This peak is part of the Qionglai range（邛崃山脉）, in the Siguniangshan（四姑娘山）(Four Girl Mountains) region. It is accessed from Shuangqiao Gou（双桥沟）(Double Bridge Valley). This valley has been developed for tourists and as such the base of the peak is now very accessible. The valley floor itself has a height of around 3700m and the peak is at 5360m. It is covered with a snow cap all year round, although much of the ascent looks to be on rock.
We regularly use a local Tibetan guide for our other climbs in the area, and he has made an initial investigation of the approach and route to the summit. He reports a relatively straightforward ascent with some pitches of climbing on rock required.
As an acclimatisation and training peak we will first attempt the second peak of Siguniangshan itself. This has a height of 5454m and is regularly climbed by Chinese groups. Dragon Expeditions and our guides have a wealth of experience in guiding this relatively straightforward peak which mostly consists of trekking through snow.
An alternative activity for those members of the group not wishing to attempt the ascent of Lieren Feng is the third peak of Siguniang Shan (5664m). This is a little more technical and slightly higher than the second peak, and as such makes a good second peak in the area for those who are less confident in their abilities. Again our guides are familiar with the peak and we have successfully guided several groups to the summit.
D1: Arrival in Chengdu
One of our guides will meet the group at the airport in Chengdu and will take you to your accommodation in a pleasant well equipped local hotel near our offices.
An evening meal will be arranged with your climbing guides and representatives from the Sichuan Mountaineering Association.
D2: Recovery, tourism and shopping
Experience shows that an international flight followed by a bus ride to high altitude just serves to make people tired and does nothing for acclimatisation. A day in Chengdu at the start of the trip primarily allows a recovery from the previous day’s flight but also gives the chance pick up last minute shopping from the many Western supermarkets in Chengdu as well as stare in wonder at the pace of China’s development.
A number of possible easy day trips can be arranged depending on personal preference. Chengdu is famous within China as the home of the Panda and so perhaps the most popular trip is to the 150 hectare “Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding” which gives easy access to the animals in pleasant parkland. An alternative trip is to the enigmatic Sanxingdui museum with it’s numerous impressive bronze, jade, gold and ceramic remains from a clearly advanced but unknown civilisation dating back to Neolithic times. For those interested in more recent Chinese history, trips to some of the temples and sites around the city centre itself are also possible.
D3: Travel to Rilong
We leave Chengdu early in the morning by private transport (or public bus), travelling to the Tibetan region of Rilong via the impressive Balang Shan road pass (~4523m). The evening will be spent in a locally owned Tibetan hotel in Rilong town (~3300m).
D4: Acclimatisation and supplies
A short drive from Rilong takes us to the county town of Xiaojin where we can visit the markets and stock up with fresh food for our trip. Some gentle exercise around Xiaojin helps with our acclimatisation to the altitude. After shopping we’ll return to Rilong and organise gear for the next morning’s departure. Those who don’t want to join the rest of the group shopping can wander around Rilong or hike into one of the surrounding valleys.
D5: Haizi valley (Approach to 2nd Peak Base Camp)
Six hours of easy walking North East from Rilong up Haizi valley (海子沟) takes us to our base camp at the foot of the second peak of Siguniang Shan. This camp is on grassland at a height of around 4200m.
D6: Summit, return to base camp
An early start and hopefully favourable weather allows us to summit and return to base camp in a single day. Our pace will be steady and the walking relatively easy, albeit with quite a lot of ascent. Snow conditions are usually good and there is rarely a need for crampons on this peak. We should summit early afternoon and hopefully return to base camp a little before dark.
D7: Return to Rilong
An easy trek back down through Haizi valley takes us back to Rilong in time for a good meal and a few beers.
D8: Rest and recovery, Enter Shuangqiao valley
Rilong town that is now popular with Chinese tourists as well as a base for climbers. It’s not quite the Chinese Chamonix, but perhaps the closest we have. An easy morning sending e-mails, downloading photos, repacking gear and generally recovering, then we’ll drive into the scenic Shuangqiao Gou mid-afternoon.
D9: Establish base camp
The road along much of the scenic Shuangqiao Gou gives us fast access to the base of the peak. Much of the day will be spent finding a suitable site for, and then establishing, base camp. Porters will be available to carry the majority of our gear.
D10 – D13: Climbing on Lieren Feng
Although the height difference between base camp and the summit is only around 1500m, and the climbing is not expected to be technically difficult, this is nevertheless and unclimbed peak and some route finding problems and false starts can be expected. Allowing four days for the climb is probably sufficient, perhaps with returns to base camp or with a lighter camps established en route. Either way, throughout the climb a member of the Dragon Expeditions team will remain at base camp with radio and binoculars to monitor the progress of the group.
D14: Return to Rilong
Striking base camp and returning to Rilong is a relatively quick operation and we can expect to be back in Rilong long before dark, hopefully to celebrate our successful summit.
D15: Return to Chengdu
An early start and around eight hours drive sees us back in Chengdu for hot showers, souvenir shopping and perhaps a break from two weeks of Chinese food.
D16: Flight home
Bus to the airport.
