Zanskar | Ice Climbing Exploratory

Chadar ice climbing


chadar ice climbing





















“This was, without question, one of the most magnificent trips I have done.  The best trekking food I’ve ever had.”-A. Slinger

“The level of service was amazing, brilliant food, tents up quickly, being helped over any potential difficult piece. It was a fabtrip.”-I. Caroline

“A great trip.  I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting a different trekking experience.”-M. Cook

chadar ice climbing


Learn to ice climb and/or climb new routes on the roof of the world, and on the famous winter Chadar trek route. Already experienced and looking to take your climbing to a new region? This is the trip for you. We will have two guides on the trip, Luke Smithwick and TBA. Essentially, we’ll have 5 full days of ice climbing, and time to experience the Zanskar gorge.  Each day will be built to suit the interests of climbers on the trip. If you already have climbing experience we’ll pursue more difficult routes with aesthetic and interesting terrain. If you’re a total beginner, no worries, we’ll work our way up, starting with a day of the basics, allowing you to progress at your own pace. Ice climbing is challenging, but has some great rewards and has a “wow, I really climbed that” feel to it. Join us.

“Something hidden, go and find it, go and look behind the ranges.” -R.Kipling


Skills covered (regardless of ability level):

  • Avalanche awareness
  • Placing ice protection
  • Organization of belays
  • Rope techniques
  • Abseiling off ice anchors
  • Steep ice techniques
  • Leading (for those ready for it) 










Day 1 – arrive Leh 3500m – 18 February 2018
We suggest booking on Jet Airways for this particular trip.
Day 2 – drive Chilling and trek Tilad Do 3100m
Day 3 – trek to first waterfall and start ice climbing (!)
Day 4 – 7  exploratory ice climbing
Day 8 – depart Leh – 25 February 2018

Note your domestic flight is a fine weather flight only and can occasionally be delayed. Also note that flights can be delayed by fog in Delhi in winter. It’s possible to extend this trip longer with a full trek of the Zanskar river gorge, or more ice climbing;

  • Airport transfers
  • 3 star heated hotel in Leh, single supplement
  • All other accommodation while present on scheduled trip itinerary
  • Group transportation by private vehicle
  • ‘Himalaya Alpine’ style expedition:
    Delicious meals, french press coffee & herbal teas, all porterage on trek, western and Sherpa guides, local guides and staff, single, roomy Mountain Hardwear & Big Agnes tents (double for couples) and our ‘equipped’ heated dining tent with solar charging for cameras
  • Well equipped porters for personal equipment, you carry only a day-pack with thermos, warm layer, and camera.
  • Ice climbing tools are included (Black Diamond equipment), you are responsible for your own climbing boots and hardware, readily available for hire in Leh at around US$3-10/day (crampons, harness, helmet)
  • Meals while not on trek,
  • Domestic flights,
  • Trip/medical/rescue insurance
  • International flights
  • India Visa
  • international flights,
  • bar bills,
  • laundry,
  • tipping and other items of a personal nature.

    Gratuities and Extra Costs
    Allow approx $250 for meals (while not on trek), gifts for loved ones, and tips for staff. We recommend $100-$150 per trekker (which is part of the US$250) thrown into the tips pool for the  staff.

    Price US$1,620

    8 Days
    18 January–25 February’18

    minimum: 4 climbers

    trekking in the sun on the frozen Chadar.
    Zanskari boys pose for a photo in their red woolen gonchas, typical dress for a Zanskari.


    Tiles and Tashi (Pidmo) ply their trade as ice porters on the Chadar.  A way of life has evolved into a profession.  They will join us on the river to assist with expedition supplies.  We will visit their families and stay in their homes in Zanskar, gaining a glimpse into their way of life.


    Lobsang Otzer (Pidmo) will be the head local guide on the trip, his 25th trip on the river.  His enthusiasm and warmth is contagious, if only we can contain his singing to keep the wildlife in view.



    Local guides huddle around the fire in camp on a full moon night, the ice of the river cracking and popping in flux.


    Zanskari’s swap stories and laughter in a cave on the river.  Most locals sleep in caves while on route.


    Morning fog in the Zanskari village of Pidmo.