AsiaChinaDeqin

Reringkha : ELEVATION!

Deqin Travel Blog

 › entry 159 of 268 › view all entries
The Meilie Xueshan Range (partial)

Our predicament of the night before is heavily compensated when we arise to clear blue skies and unimpeded views of the Meili Xueshan mountain range.  What a perfect start to the morning.  I’m dozy as heck, but prizing one’s eyes open for the sight of such treasures is worth the pain of early morning bleariness.  So bright!  Such a fantastic view you almost feel that, sensitive as they can be so early in the day, like those of a new born babe, your eyes might almost burn up a little, unable to cope with the light of so much that is of unexpected awe and beauty so soon in their nascence.  The tone has been well and truly set for what will be an amazing day of mountain watching.

Fairly simple plan today.  Walk back along the dusty-as-f**k road to Tashi’s Lodge in Reringkha.

  Take a break.  Trek up the mini-mountain behind the village.  Say all together “Ooooooo! Ain’t that pretty!”.  Trek back down.  And have a beer.  It’s a simple plan.  I like it that way. 

[ Just flicking through my notebook (07/06/09) I can see that the 'mini-mountain' is called Rhibungi - so this entry relates the adventures of the Rhibungi Trek :)  ]

And it’s good that we’ve been able to stuff our greedy eyes full with the magnificent views straight off the bat this morning as it must be said, even averting our eyes from the disgrace of The Great Wall of FeiLaiSi (as we choose to dub it) the walk; the road that runs between here and Deqin (Reringkha bein’ in the middle) is also a horror show right now.

  This whole area, as with so much of China, is a continuous slew of construction work right now.  The roads in the process of being widened? Renovated? Re-laid? Decimated?  I don’t know what.  But there are trucks and builders everywhere.  And dust!  So much dust!  Fortunately the rains of the night before have damped it all down for us a bit. 

Nick and I also experience one of those more curiously contradictory good/bad China moments.  Walking along a taxi car with a young couple in pulls over and very kindly offers us a lift to wherever we‘re headed.   “Bonza!”.  Just starting a faltering conversation, barely 200 yards down the road when the driver stops the car.  Hmm?  There is a police patrol car up ahead and it is apologetically explained to us through translation by the couple that he is uncomfortable to be seen by the cops driving foreign travellers so “Sorry! But you’ll have to get out… so sorry!”.

Marcel and Ernesto take five.
  Sheesh!  We actually would have gotten further by now if we’d never been offered the lift in the first place.

A pretty simple trek today.  It’ll be a round trip of approximately 10km.  I can be fairly accurate on such points today as Marcel is packin’ some awesomely useful little GPS gadget thingamy that constantly tells ya how high you are, how low you are, how slow you are, how far you’ve walked, how long you’ve been stationary (the ‘Lazy Sh*t-ometer function' ), can do cartwheels, tell you the sum total of 2 + 2 to equal 4 and more, predict your future, provide the answer to the question of ‘What is the meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything?‘, maybe steals your wife, maybe steals your life etc, etc… it’s a clever little gadget is what I’m sayin’!

We are joined for the ride by Ernesto from Spain too.

Stevie back in the flags! :)
  The more the merrier!

The trek up the hill provides one of my favourite little treks to date.  Not too super challenging but at the same time, the elevations we’re reaching mean that the effects of altitude can be clear and present, so’s we have to take it nice and easy.  By the time we reach the summit we will be sat at 4,250 metres above sea level.  This is the highest I will ever have trekked to with me own two feet and pinkies.  Approximately 120 metres higher than Annapurna base Camp in Nepal.  My previous highest reach for the skies.  Yesterday at 4,300 metres was in a bus.  That don’t count.  To date I’ve not experienced any symptoms of altitude sickness.  Not knowingly anyway.  The same is true heading the other way.

(Prayer rainbow) Muju [www.mujuworld.co.uk]
  No visible signs of nitrogen narcosis at nearly 40 metre sea depths.  Not knowingly anyway.  ( “Denial is the first symptom people!” )  Maybe I handle pressures well?  A virtue of a compact frame?  Who knows.  But you can never take either of these situations for granted… so we take it slow.  Poor Nick in particular suffers quite a bit from the thinning of the oxygen levels.  A heavy smoker with reduced lung efficiency following a childhood illness - “yeah yeah I know, ya don’t need to be his mother and point out the obvious incompatibility of these two facts alright! He knows, he knows.”.

Firmly into Tibetan territory now.  Not even so many kilometres from the border up here - which makes The Authorities twitchy around these parts.

Keep on trekkin'!
  This means that white stupas are beginning to predominate in the landscape and - “Yey!” - vast rainbow spider web strings of Buddhist prayer flags are spreading their multicoloured drapery over small areas of the landscape.  They are such a beautifully celebratory compliment to such scenery as this.  Blue skies, white snow-capped mountains with the segueing of verdant pine tree greens to brown and stony-grey swatches of rocky tundra and “red and yellow and pink and green.  Orange and purple and blue!  I can see a rainbow, see a rainbow…”  ya get the idea.

Once we crest the ridge, to our left and all the way up we are treated to stunning, stunning panoramas of the wispy cloud-teased Meili Xueshan range.  The three main magisterial peaks of Mount Miancimu ( 6,054 m), Jiariren-An or ‘Buddha Head Mountain’ ( 5,470 m) and the awesome Karwa Karpo with the Minyong Glacier shining all the way down its flank.

