American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Shaluli Shan and Daxue Shan, Various Ascents

Asia, China

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Sergi Ricart
  • Climb Year: 2011
  • Publication Year: 2012

For three months I traveled alone in Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan, near the Tibet border, spending time with local inhabitants and exploring unclimbed mountains and little visited valleys.

Shaluli Shan

I first visited Shaluli Shan North. On the north side of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, east of the Chola Shan Pass (Tro La, 4,910m), and directly north of the Chola Shan, is a small cirque of peaks. On October 1st I walked into the cirque, placed camp at 4,500m, and reached the top of a small pinnacle (5,050m) on the east-southeast ridge of Peak 5,358m. Next day I made the first ascent of Acha La Ri (5,000m, 31°55'40" N, 99°00'22" E), by the southwest spur, a route I named Orelletes i Cocarrois (400m, D, UIAA V). The difficulties were relatively sustained and on good rock, up short walls interrupted by snow-covered ledges. Descent by the northwest face was easy.

I returned to the village of Manigango (Manukanggo) and took the road northwest toward Yushu for 15km, before heading south up the Sho Chen Valley to the north side of the same range, which I refer to as Tro La Range. I camped at 4,350m and on the 6th made the first ascent of Ru Chen Gangri (5,350m, 31°58'45" N, 99°00'54" E), by the north and east faces, a route I named Quan ells Nuvols Passen (400m, PD+, UIAA II 55°). This was largely easy snow climbing to an elegant summit, and I descended the same route. On the 8th I tried Peak 5,243m (31°56'59" N, 99°02’20" E) by two different gullies on the northwest face. On the second attempt I reached the northeast ridge but retreated 200m below the summit, having climbed 700m, due to soft snow over rock slabs.

On the 20th I took a minibus south from Kangding to Laoyuling and walked for two days up the main valley west of the northern Minya Konka massif in the southern part of the Daxue Shan. Before the Ruichi Haniya Pass, I moved east to a glacial lake at 4,600m (29°46'23" N, 101°49'37" E) in the cirque northwest of Reddomain (6,112m). On the 22nd I climbed two small rocky peaks toward the end of the long northwest ridge of Reddomain, before it terminates at the Ruichi Haniya. The first, Tso Chong Ri (5,030m, 29°46'00" N, 101°48'52" E), I climbed via the northeast face, naming the route Carne Cruda (250m, AD, III+ 65°), while the second Tso Chen Ri (5,100m, 29°45'35" N, 101°49'04" E), I climbed via the northwest ridge, a route I named El Costat Femeni (200m above the col, AD, IV+ 55°). From the summit of the first I descended its southeast face easily to reach the foot of the northwest ridge of the second. Next day a storm forced me out of the area.

I then returned to the Shaluli Shan on the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, taking the bus from Batang toward Litang until south of the Xiashe massif, then jumping off about six km east of the Haizi Shan Pass (4,685m; confusingly named, as the well-known peak of Haizi Shan is much farther east in the Daxue Shan Range). On November 1st I attempted Peak 5,557m (30°21'00" N, 99°39'20" E), the north summit of Peak 5,609m on the PLA map, ca eight km southeast of Xiashe (5,833m). I climbed a 350-400m couloir on the west face, a little left of the north summit, at D-, IV+ 60°. It was a cold day, but the climbing was nice, though the rock steps were loose, and there was windslab toward the top. The northwest ridge also had windslab and dangerous cornices, so I didn’t continue to the top but from my high point of 5,510m descended the 45° ridge and next day, with slightly frostbitten feet, hitched back to Batang.

Sergi Ricart, Spain

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