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1


The incredible trek around the mount Gongga
By Pierre with Vincent and Franzi

Three companions:
- Pierre, the experimented
- Franzi, the photographer
- Vincent, the guide

And one trek had, everything sounds to be a great plan... The fate decided otherwise...

2



The program

The region of Kangding
Situated on the highway leading from the Sichuan to the Tibet on the West , we were situated in the mountains where live mainly Tibetans. In brief the Tibet outside the "Tibet".

The mount Gongga (Minya Konka) reaches a height of 7556m, but we shall follow it and shall only cross only a pass at 4800m. Departure ar 3500m, the pass during the third day and two days to cross a chain of valleys dug by the enormous rivers Riwuqie and Moxi Gou. It looks like a great program!
The difficulty of the trek is medium, we anticipated the food for six days in case.

3



A complicated departure

J1 - 10am
In China, any situation different from the ordinary, becomes problematic. But we solved it well: Vincent had well organised the beginning of the program and a taxi dropped us in front of the mount. Time for adventure!

But, but, what's happening Vincent?
Feeling ill-at-ease? an headache? It is certainly the acclimatization: passing from zero to 3300 meters in two days, that is a lot.
After some energy bars, a paracetamol and a good break, we could go! It was time: landscape welcomed us. What a motivation! I had pins and needles in the legs!
We thus began to walk, but we realized quickly that the taxi drop us after the village of Laoyulin. We were not able to ask the local people to drive us forward with their four-wheels and thus we had additional twenty kilometers to arrive at the "real" departure at 3500m.

There was no other solutions, it was necessary us to go up by ourselves. Five hours besides the long program which waited for us... Bad luck!

One hour later, a break was necessary for us. And... a big four-wheel car arrived! We tried and got lucky in hitchhiking, asking three small seat and to advance us for sixteen kilometers: a good thing done.

4



The Chinese came to defy us

J1 - 1:30 pm
We had chosen to keep our independence and spent a good trek by ourselves to surpass us. But from the beginning of the trek, we saw this group of Chinese tourists, that left the same day with a little slower rhythm. Furthermore, they can count on the back of mules to transport their loads and provisions, and on guides to prepare them good meals. Frustrating!

5



Rain

J1 - 3:30 pm
The rain joined us during our trek. Sudden, it falls during the whole trek to undermine our mind, to dip our stuffs but not entartrer our determination!

6



The trek became memorable

J1 - 4pm
We began to perceive big meadows and inside, black bushy big beasts: the yaks! We could approach them carefully even.

7



Mass of fallen rocks, that rocks!

J1 - 5:45 pm
Four hours later, it was time to find a location to the camp Dacaoba to crash tents. The wind had turned up, I chose a rocky hillside of mountain to shelter from the cold. Franzi was sceptical, afraid a rock avalanche. But the enthusiasm of both guys finally convinced her.

8



Time to warm up!

J1 - 6pm
The cold arrived. It is true that at 4000m, we had to deal with temperatures less scorching than in Chengdu during summer.

To warm up, we began the elaboration of a fire. It is without taking into account the humidity of the wood, a Chinese stupid toilet paper and a devil's wind. One hour later, we gave up.

Also Vincent's face did not appreciate the sun and he started peeling in spite of a cloudy weather (the sunscreen in mountain it is essential!). Franzi is more subtle: a small red nose...

Some stretchings, some paracetamol to calm the troubles of skull, a good meal to take back strengths. Even the wind tried to enter in the tent to protect itself against the icy cold. We let it one tent and warmed ourselves in the second tent (2ppl), watching a good movie about climbers in danger and got relaxed. The cape of the first day was passed!

9



The complicated second day

J2 - 8am
The first beams of the sun raised on the tent. We opened the tent and... Showers of grey clouds were monopolizing the top of the sky in the direction of our path. That morning we had free showers...
We warmed up in front of a good hot chocolate, packed bags and tents and then started.

