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Chadar Trek: Day 4

Flat ground, proper setup of the sleeping bag, main sure the pee before squeezing into the sleeping bag, finally all learning from last few days applied on the night, and end up having the best sleep by far on the adventure! It feel so good waking up to the great frozen river view from high ground. We start to get use to the daily morning routine, wake up and utilize the hot water in the warm water bag to wash up face and brushing teeth, packing our stuff and also the sleeping bag, gather into the dining camp for breakfast, and get ready for the adventure today!

Life was full of challenges wasn't it? Just as we thought it will be a smooth day, we realize that the ice condition was not solid to be step on, just after little bit of walk from Nerak campsite, on an area called Oma Chu Gorge. We waited at the area, while our guides and porters team trying to understand the condition more to assess if we have any alternative plan if it was not passable. I talked to some local Indian group, and they were turning back from that gorge as their tour guide told them it was too dangerous and impossible to went through. Slight second, I did felt relieve that this might probably been our limit exploring Chadar Trek, and the alternate plan might be another night stay at Nerak campsite with a visit to the village. However, the group saw that there was some one coming out from the gorge area and after understanding further, it seem the adventure to Lingshed might still be possible! The group gather to discuss on the plan, and everyone was very energetic to proceed, hence I have to stay to the team as well at this moment with the same answer. At that time, probably I just don't want to be label as a coward to give up the chance. It was a hard decision, but the subsequent journey will prove me that I might be making the best decision of my life time!

Started the day happily by getting our feet back to the frozen river. Photo credited to Hybrid.

Few Lama walking over from the opposite direction. Photo credited to Hybrid.

The crowd awaiting news from respective guides if it was OK to proceed with the path into Oma Chu Gorge. Photo credited to Hybrid.

Following the guide instruction, we change to our gumboot that we bring along in this kind of situation. During the short distance to cross Oma Chu Gorge, we basically dip our legs into a feet high of freezing icy water with breaking ice, climbing high on the rock in between when there is no safe surface to step over. That was only a very short distance to pass the zone, but we end up spending like an hour more to bypass all the obstacles.

However there was another challenge awaiting us on the gorge, as the rock climbing at the area was not possible at all, hence we can only stepping over the ice at all cost. If the narrow surface wasn't solid, the only chances was to turn back. This time after passing the first obstacles successfully, my spirit gain and having strong desire to pray for the path to be accessible! Although the path was very slippery and thin, but it was still passable with care and slow step, following the foot step of the man earlier. Although some of the members did went through some minor accident throughout this distance, but luckily all of us manage to pass through this god damn gorge! What an adventure!

It was only us that went through the path, which include a lot of hike up and down, extremely tiring. Photo credited to Hybrid.

Entering next section of the fragile Oma Chu Gorge. Photo credited to Hybrid.

This was why we need to change to our gumboot, almost every steps was into the broken ice with freezing water in it. Photo credited to Hybrid.

The environment was just too calm and peaceful inside the gorge, but we know that we couldn't look down on it at any cost. Photo credited to Hybrid.

The scenery just out from the gorge, thanks god we make it out safely! Photo credited to Hybrid.

Regroup while resting under the sun. Photo credited to Hybrid.

After minor rest and reassemble of the team, suddenly we were already at the junction uphill toward Lingshed after short walk after the gorge. Oh yeah, after 3 days of walking at rather flat frozen river, we have to hike today to reach Lingshed village. We were at around 3300 Meters via Nerak, and Lingshed village was elevated at around 3800 Meters, which mean we will need to hike for elevation of 500 Meters from there! That was a shock for me, after the tough time passing all the obstacles earlier, it seem that this was just a beginning of a real challenge today.

Continue the journey on the frozen river.

CT with the view just out from the gorge.

A look back on the gorge that cause us so much trouble.

Welcome to Lingshed!

We yet to reach Lingshed, this was just the entrance towards the village.

After incline for a while, it start to get tough for me, that get super tired even just at a super slow walking pace. Probably due to might lung problem, high altitude sickness was a possibility as well as we were already way pass 3300 Meter by now, or again was the side effect of the ginkgo pill which I stopped applying few days back. Luckily the porters setup the lunch spot early just after a while incline toward Lingshed village, but even reaching here already make me completely exhausted. Chozang already aware of my condition today, and ask me to just leave the day pack as they will help with it, and just proceed to walk slowly along the path. Hence I just try to hang my camera on my neck to continue the hike, but I can't even put my head up with it! That was how suffer I am at that moment, I can only keep back the camera into my day pack, hence no photo taken at all from my camera after lunch spot, but thanks to Hybrid to still capture our journey from here on!

The river water continue to flow underneath the freezing surface.

Taking turn one by one to hike over the small cliff.

The view from the same spot, different perspective. Photo credited to Hybrid.

