Jul 18 2009

Up and up and up

AltimeterRoadworks at 4000mP1040107And so it goes on, the road snakes further and further through the most awesome mountain ranges. At certain corners there are small concrete bollards to prevent the unwitting driver from tumbling into the abyss. After a while though these seem to peter out and the metalled road is still under construction. From a small town at 2050m the road climbs for an amazing 67Km (that’s over 40 miles) to reach a dizzy height at the top of the pass of 4160m (that’s over 12,000ft). The reward is in the view as you are treated to the first glimpses of snow capped mountains that soar and stretch way to the beyond. The road workers are working mainly by hand – it must be extremely tough living and working at this altitude in these conditions (not many jobs command such a world beating view though 🙂 (4160m in the sky, on the bus to Deqin 18 July)

 

 

 

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 17 2009

Into the gorge as darkness falls

So we folded, but there was still a tiring end of day climb, from Qitao first onto the start of the gorge trail, then a solid 9k to reach the Naxi Family Guesthouse, a perfect point to set off from on the gorge trail proper in the morning. Peter strode ahead up this early section of Tiger Leaping Gorge – keen, as he said, not to be walking in the dark (there were moments when I wondered if he meant US walking in the dark or just HIM walking in the dark…) Anyhow, we were finally installed at the Naxi Family Guesthouse just before 9pm and just after sunset. Over supper we agreed our 3/4 complete trek had been fun, we also decided that now we were safely ON the gorge trail, we could set our own paces and wend our separate ways. I slept incredibly well here and before bedding down I saw more stars in the sky than I ever before have seen, it was breathtaking. Awaking to beautiful views, I settled my bill and noticed people had posted their business cards on the board all around the office in the Naxi courtyard. Could I also leave my calling card here? Yes, of course! Imagine my delight when, unprompted, the delightful Naxi girl decided to place me in such illustrious company. But enough ego. Let’s get up this gorge and see what all the fuss is about 🙂 (Into Tiger Leaping Gorge 13 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 6 2009

High in the sacred mountain

As we hear the van driver disappear back down the mud road for his two hour trip to town a small man with a camouflage jacket appears with a small boy in tow. This, Xiao Bing tells me, is the mountain warden. We are to go with him to his house and have tea. We haven’t walked anywhere yet, it is now one o’clock so we have been travelling for 5 hours, but hey, everything is an experience, so we follow the man and his boy through the undergrowth, past his snarling dogs which he despatches with a loud grunt, to his homestead in the sky. He invites me in, we sit, he makes strong tea and offers me food – I say I have eaten. There are chickens, dogs and mushrooms drying on large trays in the sun. This is mushroom season and the Bai people and this region are famous for these mushrooms at this time of year. Xiao Bing tells me it is a good way for the farmers to make money while they are in season. A group of 8 locals arrives soon after, they bring food – fishes, vegetables, a crate of soft drinks and some see-through eels the size of whitebait. The mountain warden’s wife busies herself washing the food and putting it in bowls. Xiao Bing and I set off up the trail next to the warden’s house and up onto the mountain. There are stunning views this way and that through the thick vegetation. After one and a half hours we reach a wide open plateau and there is a house, some cow boys herding cows (odd that). In the house, Xiao Bing tells me, lives the Master; a monk who looks after the sacred mountain. He greets us and tells us to camp away from the cows somewhere they won’t bother us. After a time, one of the cow boys and Xiao Bing strike up conversation; the boy tells us of a cave, deserted for over a year by another monk who used to live there. There he says, we will be safe from the cows. He says he will take us there. (Mu Xiang Ping 4 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 6 2009

Strollin in the sky

High above Dali is the Cloud Pass. At 2600m it runs for 13K between (conveniently) a chair lift and a cable car (don’t laugh). As an acclimatisation day I took the (scary) chair lift to go up. At the top, beyond a temple-cum-nick nack market a path winds up the hill to the Higherland Inn. Here I found the helpful woman who gave me a map (of sorts) and sold me some mixed nuts. So I set off along a beautifully kept pass weaving through astonishing gorges high in the mountain. (Cloud Pass, Dali 3 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jun 22 2009

City on speed

Associate memberCrazy mad busy sticky and not enough sky. Way out – £1.50 bus ride across the island and head for the beach. (Hong Kong 22 June, just before leaving for mainland)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce