Mount Siguniang རི་བོ་སྐུ་བླ་འི།

As an UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mount Siguniang National Park is located in Aba/Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, China. There are snow-capped mountains, lush forests, alpine grasslands, crystal-clear streams and turquoise lakes, and it is no doubt an outdoor adventure paradise. 

The Chinese name of Mount Siguniang literally means Four Girls Mountain, because there are 4 stunning peaks stretching from north to south. All of them are over 5,000 meters above sea level. For climbing enthusiasts, the fourth peak Yaomei Feng (6,250 m) is considered a world-class technical peak, the third peak SanFeng (5,355 m) is a primary technical peak. While the first peak DaFeng (5,025 m) and the second peak ErFeng (5,276 m) are best choices for new climbers. There are also 3 gorgeous valleys named Changping Valley, Shuangqiao Valley and Haizi Valley respectively, which make wonderful hiking trails. What’s more, Shuangqiaogou Valley is scattered with hundreds of natural ice walls in winter, and is world famous for ice-climbing activities. 

Four Peaks

First Peak DaFeng

Elevation: 5,025 meters

Dafeng is an ideal training place for the new climbers. It has a shorter snow line and lower elevation, most people who are good at trekking are able to climb to the summit. It is considered to be a pure trekking peak. 

Second Peak ErFeng

Elevation: 5,276 meters

ErFeng has a good accessibility with technique-free climbing route, most people who are in good physical condition and had some hiking experiences are able to climb to the peak. It is also an ideal training place for climbing enthusiasts. 

Third Peak SanFeng

Elevation: 5,355 meters

SanFeng climbing needs primary mountaineering techniques. You might need to use ropes, ascenders or other technical equipments when climb to the peak. It is a good challenge for those experienced climbers.

Fourth Peak Yaomei Feng

Elevation: 6,250 meters

YaoMei Feng earns its reputation as ‘The Queen Mountain of Sichuan’, only second to the highest Gongga Mountain (7,556 meters) in Sichuan. Among these four peaks, Yaomei Feng is a world-class technical peak.

Three Valleys

Changping Valley

With the totally length of 29 kilometers, the Changping Valley is long and smooth. Walking in the valley for about 16 kilometers, you can go straight to the foot of the Mount Siguniang. There are Tibetan villages spread all over the valley, and Guozhuang Sacrifice Platform and Lamasery are at the bottom of the valley. Besides, there are ageless green pines and cypresses, spectacle waterfalls, and you can also see the ancient post roads stretching its way along the sea of trees.

Shuangqiao valley of Mount Siguniang

Shuangqiao Valley

Shuangqiao Valley is 30 kilometers in length. Here, tall and steep mountains and different sceneries can be found everywhere, yet they are all various. Inside the Valley, there are patches of birch, cypress, poplar and maple which can often be seen in the low mountain area. There are also spruce, fir, redwood and patches of sea-buckthorn, bush, larch which often seen in high elevation area. Those tridimensional plants and the majestic mountains together make the fascinating scenery of the Shuangqiao Valley.

haizihou

Haizi Valley

Haizi Valley is about 4,200 m above sea-level, 19.2km long and covers an area of 126.48 square kilometers. Haizi Valley is totally different from the other two valleys. It’s mainly alpine meadow in the front half part, and more than 10 alpine lakes in the latter half part. Then you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of blue sky and white clouds, appreciate wildflowers on the mountain and watch sunset with golden light. It’s also the essential path to get to DaFeng and ErFeng peak.

Useful Travel Tips

adventure is worthwhile!

Mountain Climbing Permit

According to China Mountain Climbing Regulations, people who do mountaineering, rock-climbing, ice-climbing and other kinds of outdoor activities at places over 3,500 meters above sea level will need to apply for a permit from the mountaineering association of the province where they will do such activities. Those without the permit will be stopped and fined. Sichuan Adventure has already helped many climbers apply for the permit to climb the first three peaks of Mount Siguniang. We are happy to provide such service to our customers.

Professional Mountain Guides

Our coach team consists of local professional Tibetan mountain guides, all of whom have got the licenses required by the government to do mountaineering and ice-climbing, including Alpine Activity Assistant license, High-Altitude Mountain Guide license and First-Aid license. They have got rich experiences of ice-climbing and high-altitude mountain climbing. Tashi, the team leader, has taken and guided visitors to climb up to the top of the first three peaks of Mt. Siguniang for over 1,000 times and with zero accident. Other people from the team have all been up to the top of the three peaks for several hundred times. The team has got lots of good comments from clients.

Climate and Temperature

Mount Siguniang is located in the transitional area between subtropical monsoon climate to continental plateau climate. Due to its special location, it is cold in winter and cool in summer, dry all the year around and has less rainfall. The annual average temperature is 12.2 °C with annual illumination of 2214 hours.

In spring, it snows heavily; in summer, it is changeable; in autumn, with fairly favorable weather and stable climate, particularly in August, October and November, it is a good time for climbing. However, in winter, with high winds, may encounter with a heavy snow.

High Altitude Survival Guide

How to enjoy the stunning Tibetan Plateau views without being bothered by high altitude sickness

What is high altitude?

