Back “Chadar Trek – An Emotional journey with my Son on a Frozen River”

“Chadar Trek – An Emotional journey with my Son on a Frozen River”


It was back? July 2015…Son Samar told me of his plans to undertake a trek on Chadar Trek in leh…..
I Amar Nayak (Father of Samar) thought?  “Why not join him” But! But …..Question was….Possible at age 60 yrs ?????
I checked the website of Trek The Himalayas…Out came lots of information on virtual grounds of Trekking on chadar trek (Leh)….When I decided to chip in on this trek with my son “Samar”

chadar trek

*All Hell broke loose….After the thunderstorm? “Rain” was Obvious. {Rejection….No. No.No….Opposition from wife & son to join this trek as I was 60 yrs of age….
Reason: -30 degreed..Trek of average 12km/day/hardships…blaha! blaha! blaha…
As a father; I used my veto power …Who introduced you (samar) to treks after your 10th exams??
I (Amar/Father) introduced you to treks at Manali {Himachal Pradesh…Took you on mountains/rappelling/ river rafting and all other trekking activities…
Silence| Acceptance| Compromise
Here on it was?? History…..
On 18th January 2016…Father ( Amar) & Son(Samar) landed in Leh (Mumbai-Delhi-Leh) at an altitude of 11300ft & temperature of -23 degrees. Felt the cold wave for the first time….Yes heaviness also due to lack of oxygen..Samar’s   roving eyes were questioning me? Am I okallright?
Reached Scheduled hotel {Dolma}.Where we were welcomed by Trek the Himalayas’ Floor Manager Mr Sandeep (Typical Uttaranchal guy); who put us to ease..Other trekkers joined earlier to me were equally present…

chadar trek

Acclimatization day was over and we sat for briefing with Sandeep and our Trek guide Abhisek the very next day..Where a round of introduction and basics were discussed.
Next day was the day…All 21 members under the command of group leader Abhishek, Trek guide Sherpa Sanjing, cooks, porters with sledges/food stock of 14days/tents/sleeping bags/stove/ gas cylinders/medical kits/fuel/other necessary accessories were loaded on tempos…
The journey started from Leh-Dolma Hotel to base camp “Chililing” thru serpentine roads climbing mountains after mountains, criss crossing on 45 degrees tangents; where deep fissures in the roads were millimeters from vehicles tyres……looking down the ravines would churn our stomachs..At the same time to see the frozen river deep below with pristine mountains rising up and glowing in the   sunshine was mind blowing…A journey worth a million $.

Chadar trek (Leh)

As the vehicles cannot go beyond a certain point for want of roads necessitates Trekkers to walk some 3&1/2 km  on mountains dusty roads and then on rock region  to reach  the beautiful deep area where water flow of zanskar & Indus river is freezed; allowing trekkers to enjoy their first step of walking on frozen “Chadar Trek” A magnificent sight/ experience/ feelings..Only to be felt on this entry point…This is the location where all questions and answers are quite { sawal goom!  aur jawab goom!} One has come to eternity {A Heaven on planet earth}.
Next 1km walk on ice brings us to base camp chililing>>>…Almost 15.00hrs..Cool breeze with warmth of sunshine brings rest to our panting breath. A beautiful sight of natures beauty coupled with rush activities of porters to set the kitchen/dinning tent/fetching water from the frozen lake to make tea/soup for the parched throat of Trekkers ; who are busy putting up tents and collecting sleeping bags; as in an hour the sun will go down and it will be pitch dark.
Time flies…It is 18.00hrs..Pitch darkness takes over and the porters after climbing high on mountains have collected some difficult to find wood to make a born fire to heat up the chilling bones of every individual in the camp…Soup is served and Trekkers are singing in front of born fire… Again 20.00hrs dinner is served (Hot and delicious khichedi with pickle) … All this calls for retiring to sleeping bags  to  rest the weary bones  from the cold; which has by now dropped to -28 degrees..The warmth of double sleeping bags in the tent of three (to keep the tent warm) makes the night dreamless and???? Suddenly in the pitch darkness of the early morning hours, a sound of typical porter language is heard….  ^-^Chai  Chai (bed tea) pulls the Trekker out of his slumber!
This is now the second day of the trek…Morning wind and temperatures are ludicrously chill…a typical scène of trekkers beating their legs/waving hands/walking back and forth/jumping to ward off the biting cold is a must see sight, So much so that endless cup of hot tea is also insufficient to beat that cold…However with busy schedule to perform abulation, close sleeping bags/tents, pack up bags for forward journey keeps the body warm…….Breakfast of hot noodles brings solace to the cold body
8.30hrs. Time for next day briefing and continue the trek to next camp.