Small problem: it was now Franzi that was lacking of energy. Big tiredness and the altitude which makes its usual effect, damn! Are we going to cross the pass?
Because of our reserves, two tents, big sleeping bags, and other equipments, we had about forty kilos to carry. The fatigue is the danger number one and we decided to relieve Franzi of her twelve kilos on the back and we left with a less steady rhythm.
Summary of the situation: we needed quite a lot of motivation to exceed all these issues: cold, fatigue, height, humidity, wind and rain, heavy bags and in every hesitation, the doubt of the turning around.

My excess of confidence and zeal was the only assurance. We decided to go up to see the pass and to postpone the choice of turning around to the next day, depending the state of each one.

10



The breeder of yaks

J2 - 12:30pm
We followed the river Riwuqie since some kilometers and were in the middle of the Gyazila passage. Then we distinguished a tent and especially the perfect to have a break. We arrived to a breeder of yaks who invited us to drink some water (hot obviously) and who explained his life in the pastures.
Language barrier of course, Vincent who has been living in China for eight months, does not succeed in deciphering his sentences. We understood that he owns 100 yaks and his wife showed us her liters of yak milk, that she uses as butter, cheese, cream.
In bonus to indicate us the way, they offered us medicine against the altitude sickness, ideal for my companions!

11



Focus on the glacier.

J2 - 3:30 pm
We arrived finally at the camp Riwuqie at 4200m. The second day ended with the intensification of the rain. We warmed up in the tent of a second yak breeder and especially could observe the glacier, behind whom there is the pass!

12



Feeding of yak in Xia Riwuqie

J2 - 5pm
We settle down in tents, when...
ACUTE WHISTLINGS!

The breeder was calling his yaks, grazing the grass 500m higher and... We attended to a descent at a gallop of 80 yaks, stronger than their cousins, the "cows", running for 5-10 minutes to return. If the ground did not tremble, it was close!
And surrounded with his yaks, the breeder throws them granules or minerals. While I approached to examine them, he shouted me to leave: the yaks are dangerous and risk to darken me above, hook forward.

13



The Peeping Tom!

J3 - 7am
During night, I did not fall asleep and contemplated the sky: this night was so studed, what a show! Here was the small moments of magic of the journey, I thought.
I fell asleep again. In the early hours, Franzi opened the tent and at a 5 meters distance of the tent...

14



Here we go, again!

J3 - 8:10 am
The morale of the troops was set fair, since we were able to load a bag on a mule. The ascent of the pass will be less complicated with it. My companions stopped to have a picture-break in front of this magnificent glacier. And I, meanwhile, I shivered by waiting for them at the foot of the pass.

15



Snow...

Obviously we had enough problems! The snow fell during the night and overhanged the circumferences of the pass. More complicated conditions of walking but an enjoyable decoration!
We were then in Shang Riwuqie, in front of a completely frozen lake, which feeds the river of the same name: we returned with magnificent photos.

16



The pass Riwuqie at 4800m covered with snow

J3 - 10:30 am
The last 50 meters are very stiff. While Vincent and Franzi remained contemplative in front of the summit and I began to climb with large steps (very quickly) with my big bag. Slaloming between the very hesitating Chinese, I reached the summit. And at the time of appreciating my victory, Vincent shouted me something... : the mule wad too unbalanced by our bag, we had to carry it ourselves until the pass. I thus had the right in my second steep little climb to the summit. It was cold there, but we used photos at a reason to warm up!

17



The big winter meadow

J3 - 11am
To get down again, we had to carry our own bags and with 25 kilos on shoulders, I tumbled down the slope in sprint in front of the group of amused and very careful Chinese.

We arrived then in front of a big valley covered with grass. It was here that the yaks come every winter. And at the top of all this, a solitary yak looking at us of scornfully.

18



Variable weather

J3 - 2:45 pm
The barometer would become crazy there. Within two hours, the weather got totally deteriorated. The rain kept bothering us and the brooks of the glaciers became enormous mudslides, shading off the tracks of our path. It was necessary to clear a substitution path and sometimes to walk in the mud without hesitating!

