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Asia, Southwestern China, Konk Risumgongba Range

Konka Risumgongba Range. Englishman Brian Smith and I went to this little-known range in April and May. The Konka Risumgongba snow peaks are a small range located at 28°N by 100°E in Sichuan. The center of the range comprises three 6000-meter glaciated peaks arranged in a triangular formation, as seen from above. These peaks, Shenrezig, Jambeyang and Chanadorje, tower above any neighbors within hundreds of kilometers. They are named after the Bodhisattvas of, respectively, compassion, knowledge and the militant nature of saving or protecting knowledge. The peaks are sacred to Tibetan Buddhists. Pilgrims walk around the peaks, keeping them to the right as they go, in the approved manner. The range is now, and most likely for a long time, has been inhabited by Tibetans who herd yaks in the valleys and hunt game in the forests and highland meadows. The range is isolated, reached only after almost a week’s journey by jeep or truck and by foot from Sichuan’s capital, Chengdu. It has virtually intact forests, which is an increasing rarety as the Chinese continue to exploit the forest treaure of Sichuan. None of the major peaks has been climbed. We approached via Kang Ding-Litang-Dao Chen. Our objective was 5958-meter Jambeyang. From our camp below its north face, we climbed a small glacier just west of the sharp north ridge, which divides the north and east faces. After reaching 5000 meters, we explored the south face of 6032-meter Shenrezig. Both routes were beyond the strength of our party, although both are the most practicable and least objectively dangerous on these mountains from the Duron valley. While circumambulating Jambeyang to explore its south side, a series of mishaps prevented our return to Base Camp and we had to walk down a valley draining southwest. Eventually we reached a road and hitched rides to Dao Chen. Local party officials then helped us to reunite with our interpreter and Base Camp manager, Luo Gang, and our equipment.

R. Dabney Eastham