walking on “Chadar” frozen river for 12 kms

Crampons (optional) as some trekkers like to enjoy the walk on ice/some play safe to avoid losing balance are provided by the trekking company. Now gumboots are mandatory as we will be walking on “Chadarfrozen river for 12 kms>>>>>
A real treat for the connoisseurs of trekking is walking on Chadar; with tall rising mountains on both sides, with occasional frozen water fall is a magnificent view. Slowly the sun is kissing the peaks and the cold calls for reaching to bask in the warmth of the rising sun pushes the trekkers forward…..One has to be careful of weak pockets of ice and hence advisable to follow the trekking guide(in our group- Sherpa Sanjing)..At times sinking in ankle deep crusty ice water is equally mesmerizing..Pristine view coupled with walk on Chadar is once in a life opportunity. Plenty of scenic view to photograph {Selfies} makes all this wanting for more {Here one remembers Capt Batra’s  memorable words….”Dill mange more”} How True!
By 11.00hrs. A mid halt (1hr approx)to relax and enjoy the lunch; before embarking on yet beautiful & yet demanding trek to 2nd base camp “ Galeepo”..Reaching Galeepo is purely walking on Chadar(Frozen river blanket); where one can see the ice frozen with stones on river bed/enjoy the crackling sound of ice under the feet/at times sinking up to ankle level in broken crusty ice makes the adralin  in the body jump up &down..A pleasure worth million $.
By mid afternoon/evening…Base camp Galpo…Tea/Soup/is served …Born fire lighted …Thanks to the cooks/porters…Who work with meticulous schedule and are always smiling..Dinner in any form is always tasty & delicious even in those difficult conditions…..Gr8 job..Really commendable!!!!

Chadar Frozen River Trek

As the sun sets? Temperatures start falling……Minus 27 degrees is natural….Pitch darkness..A full moon means? No stars…However the chill in the winds is biting into the bones…Warming hands around born fire brings everybody around to talk/discuss leads to bonding & respect for each other’s strength….
Second day is finished….Evening around fire bring the real truth of strength/ courage/ stamina/ will to go ahead….Mind works over heart /heart works over mind.. Here comes a simple conclusion? “Just Do It” {follow the Nike formula} Yak yak yak….chat chat chat….Drowns into going to double layered sleeping bags in the warmth of three member’s tent…
Whirling winds outside dropping temperatures’ to -31/32 degrees with pitch darkness; the warmth of sleeping bags acts as an lullaby putting the cold weary bones of the body into a dreamless sleep…Waking   up in the morning to call of    ^-^ Chai Chai **
Third day? Another day…”Chadar” has lost it strength? Water has entered the tents; wetting mattresses/sleeping bags /food is water clogged..Difficult situation for Trek leader/Trek guide? Forward journey will be difficult as Chadar is broken….After breakfast..Unanimous decision to go with the high command (Trek leader) is vetoed….
All this will call for? Diverting from the usual route….Climb mountains’, with gradients of 40-45 degrees’ (steep climb)..All the group members are a game and thus start’s a treacherous journey of climbing seven mountains; up & down with all the heavy gear on the body! “Saala Maza Aagyaha” Thrilling experience of life time……

walking on frozen river

Fourth day is Tib cave….A combination of walking on Chadar & climbing mountains brought us to the exquisite beauty of Tib Cave..No doubts this trek is called a lifetime experience…
Fifth day was “Nerak” So called a heaven on earth….Scenic frozen water fall from mountain top takes all the tiredness away…Again once in life time opportunity worth a million $… One can proceed to the village to use wifi facility and doing some sundry shopping(A rare view of civilization in extreme conditions)
Our return journey was equally thrilling as we had lots of photographic session….. In the pristine atmosphere of nature’s beauty…

chadar-trek (2)

Chadar Trek is for trekkers with passion “Do it with your heart/tell the mind to listen to your heart”
This trek needs meticulous planning/ discipline/stamina/attitude of “Go Getter”…
Results: Achievement of courage’s move and a fulfillment of life time achievements. God bless.
If a father (61years) & son (28 years) as a team could do it…. Yes you can do it…..Enjoy the pristine beauty of nature once in life time….
The company I went thru “Trek the Himalayas’” Excellent! Good rapport/Good communications/Good facilities’/ Good feedback/Good support/Good ratting of 9 points on a scale of 10.

Written By;

Amar Nayak