Nakamura reveals Sichuan’s unclimbed peaks
Renowned Japanese climber and explorer, Tamotsu “Tom” Nakamura, has returned from a recent expedition to Sichuan, China.
His report, below, details the many unclimbed peaks in the region. Many of the peaks he refers to can be viewed in this gallery of his photographs.
Unclimbed Summits in Sichuan China 2010
As shown on the map below (see gallery), only a few unclimbed 6,000m peaks remain in Sichuan, China, but there are many alluring peaks exceeding 5,400m – 5,500m which inspire and attract challenging climbers. Among them, I have selected 16 outstanding unclimbed peaks in West Sichuan Highlands, and write a brief overview thereof as follows.
1. Western extension of Chola Shan Range
Polujab 5,816m is located close to a historical monastery, Zhogchen Gomba west of the Chola Shan Pass.
2. Shaluli Shan Range
This mountains range covers a vast area and there would be no definite boundary between the Shaluli Shan Range and the other ranges.
(1) Gangga Massif
This massif ranges just north of Yalong Jiang (a tributary of the River of Golden Sand – the upper Yangtze) near Ganzi town. The highest peak, Gangga 5,688 was reconnoitered and accessed by a Japanese party, but still remains unclimbed. There are several 5,400 – 5,500m peaks, all of which have not been attempted. They are mostly rocky peaks.
(2) Yangmolong massif and its vicinity
This massif is situated about 16km east of Batang town. There are three principal peaks of Dangchechengla 5,833m climbed by Japanese, Yangmolong Central 6033m climbed by Korean and the main peak of Yangmolong 6060m, which in spite of repeated assaults by a Japanese party and British parties remain unclimbed. It is felt that Yangmolong is one of the toughest peaks in Sichuan.
A Chinese topographical map 1/100,000 indicates a cluster of 5,700 – 5800m peaks located northeast of Yangmolong massif and south of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway. They are all unclimbed. The highest peak is 5870m and the second highest is Xianqingqieke 5867m.
(3) Genyen massif and neighboring mountains to the north and northwest
Genyen 6204m was first climbed by a Japanese party and then an Italian party made the second ascent via a new route on the east face, and the second highest peak 5964m was already scaled by an American party. However many challenging rock peaks of 5800-5900m peaks north and north east of Genyen remain untouched. These are shown on a Russian topographical map 1/200,000. This area must be a paradise that draws an attention of climbers.
(4) Gongga Xueshan (Kongkaling) massif
This massif with three fascinating snowy peaks located in Daocheng County forms the southern rim of the Shaluli Shan Range. They are holy mountains among local Tibetan people. All of three peaks remain unclimbed; Xiannariri 6032m, the highest peak, attempted by a Japanese party, a famous beautiful pyramid of Yangmaiyong, Joseph Rock’s Jambeyang, 5958m was reached by Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff to 500m below the summit, and Xiaruduo 5958m was once attempted by an American party. At present climbing of these peaks is not allowed by the local government of Daocheng County on account of the sacred religious mountains.
3. Gongkara Shan Range
The main peak of this range is Kawarani I 5992m soaring 30km east of Ganzi town. A Japanese party and a British party tried to set up the BC for reconnaissance and climbing, but monks of a lamasery in the vicinity hindered their approach. Since then no party has visited this mountains.
4. Daxue Shan Range
(1) Massifs in Danba County
There are several unfrequented and untrodden 5400 – 5500m peaks west of the Dadu River, a tributary of, the Min Jian, the upper Yangtze, but only Xiaqianla 5470m is attractive. Danba County is keen to develop the mountain area of Xiaqianla with beautiful glacial lakes for a tourist spot.
(2) Lamoshe massif east of Kangding
This massif is just east of Kangding town. Early explorers named “Mountains of Tatsienlu”. The highest peak is Lamoshe and was first climbed by an American party. One of the other 5800m peak was first climbed by a NZ party, but the second highest peak, Baihaizi Shan 5924m remains unclimbed.
(3) Minya Konka Massif
Only a couple of 6000m peaks remain unclimbed in this huge and largest mountains massif of Minya Konka in Sichuan. Outstanding virgin peaks are 6858m peak and Mountain San Lian 6684, southwest of the main summit of Minya Konka. Three unnamed peaks of 6206m & 6130m on the ridge between Mt. Edgar (E-Kongga) 6618m and Jiaz Feng 6540m and 6148m peak on the west ridge from the main peak of Minya Konka also remain unclimbed but they are not much impressive. Mountain San Lian is most dominant among the unclimbed summits in Minya Konka massif. Nyambo Konka was once attempted by an American party.
5. Mountain Ranges east of Dadu River (southeast of Danba)
Many 5400 – 5700m peaks range along the eastern side of Dadu River valley between Danba and Luding. No climbing record is published. The highest peak is 5734m and details of the massif are unknown on account of lack of information. However they would be not much attractive.
6. Qonglai Mountains Range
All most all the peaks including Mt. Siguniang 6250m and adjacent outstanding peaks over 5200m peaks have already been ascended, as many climbers have been rushing to this mountain area in the last decade. Nevertheless a few peaks would still remain unclimbed, but details are not available, since there are so many 5400 – 5500m peaks in this mountain range.