Sunday, November 04, 2012

Yes! I 'did' the Doker La!

Just back from China, after completing half of the Kawa Karpo outer kora. Crossed from Yongzhi near Deqin to the Nujiang at Abing. Didn't compete the second half due to blisters and other factors (lack of time and money). However, the five days I did spend on the trek were amazing. Had perfect weather and saw some great scenery. And even more amazing, bumped into last year's Yading trek partner Peter on Day 2, while camping just below the Doker La. Had a surreal meet up with him and his three fellow Aussie trekkers at breakfast after unwittingly camping right next to each other!

Crossing the Doker la was fantastic - not quite as hardcore as I expected to get up there - but super scary steep going down the western side! I nearly bottled it when I first saw how steep it was but my guide shamed me into continuing and literally held my hand over some of the worst and most exposed sections of the track. And ironically, after spending years wondering what it would like to be up there, I spent only a few moments on the actual pass as it is a knife edge and smothered with prayer flags - not a place you can linger and soak in the atmosphere.

Overall, I found the trek to be quite tough in some ways - lots of up and down, and yet I trekked with a Canadian guy Derren who managed to do it in sneakers with just a sleeping bag, a sheet of polythene and an umbrella! I needn't have brought the tent (or even the stove) as there are pilgrim way stations at regular intervals along the kora which all have primitive shelters, shops and hot water.

More updates soon when I get the photos developed.


Chris Lamb said...

Wonderful blog! I too am a fan of Joseph Rock having a collection of all of his old National Geographic articles from the 1920s & 30s. I've read part of your book, and it's a great read.
I noticed that you are using Google Earth for tracking some of your routes now. Any way I can get some of the KML files?
Also check out - if you're interested in time based map tracking.
Chris Lamb

Michael said...

Glad you like the blog/book-in-progress

Sorry I don't have any Google Earth data - but my friend Peter Jost is
well up on this sort of thing. He did a trek with me round Yading and
had all the GPS data - likewise for our recent foray around Kawa

You can contact him at mepeterjost ... AT



Anonymous said...

Hi, I have just (belatedly) discovered your amazing blog. I've only been to places like Kangding and Danba, but hope to return to the area.

By the way, I tried to download your draft from Scribd (which I'd never used before), but Scribd kept on loading its main page and refreshing it, making it impossible to navigate - any ideas?


Michael said...

Not sure what's happenig there - one of them is a huge file so maybe worth clicking on individual chapters rather than trying to load the whole manuscript.



Anonymous said...

Great Blog Michael. My account on the trip:



Michael Woodhead said...

Thanks Zak - it looks very green in August - we had more autumn colours. Great route description on Thorn Tree, I've added a comment.