Snoooooooow... and little white fluffy clouds!!! "YEY!"
  Also named (and probably better known as) Meili Snow Mountain, at 6,740 metres this latter peak is the highest in Yunnan province and is a highly sacred mountain within the Buddhist system of beliefs.  It is one of a trinity of peaks that are believed to be manifestations of the 3 cardinal aspects of Buddha.  Karwa Karpo representing his ‘mind emanation’, Mount Khailash in western Tibet his ‘body emanation’ and Ne Tsari in central Tibet his ‘speech emanation’. *

Our route to the summit today is accompanied by sunshine, birds and yaks and also a curiously conducted group of locals who scurry around with tiny little picks and shovels, hugging tightly to the ground… ears and eyes almost to the very dirt like troops under fire in some war flick or something.

  We have a quick chat to try to divine the purpose of their behaviour and it seems that they are trying to spot extremely tiny and rare glimpses of some mountain elevation herb or root that must be of extremely high commodity value to justify the day long efforts of 8 or 9 people at these heights for evidently very little success.  Tibetan truffle hunters or some such.

To cut a long story shorter (but not short enough I know!) and you’ve heard it all before from me, we reach the summit and sit and stare for a long, long time.  Our spirits singing with happiness at the 360 degree panorama that is the priceless reward for all our efforts.  “Worth the pain, huffin’, puffin’ and strain right Nick?”.  In its completeness and variety of peaks and views both up, down (Deqin visible way back at ground) and around this is the finest view I have yet had in my life yet.

The Summit Gang.
  Once more on this journey my soul is in danger of escaping through the top of my head to go in search (prematurely) of its own private Nirvana.  Singing and swimming amongst the little white fluffy clouds that dance so gracefully about the mountains of this world.  I feel the elevation.  The small sense of levitation that one has in such moments.  Not satisfied that the body has reached a personal best height, you feel that physical sensation of maybe cheating gravity - just a little - and floating several feet above the ground in addition.

It is so fantastic to be back above the snow line.  Nick and I were giddy as little kiddies to achieve this goal today.  Standing proudly for photos upon the first virgin patch of icy white we came across whist the others carried on.

Celebratory beers and more inredible views behind the camera.

So what was the plan again?  Oh yeah!  Trek up the mountain. “Tick!”.  Say all together “Ooooooo! Ain’t that pretty!”.  “Tick!”.  Trek back down.  “Tick!”.    And have a beer.  Which is about precisely what we do.  “Tick!”.  I love it when a plan comes together etc…

On route down we lads amuse ourselves by inventing (for the 50 millionth time in the history of the evolution of the indisputably complex male psyche no doubt)  the game ‘Yak-Shit-Kick a’Poo’ whereby the contestants see how far they can kick and cause a dried yak turd to roll down the hillside.  This draws forth Kathlyn’s statement “Ya see, this is why I so prefer to travel with boys!  Girls would never do that!”.

SATAN!!! The sexually frustrated pet goat at Tashi's. It's his own fault. he had a partner. A white goat called Angel who mysteriously throttled herself to death with her own rope one morning. S'what ys get for sleeping with the devil love!
  We like Kathlyn.

Anyway, less chatter.  Time to sip our celebratory beers with Satan, the cloven-hoofed overlord of Reringkha. (This last point will be made clear by the relevant photos).

* This last fact gleaned from www.travelwestchina.com whilst checking mountain spellings.

mountaingirl says:
Great blog! I am planning a trip there and there are so many things I want to see and do but so little time. But I definitely want to do this trek :-)
Posted on: Jan 17, 2012
Stevie_Wes says:
No. Not at the time of year we were there anyways. I am extremely tolerant of cold, but I think even factoring this in, we did not experience particular chills whilst trekking in Yunnan.
Posted on: May 27, 2009
iodized_96 says:
great pictures, Is it extremeley cold out there during night time?:)
Posted on: May 27, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The Meilie Xueshan Range (partial)
The Meilie Xueshan Range (partial)
Marcel and Ernesto take five.
Marcel and Ernesto take five.
Stevie back in the flags! :)
Stevie back in the flags! :)
(Prayer rainbow) Muju [www.mujuwor…
(Prayer rainbow) Muju [www.mujuwo…
Keep on trekkin!
Keep on trekkin'!
Snoooooooow... and little white fl…
Snoooooooow... and little white f…
The Summit Gang.
The Summit Gang.
Celebratory beers and more inredib…
Celebratory beers and more inredi…
SATAN!!! The sexually frustrated p…
SATAN!!! The sexually frustrated …
Early morning view from FeiLaiSi
Early morning view from FeiLaiSi
Prayer flag spider web.
Prayer flag spider web.
(Karwa Karpo) Muju [www.mujuworld.…
(Karwa Karpo) Muju [www.mujuworld…
Ernesto, Kathlyn, Marcel & Nick : …
Ernesto, Kathlyn, Marcel & Nick :…
Ernesto and the mountains.
Ernesto and the mountains.
Small rewards.  One of the Tibetan…
Small rewards. One of the Tibeta…
The locals crawl spiderlike over t…
The locals crawl spiderlike over …
Meili Xueshan Range & clouds
Meili Xueshan Range & clouds
Deqin seen far below.
Deqin seen far below.
The Mingyong Glacier crawling down…
The Mingyong Glacier crawling dow…
What a view!
What a view!
Nick, his shiny pate and Karwa Kar…
Nick, his shiny pate and Karwa Ka…
Stevie too nervous to get nearer t…
Stevie too nervous to get nearer …
YAK!
YAK!
In bloom.
In bloom.
Sylvia in the middle of some artis…
Sylvia in the middle of some arti…
Deqin
photo by: Stevie_Wes