Haizi Shan is located in the Northern Daxue Shan in the west of Sichuan Province. It is situated approximately 50km north of Kangding at the head of the Yala Valley. This is one of several Holy Mountains that can be viewed from the Monastery at Tagong and Its other names include Zhara ('King of Mountains') and 'Notched Peak'.
It's uncertain at the time of writing if Haizi Shan has been climbed. In an article written by Tamotsu Nakamura published in the 2003 AAJ the author states that the mountain is unclimbed. In an earlier AAJ however a report states that the mountain was climbed by a Japanese team in 1998 although from the description given it seems that they may have actually climbed Lotus Flower Mountain (5704m) near Kangding and mistakenly reported it as Haizi Shan.
At the time of writing i'm confident that the mountain is at least officially unclimbed but its unlikely to stay that way.
The closest town to the mountain is Kangding which in turn is located along the Tibet - Sichuan Highway. Kangding can be reached in 10-14 hrs from Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan Province). Currently there are extensive road works from Kangding to the Erlang Shan Pass and therefore buses only leave Chengdu for Kangding on alternate days. Check www.khamaid.org for the latest information.
For North Face routes the best access is provided by following the Yala Valley northwards from Kangding. From Kangding follow the road that goes towards the hot springs and Mugeco Lakes. This road follows the Yala Valley for approximately 20km and is paved for the first 10km or so (to the turn off to Mugeco Lakes). The final 10km is dirt track but can be driven on providing it hasn't rained too recently.
At the end of the track there are several Tibetan style farm houses and horses can be arranged here although they will need 1 or 2 days notice. The rest of the journey must be made on foot/horse. The route follows obvious trails along the wooded valley and takes you past several Yak herding pastures (3-4hrs) where its possible to camp if you started late in the day.
The trail continues to gain elevation very gently until the end of the valley is reached. The trail then continues northwards and steepens until a plateau containing 3 lakes is reached. The first 2 lakes (3-4hrs) are at an elevation of ~4200m, continue past these to the third lake surrounded by Pine trees at a lower elevation of ~4050m. Camping sites are available at the lake shore which is directly beneath the north face of the mountain.
Other routes may be available on the west face, the best access would probably be from Tagong (3-4hrs by bus from Kangding).
Permits from the Sichuan Mountaineering Association (SMA) are required. According to the UIAA website, for a peak of <6000m the cost is US$30 per person although if the mountain hasn't been climbed this could well be more.
Whether a representative from the SMA would accompany an expedition to this mountain is uncertain.
When To Climb
The weather in this part of China is governed by the monsoon giving a rainy season from late April to September. The best time to climb would be either pre monsoon/spring (late March to early April) or post monsoon/autumn (late September to early November). The post monsoon season would probably offer the most stable weather.
Good base camp sites can be found at the lake shore beneath the North Face of the mountain.
Kangding has a few shops where you can buy noodles etc and Tibetan Breads, fruit and other fresh produce are readily available. However, your better off bringing high energy foods, dehydrates etc from home.
Virtually no English is spoken in this area so you'll need to have at least a basic understanding of Mandarin.
Around 8 or so other unclimbed peaks exist in the Northern Daxue Shan, these are mentioned briefly in Tamotsu Nakamura's article (2003 AAJ). They are non-glaciated, rocky peaks around 5000-5700m in height. I was able to visit the foot of one of these peaks in 2003, see the photo below.
- Sichuan Mountaineering Association
The 'rumour book' has some up to date info on the travel situation.
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