19



The crossing of the river Moxi Gou in flood

J3 - 4:30 pm
In front of this river in flood, the group of Chinese hesitated to cross to join their mules that had already crossed before the floods.

The passage is constituted by a very wet trunk thus slippery then by some stones under waters.
It's a whole entertainment to look at them. One of them stayed in the middle blocking everyone and demotivating them to cross the slippery trunk (when the water level kept rising). In front of their ineffectiveness, I took the initiative to jump on the trunk then on some submarine stones!
The situation got finally solved and while I was building a passage of bigger stones, one of the Chinese walkers found the "real" passage, 10 meters further.
The Chinese left while we installed the tent, waiting at night to the camp Moxi Gou, to cross with our heavier bags the next day.

20



Crossing of streams

J4 - 1pm
The path continues to cross glacier's waters, and while some were rising their pants, an audacious guy tried the crossing barefoot.

Flop, oops, my shoe escaped me! I catched it up, finished the crossing and noticed that a sock inside has disappeared, taken by the current. A beautiful end for a sock...

21



Lunatic weather

J4 - 1:30 pm
And while we were following the track of the group of Chinese, the weather improved. I took the time to appreciate the sun, and especially to rest of the load on my back.
Searching for the lost bridge...
"Approximately three hours of walking according to the map! ", Vincent indicated proudly this morning. Four hours later, we were between 300 and 500 meters over a very abrupt slope, which dominated the big river in flood, and no bridge at all!
Everybody seemed worry. However the tracks of mules always continued in the same direction then we moved forward.

22



Vous êtes fatigués !

J4 - 4:30 pm
The fatigue, the exasperation affected us hardly, it was necessary to stop. We found a camping spot in the sun - ideal to breeze - and we filled our paunches.

23



The usual meal

They did not make the unanimity. But the Chinese soups remained the best way to take a snatch during treks. Light, rather nourishing and fast to cook. Memory!

Vincent will also remembered vile oat flakes and the comfort of sausage and or chocolate.

24



A bridge on the starboard beam!

J4 - 6pm
Seven hours of walking passed and there finally: I perceived a bridge between trees! As impatient as I am, I looked for a path which leads to it. We arrived in front of an intersection composed of three directions. We were more and more exhausted, that helps us to choose the wrong way going directly towards the river and thus the bridge!

25



The last chance for a fire

J4 - 6:30pm
It was late, we needed a rest before a long ascent so we crashed the tent along the river. The place abounded of dead wood. In spite of the air humidity and the ceaseless drizzle, we decided to make a campfire.

I used my whole knowledge there: some paper in the dry kindling, the average wood to create the structure of a campfire; the big wood being ready to hold over time We put the fire to the paper and nothing worked. A shelter against the wind was built and nevertheless, always no success. Twigs warmed up, makmde small flying sparks and then nothing. We had to stay into the cold and the humidity...

And as a consolation, the card games: the UNO and the Shit Head, we had lots of fun.

26



The rise towards the pass

J5 - 9:45 am
The next day, in spite of our tiredness, it is necessary to go, the objective is not far! "One hour of rise, then it is the descent: easy!", Vincent kept repeating us. Convinced by his words, we started the climb up as soon as the rain stopped ...
... but the rain started again with very fine droplets. We climbed, crossed bridges and rivers, perceived a wild boar... Bears are said to grind on this side of the river: hurry up! But Franzi couldn't follow our rhythm. During one of our numerous breaks I perceived a refuge...
The Mount Gongga and its implications
J5 - 12 pm
"I have no idea where we are!" Vincent said, "this Chinese map is so bad!" We checked it and got the same conclusions. Not reassuring!

