First sister normal route

First sister normal route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 31.00000°N / 103.00000°E
Additional Information Route Type: Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Difficulty: Walk-Up
Sign the Climber's Log


Find the trailhead leading steeply up the hillside just before the bridge, when coming from Balang Shan Pass, over the river bisecting Rilong Village. You gain the ridge quickly and if the weather is clear you soon get fantastic views of all four sisters. Continue up the hillside untill you reach the top, a wide grassy ridge separating Haizi Gou to the north (your right while going up) and Changping Gou to the south.

You will follow the ridge for a few miles steadily gaining altitude. As you approach timberline, you will leave the ridge and drop down slightly into Haizi Gou and hike directly up the center of the basin below the 1st sister. Make your camp in the basin at somewhere around 4200 M. The exact altitude will depend how much snow is on the gorund, and how long you want to climb the next morning.

Depending on your conditioning and acclimatization, you may want to rent a horse to carry your pack to C1. The horses will want to drop down into Haizi Gou soon after reaching the ridge out of Rilong. If you walk with them on the low route, you must forego great views of the peaks of Changping Gou.

Hiking time to C1 is 4 to 6 hours. Some very strong climbers have completed the climb from Rilong in one long day.

Route Description

The climb up the 1st Sister is quite straight forward from the basin. Choose either to follow the line up to the col to gain the ridge running north to the summit, or make the ridge further to the north above the col. Either way, once on the rigde, simply follow it north to the summit.

When there is still enough snow in the basin, you will be able to shorten the route by gaining the ridge as far as possilbe above the col. With less or not enough snow beneath the col, you will be forced to scramble through loose scree and the best line will be directly to the col.

Stronger climbers with good conditions can plan on reaching the summit from C1 in around 2 hours.

Essential Gear

Can be done most of the year with medium weight hiking boots without any technical gear. Hiking poles are suggested.

Miscellaneous Info

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