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Asia, China, Sichuan, Qionglai Range, Qonglai Shan, Nuixim Shan, Northwest Side, Attempt

Qonglai Shan, Nuixim Shan, northwest side, attempt. Shaluli Shan, Jarjinjabo Massif: Spank Peak (ca 17,500'), south face, attempt; Jarjinjabo, south ridge. Andy Bourne, Misty Tyler, Anitra Accetturo, and I traveled to western Sichuan Province, China on September 20. Our goal was to explore and attempt as many objectives as possible in the Qionglai Range, and later in the Jarjinjabo Massif.

We first went to the town of Rilong, in the Qionglai Range. We attempted to hike up into the Changping Gou to check out options there, but were disenchanted with the approach and our time constraints, not to mention we did not even get a chance to see the peaks through the clouds and rain. Next we drove into the Shuanqiao Gou, which is the next valley to the west of the Changping, to scope options, and faced with a decision on which valley to basecamp in, we decided to stay in the Shuanqiao. Camping next to the locals’ roadside food and wares stands, we were treated very cordially, and were able to “eat out” for meals the days we spent in camp. The weather here at this time of year was abysmal. Rain and/or snow every night but one, yet clearing partially every afternoon. This weather pattern resulted in lots of acclimatization hikes and photographing peaks. One attempt was made on the northwest side of Nuixim Shan by Andy, Misty, and Anitra; it ended about 300 feet shy of the summit due to fresh snow and cold temperatures. The monsoon did not seem to end this year, but supposedly this is the time to come.

After returning to Chengdu and regrouping, we went to the Jarjinjabo Massif on the western edge of Sichuan Province. On October 16 we hired a jeep driver in Litang to take us to Zhopu Gompa, on the northern shore of Zhopu Lake. We basecamped upvalley from the gompa and made an attempt on Spank Peak (ca 17,500'). Spank Peak is located on the north side of the Jarjinjabo Massif about two miles up the drainage to the east of the Massif. Andy and I climbed four pitches up the south face, but were turned back as the dihedral pinched out to a bottoming seam. Still, climbing beautiful new ground up to about 5.10b was exhilarating. On October 26 Misty and I as one team and Andy and Anitra as another did two climbs up the east aspect of Jarjinjabo south ridge directly above the Gompa. Our climb topped out on the ridge after about 1,200' of climbing in a beautiful dihedral up to about 5.8. After 800' or so, Andy and Anitra’s climb ended in bushwacking and lichened slabs to just below the peak we dubbed “The Asterisk” (a sub peak of Jarjinjabo).

The cold, short days during the month of November kept us from attempting anything higher than 17,000ft. in the Jarjinjabo Massif. Earlier is better. We then parted ways and went to Thailand to sport climb and Yunnan Province to sightsee. A bit of vacation is needed after seven weeks in China.

Erik Johnson, AAC