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The ascent of Haba Snow Mountain

2014-03-03 14:23:25

(China Today)


The summit is very unassuming. If not for the wooden pole marked “5,396 meters” we wouldn’t have realized we had reached the peak. The blizzard was so fierce, the flag on the pole was frozen and the letters on it were blurred.

The first thing I did on reaching the summit was to ask one of my teammates to take my picture. Then I sent that short text message to my family. The temperature at the top was so low (about -15oC to -10oC) we were not able to stay there long. In the end, 18 of our 19 team members conquered the summit.

In all, we had covered a distance of about 20 kilometers from Haba Village to the summit. We started our descent the same day. On our way back, the sun shone, making the mountains look magnificent in the cloud and mist. Among the world’s great peaks, Haba Snow Mountain is just a drop in the ocean. Likewise, this adventure was just one stop in my life journey. Many destinations await me.


1. Season: Affected by monsoon, the winds around Haba Snow Mountain can reach eight on the Beaufort scale from the end of December to the end of January. The rainy season lasts from June to August. These seasons are not suitable for climbing. The best time to visit Haba Snow Mountain is from mid-September to mid-November or from mid-February to May.

2. Transport: Visitors or climbers can take a shuttle bus to Haba Village from Lijiang or Shangri-La. It takes about five hours. The route from Lijiang to Haba Village passes by Tiger Leaping Gorge, a famous canyon on the upstream of the Jinsha River that is known for its magnificent scenery.

3. Safety: Anyone looking to climb the mountain is strongly advised to hire a professional guide or coordinator.

4. Equipment: In addition to general outdoor kit, it is advised to take crampons, ice axes, snow goggles, sunblock (above SFP 40), thermos bottles and alpenstocks (two); a helmet and safety ropes are optional.

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