15-Dec-2004 -- 30 N – 91 E Tibet, China
Visit Date: December 15, 2004
This is our first successful line hunting trip in Tibet and it is the highest confluence point we have visited thus far at an elevation of 4,480 meters.
The hunting trip was a side trip to a visit to the rural health facilities in the Lin-Zhou County located north of Lhasa city. There were options of several counties near Lhasa, it was not a coincidence that we picked the one where the nearest confluence point from Lhasa city happened to be located.
It was very fortunate that, in a relatively sparsely populated area, 30N-91E was located very near the Chun-Dui Township. It goes without saying, Chun-Dui Township was recommended by the team for the site visit.
The visiting team consisted of Ray of the Y-B Group, Leland Li from Beijing, and Robert Bennon from Bangkok. Our gracious host was very agreeable with the proposed location – it was a shorter distance than going to the Lhasa airport – and made arrangement with the Lin-Zhou County Health Bureau. Dr. Zang Jin of the Tibet Health Bureau accompanied us for the visit to Lin Zhou.
We had brilliant and relatively warm weather on this mid-December day. It took less than an hour to arrive to the county seat of Lin-Zhou and we were joined by the county Chief of Health, Dr. Ni Ma Chi Zhen, who is also a Tibetan Medicine practitioner. We arrived to the Chun-Dui Township by mid-morning and started our visit of the Township Health Center – an impressive operation which is doing a lot with very limited resources.
We had at least an hour before lunch, so we headed toward the direction of the confluence point which was about 7 km straight-line distance from the township center. Looking toward the direction where the confluence was located, it was evident that this CP was in the mountain, or on the other side of a fair size mountain range – a sign of a difficult hunt.
As we started turning off a road toward the CP and heading toward the mountain, the local guide told us that the road only could go about 7-8 km. Maybe that would be far enough to bring us near the object of our hunt.
Luck was on our side for this hunt. The road lead us to a village exactly 1 km from the CP, except that it was going to require a steep climb – a rocky slope at about a 50 degree angle. We drove further and were able to reach the other side of the mountain where this CP was located. We left the car at a location which brought us within 920 meters, a straight-line distance from the point, but more importantly, the slope we were now facing was a grassy hill with a 30 degree angle for the most part.
We started the hike toward the CP at 4,200 meters (photo 1). This was one of the most challenging 1.5 km-hike for those of us who were not yet acclimatized. We were huffing and puffing all the way. Of course, our local friends walked up easily without much effort.
30 minutes after the start of the hike, half of the group was happily standing at the CP – only 300 meters higher than where we had started but seeming much higher. The point was located almost 4/5 of the way up this mountain, and the view was spectacular. We put a few stones to mark the point
Walking down was a breeze. We made it back to the township center by 2 pm for a hearty meal of potato and yak meat.
The rest of the afternoon, we visited another township health center and the Tibetan medicine part of the county hospital. We reached Lhasa at dusk.
What a great day! I never thought we could have squeezed a line-hunting side trip in a mountainous area like Tibet. The thin air made this venture all the more memorable.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 3 – Going up 300 meters with a starting elevation of almost 4200 meters while not properly acclimatized was the main challenge (Scale: 1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 4– Classic Tibet highland view – open and vast (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 5– rural Tibetan culture – not the least changed from the past (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)