Chadar Ice River Trek

A full-scaled winter expedition

Presented by Bici Adventure

Named by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top 10 treks, the Chadar Trek is perhaps the most thrilling experience in the Himalayas. While this adventure does not require the agility of an extreme athlete, it is a full-scaled winter expedition not for the faint hearted.

Chadar means veil or blanket and to walk the Chadar is to walk on a blanket of ice that transforms the Zanskar River into a frozen lifeline that connects remote villages to the rest of the world for three short months each year.

In the depths of winter, villages are cut off from the rest of the world by snow which blocks the roads and high passes.

Traders use the 80km frozen river road, as do many of Lille Fro’s sponsor children as they make their way to school in Leh at the end of winter, a journey known as ‘the most dangerous walk to school’.  

In late February, as the children set off for school, the river is at its most dangerous. Desperate for an education, the children brave sub-zero temperatures in little protective clothing. This journey is fraught with danger especially for the little ones where one ill-timed step could mean death.This is the extreme environment in which Lille Fro works. 

By joining this expedition, you will have the unique opportunity to follow in Lille Fro’s footsteps.

Help raise awareness and support for Lille Fro’s programs which include building a boarding house in Zanskar so these children no longer have to risk their lives just to get an education.

Setting off in January when the ice is at its best, our team of experienced guides will lead you across the ever-changing ice of the frozen Zanskar River and through a breathtaking wonderland.

You will have a chance to experience the warmth of the people who live amongst the foreboding mountains and high altitude deserts of the Indian Himalayas. 

During a week trekking from Leh to Zanskar, you will see vast waterfalls locked in cliffs of ice and vast frozen formations against a backdrop of blue sky and the snow-covered river banks.

This is a harsh environment and the trek is challenging requiring a resistance to the elements.

Day temperatures at times reach no more than minus 5 degrees and night temperatures can drop to 30 below. Mornings you will feel the chill but as we start to move, you will warm up quickly. A thermos of hot tea or a bowl of warming soup is never far away.

Acclimitisation is key especially in winter. We spend the first couple of days in Leh getting used to the temperatures and the altitude before venturing onto the ice.

With an expedition of this kind, we are in nature’s hands. The trek is adapted to meet all weather and ice flow conditions which can change from hour to hour. At Bici Adventures, safety is paramount. If at the time of the trip, the river becomes too dangerous to pass, our guides will find an alternative adventure for the group.

By embarking on one of the world’s greatest expeditions, you will be contributing to Lille Fro’s programs and giving back to impoverished communities in remote regions of Ladakh.

See here for further trip details and cost. Also visit our image gallery for this trip.