Monday, April 25, 2016

Starting to train for the Yading Big Kora ...


I am trying to improve my fitness for the forthcoming Yading kora, by doing a few preparatory treks and testing my knackered knees with some climbing of the fire exit stairs in my 14-storey office (complete with 10kg weighted backpack).

One of my main concerns for the kora is acclimatisation to the 3000-4000m altitude, especially as I have only two weeks in total, and little spare time to get used to the altitude.

The other worry is how I will carry enough food for six-seven days travel - it looks like my pack is going to be pretty heavy to start with. I'll be relying on my usual diet of salami/crackers with a dehydrated dinner supplemented with some mash potato. One possible solution is to arrange for a food stash to be left at the three way pass (day five). This can be reached from Luorong, via the two lakes, and I may even do this myself as a way of acclimatising.

And my other great fear is dogs: anyone who has walked in remote Tibetan areas will know what I mean. The dogs kept by yak herders and farmers are vicious, aggressive beasts. We didn't encounter any on our last trek, but that was because we didn't stay in any settlements. My concern is that if I go off track or there are new 'camps' up high then I may run into dogs. Eek.

For these reasons I will be looking to get a guide at Yading. Easier said than done, if last time is anything to go by. And even if i do find a guide, I'm also wondering what he/she will do for shelter. I'm planning to stay at the stone huts along the way, where possible - but they are very bleak shelters with no warmth other than the fire you can build if there' any wood to be had. I'm taking mt Nemo Hornet 1 person tent, which is incredibly light - but barely big enough for one.




2 comments:

Peter Zhang said...

Hi Michael, Peter here (we emailed a few times recently about Yading).
I was just thinking about those dogs, I had a close encounter with one in Yading village itself, while walking down the main road in the dark- down to the "Longlong ba" entrance to the nature reserve. Luckily the dog was friendly...it followed me silently for a while then pranced about and finally left me alone. but definitely had some adrenaline going as I saw it trot up to me- It had a broken length of chain dragging from its collar!

As I'm strongly considering some kind of trek in July (hopefully the big kora) I guess I will have to consider the same issues. With any luck, the rain and end of caterpillar fungus season will mean less locals out along the big kora circuit... but thats just an assumption. A walking stick and pepper spray offers little reassurance. hmm...

I'm going to prioritize acclimating too because the last time I was there, I wasn't able to really enjoy it as much as I wanted, headaches, being "out of it" at times and real loss of appetite along the trek. I was able to do the small kora just fine but still. If the bus ride is tolerable, I may do 3 full days in Kangding (elevation 2500 meters) before heading on to Daocheng/Yading.

Michael Woodhead said...

Yes acclimatising is the big question. I've felt terrible on some om my excursions into west Sichuan - not just Daocheng. Taking it easy by going via Kangding sometimes helps, but there's no substitute for time and gradual ascent.