Prayer flags, glaciers, high roads, and shrines to a sacred mountain.
Prayer flags litter the ground on a mountain pass south of Deqin
April 26-27, 2002
This story continues from Zhongdian.
The road began climbing and at one point reached an elevation of 4500 meters where intermittent snow squalls were replaced with expansive views in all directions. 6054m Miacimu is along this road.
Getting closer to Deqin, numerous small shrines and prayer flags dot the road, all in view of Kawa Karpo, the 6740m sacred peak. However on this day, the cloud line was around 5000-5500 meters denying us the sight of the pyramidal summit of this famous peak.
We passed through the town of Deqin, driving another ten kilometers towards Kawa Karpo, stopping at a shrine directly in front of the huge mountain. Behind it stood several guesthouses. We stayed at a no-name establishment with comfortable beds for Y20 each. No bath facilities. The toilet was the bushes across the road.
Dinner was a communal affair in the smoky, dark kitchen of the guesthouse and was nothing to rave about.
Hoping to awake to a clear view of Kawa Karpo we instead had to settle for rain. Cold rain. Very cold rain. It was about five degrees celsius (40 Yankee degrees) with a steady drizzle that did, thankfully cease around nine a.m., but the clouds never lifted off Kawa Karpo.
There was something significant about this day and Chinese were arriving at this shrine by the dozens to make offerings to the spirit of the mountain.
The town of Deqin is nothing to rave about. The whole purpose of the journey from Zhongdian to Deqin is the journey itself and Kawa Karpo. If visiting Zhongdian I highly recommend hiring a car and driver for two days and making your way up to Deqin and Kawa Karpo, which hopefully, you will be able to see. Do not bother taking a bus as much of what there is to see lies along the road between the two towns.
Beijing / Chengdu / Dali-Xiaguan / Deqin / Guangzhou / Guilin / Haba-Baishuitai / Hailuogou-Moxi / Hong Kong / Huashan / Kangding-Luding / Kunming / Lijiang / Shanghai / Simatai / Songpan / Suzhou / Tengchong-Baoshan / Tiger Leaping Gorge / Xi'an / Yangshuo / Zhangjiajie-Wulingyuan / Zhongdian
All text and photographs © 1998 - 2006 Gordon Sharpless. Commercial or editorial usage without written permission of the copyright holder is prohibited.