31-Jul-2010 -- This is the last out of a series of eight confluence reports. The story starts from 25°N 102°E.
After visiting 27°N 101°E in northern Yúnnán Province, I took public transportation to Chéngdū, where the confluence team met up.
We were told that the road to Wòlóng (卧龙) was closed due to after-earthquake and after-flooding construction work. Before the construction work would start in the morning at about 7:30 a.m., the road was supposed to be open. Therefore, we had an early start at 5 a.m. We managed to get through this currently difficult and dangerous road with many freshly occurred landslides, arriving at the trail head (near 30°57'57.7"N 103°6'54.2"E) at 9:30 a.m.
After a steep hike upwards for almost 1000 m in height, we had lunch near a paddock for horses. Right after the lunch break, we saw a red panda in a tree, surely a highlight of the tour. From then on, the path followed further upwards through a coniferous forest leading over to Rhododendron thickets and finally open grassland. Our group slowed down, due to the height, untrained condition and backpacks overloaded with food. It was already evening when we reached the stone house that had been described in previous reports. The group was exhausted and suffering from altitude sickness. One could summarize the evening as: silence, no dinner and an early shut-eye.
The next morning, only Peter and I were ready to attempt the confluence point, which was still 4.6 km horizontally and almost 1000 m vertically ahead of us. While the other part of our group climbed back down, Peter and me hiked further to a mountain pass (2.1 km, 4360 m), where Chris, Peter and Simon had turned around. This time it was just 9 a.m. and we were confident to reach the confluence.
However, we decided not to follow the ridge, because it looked dangerous and would have required climbing the peak at 4700+ m. Instead, we tried to follow the contour lines. At first, progress was fast, but at a distance of 1.6 km and having walked half an hour, the terrain got rough and we had to traverse several canyons. This took too much of our time. When we finally started to climb upwards in order to traverse the main ridge, our time was up. At noon, it was still another 1.2 km and we saw no chance to make it to the confluence point and back to the stone house that day.
After having lunch, we returned and reached the stone house already before 4 pm. Spontaneously we decided not to stay one more night, but climb down into the valley. Right at dusk, we made it down back to the road. We were exhausted, but our wives appreciated our early arrival. An hour later a heavy thunderstorm occurred. I can’t imagine how the path would have turned into a mudslinging ground.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 8.5 km
- Distance to a footpath: ca. 3 km
- Distance of parking the car: 9 km
- Distance to a house: 4.6 m
- Time starting the hike (from the stone house): 7:00 a.m.
- Time at the closest point to the CP: 12:15 p.m.
- Hiking time from the stone house to the return point: 5 hours
- Measured height at the point of return: 4498 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1.26 km
- Topography: Steep mountain terrain.
- Vegetation: moss, scattered yellow flowers.
- Weather: changing, 12° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: Near the center of Sìchuān province, close to the Famous “Four Girls Mountain” (四姑娘山).
- Given Name: The Red Panda Confluence