Once upon a time Chadar Trek was considered to be a very difficult trek meant only for experienced trekkers. There were few organizers and very little information was known about the Chadar conditions.
I was pleasantly surprised when in my recent Chadar Trek in January 2018, i met many first time trekkers. They had never trekked before but were doing the Chadar trek. Based on my interactions with them i can say that the Chadar Trek can be your first trek. But you need to take certain precautions before you attempt it.
First and most important is to find thewho have been conducting Chadar treks since many years. They ensure that there is no compromise on gears like tents and sleeping bags which help you survive in sub zero leh ladakh temperature at night.
Second is preparation about your fitness. Start working on your physical fitness at least 1 month before the trek. Though the trail is a fairly laid out path and doesn’t not have any steep ascends or descends remember that it starts from Leh Ladakh which is at an altitude of 3500 meters which is quite high. At this altitude the air gets thinner and oxygen is less abundant and you will find difficult to breathe. Your body needs to acclimatize well before you start your trek.
I would recommend a fitness routine of at least 4 weeks before the trek. It should include cardiovascular and strength training. Cardiovascular training will help you to acclimatize quickly at Leh and you will clear the medical test too. (As per the new regulations for chadar trek medical checkup is mandatory before the trek)
There is a lot of trekking distance that you will cover walking on the frozen river with your backpack. It could be taxing for your legs. For this, strengthening your legs will help a lot.
In my opinion, with proper acclimatization and prior fitness regimen for 4 weeks you will be good to go.
Here is a list of things to take for the Chadar Trek 2019
- – Backpack (50-60 Ltrs) with Rain Cover
- – Trekking Shoes. (Preferably Quechua Forclaz Hiking Boots)
- – Gumboots (Can be purchased in Leh)
- – 4 Pairs of Full sleeve shirts/T-Shirt
- – 2 Pairs of Track Pants
- – 1 Pair of Waterproof Pant
- – 4 Pair of cotton socks. 3 pairs of woolen socks.
- – 1 Full Sleeve Fleece
- – One Down Jacket
- – 1 Wind Jacket
- – 2 Pairs of Thermal Inner
- – 2 pair waterproof hand gloves
- – 2 Pair woolen Gloves
- – 1 Neck Warmer
- – Sun Cap
- – One Scarf
- – Light towel
- – Lip Balm
- – Cold Cream & Sun Screen (SPF 40+)
- – Water Bottle 1 Lt – Thermos
- – Headlamp or torch with a fresh pair of batteries
- – Personal Toilet Kit and toilet paper
- – Personal Medicine Kit
- – Dark Sunglasses (U/V protected)
- – Walking Stick (At least one)
- – People who were spectacles- Should avoid contact lenses and use photochromatic glasses instead.
New rules have been introduced by the Ladakh administration for chadar trek 2019. The new rules for this year are:
- 3 days acclimatization in Leh before the trek
- Medical checkup on the 3rd day
- Having an insurance for the trek and rescue.
- Obtaining NOC from Altoa
The total fees for Medical, Insurance and Altoa NOC is Rs 5,000/-.
Do NOT discard your boarding pass as it will have to be submitted on 3rd day as proof of arrival date when you go for your medical at Leh.