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WHAT ARE THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE CHADAR TREK?

 

 

Chadar trek is one of the difficult treks to do in the Himalayas and the difficulties come in a variety of ways. Here is a typical list of the difficulties you will face during the course of the Chadar trek.

  1. Negotiating and tackling the High Altitude:

    Leh is placed at an altitude of 3500 Meters and in the winters you have no other mode of travel, but only by flight. This drastically changes your altitude from almost sea-level to 3500 meters, i.e a gain of 3500 meters in just one and a half hours. In the Alps, you have peaks of this altitude which people climb over for days. Kedarkantha peak in Uttrakhand is 3800 meters in altitude and a Beginner climb it in 2 - 3 days. But here, you reach a height of 3500 meters without doing any work for it. Moreover, climate change is drastic. All these put you in a tremendous situation of Acute Mountain Sickness, which can be very fatal. Learn more about it on High Altitude Seriousness | Better Know It BetterYou need proper rest to get used to the Altitude, and that needs a few extra days.
  2. Extreme Cold ranging between minus 17 degrees to as low as minus 32 degree Celsius:

    The temperature of the Chadar trek is extreme. In Leh, the temperature ranges between -10 degrees during the daytime to -25 degrees during the night. During the trek, its much more colder as you camp beside the freezing Zanskar river. The temperature goes to as low -32 degrees Celsius. Adjusting to these temperatures can be very challenging. You need proper trekking jackets and need to wear them strategically to beat the cold. Learn more about it by following the link - How To Use Layering, Pack Light And Still Beat The Cold
     
  3. Inconsistent Weather which can surprise you anytime and change the entire look and feel of the trek:

    The weather in Ladakh during the months of January and February is very inconsistent. It is very unpredictable. Sometimes it snows late and results in ill-formation of the Chadar over the Zanskar river. Sometimes, it snows right in the middle of the trek season, which already is a very short span of a month and a half. Too much snow is not good for the Chadar as it weakens the Chadar and also the route gets much trickier. Snow also play foul to the mountains of the Ladakh Himalayas and landslides and rockfall are a very dangerous, yet a very common problem on this trek. Often trekkers and locals get stranded on this trek due to bad weather. Often lack of care had caused fatal cases on this trek. Getting stranded is the only thing you will not want on this trek to happen to you.
  4. Extremely fragile and delicate terrain to trek on:

    Chadar, as you know is the local name of the ice sheet that forms over the surface of the Zanskar river. The surrounding mountains are a combination of rocks and mud. Snowfall causes the mud to slide and rocks to fall, which might cause a havoc on the trek. Often you will hear locals or the trekkers share stories of how God saved them minutely. It is also very common to see people with broken bones on this trek. The Chadar formation too is not consistent throughout and needs a very cautious and alert Guide who understands the Chadar intrinsically and inherently.
  5. ILL-formed Chadar:

    Some sections of the Chadar formation are not just easy due to ill-formed Chadar and requires you to be on all your fours to pass the section and re-join the Chadar trail. This we call scrambling in rock-climbing terminology which means a non-technical rock climbing or bouldering. You do need good fitness and flexibility to tackle such sections and a cool nerve to see it off.
  6. Very tricky trek route:

    The route of the Chadar trek is like a maze where you will have to continually find a connecting way over the ice sheets to reach Nearak or further, and come back again. The Chadar formation is fragile and might change overnight. It might either connect or disconnect the route. The route you choose to follow becomes very important, as if you choose the wrong route which looks strong, it might be disconnected a little further due to a broken Chadar or after going the long way, you might find no further connection, and hence you will require to come back and try a different route all over again, or cross difficult sections to reconnect to the main route. Here is one reason why hiring the best guide and the best trek operator becomes very important. 
  7. Completion Not Guaranteed:

    Chadar is not a trek which assures you that you can complete your trek itinerary as planned, even though yu have planned the best, have the best support staff and gears. More than 40% uncertainty lies that you will not be able to reach the last point despite having a good support team and preparation. Why ?? That's how fragile this trek is due to weather and its geology.
 
