I did my Chadar trek in January 2018 and we had a mix batch with boys and girls.
I never felt that the girls had any disadvantage over the boys. In fact, couple of young boys in our batch (age around 25 years) were sick because of AMS i.e Altitude Mountain Syndrome. To Confirm, i checked their Oxygen level with my Oxymeter (I have purchased an Oxymeter and carry it to all my high altitude treks). These 2 boys had readings of 72 and 81. Any reading in range of 70-80 is considered to be dangerous for high altitude treks. They both were referred to a doctor who advised one of them (the one with reading of 72) not to attempt the trek. The other boy who had a reading of 81 (which is low but not dangerous) was good to go after medication.
Subsequently we took readings of the entire batch and rest all trekkers including girls were found to have good oxygen levels.
All the girls in my batch successfully completed the trek.
In my opinion the trek is absolutely safe for girls. They need to take certain precautions just the way other people do for themselves.
When you go for this expedition, it is important just like your male counterparts to pack in certain things that will be needed on the trek. Special walking and camping shoes, thermal clothing, wind jacket and pants along with socks, moisturizers, sunscreens, personal medicines, toiletries, and vitamin tablets are only some of the items that may be needed on this trek.
Additionally, you need to protect yourself from the extreme cold weather to make the Chadar trek safe for you. It is essential to wear fleece tops and warm hats at all times else you may face hypothermia in such cold conditions.
Protecting yourself from the cold and keeping yourself warm is most important in the Chadar trek. Every one’s body reacts differently to cold. For e.g I am fine with warm weather but start shivering in the slightest cold. I usually have an extra layer of warm cloth on my winter treks compared to other boys. And I am not shy about it. Don’t compare yourself to others and be aware of what suits your body. Click here to read my blog about 6 essential tips to keeping yourself warm on the chadar trek.
While, packing, make sure to take only the needed items and leave all unwanted things behind as one will be needed to walk for long distances during the day with a backpack on the shoulder.
Initial preparation is important. As a thumb rule, it is very important to start the preparations for the trek at least a month in advance so that there is ample time for adjustments. Prepare yourself to get physically fit as you may walk upto 10–12 kms each day on the frozen river. To get the best out of this adventure, I recommend a fitness routine for you to follow. Click here to know the routine.
Some do’s and dont’s which I would recommend to keep Chadar trek safe for girls as well as boys for successfully completing the trel.
- Do carry sufficient water and your favorite snacks on the way
- Always follow the locals because they will know the best trekking routes and ways.
- Try to have a first aid kit ready as unacquainted people may get cuts and bruises on the first day of trek.
- Stay relaxed and do not over exert yourself by comparing your speed with others girls or boys. Walk at your own pace. There will always be a back lead i.e a guide who is behind the last person in the group. Take rest when needed. Its not a race to come first.
- Don’t ever try to skip a meal. Have all your meals even if you are not hungry.
- Have as much liquids as possible including warm water, tea and soups. Some girls drink less water to avoid going for pee. This may lead to AMS during the trek and you will spoil your entire experience. Its better to go to pee often than to fall sick.
- Do not neglect the guides instructions as he is the best person up there for the trek.
As far as the region and its people, Ladakh is absolutely safe for solo female travelers. The locals are amazingly polite, humble people and very respectful of women.
Finally, for being safe on the Chadar trek, I will advise you to go with an organizer who is experienced and has been conducting this trek for many years.
To know complete details about Chadar trek preparation Click here.