“Chadar is a hindi word with the meaning Blanket. As the river Zanskar freezes it forms a sheet of ice which became know as Chadar by the locals. as it is a flat sheet of ice on which they could walk” For more details about how chadar came to existence click here What should you know
“Chadar is a hindi word with the meaning Blanket. As the river Zanskar freezes it forms a sheet of ice which became know as Chadar by the locals. as it is a flat sheet of ice on which they could walk” For more details about how chadar came to existence click here
What should you know about Chadar Trek
Route Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Temperatures Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Fitness Â Â Â Â Â Â Â What to Wear Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â What to expect
Chadar Trek Route
Actual Chadar Trek route started from Sangam In Ladakh region to Padum in Zanskar region, Over the years roads have been built, the distance of Chadar has now been reduced to a 70Â Kms between Tilat Sumdo to Zangla in zanskar.
Tilat SumdoÂ â†’ Shingra YokmaÂ â†’ Tipkyeak BawoÂ â†’ NerakÂ â†’ LingshedÂ â†’ Tsarak DhoÂ â†’ Padum
This trek is normally done in 14 days (Both ways) if you wish to complete the entire route. Once you reach Zangla you will have to return in the same path back. Today trekkers have variants of the experience they can get from Chadar
- Half Chadar – Tilat Sumdo to Nerak & back – 7 Days on Chadar
- 3/4 Chadar – Tilat Sumdo to Lingshed & Back – 9 Days on Chadar
- Full Chadar – Tilat Sumdo to Zangla & Back – 14 Days on Chadar
|Type||Day Temp||Evening Temp||Night Temp|
|Sunny||-10Âº C||-15Âº C to -20Âº C||-20ÂºC to -25Âº C|
|Cloudy||-17Âº C||-20Âº C to -25Âº C||-25Âº C to -30Âº C|
|Snow Storm||-20Âº C||-25Âº C to -30Âº C||-25Âº C to -35Âº C|
Temperatures while walking on the Chadar probably may not be of a worry for a trekker, it is the wind that one needs really worry about.
What all one needs to be plan for the chadar trek
- Altitude Sickness
- Handling Cold
- Right Accessory for the trek
So what is Altitude sickness &Â how to handle it
All of us living below Delhi live at an altitude of less than 4000ft above MSL (Mean Sea Level)
- People staying at lower altitude are used to warm temperature
- Higher % of oxygen availability in the air due to vegetation & thicker air
- Less exposure to open atmosphere such as windy / sunny conditions
Once you start moving higher in altitude
- Lower or NIL vegetation
- Colder temperature
- Lower % of oxygen in the Air / thinner Air
- High exposure to atmosphere daily
General Instructions for Acclimatisation
- HydrateÂ â€“ Most critical component acclimatisation with altitude is to hydrate your body. Start having 3 to 4 litres of water everyday for 15 days prior
- LUNGSÂ â€“ Push your lungs, Most critical work in any high altitude trek is of the LUNGS. They are at over work as they get very less oxygen & any physical exertion will push them harder. If you start pushing your lungs harder for 1 month prior to the trek your ability to adopt to higher altitude becomes that much more easier
- GarlicÂ â€“ Garlic is one of the indian spices that has magical results on human body. For anyone going to higher altitude a course of 4/5 slices of raw Garlic daily for 1 month will do greater good. It is believed that Garlic helps your blood to consume more oxygen from within the available oxygen & also to flush out toxins from your body.
- Rest for 1 Day – Once you land in Leh, take complete rest for 1 full day. While you will feel absolutely normal & feel bored at Hotel keep in mind you are there for a trek.
- Head & ChestÂ â€“ At any cost Â DO NOT EXPOSE your Head + Chest to the wind / cold weather. Keeping these 2 covered will ensure you do not get affected.
- No SmokingÂ â€“ STRICTLY no smoking
- No AlchoholÂ â€“ Alcohol â€œDehydratesâ€ a human bodyÂ & can lead to high impact
HowÂ soldiers to acclimitise (Personally met a military doctor before writing this)
- Increase the intake of water & start having warm/ hot water regularly as you will be doing the same once you reach Leh, Minimum 3 Litres to 5 Litres a day
- Start taking theÂ â€œDiamoxâ€ tabletÂ along with 1 Sachet of Electorol/ORS as per the schedule below
- 1 day prior to travel Â Â Â Â Dosage 1-0-1
- Arrival Date Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â DosageÂ 1-0-1
- 1 Day post ArrivalÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â DosageÂ 1-0-1
- Start taking 1 Electrol / ORS along with Diamox. DO NOT TAKE Electrol / ORS in one gulp. Put the ORS in 1 liter of water & consume the same in 2/3 hours period.
