Chip and T summited on Thursday, October 6, 2005. The weather was completely cloudy until about 8:00 a.m. It cleared up for a total of about 1 1/2 hours which gave us a prefect window to summit.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge is correctly termed "Hu Tiao Xia" in Chinese.
Tickets (As of summer of 2008) from Zhongdian (Shangri-la) cost 31 yuan to Haba Village. The ride takes 3-4 hours depending on how many people are picked up on the road. Experienced (but not certified or trained) local guides include Yang Shaoming at the Haba Guest House located at the end of the bus route. Also, a new base camp facility with wood stoves is in the process of construction and will be completed by winter. The man to call is Yang Zhixiong who is a guide and runs the facility. It is 30 yuan/night. Horses can carry bags to BC for 100-200 yuan. Guides charge also 100-200/day.
For travel arrangements and trips throughout this area, I advise contacting my friend Kevin at Turtle Mountain Outfitters in Zhongdian (Shangri-la): 13988780844 or email@example.com
The hike to base camp usually takes on average 4 hours with an average elevation gain of 4,500 ft. Haba features two summits, one is the main which is located east and the other is the second which is located just west of the main. Any one who climbs from the base camp will see a grey slab to their left or SE that leads to the main summit. The trail looks like its been traveled on by cattle and even features steps cut into the rock. This is the regular route and is considered Grade II (from BC). It does not require your typical red line picture, because most of the north side of the mountain has been climbed with various different routes since it is technically easy and is all Grade II with 30-40 degree snow/ice slopes, minimal crevasse danger (there are some 2-3 ft. wide fissures that are usually bridged by snow in the winter). My Chinese friends tell me the second summit, even though still a Grade II, is a bit more technical when also climbed from the north with larger crevasses requiring roped travel and also steeper slopes. I know no one who has climbed either from the east ridge, south face, west face or any of the beautiful peaks located on it's southern ridge though there is great potential. I also believe the mountain's north side is going to be great for skiing.
For best climbing season I suggest November through April. Winter temperatures usually stay at an average of -5 Celsius. The weather is dry and the lower valleys surrounding Haba (especially the west side) are free of land leeches.
There is a boulder field located to the south of the Black Lake at an average elevation of 14,000 ft. Good place to play around on rest days. Bring your slippers and tell me about some of the problems you put up.
Other than that, Haba's main route is a great climb for beginners who want to experience easy technical climbing at a bit of altitude. It is also a great mountain to train people in crampon technique, self-arrest, roped travel, etc. In fact that is what many Chinese climbing clubs use it for, especially during May and October.