Come winter and the severe drop in temperature freezes the swift flowing waters of the Zanskar that emerges from the Zanskar region and meets the Indus at Nimmu. The cold is so severe that the river waters freeze against each other in sheets and layers resembling something like a “Chadar “(sheet of cloth/covering), hence the name of the trek being Chadar.( read about my trek experience here )
One of the most acclaimed and popular treks of the Indian subcontinent every year thousands of enthuthiastic individuals sign up to undertake this trek and successfully complete it; there are many successes and then there are failures too and the reason for the failure range from nature and her elements to physical ailments and inadequate preparations.
This article I would be speaking about the preparations needed for putting the best foot forward when attempting Chadar Trek.
The article would be broadly categorised into following categories
- Physical fitness
- Gear and clothing
- Selection of trek company
In today’s age and lifestyle, the importance of being physically fit needs no additional mention, indeed the consciousness amongst most of us is already at an elevated plane however in order to do a trek, the physical firmness needs to be carefully thoughts of. Though there is no elevation gain in the Chadar, and one is hardly expected to climb mountain slopes or the likes yet the extreme weather that one is subjected to continuously demands certain level of physical fitness
Most people head into a trek with a background that consists of a busy life and lack of a specific fitness regime which leaves them less prepared than what they should be, training for a trek is no rocket science and helps in effectively building the energy level which help during the trek .
I generally prepared for the same keeping the following in mind
Gear and clothing
The trick is to wear clothing using the technique of “Layering”. Layering is simply a strategy that emphasis versality and efficiency. Instead of bulking oneself with heavier items it is always better to put together an outfit with lighter items that can be removed or worn depending on the situation.
Note. The figures within bracket indicate the adequate quantity that must be carried, weight of the backpack is a critical component whilst deciding on a backpack contents. Do read on additionally the following articles which have relevance to this article.
- concept of layering , read here
- review of what i use for mid layer
- review of the outer layer
- my thoughts on hard shell jacket
Note. The neck piece is designed to cover the nostrils as well as the neck region thereby ensuring that only a limited portion of the skin is exposed.
Night time socks need to be different warm and dry from the day time socks.Additional read , highly recommended :
- my thoughts on the backpack by Symbian , Quechua
- my thoughts on the importance of socks
- whats in my backpack
Note. Gumboots can be purchased from Leh market itself. Hot water bag is a godsend during the chilly nights and during early morning.
Note. Toilet roll is essential and matchbox is to burn the waste toilet paper thereby ensuring environment remains unaffected.
Choice of Trekking Company
The choice of trekking company is again a very critical consideration in this trek, few points that need to be kept in mind are following
Hope this small article helps the next time you decide to undertake the trek on the river Zanskar .