Vincent left the refuge to inspect neighborhood, while I prepared the cooking. Once our stomachs got full, we saw the mist dissipating and through clouds, Minya Konka appeared, the mount Gongga. We recognized the 7556m, its size compared with its neighbors, its eternal snows and glaciers.
"We are in front of Gongga, we were supposed to see it long time ago! We are moving forward to the pass of Yulongxi, it is not the right direction! It is necessary to return on the path and to move forward during approximately two hours more before finding the "truth" bridge.
I climbed at the top to see the pass closer and approved Vincent's new location. Nothing was sure, but according to the map, that was the worst option.
We went down in one hour with good rhythm. I was even outstripped with my heavy bag because I tried to save my ankles. We arrived at the crossing where we had taken the wrong direction. Vincent:
"Wood on the ground seem to have been used for an old barrier - that somebody left open! And here, a sign which showed us the other direction! Damn! We could have noticed it!"
Easy to notice now! I set the barrier right again, to block the road to the next misled walkers and we went to examine two other ways which go back up on the valley. The one is spotless of muds by the clogs of mules, the other one is used by the walkers and both joined: we found the road!

27



The flags of the hope!

J5 - 2 pm
And here we went again for endless kilometers! The concern grew but the steps of donkeys reassured us even after a day of interval.
Suddenly...
A valley got free and even several. Three hours already passed. The bridge is certainly there! But no path can be perceived! We continued to move forward to hillsides and suddenly...

We arrived on the high rounding of the mountain range. We could see on the other side of the mountains of forests and the little reassuring clouds. We passed on the other side of the mountain range and began to get down again...

We arrived in a location with a lot of signs indicating a monastery. We were not far from our final destination! We verified three times the road markings (in Chinese obviously) and took the direction of our village. The rain was still there but nothing could stop our motivation at that moment!

28



In the warmth!!!!

J5 - 6:30 pm
We arrived at the village and found a guesthouse:
- This evening, it is in the warmth that we shall sleep and certainly with a good meal

29



The guesthouse and the misfortune of Yulongxi

Our Tibetan host was really strong and caring. She called a driver to lead us to Yulongxi, this "touristic place", where we wish to take a bus to return to Kangding. The road allies the multiple turning down mountainous landscapes. Wondeful views!
Arrived on the road towards the peaceful small village, we meet no circulation for fifty kilometers. Big incomprehensions between a Tibetan speaking mandarin and the few vocabulary of Vincent. We decided to change our plans to go to Shade, from where we got back a bus for Kangding.

30



Some words of Franzi

I am not at all a sportive person. That is why I was afraid at the beginning of the trek. I thought the boys would have asked me too much efforts. Surprisingly the first day was great: the view was magnificent and I was very motivated. But the next days, the rain and the cold all day long, demotivated me a lot and tired me. We were maybe not prepared enough. I wondered several times: "what am I doing there? Why not returning in the warmth at home?". But after having survived this trek, I am really proud of me! In spite of the difficulty, together, we arrived there. Thank you very much Vincent and Pierre, to have motivated me every day and allowed me to live this unforgettable trek. I would not have arrived without you there and I would have been able to regret it. Especially when I look at my attractive photos, I think of you and cannot help smiling! :)

31



Some words of Vincent

One big thanks to you, Pierre. Without your motivation, your perseverance, your physical sacrifice to carry our bags in difficult times, we would have never crossed this cursed pass. It is doubtless the most demanding hike of my life but how stimulating and memorable it was! A test for the body and the spirit to become aware of our hidden strengths. A beautiful adventure between friends, breathtaking landscapes, a rare and considerable silence in China, a feeling of humility in front of the power and the beauty of the mountain ranges of Himalaya, the generosity and the hospitality of the Tibetan people, and a persistent headache which is a big disturbing sacrament, this is what I shall remember of this trek of madness together with a first class adventurer and with a brave German "tourist" up to the end.

32



This trek in summary according to me

So I spent one of my weeks in China. Free from this tourist's status, left to my own devices and with two friends, we surpassed the difficulty during this trek without guide and even rised up to 4800m: what a success coming from this bet! It was not easy every day, each of us suffered at different times but this is the way the best adventures sray engraved in memories.
Here is the map:
http://cdn.displays2go.com/images/minya-konka-map.gif
And here are the instructions for the adventurers of you who wish to follow our path!
http://zhilamhostel.com/trekking-gongga-on-your-own/

1


The incredible trek around the mount Gongga
By Pierre with Vincent and Franzi

Three companions:
- Pierre, the experimented
- Franzi, the photographer
- Vincent, the guide

And one trek had, everything sounds to be a great plan... The fate decided otherwise...



