OverviewThe Hengduan Mountain Range stretches from northwest Sichuan and far eastern TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Region) down to the border of Myanmar with Yunnan Province. For centuries it has formed a formidable mountain barrier between the historic Chinese lowlands and the Tibetan plateau. Cut by deep gorges and valleys, the range is home to four major rivers of Asia: the Irrawaddy, Salween, Mekong, and Yangtze. Because of it's rich habitat and isolation, many rare, but endangered species of both plant and animal can be found here.
Mountain groups and peaks within the Hengduan include but are not limited to: the Kawagebo Group (Meili Xue Shan), Jade Dragon (Yu Long Xue Shan), Nu Range, Haba and Tianbao, Balagezong, Haizi, Chola, Four Girls Group, Genyen Massif, Yading Group, and of course Minya Konka and her satellites. Most mountains are in the 5,000-6,000 meters range and offer various degrees of difficulty.
Many people have considered this area the "untouched Nepal" because of it's drastic altitude differences and also its remote character. Although this was true 9 years ago when I first began traveling through, it is hard to say now that the area has become more popular.
Climbing seasons include all year according to the various beta and depending on location. The general dry season is late October through May. The general wet season is June through early October.
Any corrections or additions from other users are welcome and will be posted here with discretion.
Getting ThereMain port cities include Chengdu in Sichuan Province and Kunming in Yunnan Province. From these cities there are both flights or buses to the cities that lie either at the foothills or within the Hengduan themselves. Cities include, but are not limited to: Lijiang, Zhongdian (Xianggelila), Deqen, Chamdo, Kanding, Wenchuan, Garze, Litang, Daocheng, etc. Both flight and bus tickets are best booked in China because of discount rates. Private vehicles may also be hired from Kunming, Chengdu or any of the other above mentioned cities to more remote areas. Note: prices vary depending on mood of driver, distance of trip, remoteness of trip, quality of vehicle, your ability to bargain, and whether you can speak Chinese.
For more detailed information on mountain routes and transportation it is highly recommended that you contact either the Sichuan or Yunnan Mountaineering Association. You can also browse the many peaks listed on this website that are part of Hengduan Range. Do either a search on Sichuan or Yunnan.
Red TapeVisa requirements have been changing quite rapidly over the last two years. For better information, check out the Chinese Embassy website located in your home country.
Not all, but many popular peaks require you to register and pay permit fees with the Sichuan or Yunnan Mountaineering Associations. If you enter a preserve or park, you will also have to pay entrance fees.
Please be respectful to the local customs and beliefs of the people living around the mountains. Some mountains, Kawagebo or Genyen for example, are considered holy and locals may not want you to climb them without their explicit permission.
Warning: These areas are remote. Do carry your own medical supplies with you. Adequate health care or search & rescue may not be available.