Thursday, August 28, 2014
Plan B: Cizhong to Dimaluo via the She La
Although I am supposed to be doing the Kawa Karpo kora next month I am tempted to go for Plan B - cross from the Lancang to the Nujiang via a more southerly route (and one that Rock took on his first trip) - via Cizhong and the She La pass, not to be confused with the Sho La further north, on the Kawa Karpo circuit. The She La is known in Chinese as the 蛇拉腊卡垭口 (Shelalaka Pass).
I have found a few Chinese trekker blogs with some good pictures of it, and I have also tracked down the actual location of the pass via latitude and longitude - not easy! The pass was suggested to be in three different places by three different people. I tracked down the real location from a photo that a Chinese trekker took of his GPS on the pass.
Anyway, the crossing seems to involve a long slog up a wooded valley just to the south of Cizhong, up to the last steep section up to the She La. On the way there are several cabins and pastures that serve as lodgings. Over the pass it seems to be a steep zigzag down into the Sewalongba valley. This looks like a very marshy place and many people have described it as a leech zone. Some trekkers even tape up their ankles and cuffs to try keep the blighters out.
Through the Sewalongba the next stage is to the Balagong Pass (巴拉贡) - Rock called this the Doyonglongba. Some people have stayed overnight in cabins in lower parts of the Sewalongba at a place called Chuka Muchang (pasture) or 初卡牧场. From the Balagong pass it is a fairly straightforward descent through forest to my old haunt of Baihanluo and its Catholic church, just above Dimaluo.
I am thinking of doing this trek and then heading up north beyond Bingzhongluo to Chawalong, from where I can make the crossing back to the Lancang and thus to Deqin.
For those who are interested the co-ordinates for the She La are: 27°59'53.46"N, 98°47'32.70"E.
And for the Balagong Pass: 27°57'30.70"N, 98°45'10.02"E.