouldn’t have managed to find rooms as all the trekkers who had come the day we started are stuck in Leh. The trek leaders told that the van would have come waited for us till 4.30 and would have gone back as its difficult for them to drive back after it gets dark. Didnt know whom to believe.

Jayanthi

Jayanthi

Sowm

Sowm

The porters started setting up the tent in the same place we camped on day 1 of our trek. We started munching the snacks from varsha’s pandora bag. 🙂 We managed for some massage sessions in the evenings too. 😛

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View during sunset

View during sunset

We were all chilling out!.

Vinay and Kanthi - pole fight!!

Vinay and Kanthi – pole fight!!

timepass!!

timepass!!

It was very cold as it got dark and was the coldest in the last 4 days. Evening went on discussing what we can do after returning back to leh with the rest of 5 days. People were planning for Skok Kangri. Some wanted to go back home. Some wanted to just stay in leh and relax. None of us knew what Rohit had planned.

It was the last day and we decided to drain the camera batteries. Vittal sir, myself, Sowmya, Jayanthi and Bala decided to stay awake till late and click the moon, stars along with the mountain. It was around 11.30 in the night, freezing cold it was and we had no clue how to take it. :P.

Massive failure in attempt of a world class click

Massive failure in attempt of a world class click

Dheeraj helped us with the setting and got back to his tent as it was too cold. We managed to get some good clicks after struggling for around 45 minutes.

Managed to get a slightly better click.

Managed to get a slightly better click.

One more with chadar, mountains and stars!

One more with chadar, mountains and stars!

Came across this link recently after my trek on Night photography and found it interesting and informative. Go through this before your trek.

http://www.pureexplore.com/blog/photography/night-photography-tips-in-the-mountains/

Day 5 – Return. Happened to be the best Chadar Trek day
We woke up and got ready to find that the van has still not reached. The other group already started ascending to the road.

We quickly regrouped and convinced babaji that we want to trek ahead towards Leh and asked the van to pick us up in the before stop itself. We left our bags and told our porters to board it and come to the next stop towards Leh.

Babaji warned us that chadar is not formed well and not suitable for trek. He told us that if there are no chadar formed we have to be ready to climb the hills and then get to the other side.

Our trek lead Babaji leading us!!

Our trek lead Babaji leading us!!

We agreed for it and at the end we were all glad we did it. We were totally challenged and we felt we were on a real tough trek.

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Footprints which got us excited if we can spot the wild cat!!

Footprints which got us excited if we can spot the wild cat!!

We had to cross this stretch and there is no way we can walk on the chadar. We had to walk on the hill to cross it

We had to cross this stretch and there is no way we can walk on the chadar. We had to walk on the mountains to cross it

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Narrow stretches where you can fall in the water if you slip.

Narrow stretches where you can fall in the water if you slip.

Carefull!!

Carefull!!

We were totally challenged and we loved it!! We were in for more surprises as we had to cross another obstacle to crawl and cross a stretch. The other group followed us from the road and clicked these for us. Thank You Arpan for clicking and then sharing it later.

Ant's view click of us trekking back.

Ant’s view click of us trekking back.

Crawl to cross!! Totally worth it!!

Crawl to cross!! Totally worth it!!

We totally enjoyed this 3 hours of trek on last day and reached the spot to climb up to the road. We clicked our last memories of chadar and bid adieu.!!

Last click in Chadar!

Last click in Chadar!

On a whole! It was 5 days fantastic Chadar Trek experience and we were very disappointed that it had an abrupt end. The porters, guides and trek leader was very polite and was extremely helpful.

The other group had a father, mother and daughter doing this trek!! Yes – Father and mother who is around 45 years did this trek along with their 20 year old daughter. I am writing this for those who are thinking of not taking this trek in fear of age.

What happened Next? Was Rohit there in Leh.? Did we spot the wild cat?

We got into the van and started back to Leh with no idea of what is in store for the next 5 days. The van driver spoke about a ban notice issued by the local authorities to ban chadar trek due to a block created some hundred kms away. We stopped at the Army Gurudhwara for lunch and they served us with Roti and dhal!!

We reached Leh and were dropped in a guest house called Indus. The other group was dropped in Hotel Tsokar. Before even we could check in to our rooms, people started looking for Rohit. Where is Rohit.? Rohit was there within minutes and explained the situation. He handed over a notice issued by the Leh-Ladakh Government and Trekking Org. association. The notice briefed the issue and the order to ban any movement in chadar and also had few photos clicked in the aeriel survey from chopper.

Block which banned chadar trek 2015

Block which banned chadar trek 2015

He also explained the situation where all the hotels are full as many trekkers are stuck and had arranged this guest house.

Why Ban? Why were we recalled.? Do we have a chance to go back?
“The accumulated water has frozen and has formed a temporary artificial lake about 5km long upstream. We fear it might burst suddenly, causing havoc to villagers in the low-lying areas”. Simrandeep Singh, district magistrate of Leh and Chief Executive Officer of LAHDC told “Owing to the threat caused by the blockage, we have put a blanket ban on all movement on the Chadar, even if it doesn’t come under the same route, as a precautionary measure. We have stationed police personnel at Chilling and Nerak (the start and mid-point of the Chadar trek route in Leh) and have taken back all the trekkers found on the stretch at the time of the ban back to Leh. We are still assessing the situation, and I believe it will take seven to ten days before a decision is reached”.

Above excerpts is taken from the link “http://www.outdoorjournal.in/news-2/ban-on-ladakhs-chadar-ice-trek-after-landslide-blocks-river/”

More information available in : “https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/landslide-dam-blocks-zanskar-river-tributary-threatens-valley/”

No one to be blamed. Mother nature proved that she is the boss and second to none!! It was just our bad luck that we chose to do chadar in 2015 and there was a block which ended our trek abruptly. But, we had some luck favouring our way in the form of Rohit which is why we started a day earlier than our schedule and could trek in chadar for at least 4 days. We were told that the ban was not lifted for 2015 and we were the last group of trekkers in 2015 on chadar.

What we did in the next 5 days is continued in https://chadartrekblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/sham-valley-in-winter-2015/
If for any reason in future if chadar trek gets cancelled after you reach leh, what we did in the last 5 days is what you might mostly be doing.

After Effects of Trek when i returned home
1. Dry skin in various places. Skin peeled off around my lips.
2. Numbness in fingers, thumbs and some parts of your body. My both thumb fingers was numb for almost 20 days after my return. Just put your fingers in hot water before and after your sleep. It helps.

Note : Though our chadar trek got cancelled in the middle and Rohit had to make other arrangements for another trek, which included homestays, etc. he did not charges us anything extra.

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