An Adventurous Affair with a Frozen River
An Adventurous Affair with a Frozen River
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
For some of us, travel stands definition-free. And, we are not concerned about the make-up done on our social media existence, nor are we concerned about how our Instagram handle looks like. We just travel; as Stevenson puts, for the sake of travel.
Welcome to Saransh’s adventurous confession of his Chadar Trek days.
The Crazy Lover – Saransh Bhateja
When life gives you lemons, just pick up your bags and move. No famous man is quoted to say this ever before; so pardon the hero of our story, who exactly lives by this motto. Say hello to Saransh, an engineer-turned-a-businessman, from Sri Ganganagar – a small town near the international borders of Pakistan and India.
Saransh believes in now, and all it takes him to start travelling is one click in the mind, and off he goes. He has already undertaken a solo trip to Spiti on his KTM Duke 390; and a solo trip to Udaipur on his Royal Enfield Desert Strom, right after he passed college. Allow us to also mention that the crazy-head traveller, ventured onto the frozen river trail without any prior experience in trekking (no, we do not recommend that until you’re Saransh-fit and Saransh-crazy).
How did the affair start? – Planning Chadar Trek
An ariel shot of Saransh and the other crazy folks!
“Because, I was fascinated with the idea of walking on a frozen river + I had visited Ladakh before in summers, so wanted to travel in winters as well” is all it took Saransh to convince himself to undertake India’s one of the most challenging treks, without any prior experience in trekking.
Well, the next steps were easy. Like a curios child explores something new; so did Saransh. After a thorough research, he chose Thrillophilia and calls us ‘awesome’ for the experience he’s had on the frozen white land of Ladakh in the January of 2018.
The Affair with Chadar – The Itinerary
The adventure with ice and ice-mates begins
Not all love stories are the usual ones. Some are crazy, adventurous, passionate affairs between men and Nature. Imagine one which starts with an air turbulence, thousands of feet above in sky.
Such is the story of Saransh’s adventurous fling with the Chadar Trek, which started on the 18th of January, 2018 when he landed at Leh. In the coming few days, Saransh and his bunch of trekkers were about to cross the stages of Chilling, Tilad Do, Shingra Koma, Gyalpo, Tibb Caves and Nerak before they were deemed accomplished to have walked on the frozen river of Zanskar, Ladakh. Of course, the 8 night and 9 days of madness needed the right A-Team, and Saransh proudly calls his team as a bunch of “crazy people”.
The One with Leh
Maitreya Buddha, Thiksey Monastrey, Ladakh
Leh was the start of a journey, religiously heroic, for Saransh, who was venturing into the Ladakhi air for the second time in his life. All he hoped for was to see how blissful Ladakh looks on a wintery night. All that he got to see remains with him, for no words can suitably describe this young lad’s experiential journey in the heart of Northern India.
He reached a day in advance from the day of acclimatization, which gave him 2 long days to explore the colourful and silently-dressed-from-centuries-old Leh. From monasteries to lanes to memorials, days in Ladakh were long and Saransh comfortably covered them all. The real adventure was yet to happen, just yet to happen.
The One where he put the First Step on Chadar
The first step on the frozen soil
There were winds howling, ice frozen and ice melting, ice-blue River streaming, men breathless and shoulders wrecked. Such was the first step when Saransh ventured into the Chadar Trek in on the 15th of January, 2018. The journey kicked off from Chilling to Tilad Do, where they camped for the first night under the starry nights of Ladakhi sky.
The first step is always memorable. The second step is more memorable, for it is probable that you’ll have a painful fall on the slippery ice. Nevertheless, next up were days and night on the icy soil laced with experiences beautifully bewildering and jaw-dropping.
The One Where a Fellow-Trekker Fell Into Zanskar River
The trekker faced a freezing moment when he fell down the Zanskar River
As the group moved forward into zones of more ice and no ice, they crossed Gyalpo and Shingra Koma to finally camp at the Tib Cave by the end of Day 4 on the frozen river. What needs to be kept on mind while doing the penguin walk on the Chadar Trek is that – Chadar slips away from its form every passing moment.
Theories aside, practicality in, that did happen. They witnessed a member fall down inside the frozen Zanskar River, into a chilling pool of ice water, and someone had the eventful mind to take a quick click (picture above).
Out he comes and quickly changes into a fresh pair of clothing
The One Where a Helicopter appeared from nowhere!
Spot the second helicopter North-West of the front one?
If you thought that adventure was limited to one of them falling into the frozen river, you are wrong. In a land of frozen river, where the mobile networks give up, where there are no vehicles except the treading feet and sliding sledges, up in the air they witnessed two helicopters making a sudden landing. This was a lot in the name of adventure, and the group never got to really know why these birds landed!
Rumors spread of an emergency evacuation, but rumors were rumors. The group continued toward their journey, and reached the final destination of Nerak falls, by the end of Day 7. A few houses, a few locals, and memories stitched forever – that’s how Nerak looked like (picture below).
The quaint village of Nimmu, near Nerak Falls
The rising sun at Chadar
The End to the Adventurous Affair
Saransh spent a total of 9 Nights and 10 Days on the Chadar Trek, and yet he fails to describe it in detail. In our candid talks with him post the trip, he ends the conversation with a bright smile on the other side of the telephone, “Next, I am heading to South India. What adventurous options do you have for me?”
And the journey began.
Get Adventurous on Chadar – Saransh Speaks!
If you have already started typing the words ‘Chadar Trek” on a new tab of your old laptop, put yourself for rest. Saransh recommends a couple of pointers for every travel-crazy soul, which they must consider before booking their slots for the 2019 batches on the Chadar Trek.
We thank you enough for these thoughtful suggestions, Saransh!
- Drink enough water at high altitudes. It keeps AMS’s risk minimal
- Gum-boots are a must, so are the army-quality socks and gloves
- Wear multiple layers of clothing, ideally
- Change yourself into dry clothes immediately, if you get wet
- Always stick with one member of the group, throughout the Chadar Trek
- A simple Know all about Chadar Trek