The program

The region of Kangding
Situated on the highway leading from the Sichuan to the Tibet on the West , we were situated in the mountains where live mainly Tibetans. In brief the Tibet outside the "Tibet".

The mount Gongga (Minya Konka) reaches a height of 7556m, but we shall follow it and shall only cross only a pass at 4800m. Departure ar 3500m, the pass during the third day and two days to cross a chain of valleys dug by the enormous rivers Riwuqie and Moxi Gou. It looks like a great program!
The difficulty of the trek is medium, we anticipated the food for six days in case.



A complicated departure

J1 - 10am
In China, any situation different from the ordinary, becomes problematic. But we solved it well: Vincent had well organised the beginning of the program and a taxi dropped us in front of the mount. Time for adventure!

But, but, what's happening Vincent?
Feeling ill-at-ease? an headache? It is certainly the acclimatization: passing from zero to 3300 meters in two days, that is a lot.
After some energy bars, a paracetamol and a good break, we could go! It was time: landscape welcomed us. What a motivation! I had pins and needles in the legs!
We thus began to walk, but we realized quickly that the taxi drop us after the village of Laoyulin. We were not able to ask the local people to drive us forward with their four-wheels and thus we had additional twenty kilometers to arrive at the "real" departure at 3500m.

There was no other solutions, it was necessary us to go up by ourselves. Five hours besides the long program which waited for us... Bad luck!

One hour later, a break was necessary for us. And... a big four-wheel car arrived! We tried and got lucky in hitchhiking, asking three small seat and to advance us for sixteen kilometers: a good thing done.



The Chinese came to defy us

J1 - 1:30 pm
We had chosen to keep our independence and spent a good trek by ourselves to surpass us. But from the beginning of the trek, we saw this group of Chinese tourists, that left the same day with a little slower rhythm. Furthermore, they can count on the back of mules to transport their loads and provisions, and on guides to prepare them good meals. Frustrating!



Rain

J1 - 3:30 pm
The rain joined us during our trek. Sudden, it falls during the whole trek to undermine our mind, to dip our stuffs but not entartrer our determination!



The trek became memorable

J1 - 4pm
We began to perceive big meadows and inside, black bushy big beasts: the yaks! We could approach them carefully even.



Mass of fallen rocks, that rocks!

J1 - 5:45 pm
Four hours later, it was time to find a location to the camp Dacaoba to crash tents. The wind had turned up, I chose a rocky hillside of mountain to shelter from the cold. Franzi was sceptical, afraid a rock avalanche. But the enthusiasm of both guys finally convinced her.



Time to warm up!

J1 - 6pm
The cold arrived. It is true that at 4000m, we had to deal with temperatures less scorching than in Chengdu during summer.

To warm up, we began the elaboration of a fire. It is without taking into account the humidity of the wood, a Chinese stupid toilet paper and a devil's wind. One hour later, we gave up.

Also Vincent's face did not appreciate the sun and he started peeling in spite of a cloudy weather (the sunscreen in mountain it is essential!). Franzi is more subtle: a small red nose...

Some stretchings, some paracetamol to calm the troubles of skull, a good meal to take back strengths. Even the wind tried to enter in the tent to protect itself against the icy cold. We let it one tent and warmed ourselves in the second tent (2ppl), watching a good movie about climbers in danger and got relaxed. The cape of the first day was passed!



The complicated second day

J2 - 8am
The first beams of the sun raised on the tent. We opened the tent and... Showers of grey clouds were monopolizing the top of the sky in the direction of our path. That morning we had free showers...
We warmed up in front of a good hot chocolate, packed bags and tents and then started.

