On the way to the Yalong canyon.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
Thursday, June 23, 2005
This was another mountain pass that Joseph Rock had crossed with great difficulty on his month-long journey from near Lijiang to Minya Konka:
“We had already been informed at Deon Gomba, a tiny monastery recently looted by the Konkaling bandits, that the Druderon although not high, was snowed in and hence impassable. With an exhausted caravan it seemed hopeless …” he wrote.
“The following morning when I looked out of my tent and beheld our camp almost buried and our animals shivering in the cold, I really feared for the shelterless men who had stayed behind with the exhausted mules. I also feared for the two of our soldiers who had braved the pass the evening before. They were to go to [Jiulong] to bring us yaks, which could plough a trail through the deep snow and help us across. The snowstorm continued for a short time; then the sun appeared. This was the last day of April, 1929.”
Again, we were lucky to have clear weather and a good driver for our crossing of the Druderon Pass.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
"Zou Ba!" (Let's Go!) were the words of Wang Qi on a bright
Monday morning. True to his word, there was a Landcruiser parked
outside the hotel, loaded with supplies for a family visit. Also
crammed inside the car were his wife Pema and his 20 year old
daughter Namu, a medical student in Chengdu. She had died bronze hair
and a face like a serene Tibetan Buddha, and she relentlessly teased
her father as we set off up the road to the Yangwe Kong valley.
"A-ba - will they have a horse big enough to carry you up the
hill" she sniggered. Later on she hummed songs and practised
counting up to a hundred in the local Tibetan dialect:
"Dali, Nali, Songli ..."
It didn't seem like we were setting off on an expedition to find a
"Have you got my handbag? asked Pema in the back. "I've got
something special for Aunty Mera in it"
The road followed the familiar dirt track that went up to Wuxu Hai at
first, but then split off to the west up a much rougher track. As we
ascended up to what Joseph Rock called the Druderon Pass I clung on
tightly to the handles inside the car, but still could not avoid
being bumped and bruised as the Landcruiser rocked and bounced
There was little to see in the valley - fir trees and some old water
races diverted to turn water wheels in little shacks tht were use to
grind corn. But no sign of human habitation.
Then we neared the pass and rose above the tree line, the landscape
could have been Scotland - brown moorland and an alpine tarn - and
the imposing bulk of a grey limestone peak which Wang Qi told me was
called Kangwo Shan.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Apologies for poor picture quality - scan of a badly underexposed slide that has been Photoshop enhanced. Some better pics to come of thie beautiful and unvisited peak, near Jiulong. Joseph Rock was here in 1925 - but never took any pictures. I wonder why not?
Will tell you more later. Just to say that no outsiders have seen this mountain since Joseph Rock visited in 1925. I took some terribly underexposed photos with slide film that I have tried to correct using Photoshop. This is the result. I have some much better print images that I will scan soon.
This pic was taken out of the window of the bus ont he way to Jiulong, somewhere south of Xinduqiao. It's a scan from a slide, hence the not-so-great quality.
I have a load more photos to add tothis blog of my most recent visit to Jiulong and the mountain called Muti Konka. But I have to wait until my article is publsihed first in a certain Geographical magazine: can't break their embargo.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Monday, June 13, 2005
Sunday, June 12, 2005
A bit off topic this ... but the next few pictures are some nice scenes of Pumi people's lives taken in the 1980s by Shanghai photographer Shen Che, in a village called Lazi near Lugu Lake. The connection with Joseph Rock is that the Pumi are one of the most common "minority nationalities" around Muli.
These pictures come from Shen Che's excellent book Life Among the Minority Nationalities of NW Yunnan".
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Saturday, June 04, 2005
This is Zheduo Shan, the 4200 metre pass between Kangding and Litang. Below, where the cloud is, lies Kangding and beyond it the plains of Sichuan. So this, in effect is where the eastern Himalayas give way to the lowlands of China. From here on it is the highlands of Tibet. I took this picture on the way from Kangding to Jiulong.