Monday, December 16, 2019

De-Gong Highway update

I wrote before about the newly opened road that connects the Mekong (Lancang) valley and the Nujiang (Salween) from Deqin to Dimaluo/Gongshan. Well here's the first English account of a westerner crossing it by bike - the heroic Vlad, who seem to have been a teacher in Korea before his epic bike trip through China. As you can see, the road was blocked by a scary landslide ...

Monday, October 21, 2019

Genyen trek 格聂峰

Nothing new to report on the Joseph Rock front, but I've just completed a mini-trek from Litang to Batang via Mt Genyen (格聂峰, Chinese: Ge Nie Feng). A very nice and remote undeveloped part of Tibetan western Sichuan, with very few western tourists. And these days it makes a nice change from 'Rock' territory such as Yading, which has now become saturated with tourism development.

I got the inspiration for doing the route from Tom Nakamura's book about the mountains of western China. He shows an interesting track from Genyen's Rengo Gompa (Lenggu Si monastery 冷古寺 to Batang via a place called Bomi. In reality I found the track is now already a dirt road and is being upgraded to a scenic highway! Quite a few Chinese trekkers do the so-called C-Line half kora around the Genyen range, starting at Lamaya and ending at a place caled Anju, from where hire vans connect with the main Litang-Batang highway. Example blog (in Chinese)

And as usual the local Tibetans are offering transport on their motorbikes. I'd originally planned to hike from Lamaya (600 yuan van tide from Litang) to the monastery, but my driver showed me that there is now a good road all the way to the monastery, where he dropped me off. Free camping, but not much else by way of facilities there - a small restaurant and shop, but no mains electricity or phone coverage.

You can see more of my photos on Insta:


For anyone interested in trekking to Genyen and Rengo monastery, here are some practical points:
Daily bus from Chengdu to Litang, costs about 220 yuan, leaves at 6.30am, arrived in Litang (via Ya'an, Kangding and Yajiang) at about 4-5pm.
Litang: stay at the Summer Hostel (Xiatian Hostel, about 40-50/night for dorm), where the staff can introduce you to guides/drivers for Genyen. I used a guy who hangs round the hostel called Jiang Yang (13684494474), who was OK, speaks a little English - charges 600 yuan to hire his van for the trip to Genyen.
At Genyen you can stay at the monastery, where there is a simple guesthouse (?150-200Y a room a night?), or camp. You can hire local Tibetan guides/porters at the monastery from the going rate of 350/day for guide and transport - ie motorbike.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Just discovered a marvellous source of 1940s images of Yunnan

If you want to see what Yunnan looked like when Joseph Rock was there in the 1940s, check out this  archive of the photos of US Army Air Force combat photographer Eugene Wozniak

Eugene took many amazing photos of everyday life in Yunnan combined with some exciting ones of US air force raids on places like Hong Kong.

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