Small problem: it was now Franzi that was lacking of energy. Big tiredness and the altitude which makes its usual effect, damn! Are we going to cross the pass?
Because of our reserves, two tents, big sleeping bags, and other equipments, we had about forty kilos to carry. The fatigue is the danger number one and we decided to relieve Franzi of her twelve kilos on the back and we left with a less steady rhythm.
Summary of the situation: we needed quite a lot of motivation to exceed all these issues: cold, fatigue, height, humidity, wind and rain, heavy bags and in every hesitation, the doubt of the turning around.

My excess of confidence and zeal was the only assurance. We decided to go up to see the pass and to postpone the choice of turning around to the next day, depending the state of each one.



The breeder of yaks

J2 - 12:30pm
We followed the river Riwuqie since some kilometers and were in the middle of the Gyazila passage. Then we distinguished a tent and especially the perfect to have a break. We arrived to a breeder of yaks who invited us to drink some water (hot obviously) and who explained his life in the pastures.
Language barrier of course, Vincent who has been living in China for eight months, does not succeed in deciphering his sentences. We understood that he owns 100 yaks and his wife showed us her liters of yak milk, that she uses as butter, cheese, cream.
In bonus to indicate us the way, they offered us medicine against the altitude sickness, ideal for my companions!



Focus on the glacier.

J2 - 3:30 pm
We arrived finally at the camp Riwuqie at 4200m. The second day ended with the intensification of the rain. We warmed up in the tent of a second yak breeder and especially could observe the glacier, behind whom there is the pass!



Feeding of yak in Xia Riwuqie

J2 - 5pm
We settle down in tents, when...
ACUTE WHISTLINGS!

The breeder was calling his yaks, grazing the grass 500m higher and... We attended to a descent at a gallop of 80 yaks, stronger than their cousins, the "cows", running for 5-10 minutes to return. If the ground did not tremble, it was close!
And surrounded with his yaks, the breeder throws them granules or minerals. While I approached to examine them, he shouted me to leave: the yaks are dangerous and risk to darken me above, hook forward.



The Peeping Tom!

J3 - 7am
During night, I did not fall asleep and contemplated the sky: this night was so studed, what a show! Here was the small moments of magic of the journey, I thought.
I fell asleep again. In the early hours, Franzi opened the tent and at a 5 meters distance of the tent...



Here we go, again!

J3 - 8:10 am
The morale of the troops was set fair, since we were able to load a bag on a mule. The ascent of the pass will be less complicated with it. My companions stopped to have a picture-break in front of this magnificent glacier. And I, meanwhile, I shivered by waiting for them at the foot of the pass.



Snow...

Obviously we had enough problems! The snow fell during the night and overhanged the circumferences of the pass. More complicated conditions of walking but an enjoyable decoration!
We were then in Shang Riwuqie, in front of a completely frozen lake, which feeds the river of the same name: we returned with magnificent photos.



The pass Riwuqie at 4800m covered with snow

J3 - 10:30 am
The last 50 meters are very stiff. While Vincent and Franzi remained contemplative in front of the summit and I began to climb with large steps (very quickly) with my big bag. Slaloming between the very hesitating Chinese, I reached the summit. And at the time of appreciating my victory, Vincent shouted me something... : the mule wad too unbalanced by our bag, we had to carry it ourselves until the pass. I thus had the right in my second steep little climb to the summit. It was cold there, but we used photos at a reason to warm up!



The big winter meadow

J3 - 11am
To get down again, we had to carry our own bags and with 25 kilos on shoulders, I tumbled down the slope in sprint in front of the group of amused and very careful Chinese.

We arrived then in front of a big valley covered with grass. It was here that the yaks come every winter. And at the top of all this, a solitary yak looking at us of scornfully.



Variable weather

J3 - 2:45 pm
The barometer would become crazy there. Within two hours, the weather got totally deteriorated. The rain kept bothering us and the brooks of the glaciers became enormous mudslides, shading off the tracks of our path. It was necessary to clear a substitution path and sometimes to walk in the mud without hesitating!