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    • Duration: 9 Days, Rishikesh to Rishikesh
    • Highest Altitude: 5250m
    • Grade: Strenuous ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: May End - June, Sep - Early October
    • Terrain: forest, bushes, alpine meadows, rocky, snow field
    • Starts At: Ransi
    • Ends At: Urgum
    • Region: India - Uttrakhand
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
    • Nearest Rail Head: Rishikesh, Uttrakhand
    • Travel Guide: Where and How To Reach Ransi
    • Mobile Network: BSNL and Vodafone available at the base and Urgum
    • Internet Option: No
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    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Garhwali
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    • Highest Altitude: 6200m
    • Grade: Challenging + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: June, July, August, September, October
    • Terrain: Meadows, rocky, snow field
    • Starts At: Leh
    • Ends At: Leh
    • Region: India - Ladakh
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Leh, Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport ( IXL)
    • Nearest Rail Head: Katra, (KEA), Jammu Tawi ( JAT)
    • Travel Guide: Where and How To Reach Leh
    • Mobile Network: BSNL postpaid and Airtel in Leh and vicinity and also from the summit
    • Internet Option: 3g in Leh on BSNL and 2G in vicinity on Airtel
    • Temperatures: -7 to 6 on higher camps
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    • Highest Altitude: 5130m
    • Grade: Moderate + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct
    • Terrain: Meadows, river crossing, river bed walking, rocky
    • Starts At: Leh
    • Ends At: Leh
    • Region: India - Ladakh
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Leh, Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport ( IXL)
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    • Travel Guide: Where and How To Reach Leh
    • Mobile Network: BSNL postpaid in Leh and vicinity and from higher reaches, like Kongmaru La
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    • Grade: Easy ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Sep, Oct, Nov
    • Terrain: Meadows, forest , snow in winter
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    • Ends At: Sankri
    • Region: India - Uttrakhand
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
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    • Mobile Network: Vodafone till Mori. BSNL/Vodafone in Sankri and Summit
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    • Grade: Challenging ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov
    • Terrain: Rhododendron forest, forest, rocky, meadows, icy
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    • Region: Nepal - Everest
    • Country: Nepal
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    • Mobile Network: In some parts of the trek. Landline and satellite phone also available
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    • Highest Altitude: 4850m
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    • Best Time: May, Jun, Sep, Oct
    • Terrain: Meadows, forest , snow field, rocky
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    • Region: India - Uttrakhand
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    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Garhwali
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    • Grade: Moderate + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: May June, July, Sep Oct
    • Terrain: Meadows, forest , snow field
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    • Highest Altitude: 5554m
    • Grade: Strenuous ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov
    • Terrain: Rhododendron forest, forest, rocky, meadows, icy
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    • Highest Altitude: 5200m
    • Grade: Moderate ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct
    • Terrain: Meadows, rocky, snow field
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    • Region: India - Ladakh
    • Country: India
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    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Tibetan, Ladakhi
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    • Highest Altitude: 3500m
    • Grade: Challenging ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jan, Feb
    • Terrain: Icy, rocky, snow
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    • Region: India - Ladakh
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Leh, Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport ( IXL)
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    • Internet Option: 3G in Leh on BSNL. 4G on airtel
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    • Generic Food Menu: Ladakhi, Tibetan, Indian
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    • Highest Altitude: 3600m
    • Grade: Moderate ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
    • Terrain: Meadows, forest , snow
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    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Garhwali, Himachali
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    • Highest Altitude: 6223m
    • Grade: Challenging ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jul - Oct
    • Terrain: Meadows, rocky, snow field
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    • Region: India - Ladakh
    • Country: India
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    • Mobile Network: BSNL Airtel postpaid in Leh and vicinity and from the summit
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    • Temperatures: -5 to 6 on higher camps
    • Is Cloak Room Available: Yes
    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Tibetan, Ladakhi
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    • Highest Altitude: 3636m
    • Grade: Easy ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jan - May, Sep - Dec
    • Terrain: Rhododendron forest, alpine meadows
    • Starts At: Maneybhanjyang
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    • Region: India - Darjeeling Sikkim
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Bagdogra, West Bengal
    • Nearest Rail Head: New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal
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    • Temperatures: -5 to 7 during winters. -1 to 10 during summers. Upper reaches are colder. Lower reaches are warm
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    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan
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    • Highest Altitude: 5000m
    • Grade: Moderate + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Mar - May, Sep - Dec
    • Terrain: Rhododendron forest, alpine meadows, rocky
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    • Region: India - Darjeeling Sikkim
    • Country: India
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    • Nearest Rail Head: New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal
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    • Mobile Network: Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL till Yuksom
    • Internet Option: 3g in Yuksom
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    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Tibetan, Nepalese
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    • Highest Altitude: 3700m
    • Grade: Easy ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jan - May, Sep - Dec
    • Terrain: Rhododendron forest, alpine meadows, rocky
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    • Region: India - Darjeeling Sikkim
    • Country: India
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    • Mobile Network: Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL, sparsely
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    • Temperatures: -5 to 7 during winters. -1 to 10 during summers. Upper reaches are colder. Lower reaches are warm
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    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan
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    • Highest Altitude: 4550m
    • Grade: Moderate + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: May June Sep Oct
    • Terrain: Meadows, Snow, Forest
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    • Country: India
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    • Temperatures: -2 tp 14 degrees
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    • Generic Food Menu: Garhwali, Himachali, Nepali, Indian
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    • Highest Altitude: 3636m
    • Grade: Easy ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jan - May, Oct - Dec
    • Terrain: Rhododendron forest, alpine meadows, rocky
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    • Internet Option: 3g in Siliguri, 2g in Maneybhanjyang, Bhareng, Gorkhey and onwards.
    • Temperatures: -5 to 7 during winters. -1 to 10 during summers. Upper reaches are colder. Lower reaches are warm
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    • Highest Altitude: 6401m
    • Grade: Challenging + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jul, Aug, Sep
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    • Country: India
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    • Highest Altitude: 4140m
    • Grade: Moderate + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
    • Terrain: Forest, Meadows, Rocky, Scree, Glacial Moraine
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    • Country: Nepal
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    • Nearest Rail Head: Jainagar or Gorakhpur or New Jalpaiguri, India
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    • Mobile Network: NCell, NTC
    • Internet Option: Available
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    • Highest Altitude: 6401m
    • Grade: Challenging + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: June, July, Aug, Sep, Oct
    • Terrain: Meadows, rocky, scree, hard ice, soft snow, broken ridge
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    • Ends At: Leh
    • Region: India - Ladakh
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    • Travel Guide: Where and How To Reach Leh
    • Mobile Network: BSNL and Airtel postpaid in Leh and vicinity and from the summit
    • Internet Option: 4g in Leh on BSNL and Airtel. 4G in Airtel on high points
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    • Highest Altitude: 6387m
    • Grade: Challenging + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: May - Jun, Sep - Oct
    • Terrain: Rocky, Glacial Moraine, Glacier Crossing, Crevasses, Snow Field, Hard Ice
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    • Ends At: Sankri
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    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
