Chadar Trek

“Before it is gone” is a series of reports by two experienced adventurers. In pursuit of this unique project, the authors document sites and cultures that are changing irreversibly.

About Chadar Trek

“Before it is gone” is a series of reports by two experienced adventurers. In pursuit of this unique project, the authors document sites and cultures that are changing irreversibly. It is not that they changed in the past or are going to change in the future – they are changing now. The reporters observe a variety of social and cultural transformations driven by degraded environments and the alteration of nature by man. Their first destination was Chadar, an icy passageway connecting the lands of Ladakh and Zanskar. in the company of Aztorin.

Matthew is talking with Jigmet Rangun, a Buddhist monk who has accompanied him on the way to the largest and oldest monastery: the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh. They managed to reach their destination even before starting the expedition.

Himalayan winters rank among the world’s harshest. Once the temperature falls below -30 degrees Celsius and a blanket of snow several meters thick covers mountain passes, the Zanskar region gets cut off from the outside world for months. Over the centuries, the only link with the civilized world that remained at such times was a river by the same name. With the upcoming construction of a new road, the Chadar route will soon fall into oblivion.

The Chadar will not allow one to have a good night’s sleep. Only once during the 8 days of our arduous journey were we able to find a spot suitable for pitching a tent and sleep comfortably. Even there, we found out at dawn that the ice sheet was cracking and breaking. on other nights, the traveling duo was forced to sleep rough on a bare rock. The lengths people go to preserve in photographs and memories the places that change beyond recognition before our very eyes!

“The discoveries we have made in the Himalayas disturb us greatly. The tradition of traveling along the Chadar is certain to disappear. And yet, it is not the new road that will make it vanish. Rather, the travels will end due to unusually mild winters caused by climate change. In other words, the Zanskar will no longer freeze. All this brings into sharp focus the importance of the «Before it is gone» project mission. We are happy to be a part of that story along with the Aztorin brand”.

The splendor of the Indian Himalayas, the whiteness of winter and the chill of the air. Tranquility. The setting calms the mind and invites contemplation. Chadar’s days are numbered. The fates of the planet and its inhabitants. Transience. The soothing flapping of prayer flags echo our thoughts.

Chadar is not Aztorin’s first expedition. The brand deserves to be called a true traveler. Especially that with every trip, it proves itself to be a reliable companion. You can count on it when the going gets tough and when keeping up one’s morale becomes a daily struggle. Aztorin has journeyed along the Dja river, scaled the Kilimanjaro and experienced the wilderness of Kyrgyzstan. And now India, the frozen river, alongside tireless adventurers. Another goal, another accomplishment.

Chadar is a challenging, perilous and treacherous route. You need to tread carefully, keeping a close eye on ice thickness. At times, the ice thaws so thin there are places where it becomes precariously brittle posing grave danger. During those times, there is no other choice but to abandon the river and traverse the steep rocks above.