- Do not over exert & sleep well
now that we have acclimatised & ready for the chadar
Lets find an answer to How to Handle Cold,Â It is a myth that thick clothing gives you better protection against cold. Some of the the simple ways of handling cold is what is purely out of experience
- Ensure that the TOP LAYER of your cloth is a wind cheater
- If you feel your T shirts / Pants / clothing are not loose enough to wear one upon another, then borrow from people who are bulkier than you
- Tight clothing passes cold as described above
- Excessive clothing obstructs breathing hence while walking your body starts sweating
- Tight clothing disturbs circulation of air & blood
- Compounded effect of the above 2 makes you sick when you stop walking or enter the tent
What are the Right Accessories for the Trek
I have heard people spending 50K just preparing for the Chadar Trek. You hardly require any investment for this trek. A maximum of Rs.5K is what you will need to spend
- Thermals / Body Warmers â€“ 2 Noâ€™s
- Oversized Full TShirts with high neckÂ & Track Pants (light weight) Â â€“ 2 / 3 Noâ€™s
- Sweater / Fleece â€“ 2 Noâ€™s
- Windcheaters â€“ 1 Noâ€™s
- Poncho/Rain Cover + Rain Pant â€“ 1Noâ€™s
- Socks â€“ 8 to 10 Pairs (Buy in Leh)
- Head Cap + Balaclave â€“ 1 Noâ€™s each
- Hand Gloves Inner 1noâ€™s + Outer (waterproof) â€“ 1 Noâ€™s
- Down Jacket – This is not a necessity, Even a skeing jacket with -5Âº c with Fleece + thermal + TShirt will take care of your requirement
- GumBoots is the only shoes that will work great in this TREK. we strongly recommend you buy them at Leh which costs only Rs.450/- & you can sell it to another trekker for Rs.200 when you comeback
- You get military socks in Leh for Rs.100 to 125. They are the BEST products for this trek
- Sun glassesÂ â€“ Sunglasses are mandatory for this trek, Curved ones will cover your eyes well. No blue coloured sunglass â€” they donâ€™t block UV. Blacks, greens, browns are fine. Avoid multi tone sunglasses. Sunglasses prevent snow blindness.Â . People who wear spectacles choose one of these:
- If above is not possible, wear your spectacles and carry a big sunglass that can be worn over your spectacles.
- Contact lenses are STRICTLY not allowed
Fitness for Chadar – What We Suggest
LUNGSÂ â€“ Push your lungs, Most critical work in any high altitude trek is of the LUNGS. They are at over work as they get very less oxygen & physical exertion will push them harder. Train for 1.5 month prior to the trek.
- Jogging in running tracks â€“ 30 to 45 min a day
- Pranayama â€“ 15 min a day
MUSCLESÂ â€“ A well stretched & healthy muscles make the trek that much more easier. Focus on Legs, Back, Neck & Shoulder. 20min of focused stretching activities for 45 days will help.Â Â It determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.Â Â Stretching improves your posture and helps to prevent low back pain.
- Suryanamaskara â€“ 10 to 15 Sets a day
- Neck & Shoulder exercise
- Lower back stretches
- Hamstring & Quadreceps
Some General Instruction
- Carry atleast 7K cash per person, While there are ATMâ€™s here in Leh â€“ cash availability Is always a problem
- There will be NO MOBILE network beyond leh fromÂ 2nd day to 8th day, Keep your family informed.
- There are not many hotels available during the winters, book your hotels for spare days in advance for the Buffer days
- Make sure you don’t miss going to Pangong Lake – Frozen Pangong is worth every bit
19th Nov 2013 I walked out of my corporate life as Head of Products at Tata communications, with just a laundry list of things to do
- Settle personal finances
- Learn how to repair a bike
- Learn to perform first Aid
- Travel solo
While this seemed such a short list, it became a big exercise, and it has taken me 2 years to come close to it
My Garage Experience
My learnings started with good friend Kittyâ€™s garage, I expected 1 week will be enough to learn repairing & then I can start with the next learning, After 4 days of working on my own bike under the supervision of Kitty I plannedÂ to stop going to the garage, assuming I learnt everything. Thatâ€™s when Kitty asked me to work independently on whatever I learnt. This probably was the worst day I had. My hands were shivering, I hardly remembered the steps & my ability to use the right tools in the right way was no where close to what was required. I Could see Kitty smile. He advised me to have patience and practise and give it a little more time. Â What was supposed to be a 1 week of learning became a 5 week activity.Â You should be an expert if you want to be alone in those mountains.