The crossing of the river Moxi Gou in flood

J3 - 4:30 pm
In front of this river in flood, the group of Chinese hesitated to cross to join their mules that had already crossed before the floods.

The passage is constituted by a very wet trunk thus slippery then by some stones under waters.
It's a whole entertainment to look at them. One of them stayed in the middle blocking everyone and demotivating them to cross the slippery trunk (when the water level kept rising). In front of their ineffectiveness, I took the initiative to jump on the trunk then on some submarine stones!
The situation got finally solved and while I was building a passage of bigger stones, one of the Chinese walkers found the "real" passage, 10 meters further.
The Chinese left while we installed the tent, waiting at night to the camp Moxi Gou, to cross with our heavier bags the next day.



Crossing of streams

J4 - 1pm
The path continues to cross glacier's waters, and while some were rising their pants, an audacious guy tried the crossing barefoot.

Flop, oops, my shoe escaped me! I catched it up, finished the crossing and noticed that a sock inside has disappeared, taken by the current. A beautiful end for a sock...



Lunatic weather

J4 - 1:30 pm
And while we were following the track of the group of Chinese, the weather improved. I took the time to appreciate the sun, and especially to rest of the load on my back.
Searching for the lost bridge...
"Approximately three hours of walking according to the map! ", Vincent indicated proudly this morning. Four hours later, we were between 300 and 500 meters over a very abrupt slope, which dominated the big river in flood, and no bridge at all!
Everybody seemed worry. However the tracks of mules always continued in the same direction then we moved forward.



Vous êtes fatigués !

J4 - 4:30 pm
The fatigue, the exasperation affected us hardly, it was necessary to stop. We found a camping spot in the sun - ideal to breeze - and we filled our paunches.



The usual meal

They did not make the unanimity. But the Chinese soups remained the best way to take a snatch during treks. Light, rather nourishing and fast to cook. Memory!

Vincent will also remembered vile oat flakes and the comfort of sausage and or chocolate.



A bridge on the starboard beam!

J4 - 6pm
Seven hours of walking passed and there finally: I perceived a bridge between trees! As impatient as I am, I looked for a path which leads to it. We arrived in front of an intersection composed of three directions. We were more and more exhausted, that helps us to choose the wrong way going directly towards the river and thus the bridge!



The last chance for a fire

J4 - 6:30pm
It was late, we needed a rest before a long ascent so we crashed the tent along the river. The place abounded of dead wood. In spite of the air humidity and the ceaseless drizzle, we decided to make a campfire.

I used my whole knowledge there: some paper in the dry kindling, the average wood to create the structure of a campfire; the big wood being ready to hold over time We put the fire to the paper and nothing worked. A shelter against the wind was built and nevertheless, always no success. Twigs warmed up, makmde small flying sparks and then nothing. We had to stay into the cold and the humidity...

And as a consolation, the card games: the UNO and the Shit Head, we had lots of fun.



The rise towards the pass

J5 - 9:45 am
The next day, in spite of our tiredness, it is necessary to go, the objective is not far! "One hour of rise, then it is the descent: easy!", Vincent kept repeating us. Convinced by his words, we started the climb up as soon as the rain stopped ...
... but the rain started again with very fine droplets. We climbed, crossed bridges and rivers, perceived a wild boar... Bears are said to grind on this side of the river: hurry up! But Franzi couldn't follow our rhythm. During one of our numerous breaks I perceived a refuge...
The Mount Gongga and its implications
J5 - 12 pm
"I have no idea where we are!" Vincent said, "this Chinese map is so bad!" We checked it and got the same conclusions. Not reassuring!