For a group size of six a discounted price of 20,000 RMB per person is offered. This price includes everything except flights to Chengdu, western snack food and dehydrated meals and personal expenses such as souvenirs. It specifically includes the following external charges:
- China Mountaineering Association unclimbed peak fee
- Sichuan Mountaineering Association foreign climber management charge
- Siguniang Area environment protection charge
- Shuangqiao Gou National Park
- Haizi Gou National Park entrance ticket
- Climbing insurance
Services from Dragon Expeditions
- All transport by private hire vehicles where possible. Local regulations regarding licensing of drivers and vehicles for foreign tourists may mean that transport for climbers between Chengdu and Rilong needs to be made by public bus rather than by rented vehicles. A rented vehicle will accompany for equipment.
- Full guiding services on 2nd and 3rd peaks of Siguniang Shan as required
- Full base camp service for attempt on Lieren Feng (group and climber tents, food, cook, logistics, …)
- Three nights accommodation in Chengdu in new, clean local hotel
- Entrance tickets to tourist sites in or around Chengdu
Every member of the group should aim to own, beg or borrow all of the items on the following list. Some items are available to rent from Dragon Expeditions.
- Quick drying shirt and trousers suitable for trekking and climbing
- Set of thermal underwear
- A few pairs of socks and a change of underwear
- Down jacket
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Gloves, hat
- Good quality down or synthetic sleeping bag (-5°C or warmer)
- Sleeping mat
- Good quality climbing rucksack
- Comfortable (worn in!) trekking or climbing boots
- Trekking sandals or approach shoes
- Ice axe
- Crampons (checked and adjusted to fit your boots)
- Mechanical rope ascender, prussic loop, two carabineers, two webbing slings and/or daisychains
Group Climbing Equipment
For the group aiming to make the attempt on Lieren Peak, the following shared climbing equipment is suggested:
- One set of lead rock climbing gear (Friends, Nuts)
- Two sets of ice screws
- Lightweight climbing tents (two or three man tents)
- One half rope between two climbers
- Rock climbing shoes for lead climbers
- 12 quick draws
In both Chengdu and Rilong we normally use clean economical locally operated hotels which have proved to be popular with our clients. In Chengdu our usual offering is en-suite twin share rooms in a small modern hotel in a quiet residential area. In Rilong the bathrooms are shared, although the hotel scores points for being friendly and being under local ownership. Both destinations have a wide range of alternative accommodation available on request from basic hostel dormitory accommodation in both to a selection of true international five star hotels in Chengdu and four star tourist hotels in Rilong.
Base Camp Accommodation
We pride ourselves on providing a comfortable base camp and good quality tasty breakfast and evening meals daily.
Food in China is excellent and Sichuan is known throughout China and beyond for its food. Your local Chinese restaurant at home probably advertises some or all of Beijing (Peking), Guangdong (Cantonese) and Sichuan (Szechuan) food, although it will rarely be as good as that cooked by the most average of Sichuan cooks in China. For the most part you can expect to eat very well, although the menu in local restaurants may simply be a case of “what is available”. Sichuan food is known for it’s spicy chillies and mouth numbing peppers, although less spicy dishes are also an option. Most dishes involve much more oil than you might be used to. Chinese (green) tea is said to counteract this, although those with delicate stomachs might want to bring a pharmaceutical solution. Chopstick skills are essential, if you’re not so skilled and don’t want to starve then bring your own spoon!
China on the whole is not best suited to vegetarians, outside the city many do not comprehend the idea so unless your idea of vegetarian food is picking out the vegetables from meat dishes, you probably want to bring yourself some extra snacks. Certainly don’t expect the wok to be sterilised (or even washed) between dishes. When we are doing our own catering on the mountain vegetarian food is less of a problem. Our preferred mountain cook happens to be one of the very few Chinese vegetarians and is well used to catering for different palates. We will of course also endeavour to cater for other dietary requirements. Please contact us well in advance of the trip so that we can make suitable arrangements.
Climbing Snacks and Meals
You should plan to bring your own snacks for lunch while walking or climbing and your own freeze dried meals for camps above base camp (Mountain House are generally considered to make the best tasting high energy light weight meals, although they do come at a higher price than most of their competitors). Slightly heavier, slightly less tasty options are also available cheaply in Chengdu.
Public toilets in China can be pretty basic, including in big cities. Do not expect much in the way of privacy or cleanliness and bring your own toilet paper. Outside of private homes and nicer hotels, squat toilets are the norm so at least there is no contact between bum and seat.
We provide a toilet tent at base camp.
A visa is required for all visitors to China. A tourist visa is appropriate for climbing, and should be applied for at a Chinese consulate in your home country around six weeks before travelling. A copy of your flight tickets (or proposed dates) should be attached to the visa form, and you are welcome to use our office address as a contact address in China to avoid a blank space on the form. Although a 30 day tourist visa should be issued as a matter of course (unless you give your occupation as “journalist”), you can still expect a few questions about your trip. Take a copy of this itinerary with you when you apply for your visa. Postal applications are not accepted and whilst some travel agents will make the trip for you we suggest one of the group visits the consulate in person. Check the opening times by telephone before travelling as they change regularly. Forms and guidance notes are available for download on the website of the consulates and vary slightly from city to city.
When you enter China you will (depending on the city) need to fill in an entry card, health declaration and customs form. English versions are available although you may have to hunt around. Make sure you have a pen in your hand luggage. Immigration staff rarely speak much English but should be friendly and polite. Once you’ve collected your luggage and cleared customs we’ll meet you in the arrivals hall of the airport.