Haba to Shangri-la

September 29-October 10, 2012

Guide Price: US$1,800

 

Includes pick-up and drop-off at Lijiang & Shangri-la airports, and all accommodation and meals in between 

 

 

 

 

This is our current favourite route, a wonderful trek following a key section of the ancient Tea & Horse Trail where it ascends the Tibetan Plateau for the first time. From the spectacular depths of Tiger Leaping Gorge, past snow-capped Mt. Haba and over the tremendous crest of Mt. Tianbao, this is a dramatic and diverse journey, climaxing as our mule caravan comes over a final rise and directly into the heart of Shangri-la's old market town.

 

Click here to see a rough route map

 

Itinerary

September 29

Arrive Lijiang

You will be met at the airport/railway station and transferred to our team's guesthouse, where we'll have dinner and an orientation meeting to discuss the schedule for the following day. For those arriving on the morning flight, in the afternoon there will be an opportunity to visit the Tea Horse Trail museum in Shuhe to learn more about the history and culture of our trekking route.

Guesthouse

Dinner

 

September 30

Lijiang-Haba

We will drive by private bus to our trek starting point at Haba Village, passing via the celebrated Tiger Leaping Gorge, where we can stop for a while to appreciate the Yangzte River's deepest, fiercest gorge. Haba is usually used as a base by mountaineers preparing an ascent of Mt. Haba, the fourth-highest mountain in Yunnan Province (5,396 meters). Haba is a fascinating village in its own right, home to 7 different ethnic groups. The Hui are particularly unusual as their women dress exactly like the Tibetans further north. We stay with a Han family in their simple guesthouse. Above the Haba Mosque is the magical Dragon Spring, where there are also examples of local tree worship.

Guesthouse

B,L,D

 

October 1

Haba to Guangtou Pasture

In Haba we join our horse team, which will accompany us the rest of the way to Shangri-la. Today is one of our most challenging days, but also one of the loveliest, as the trail takes us past a grand view of the main peak of Haba and (given good weather) within sight of the mountaineers' base camp. The hike takes us to camp on one of the highest pastures of the range.

Trek: approx 5 hours

Elevation gain: 1,000 meters

Distance: 8 km

Camp

B,L,D

 

October 2

Guangtou Pasture to Lujia

Today features a long, down-up trail passing through a couple of remote Yi villages, in the second of which we will probably stay with a local family.

Trek: approx 6 hours

Elevation range: 3,650-2,400 meters

Distance: 13 km

Guesthouse

B,L,D

 

October 3

Lujia to Annan via White Water Terrace

Today returns us to the main road at the White Water Terrace, a natural limestone formation that is at the heart of the Naxi people's Dongba religious tradition. I think we can make this section by lunchtime if people are fit, in which case the mule team will push on ahead while we eat and visit the Terraces. We'll drive the 20 km to Annan, as there's no way of avoiding the road on this section. Annan is the first Tibetan village north of the Jinsha River. We hike approx 1 hour to our base camp, where fortifying yak butter tea and an evening meal await.

Trek: approx 4 hours

Elevation range: 2,400-3,200 meters

Distance: 9 km

Camp

B,L,D

 

October 4

Mt. Tianbao South Route

We begin the long trek up Mt. Tianbao. This is a wonderful day's hike, initially through a primeval beech, maple and rhododendron forest to the beautiful Benghuo Pasture, where we will either enjoy lunch or camp, depending on progress. If we are making good time, we will carry on up to camp below the crest of Mt. Tianbao. This would be the highest camp of our journey, approx 13,000 feet above sea level.

Trek: approx 6 hours (if to high camp)

Elevation gain: 600-900+ meters

Distance: 8 km

Camp

B,L,D

 

 

October 5

Mt. Tianbao

The landscape here is magnificent and the trails are in good condition despite the remote nature of the views. Herders run their yaks on both sides of the mountain. We will pick our campsite today according to progress.

From the high campsite it's an hour to 90 minutes' climb to the pass, after which there's a side trail to a spectacular alpine lake, which also offers us a potential campsite on this evening.

Trek: approx 5-6 hours

Elevation range: 4,115-4,475-3,650 meters

Distance: 5 miles/8 km

Camp

 B,L,D

 

 

October 6

Mt. Tianbao North Route

A rolling trail takes us towards Dabao Temple: once an evocative little establishment belonging to the Dalai Lama's "yellow" sect of Tibetan Buddhism; recently completely rebuilt. We can expect to share our journey with a few Tibetan yak herders today.  

Trek: approx 5-6 hours

Elevation range: 300  meters

Distance: 10 km

Camp

B,L,D

 

October 7

Dabao Temple

The valley where this temple is located is particularly lovely, hence its choice as the location of the Shangri-la Banyan Tree Resort. We should have time to make a side trip to the temple either today or the following morning.

Trek: approx 5-6 hours

Elevation range: 200  meters

Distance: 8-10 km

Camp

 

 B,L,D

 

October 8

Dabao Temple to Shangri-la

Our final day's hike should take about five hours to cross Mt. Wufeng (approx 3,500 meters) and reach the center of Zhongdian Old Town (above). You can just see the trail coming over the dip in the mountain in the center of the picture. It should be possible to unload our mules right on the doorstep of our lodgings, which will be in a restored building in Old Zhongdian, to my knowledge the best surviving example of an old Tibetan market town.

Trek: approx 5 hours

Elevation range: 400 meters

Distance: 10 km

Guesthouse

B,L,D

 

October 9

Reserve Day

Delays are common on this route, and so we leave this day to either a) make up time lost en route, or b) if we have arrived on time on Day 10, you can enjoy an extra day resting and exploring Shangri-la/Zhongdian. Flights from Shangri-la airport go to Kunming, where transfers are available to all parts of China as well as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Guesthouse

B,L,D

 

October 10

End of Journey

Breakfast only

 

For further details or to inquire about making a booking, please write to: ed@redrocktrek.com