The Chadar, the winter trek along the semi-frozen Zanskar in India has become famous, however, in Nepal there is a frozen river trek that no outsiders realized existed. We will be the first foreigners to trek along the ice with the locals and explore this frozen region. Where is this? I am not telling, except to people that book the trip (the photo above is from the Indian Chadar, as is the blurb photo on the main Nepal treks page).
Winter in Nepal's alpine areas is cold however this trek starts in warmer country and in truth, will not be as cold as you might imagine, at least for the most part. Like many of our exploratory treks that have run into December, days will mostly be sunny and pleasant although short; it will be the long nights in a tent that will be frigid (a hot waater bottle is your best friend!) and the occasional snowy day will be more challenging. The deep canyons that are the feature are partly sunless but utterly impressive and photogenic with reflected light, truly awesome.
We do need reasonable, normal snow conditions and there is some risk with this requirement. The winter months are mostly dry, so little or no snow, and statistically January is the 3rd-driest month of the year, however we are reliant on trails being open to access the area. Our route can anyway handle snow of perhaps 20cm/8 inches for the toughest section although we hope there will be less. If there has been an unusual dump of snow prior to our trek though, we will have to access via helicopter for additional cost or trek in a lighter style or visit another area for other adventures (I have some great backup ideas). Naturally, we have a few additional days built into the itinerary for contingencies.
This unique adventure is the result of careful research and simply chatting with locals and until now, it seems that nobody asked the right questions or realized the significance of the local conditions. So, this is an amazing, crazy first in the 21st century. Talk with us!
international flights, equipment rental, alcohol, bottled water and soft drinks, laundry,
tipping and other items of a personal nature
Day 0 - early arrival
This is the best arrival day as you have tomorrow in Kathmandu for recovering, especially useful if coming from North America.
Day 1 - 2021 - arrive Kathmandu 1350m
The last possible arrival day; look for the Project Himalaya signboard. We check gear and prepare today.
Day 2 - fly
The rest of the exact itinerary is secret for the moment.
Days 3-13 - enter the region
We trek into the region, initially through a not too cold area but then head high with a sound acclimatization plan. The area is magical trekking and there will be no other trekkers on the trail.
Days 14-20 - ice trekking and exploring
We explore around the region, trekking on the frozen river, almost certainly with locals. We can make day trips from a base however can't move our whole camp so for any overnight trips it is likely you have to carry your own clothing and perhaps sleeping bag and we will stay in local villages. The kitchen crew will cook for us and we can cope with a bad weather day or two. Some of these days will mostly be in the sun.
Days 21-27 - exit the region
We hope that it hasn't snowed much, hope that we are not cut off (there is a chance!) and if conditions are OK, it will take us roughly a week to trek back to the nearest airport.
Days 28-29 return to Kathmandu
We have an additional day planned for bad weather and the overall itinerary is somewhat flexible. We hope that flights will be running however we have enough time to enter and exit overland if necessary.
Day 30 - - depart
There is a chance that the region is blanketed in unusual deep snow, in which case we will still plan on an adventure however flexibility is required ...
Cold! There are some great options though, mostly requiring carrying your own clothing, let's discuss.
Zanskari locals on the Indian Chadar - Jamie McGuinness