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Ice trek on the Zanskar river

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In winter months there is too much snow on the passes and it is too cold to take the trip on foot over the mountains between Ladakh and Zanskar. Yet there is a way between the two valleys over the partially frozen Zanskar river, the so-called Chadar. This is one of the roughest hikes through the Indian Himalayas and well worth to put on your bucket list.

In summer the Zanskar river is wild and you can not imagine that it could ever freeze. In winter the water level turns lower and the flow is considerably less so that the river is mostly frozen. Trekking on this ice mass gives you opportunity to see areas that are inaccessible in summer. With carriers there are caravans on their way to visit and supply the remote villages. These caravans know the route and circumstances well and you can travel along with these groups.  It normally takes foreign groups a week to finish.

Best time to visit

During December and January the Zanskar river will be frozen with the best chance in January. Click here for the average weather in Leh, the starting point of most treks.

Where to stay in Leh

To take this trek you need to fly via Delhi to Leh at 3500 meters. If you are looking for a nice place to stay in Leh we recommend The Grand Dragon Ladakh. It really is an oasis in the Himalayas. The breakfast is excellent. Rooms were very spacious and super clean. If you are not on a budget this is the best hotel in town. On they get an average rating of 9.2 (which is rare in India) and you can book it here.

This article was last updated on December 16, 2020.