Yuzhu peak climbing review
January,09 2022 BY Mountaineering China
After the first climb of Haba Mountain, I aimed for a higher peak. Asia Odyssey suggested going for YuZhu in Qinghai province. YuZhu mountain is 6170 m high and a peak of the Kunlun Mountain range, approximately 200km southwest of Golmud.
yuzhu peak climbing
Climate conditions at YuZhu mountain are much different than Haba mountain. Even at the Haba peak, the temperature in October was only slightly below zero degrees. At YuZhu C1, temperatures are in May at night below minus ten degrees and at the peak around minus 20 degrees. In addition, the extreme winds give a higher chill factor. There was no green vegetation at that time of the year, which caused a lower oxygen level.
I arrived on the 29th of April in Golmud. The following day we arranged all permits and left for Xidatan, where I did stay overnight.
Xidatan is 150km southwest of Golmud. The drive there offers great views of snow-covered mountains on the horizon.
Xidatan is already at an elevation of 4200m, and this small town offers an excellent and awe-inspiring view of the Kunlun Mountain range and the YuZhu peak. I arrived around noon time. There were many climbers, and we had great conversations. We did with guides hiking in the surroundings in the afternoon to get us all accustomed to elevation and climbing conditions.
The next day we left in the morning for the base camp. Xidatan is in the north of YuZhu mountain. You can climb YuZhu from the north side, which is more difficult and only done by a few individuals. The more common climb is from the south side.
The first 50km or so were on a national highway along the Kunlun mountain range to the west. We then took a turn to the south, left the national highway, and continued on an unpaved road east again to the base camp.
The basecamp is at a 4800m elevation with smaller tents for climbers. The base camp offers a very nice view of the YuZhu mountain, which provides an idea of what to expect with the climb.
yuzhu peak climbing
Also, at the base camp, we did some hiking in the surroundings to get further accustomed to the altitude. The other climber returned after hiking back to Xidatan. They will travel again to basecamp the next day to climb C1 on the following day. That gave them one more day to get used to the altitude. I had to shorten my trip due to other traveling I did not return. I did stay overnight at the base camp to climb the next day to C1.
We had meetings where the different groups were put together in the evening. There was a tour guide for two climbers. We also received instructions for the climb, and our oxygen level was measured.
The night was extremely windy, and I worried about weather conditions. The following day, however, was very nice with sunshine. We had breakfast and left for the C1 camp.
The climb went along a glacier, with an excellent view of snow-covered mountains and YuZhu Mountain in front of us. C1 is at an elevation of 5600m and above the snow line. The climb took 6 hours. I felt the thin air already and took some breaks. Also, at C1, there were small tents, each with three climbers on snow.
Upon arrival, we ate something and went early sleeping. It was cold that night.
We left around 3 am. There were at least 30 climbers, and the weather seemed fine. There was a clear sky.
The first stretch was ok. Not very steep and with a soft snowy surface. Later it became steeper, and the surface was solid ice.
I was told that this climb was the first one that year. After two hours, we stopped and waited for almost an hour. I later learned that as this was the first climb, the security ropes were under the ice, so the tour guides had to lay out new security ropes. That hour became endless. As we were not moving with the low temepertaures and strong winds, it was getting cold. My fingers became numb. Almost half of the climbers returned at that point back to C1.
After an hour or so, the remaining climbers continued the climb to the summit. I do not know exactly when, but I made it to the summit. At the summit, the already strong wind became even stronger. I only waited there a few minutes and returned to C1.
yuzhu peak climbing
The descent was relatively fast.
While climbing to the top, I noticed a relatively slow climbing woman who kept her pace, but she made it to the summit. While handling the safety gear, I saw that she had lost her gloves due to strong winds but fortunately had a second pair in her backpack.
I took a break at C1 and climbed the same day to the base camp where a driver was waiting for me. He brought me back to Golmud, where I returned the next day to Shanghai.
This climb was much more exhausting than Haba. The thin air and climate conditions took its toll. I was whacked when I arrived at base camp. There are several lessons learned. One is the pace, and here the women gave an excellent example. You have to be patient. The other is that you need to take the time. I should have stayed a day longer to better adapt to the altitude.
Yuzhu summit certificate
This climb, nevertheless, was another outstanding experience. The sceneries and climate were so much different than Haba and very unique. If time permits, I want to climb this mountain again.
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