Totally exhausted, but we did not stop our steps. Photo credited to Hybrid.

Slowly ascend high and higher.

Another frozen ice surface underneath collapsed snow. Have to be extra cautious here on each of the step taken.

Last photo I manage to snap, before I have to be burden free to keep myself going.

Rule of thumb, never try to step in the middle, here is why. Photo credited to Hybrid.

One after another, the team keep everyone in sight to make sure everyone was safe during the trek. Photo credited to Hybrid.

I start to push myself to walk first as I know later on my team mate will going to over pass me, still trying my best not to become burden in the team. I never really survey this route up to Lingshed before, and I am actually very amazed by the terrain and the surrounding along the path, which almost completely covered with thick snow. Most of the trail here was very narrow and only fit a person at most, hence everyone following one after another to slowly ascend to higher ground. The trail also lead to narrow path high on the edge of mountain, hence our guides separate their duty with one at front to lead the path, one in the middle to oversee the team, and one at the last to keep everyone in sight. They are well prepared and aware what need to be done from time to time, very professional!

The trail lead to higher ground along the mountain, and the view along the path was stunning! Photo credited to Hybrid.

The team advancing from the back. Photo credited to Hybrid.

I am glad and surprise I still have the energy to pose for this snot. Photo credited to Hybrid.

Every step was so difficult for me, but I have already gotten help from our guides to carry all my burden along, hence no excuse anymore not to push myself to make it before the night approached. Amazingly, we approached to an unbelievable tunnel in which was formed many years ago, after an impact by avalanche hit the area. The interior looked so grand as if it was specifically design by the human being, but in fact it was a creation from the nature world! Short distance from here we got to see another frozen waterfall close up, with beautiful light blue color! Sometimes, those amazing scenery make you forget the suffering you were having on the trek, and boost your spirit further expecting something more exciting awaiting just at the next corner in front.

We pass by a little stupa with 3 Buddhas imprint on the big rock, take a brief rest, and making sincere prayer to hope everyone manage to make it safely to the village. At this stage, everyone seem quite exhausted also, and I feel bad not able to offer any helps to them at this moment. However, I think the best help I could offer now, is to get myself safely to our destination for the night.

We continue the trail and hike, and slowly, we can finally saw some small houses on top of the mountain, it seem we are almost there in Lingshed village! The elevation was way higher here, the day getting darker, and the snow getting thicker on the ground, which make us feel that feeling of that it was so close, but yet so far still. At this point, I seem can't feel my legs anymore, it was almost like the mental power were the only one that keep the body moving, and the speed was even slower than crawling I assumed. I tried to walking along the edge that have minimum snow coverage for easier walk, and god bless all of us make it just before the sky turn total dark! It was super touching moment when you have all your team mate awaiting you outside despite the freezing temperature just to give you a big hug to celebrate the success, it was truly a team effort we manage to make it here safely!

Passing through the super amazing ice tunnel result from avalanche impact quite some times ago. Photo credited to Hybrid.

This photo can clearly see the length of the ice tunnel, imagine how strong the avalanche impact was! Photo credited to Hybrid.

The team heading towards the Gate of Lingshed. Photo credited to Hybrid.

The frozen waterfall with slight light blue color within! Photo credited to Hybrid.

We were almost there, the village was just under the huge mountain at the front. Photo credited to Hybrid.

But the trek getting tougher and tougher with thicker snow. Photo credited to Hybrid.

Can start to see the houses of the villages there! Photo credited to Hybrid.

A brilliant shot to reflect the absolute white scenery where we came from. Photo credited to Hybrid.

There was someone on the window, it was Mr. Yip we met earlier! So glad that he also make it safely here! Photo credited to Hybrid.

Mandy so happy with surprise meet up with Mr. Yip once again! Fate was fate! Photo credited to Hybrid.

Chozang the hero! Photo credited to Hybrid.

Each of us scattered around, finding our way with our pace to reach to our final destination of the day. Photo credited to Hybrid.

Step by step, finally we make it on time before the night approaching! Photo credited to Hybrid.

Andrew celebrating the success! Photo credited to Hybrid.

CT escort Soon to reach the home stay safely, congratulation to everyone! Photo credited to Hybrid.

The home stay was simply just a house which the owner let us rest in two of their room, not an official one that you can find in AIRBNB or any website. This was the first day we manage to get our self close to the burning stove and the heat generated seem like the only thing we need in this world! The house was build from mud and soil hence it was also very warm, but according to our guides, if the area getting to many rain, like 2 weeks or more, it might cause the foundation to melt!

Everyone was so happy celebrating inside our room but since it was a super hectic trekking day, everyone get into early rest after the having our dinner. Bless with expected warmer temperature to have a great rest today!

24 KM distance, but it was the toughest day by far for sure!

It was a night full of laughter and celebration!

Chadar Trek - India

January 2018

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