Day 4: Leh to Shingra Koma via Bakula (10,550 FT, 70 Kms drive to Bakula, 2-3 hrs trek to Shingra Koma)
Today, we finally start on our Zanskar frozen river adventure. You drive along the beautiful Indus river and get a chance to see the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar river at Nimmu. We are going to cover a total distance of 70 km by road and you will experience a few jaw-dropping moments as the vehicle makes its way around the narrow hairpin bends. It should take about 3 hours to reach Bakula and as you get closer, the inspiring sight of the frozen Zanskar will get you excited about the trek. Your leaders will soon give you tips on how to walk on Chadar. It takes a while to get the hang of it. We call it the ‘Penguin Walk’. Walk around as much as possible, it will help you get comfortable walking on a glassy ice sheet. You will fall a few times, and that is part of the overall experience. You will also be taught how to get inside your double layered sleeping bags before sundown. Today is an exciting day, as it is your first day of trekking on the frozen Zanskar river. You will get plenty of sunshine during the day, so wear comfortable clothes. The best thing about Chadar trek is that you walk on a flat surface throughout the trek. There are no steep ascents or descents and very little chance of catching AMS since you don’t gain any altitude throughout the trek. If you are comfortable today, you are already acclimatized and you should be able to finish the entire trek without any major issues. Depending on the weather, the Chadar changes its forms. It can be hard and glass like in some patches, or it can have a layer of powder snow on it giving you a better grip, or you could face thin ice in certain areas, so you might have to walk in slush or dodge that entire patch and go over the rocks on the side of the river. Walk together as a team and follow the sledge route. Always follow the sledge route used by the porters as it is the safest route on Chadar. You will get to your next campsite within 3-4 hours, depending on your speed. Your leaders will take you through a few learning modules about being in the mountains. You will have the campsite to yourself to explore and take pictures for the rest of the day. Camp overnight at Shingra Koma.