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September 1, 2006

A Monster Climb!

Click on image to play video (high speed connection advised).

LOCATION: Deqin, Yunnan, China
Miles from Singapore: 3324
Longitude: N: 28.47°
Latitude: E: 098.89°

Enormous climb yesterday to a series of three passes between the Mekong and Yangtze Rivers. Starting at daylight it took until 5pm to pedal 56 kms up to 4300 metres. What a struggle! The effects of altitude began to appear the last few kms: already tired muscles deprived of oxygen, the beginnings of a headache and intense exhaustion. By the end I was having to stop every half kilometre for a breather, rallying the mental resolve to keep going. I even used my last Clifshot energy gel to grind out the last few hundred metres to the first pass.

Things weren't made any easier by the road giving out half way up the mountain to cobblestones (felt like I was thrown into a period drama riding a Penny Farthing along the streets of Victorian London). Then 10 kms before the first pass it started hailing and snowing, making the cobblestones murderously slippery. Definitely the toughest day since Singapore for me. And this is only the start of the Himalayas!

On the flips side I was rewarded at the top by stunning views of a series of 6,000+ metre peaks complete with glaciers off to the west. Unfortunately it was so late in the day by this point that I had little time to sit and appreciate the scenery, my focus instead being to descend as quickly as possible to a lower altitude to sleep the night. Not that 4,300 metres is particularly high. But the mild headache was an indicator that I still need to acclimatize to these higher elevations.


Posted on September 1, 2006 3:24 AM


Jason - are you completely by yourself on this leg of the trip? It looks incredibly beautiful, but also pretty scary with so few people around.

Posted by: Steve Woolf [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 1, 2006 7:02 AM