After those 5 weeks of working in the garage like a regular mechanic repairing any bike that comes for service, I was able to get confidence. Â Every single day reporting to duty, working till 6pm in my uniform, groomed a mechanic out of me. Completely Re-Designed the bike to make it more suitable for long rides. Created enough space & added new boxes which carry all the tools required for a bike repair. Today I have travelled almost 30000kms alone in some of the most rough, torturous conditions. Thankfully my bike has not given me much trouble except for small issues like spark plugs, punctures & cable cuts.as i have been continuously doing preventive maintenance, Instead of periodic service.
Except for when there was a short circuit in the wiring & another time the petrol tank started leaking. I was able to repair the same even at 1.30 am in the night. More than my bike I have been able to help so many people on the road who are stranded without even having basic knowledge nor the tools. I even took 3 groups of riders toÂ Ladakh, Spiti & Bhutan where I played the mechanic.
This activity of learning the in-depth of bike gave a clear perspective of what I should do on the way forward.
My Hospital Experience
After the bike it was very clear that I have to do the medical training, and this was the TOUGHEST one. There is not a single agency in India which train you on actual FIRST-AID, I called & visited most of the hospitals in Bangalore to get trained on First-Aid, For me first-aid included knowing basic medicines, how to give injections, how to stop bleeding, how to handle fractures, how to handle AMS, HAPE, HACE, How to administer fluids, how to identify symptoms. Which are serious conditions & so on â€¦.Most of the Courses today are fit for nothing, It is rather useless I must say. (not being â€“ve but expressing my displeasure over the system flaws).
Then one friend recommended a solution which was doable only with influence. I finally managed to be in a ER of a hospital for 10 days & fortunately got a Fabulous person to guide, mentor, monitor me. I performed CPR on a patient whoâ€™s pulse had stopped & he had collapsed, we revived him. Then I administered IM & IV, Learnt how to handle emergencies including cuts, fractures & even in case one hand was split into 2 pieces. These 10 days of experience has become my backbone. This is when I realised I have so muchÂ more to learn.
My Experience with Civil Defence
Post my hospital experience I did research for almost 2 months to finally shortlist the BEST PLACE To get trained & be ready for disaster management, I wanted to be available for any disaster such as Uttarakhand or Nepal, this can only happen with a government agency called Civil Defence. This is the team that is deployed in case of Flood, Natural calamity, building collapse or any disaster situation. They not only have the expertise they also conduct regular trainings for people. Since most of myÂ time is spent in mountains & nature takes its toll anytime, I decided to get trained & registered my self. It has been 6 months my enrolment is pending as the police verification is pending, despite personally meeting senior most officials & the entire rank below. This is the efficiency at which our government system work. I am waiting & I will ensure I complete all the trainings.
My Ladakh Solo Riding
When I went to Ladakh alone with my bike, while everyone claims to know Ladakh, I realised we hardly knew Ladakh. I travelled the length & breath of Ladakh alone, In last 2 years I have travelled almost 90% of Ladakh & it has taken me almost 80 days of Solo Riding, and i found new routes that are absolutely unknown to common internet people, while I am still not completed. The time that I invested in Ladakh has given us the unique edge of creating routes that are absolutely new, different & unique. I can feel more local in Ladakh today.
Ladakh has huge variations of weather & altitude, You can not only fall sick but people die here due to their negligence. As an organiser / solo traveller we need to know how to handle this. My personal learning in this area has been an humongous. Probably this area is one of the WEAKEST Links I have noticed with most of the Travel industry conducting activity around High Altitude locations.
My Experiences with Ladakh, Zanskar & Spiti people
As Â most of my travel included rural locations there are not even Tea shops in these places, so obvious is to stay with local villagers. People in Ladakh & Spiti are some of the best you can find in your life, You can approach anyone in the village to stay overnight, every one will welcome you & offer you hospitality that you would not get even in a 7star hotel.