Vincent left the refuge to inspect neighborhood, while I prepared the cooking. Once our stomachs got full, we saw the mist dissipating and through clouds, Minya Konka appeared, the mount Gongga. We recognized the 7556m, its size compared with its neighbors, its eternal snows and glaciers.
"We are in front of Gongga, we were supposed to see it long time ago! We are moving forward to the pass of Yulongxi, it is not the right direction! It is necessary to return on the path and to move forward during approximately two hours more before finding the "truth" bridge.
I climbed at the top to see the pass closer and approved Vincent's new location. Nothing was sure, but according to the map, that was the worst option.
We went down in one hour with good rhythm. I was even outstripped with my heavy bag because I tried to save my ankles. We arrived at the crossing where we had taken the wrong direction. Vincent:
"Wood on the ground seem to have been used for an old barrier - that somebody left open! And here, a sign which showed us the other direction! Damn! We could have noticed it!"
Easy to notice now! I set the barrier right again, to block the road to the next misled walkers and we went to examine two other ways which go back up on the valley. The one is spotless of muds by the clogs of mules, the other one is used by the walkers and both joined: we found the road!



The flags of the hope!

J5 - 2 pm
And here we went again for endless kilometers! The concern grew but the steps of donkeys reassured us even after a day of interval.
Suddenly...
A valley got free and even several. Three hours already passed. The bridge is certainly there! But no path can be perceived! We continued to move forward to hillsides and suddenly...

We arrived on the high rounding of the mountain range. We could see on the other side of the mountains of forests and the little reassuring clouds. We passed on the other side of the mountain range and began to get down again...

We arrived in a location with a lot of signs indicating a monastery. We were not far from our final destination! We verified three times the road markings (in Chinese obviously) and took the direction of our village. The rain was still there but nothing could stop our motivation at that moment!



In the warmth!!!!

J5 - 6:30 pm
We arrived at the village and found a guesthouse:
- This evening, it is in the warmth that we shall sleep and certainly with a good meal



The guesthouse and the misfortune of Yulongxi

Our Tibetan host was really strong and caring. She called a driver to lead us to Yulongxi, this "touristic place", where we wish to take a bus to return to Kangding. The road allies the multiple turning down mountainous landscapes. Wondeful views!
Arrived on the road towards the peaceful small village, we meet no circulation for fifty kilometers. Big incomprehensions between a Tibetan speaking mandarin and the few vocabulary of Vincent. We decided to change our plans to go to Shade, from where we got back a bus for Kangding.



Some words of Franzi

I am not at all a sportive person. That is why I was afraid at the beginning of the trek. I thought the boys would have asked me too much efforts. Surprisingly the first day was great: the view was magnificent and I was very motivated. But the next days, the rain and the cold all day long, demotivated me a lot and tired me. We were maybe not prepared enough. I wondered several times: "what am I doing there? Why not returning in the warmth at home?". But after having survived this trek, I am really proud of me! In spite of the difficulty, together, we arrived there. Thank you very much Vincent and Pierre, to have motivated me every day and allowed me to live this unforgettable trek. I would not have arrived without you there and I would have been able to regret it. Especially when I look at my attractive photos, I think of you and cannot help smiling! :)



Some words of Vincent

One big thanks to you, Pierre. Without your motivation, your perseverance, your physical sacrifice to carry our bags in difficult times, we would have never crossed this cursed pass. It is doubtless the most demanding hike of my life but how stimulating and memorable it was! A test for the body and the spirit to become aware of our hidden strengths. A beautiful adventure between friends, breathtaking landscapes, a rare and considerable silence in China, a feeling of humility in front of the power and the beauty of the mountain ranges of Himalaya, the generosity and the hospitality of the Tibetan people, and a persistent headache which is a big disturbing sacrament, this is what I shall remember of this trek of madness together with a first class adventurer and with a brave German "tourist" up to the end.



This trek in summary according to me

So I spent one of my weeks in China. Free from this tourist's status, left to my own devices and with two friends, we surpassed the difficulty during this trek without guide and even rised up to 4800m: what a success coming from this bet! It was not easy every day, each of us suffered at different times but this is the way the best adventures sray engraved in memories.
Here is the map:
http://cdn.displays2go.com/images/minya-konka-map.gif
And here are the instructions for the adventurers of you who wish to follow our path!
http://zhilamhostel.com/trekking-gongga-on-your-own/

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