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Asia, China, Yulong Shan Attempt

Yulong Shan Attempt. Yulong Shan (Jade Dragon Mountain) is the predominant peak in a compact mountain group in northern Yunnan Province. The peak has an unofficial height of 5600 meters and is readily accessible from the nearby city of Lijiang. In fact its setting overlooking Lijiang reminded team members of Huaraz, while the scale of the peaks themselves also seemed Andean. Yulong Shan has been attempted twice: in the 1930s by a New Zealand team, and in 1984 by a Japanese group. Our climbing team this October 1985 was Bob Schneider, Brock Wagstaff, Brett Bernhardt, Dave Chick, Steve Russel and myself. We reached Base Camp in a couple of hours from Lijiang. From here we followed the Japanese approach to the east side, and in a matter of days were at a glacier camp. Our original thought had been to attempt a route on the east face, but closer acquaintance persuaded us to try the easier looking north ridge. A four-man group established a route almost to the col between Yulong Shan and Pyramid Peak, and the next day Schneider, Wagstaff and I reached the col and set up a bivouac. From here it is a one or one-and-a-half day round trip to the summit. Up to this time the weather had been rather unpleasant in the afternoons. Now it got really nasty, forcing a retreat in foul conditions. It snowed for 48 hours, dropping some four feet of snow. The team went down to Base Camp, but as there was no sign of improvement over the next several days we reluctantly left the region. It was some small consolation that we travelled through a rain-soaked countryside for our three-day journey to Kunmin.

Christopher A.G. Jones