What is most surprising is that the people here do not worry about how much money you have, they think you are the messenger of the world & you should not go back with any complaints, they put in their 100% to make sure you are comfortable.
You would be very shocked to know what they want from you –
â€œTheyÂ want you to spend time with their children & teach them, Thatâ€™s is the only expectation they have from youâ€
Just sharing few of the experiences that impacted me the most
The European Influence
Every year young people (30 to 50) from Europe come to one Â / two village in Zanskar & spend 45days of their vacation time. I was astonished with the kind of receptions europeans get in these places, when I found out the reason I was shocked, They are funded by NGO’s based out of Europe. The objective of this group is to physically build schools with their own hands during the day time. They take turns in teaching the children of these villages on daily basis for these 45 days. This entire period they live like locals, They pay for their own cost & they build as much as they can. If they have built one room for a school, next year one more group will come & build another room & the process is on going. Â They have been doing this for years & they continue to do even nowâ€¦.
If you interact with the kids in some of these villages adopted by the Europeans you will realise their English is flawless & their communications skills are as good as any metro kid or probably better.
IfÂ these young enterprising people from Europe can make cause such a change by coming all the way to India â€¦ why not me â€¦ working on this plan & will reach there soonâ€¦.
Life in a High Mountain
Living High altitude locations is something unexplainable, you can only know when you are there, I have been in tears so many times when I hear the life of these people.
When I was visiting Zanskar I stayedÂ with a family. Both husband & wife were busy working from the time I met them in the noon till almost 8pm. I was wondering what was keeping them,Â they were not even taking a 30 minutes break. That is when I decided to spend a day more with them & understand their life. I spent the entire day with them helping them in their work & talking to themâ€¦.
They start their day at 6 am & are working non stop till 10pm. In these 7 months they have to stock enough food for the winter months when nothing is available. They also have to stock & store enough food for the cattle for 5 months when the cattle stay inside locked inside & there is no grass. They have to go out every day to clean the cattle droppings & provide them water to drink. As the stored water is completely frozen they have to fetch fresh water from the river. This is harsh life, the winter is so harsh that the skin of the children crack & starts bleeding, they have no options but to live with the pain.
They milk the sheep / Yak daily & make cheese which they sell in Kargil / Leh markets for Rs.450 per Kg. with this they buy what they need for their winter survival. The ANNUAL Income of this family is Rs.17000/- only & that is what they could generate in the 7 months. Rest of the 5months they stay locked in surviving on what they earned in 7 months.
I had always wanted to be in Komic as it is Indiaâ€™s highest altitude village connected by road at 15350ft above sea level. I reached in the noon & was looking for an accommodation. thatâ€™s when I met this wonderful man Thampa who said I could live with him & he has a homestay, I asked him how much he will charge he said Rs.500 (accommodation + all meals + tea + ++++) I bargained saying I will pay Rs.350/- Â & he agreed. (donâ€™t judge me these were my early days)
Later I spent the day with his family, in the evening I went for a walk & was sitting on the hill top alone, thatâ€™s when Thampa came & sat with me. We got talking & he kept asking about how is Bangalore & what is life in Banaglore, our lifestyle & so onâ€¦
After sometime he became quiet (seemingly in deep thoughts) & I asked him do you want to come to Bangalore, he can stay with us. Thatâ€™s when he said his annual income (7 months) is Rs.26000/- & he cannot afford to travel, he has not even seen Shimla & Delhi. Then he went on to say something very meaningful. Sir here we can wear the same clothes everyday. We wear a jacket & inside we wear even torn clothes no body cares as everyone is the same. If we have to go to cities we have to wear lesser clothes that areÂ not torn & we do not have many. Our clothes will stink & we will not be treated well. I will save money & educate my children so they can live in towns like ours. I just could not say anything Â as I was choked.
From that day he is a good friend of mine & I have been giving him business by sending travellers to stay with him every year.
There are many such experiences that I can write & there is not enough that I can capture in this 1 note.
Travel is not always for seeing the most beautiful places, it is also about the people, the culture, the realities. You also meet so many wonderful people who become a permanent part of your life.
I want to probably signoff with this I did Burn Boundaries in some aspects, I have probably earned money equivalent to my 1 month salary when I was working, But the life that I have experienced cannot be compensated by any amount of money & I am not going to waste the rest of my life inside the 4 walls of a corporate life.