    • Nearest Rail Head: Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
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    • Mobile Network: Vodafone till Mori. BSNL till Sankri and Taluka
    • Internet Option: 3G on BSNL till Mori and 2G on Vodafone. Occasional 2G in Sankri
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    • Is Cloak Room Available: Yes
    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Garhwali, Nepali, Tibetan and South Indian
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    • Highest Altitude: 4126m
    • Grade: Moderate + ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: April. May, June, Sep, Oct, Nov
    • Terrain: Alpine Meadows, Rhododendron forests
    • Starts At: Sankri
    • Ends At: Sankri
    • Region: India - Uttrakhand
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
    • Nearest Rail Head: Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
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    • Mobile Network: Vodafone till Mori. BSNL till Sankri and higher points
    • Internet Option: 3G on BSNL till Mori and 2G on Vodafone. Occasional 2G in Sankri
    • Temperatures: -10 to 10 during winters, 2 to 15 in summers
    • Is Cloak Room Available: Yes
    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Garhwali, Nepali, Tibetan and South Indian
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    • Highest Altitude: 3800m
    • Grade: Moderate ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr
    • Terrain: Meadows, forest , snow in winter
    • Starts At: Sankri
    • Ends At: Sankri
    • Region: India - Uttrakhand
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
    • Nearest Rail Head: Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
    • Travel Guide: Where and How To Reach Sankri
    • Mobile Network: Vodafone till Mori. BSNL till Sankri and Summit
    • Internet Option: 3G on BSNL till Mori and 2G on Vodafone. Occasional 2G in Sankri
    • Temperatures: -10 to 10 during winters, 2 to 15 in summers
    • Is Cloak Room Available: Yes
    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Garhwali, Nepali, Tibetan and South Indian
    Treks On Offer
    Sandakphu Phalut Land Rover Safari ( Guided )
    Sandakphu Phalut Land Rover Safari ( Guided )
    On Offer: INR 38,800 | USD 497 Only *
    • Duration: 4 Days, 3 Nights
    • Highest Altitude: 3636m
    • Grade: Easy ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jan - May, Sep - Dec
    • Terrain: Rhododendron forest, alpine meadows
    • Starts At: Maneybhanjyang
    • Ends At: Maneybhanjyang
    • Region: India - Darjeeling Sikkim
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Bagdogra, West Bengal
    • Nearest Rail Head: New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal
    • Travel Guide: Where and How To Reach Maneybhanjyang
    • Mobile Network: Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL in Siliguri, Maneybhanjyang and Srikhola. On the trek trail, Vodafone and BSNL works on some locations like Chitre, Tonglu, Kayakatta, Molley.
    • Internet Option: 4g in Siliguri, Maneybhanjyang and Srikhola. Limited 2G on the trail. Almost None.
    • Temperatures: -5 to 7 during winters. -1 to 10 during summers. Upper reaches are colder. Lower reaches are warm
    • Is Cloak Room Available: Yes
    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan
    Treks On Offer
    Har Ki Dun And Ruinsara Tal Trek
    Har Ki Dun And Ruinsara Tal Trek
    On Offer: INR 13,000 | USD 167 Only *
    • Duration: 9 Days, 8 nights, Sankri to Sankri
    • Highest Altitude: 4200m
    • Grade: Moderate ( know trek grades )
    • Best Time: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
    • Terrain: Meadows, forest , snow
    • Starts At: Sankri
    • Ends At: Sankri
    • Region: India - Uttrakhand
    • Country: India
    • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
    • Nearest Rail Head: Dehraoon, Uttrakhand
    • Travel Guide: Where and How To Reach Sankri
    • Mobile Network: BSNL & Vodafone
    • Internet Option: 4G till Purola. 3g Till Mori. No Internet Sankri Onwards
    • Temperatures: -3 to 15 deg C
    • Is Cloak Room Available: Yes
    • Generic Food Menu: Indian, Garhwali, Himachali
    Treks On Offer
View User Profile for Suman A Loyal Himalayan Lover, Trekker, Mountaineer, Photographer and Researcher. A Computer Science Engineer by education and Ex. Software Developer for the IT companies. He has learnt from mistakes and not from books - His Own, his friends, whom he met and lots of other trekker friends whom he lead for treks deep and high in the Himalayas. Having born and grown up in the lap of the Himalayas, playing with different elements of the Himalayas, its undoubtedly his best friend. Having said that, he is very biased, protective and caring of the Himalayas. Few of his friends say he is strict, in following rules and safety practices on a Himalayan trek. That's very true. It has come from the practical teachings by the Mighty Himalayas and he takes no chances, specially when he is leading a group.

He is the founder of Himalayan High and with it, his intentions are much bigger, wider and future thought, as a step to preach responsible trekking and make trekking sustainable, pass on this beautiful sport to the next generations. Learn more about Himalayan High on About Himalayan High

Posted by Suman Chowdhury Saturday, September 21, 2019 5:26:00 PM
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