Hello Again. In this post, I feature China’s Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. If you read my previous two posts, you may recall that (back in November/December) I spent a few weeks in China’s Yunnan Province — and that I stayed in a small guest house in the pretty town of Lijiang — using Lijiang as my base to explore outlying areas via single-day and multi-day side trips. My side trips included the Town of Lijiang (posted), Tiger Leaping Gorge (posted), Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (this post), Potatso National Park (will post soon), and Blue Moon Valley (will post soon). As I pointed out previously, Yunnan Province is situated in the Himalayan region of western China and is renowned for the beautiful mountain scenery and a clean environment.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is 36 km long and has a massif consisting of 13 peaks ranging in altitude from 16,000 to 19,000 feet. This is much higher than any location in the U.S. Rocky Mountains. Even though Jade Dragon mountain is located 30 km from the town of Lijiang, it is so huge that it towers over the town. When you look at the mountain from the town of Lijiang, it feels as though it is only 2 km or so away. The immense size of the mountain tricks your brain into sensing that it is very close. There are immense high-country grasslands on Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Local farmers graze their yaks in these high meadows and there are many hiking that afford astonishing scenery.
There are three ways to ascend the mountain; via a very steep iron walkway (which is literally a vertical ladder in places); via riding a mule; and via cable car. There a three separate cable car systems – one goes about a third of the way to the top, one goes about two-thirds of the way, and one goes to very near the summit (only a couple thousand feet from the summit).
The cable car that goes nearest to the summit ascends 5,000 meters in about 10 minutes! During the cable car ride to the top, most people must resort to the oxygen bottles that are provided. This cable car lands at about 16,000 feet. At that point, if you wish, you may walk the stairway which takes you to about 1,500 feet short of the summit. This is the stopping point.
I ascended by walking the via ferrata (iron walkway and ladderway), and I descended via the cable car. I did not need supplemental oxygen at any point along the way 🙂 But, it was a bit brutal at points.
The side of the mountain that is opposite to the Lijiang side forms one side of the incredible Tiger Leaping Gorge (see post on Tiger Leaping Gorge). The tallest of the 13 peaks, Shanzidou peak, is clearly visible from Black Dragon Lake in the town of Lijiang, and is regarded as one of the finest views in China (see my photo to the left).
Interestingly, only one time, Shanzidou peak was climbed to the ultimate summit. Back in 1987, two Americans reached the summit, an extremely treacherous technical climb due to the massive amounts of snow and ice year around.
The local cuisine of Yunnan Province in the vicinity of Snow Dragon Snow Mountain is worth mentioning, and consists of a variety of dairy and cattle products, including yak butter, yak steak, yak milk tea (delicious), yak milk yogurt, yak milk and cream, and yak milk cheese. Pali is the traditional bread.
Aged Pu’ehr tea is the traditional tea of Yunnan Province. Pu’ehr tea leaves are aged and slightly fermented for at least a few years before used for brewing, and this provides a unique smoky flavor. Most Pu’ehr tea comes from tea trees that are over 100 years old.
There is a small gallery of additional photos below. Clicking on any of the photos launches the slider gallery. You may need to give it a few seconds to load.
And, don’t forget, clicking on any of the photos embedded in the text above brings about a more enhanced and brighter image of the photo.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts for destinations in Laos, Cambodia, New Zealand, Australia, Myanmar, Japan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, and China. Finally, my usual reminder, if you scroll to the very end of this post, there is (as in all my posts) an area to leave comments or ask me any questions that you may have. As always, I would love to hear from you. I hope that you enjoyed this post.