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.
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 Better. You need proper rest to get used to the Altitude, and that needs a few extra days.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Saturday, September 21, 2019 5:26:00 PM