Niupeng Peak is one of the first major peak up the Bipeng Valley from Lixian, Sichuan. At the head of the valley are Yangmantai and Huangho Feng and the pass over to Changpeng Valley as well as a number of other stunning peaks above 5500 m.
.Although closer to ShanghaiZi than Banji Peak, this peak has yet to be summitted; it poses a more serious technical challenge than the normal routes on Banji. One can climb the summit westward off of Banji to gain the summit, or cross the glacier lowerdown and attempt Nuipeng north face from the glacier, about a 250 m granite wall.
Alternatively, one could climb Niupeng from the west, although this is only feasible in winter when the lower falls and drainages in the upper basin are frozen.
Anyone with time and interest for putting up some alpine first ascents will be interested in visiting the area.
The Bipeng Valley has recently been opened up for tourism development, although little has been done to upgrade the area other than putting in a paved road and building a metal hut at about 3500 meters. There is presently no electricity in the valley and the care-takers at the hut were local tibetan farmers who spoke Chinese. The caretakers at ShanghaiZi have recently built a wooden guesthouse that can sleep up to twenty people. this will be your first choice in winter.
Total driving time from Chengdu is 4.5 hours. Drive northwest from Chengdu towards Dujiangyan then take highway 317 towards Wenchuan and Maerkang. About 15 km west of Lixian, turn south into the lower Bipeng Valley. 10 Km up the road you come to a turn-off and a toll gate for Bipeng Valley (elevation 2259). Continue up the road, past the reception center 13.7 km beyond the gate for another 15 km to a white metal building with blue roof at Shanghai Zi. Niupeng Peak raises directly to the east.
You may choose to stay one night at the Guer gou Hot Springs Resort located 15.7km past the Bipeng turnoff on highway 317.
Technically you should contact the SMA in Chengdu before attempting first ascents of summits. There is a fee of USD2000.00 for new peaks at this altitude but there is no one in the valley to collect the fees.
As the develpment area is just being formed, fees will increase in future. We recently paid RMB30/person to enter Bipeng Valley, this increases to RMB60 during the high season.
When To Climb
In early March 2004. deep snow prevented us from hiking in what appeared to be the most straight forward route to the base of the high glacier. We had thigh deep snow for 2 hours up to a waterfall on the lower mountain and progress was slow, heavy new snow turned us around two days later.
Snowfall is heaviest in March/ April. High passes in the area are said to be clear of snow in June; this would be the same for the approach to Nuiping Peak. Any weather advice for climbing in the area would be greatly appreciated.
You can camp indoors or out at the Shanghai Zi Hut. We pitched our tent inside in the winter. Most likely necessary to set on camp for attempting even the easiest routes on these peaks. In 2005, the caretakers built a wooden guesthouse that is open year round. In winter we paid RMB40/person/night for room and two meals a day. They turn on a generator a few nights a week for light and to watch videos. The only heat was the kitchen stove where you will spend most of your freetime in winter.
We have heard the area becomes crowded during the May 1st and Oct. 1st holidays, otherwise you can expect to have the place to yourself. The development company is considering putting in electricity and serving food at hut and the reception center during peak seasons.
You can expect pristine, pure alpine climbing but little beta or assistance if you run into trouble. Area is out of reach of cell phones. There are numbeous ice falls in the area and many lead to the upper basins and the unclimbed peaks above. The most stable weather seems to be in Jan/Feb with nightstime low temps around -10C. The weather can be quite changable the rest of the year.
There are very few people in the valley and you will be on your own once you leave the main road. Do not expect help in case of emergency. For longer, more involved peaks it is advisable to hire a guide, perhaps from Rilong, to help you arrange things locally. Cell phone coverage ends at the bottom of the valley before the turn-off from Lixian.
It's in Chinese, but this will change.