Will keep sharing my experiences & look forward to motivating many of you to Love Life & Live Life.
About the Author
Badari Deshpande is 42, He left his corporate life in 2013 to follow his passion for travelling. Today he is following his passion with Burn Boundaries
He travels solo across interior india, his passion takes him to the remote corners with an open mind. Every time it is not necessary that you will get to see some of the best views, there are times you learn about culture, there are time you meet new people, there time when you actually find yourself.
Fitness required for the Stok Kangri Summit
Age: 14 min. and 50yrs, Beyond 50 we will need to validate the Trekker
Past experience in trekking:Useful.
Stok Kangri Summit requires the trekker to be in top physical condition before you start the trek. The temperature variations between the day & night vary anywhere between 15ÂºC. Hence it is very essential to have a fit body & mind.You must be able to jog 4.5 km in 30 minutes or walk continuously in 15Âº incline for atleast 1 hour.
LUNGS Push your lungs, Most critical work in any high altitude trek is of the LUNGS. They are at over work as they get very less oxygen & physical exertion will push them harder for 1.5 month prior to the trek.
- Jogging in running tracks 1 hour a day
- Pranayama 15 min a day
MUSCLES A well stretched & healthy muscles make the trek that much more easier. Focus on Legs, Back, Neck & Shoulder. 20min of focused stretching activities for 45 days will help.It determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.Stretching improves your posture and helps to prevent low back pain.
- Suryanamaskara 10 to 15 Sets a day
- Neck & Shoulder exercise
- Lower back stretches
- Hamstring & Quadreceps
Things to Carry
Backpack(55 65 L) with sturdy straps and supporting frame.Quechua Forclaz 60is a good choice.
Trekking shoes It gets really cold once the sun goes down and shoes are important to keep your feet warm. Ensure the shoes are well broken in before the trek.Since thistrek includes walking on snow it is recommended to wear water proof shoes wiith thick woolen / military socks. Forclaz 600and Woodlandare good choices.More expensive shoes are not really the answer to cold. Wearing 2 layers of woollen socks is the trick.
Note:You get military socks in Leh for Rs.100 to 125. They are the BEST products for this trek.
Sun glasses Sunglasses are mandatory for this trek, Curved ones will cover your eyes well. No blue coloured sunglass â€” they dont block UV. Blacks, greens, browns are fine. Avoid multi tone sunglasses. Sunglasses prevent snow blindness.. People who wear spectacles, choose one of these:
- If above is not possible, wear your spectacles and carry a big sunglass that can be worn over your spectacles.
Must Have – Trek Accessories
- Trekking pole is mandatory
- Spoon, glass &Tiffin Box,
- Thermos water bottle
- Headlamp with extra batteries
Must Have Clothing
- Thermals / Body Warmers 2 Nos
- Oversized Full TShirts with high neck & Track Pants (light weight) 2 / 3 Nos
- Sweater / Fleece 1 Nos
- Windcheaters 1 Nos + Down Jacket 1 Nos
- Poncho + Rain Pant 1Nos
- Socks 8 to 10 Pairs
- Head Cap + Balaclave 1 Nos each
- Hand Gloves Inner 1nos + Outer (waterproof) 1 Nos
Must Have Other accessories
- Light towel (should be thin, quick drying kind)
- A Sanitary Paper
- Woolen head-scarf or muffler
- Cold cream andsun screen lotion(SPF 40+)
Must Have Medical Kit
- Crocin 6 tablets
- Avomine 4 tablets
- Avil 25mg 4 tablets
- Combiflam 4 tablets
- Disprin 6 tablets
- Norflox 6 tablets
- Crepe bandage 3 to 5 meters
- Band aid 10 strips
- Digene 6 tablets
- Gauze cloth 1 small role
- Leukoplast 1 small roll
- Cotton 1 small roll
- ORS / Electoral 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray
- Nebasulf/ Soframycine powder
Other Mandatory Instructions
- Medical Certificate format will be provided post enrolment
- Declaration & Disclaimer Form – will be provided post enrolment
- Plastic Bottles are STRICTLY prohibited
- Recommended bag weight is 7 to 8 Kgs
- 1 Govt ID Card is mandatory
- Burn Boundaries follows STRICT No Smoking / Alcohol policy