Chadar: The Frozen River trek is one of the most beautiful and glamorous treks in the world. Chadar means a sheet, a sheet of ice that forms over Zanskar river during winters typically December, January and February. Like all other high altitude treks with the right kind of preparation, Chadar trek can be made much easier making it one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life. Here is a complete guide on what are the Chadar trek preparations you need and what physical fitness is required to complete Chadar trek.
The Chadar trek is a trek where you need to be in good physical condition before you start the trek. Your body should be able to bear extreme cold caused by the sub-zero temperatures which can even drop down to as low as – 25 degree Celsius. You must be able to brisk walk / slow jog for 4–5 km before the trek starts. This makes your lungs strong and gives it the ability to process less air for more work. It also helps the body to acclimatize better to the cold and low oxygen levels.
Having taken several groups for Chadar trek and many other high altitude treks, here’s what we recommend you to follow in order to get physically fit for the Chadar trek.
1. Get up early in the morning to walk and climb (Week 1 / 2):
Develop a habit of getting up early in the morning and run / brisk walk for minimum 2 – 3 km, at least 3 – 4 days a week. This would represent 20 – 25 minutes of cardio. Also, avoid taking elevators and start using the stairs instead. To start with, climb 3 – 4 floors each day to make your thigh muscles strong. If running is not your thing, you can cycle for about 30 minutes or swim for about 500 m, at least 4 times a week.
2. Walk more and sprint to increase heart rate (Week 3 / 4):
Being consistent with your exercise during the week and 2 increase your distance to 4 – 5 km and 5 times a week. You can also start with interval training which is a method of training the cardiovascular system by elevating the heart rate significantly and then allowing it to recover for a period before elevating it again. Eg. You may sprint to push your heart rate, then walk to allow it to calm down before starting the sprint again.
3. Build Strength & Endurance (Week 5 / 6):
Strength & Endurance. After successfully following the schedule for the first 4 weeks, aim at building strength, arms and abdominal muscles.
* Start with pushups and sit-ups, three sets of each with repetition of 5.
* Pull-ups/chin-ups, three sets of each with repetition of 5.
* Free squats, three sets with repetition of 5.
Consistency is the key if you follow the above schedule thoroughly; you will be able to acclimatize better while at high altitude. Each and every time you go to a mountain, you must have the physical fitness to better enjoy the experience.