According to the international standard of dividing high altitudes:

At high altitude, 1,500 to 3,500 meters (4,900 to 11,500 ft), given enough time most people can adapt to it.

At very high altitude, 3,500 to 5,500 meters (11,500 to 18,000 ft), individual difference will determine the adaptability.

At extreme altitude, above 5,500 meters (18,000 ft), human body cannot function well and even sometimes this physical harm will never recover. No human lives over one year above 5,500 meters. Even those Tibetans and Sherpas usually do not live in this area.

Actually, for people living in lower elevation areas, they will have no strange feelings and obvious symptom of altitude sickness below 2,400 meters; at an altitude above 2,400 meters, they can be accustomed to the environment if given enough time, but it will never be a question of time after they stand above 5,500 meters.

What is Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness (AMS), is natural responses of your body to get used to the effects of a different air pressure, an oxygen deficiency and lower air moisture when you ascend to a certain high altitude.

Altitude sickness commonly occurs above 2,700 meters, and it easily happens to persons who move upward rapidly (like by plane) for more than 3,000 meters. Symptoms of altitude sickness often presents itself 6 to 12 hours (1 to 3 days in a few cases) after you arrive at high altitude areas; you will recover from it in 3 to 7 days, but it may take more than 2 weeks for severe altitude sickness to subside.

The usual symptoms of altitude sickness include: a feeling of tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, dry cough, headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, insomnia, and the like. For most otherwise healthy people, their lips and the nail root may turn blue because of a lack of oxygen; and for some, they will get rough skin, chapped lips, nose bleeding and other problems. Severe symptoms of altitude sickness including illusions, insensitivity, emotional instability and spiritual hyperactivity, difficulty of thinking and memorizing clearly, and abnormal senses of hearing, eying, smelling and tasting would happen; even sometimes swellings, shock or a spasm could appear.

The symptoms and level of altitude sickness differ because people adapt at different rates; for example, some will have only one or a few of the aforesaid symptoms while others will have more. Besides someone responds more strongly and sensitively than others easily adapting to high altitude.

It is said that altitude sickness often takes place when a person is male rather than female, chubby rather than thin, tall rather than short, active rather than quiet.

Who are not fit to have a high altitude trip?

First, pregnant women and persons having obvious signs of heart, lung, brain, liver or kidney disease, severe anemia, hypertension or retinal disease should not be in high altitude areas. Second, persons developing a respiratory tract infection and having a fever (a body temperature reading above 38℃), or having a temperature below 38℃ and apparent respiratory symptoms and general symptoms should suspend the high altitude hiking trip. Third, children under 10 are not fit to be at high altitudes. At the age of puberty children are easy to suffer a severe altitude sickness for a longer time owing to the low-oxygen environment.

How to prevent or relieve High Altitude Sickness?

Most people are likely to be affected by altitude sickness when they first arrive at plateau, but it is difficult to know exactly who will be affected. Here are some tips might be helpful:

1. stay in a good mood. Maintaining a good mood and positive attitude, having strong self-confidence and being reasonably nervous and pleased is vital for abating the discomfort caused by altitude sickness.

2. Increase water intake. Many young people often do not drink enough water in high-altitude locations. More than usual some pretty young girls restrain their drinking to avoid inconvenience. Actually this violates the health maintenance and the altitude sickness prevention. Do take water with you at any time. Drink frequently in small amount, and drink before you feel thirsty.

3. Keep warm. Highland climate has its own features. It is cold, and in general the temperature decreases by about 5-6℃ for every 1,000 meters up you go in elevation. There is a large difference in temperature between day and night; it changes so quickly that howling winds, thunderstorms follow closely the shining sun. Thus, try your best to keep warm and prevent from getting a cold. One warm coat can make a big difference.

4. Balance your meals. Enlarge the carbohydrate and vitamins intake and raise the percentage of vegetable protein in your foods to speed heat-generating of your body and heighten your adaptability. Tibetan Butter Tea can be used to ease altitude sickness, and drink more if you adjust to it. In addition, limit your smoke and do not drink alcohol.

5. Exercise properly. If you are new to plateau, the best way of adaptation is to carry on a certain amount of mild exercise and make some self-regulations actively but neither to be motionless and sleep like a log nor to be engaged in excessive exercise. In high-altitude locations, try to master and do belly breathing, and it will be more effective than chest breathing.

6. Sleep later and allow air flow in the tent or room. In what way can you remain in a good condition and sleep well with certain sleep duration. In short, sleeping later and keep good ventilation. It can be better for you to sleep around an hour later in terms of your regular bedtime. Moreover, maintain good ventilation in the tent or room on condition that you are sure to be warm enough.

7. Escape strong ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet intensity is high in plateau, and your skin and eyes are easy to be damaged especially in the snow. Do not expose a large area of skin to the bright light. Precautions including wearing the sun helmet (a broad-brimmed bush hat is better) and sunglasses and applying sunscreen to bare skin is needful.
Eighth, start necessary treatment and take right medicine. Properly take inosine, vitamin and other health care medications. An ill-usage of medicines must be shunned. And keep from catching a cold because a mild respiratory tract infection can increase a risk of getting HAPE (fluid in the lungs). Once you develop early symptoms of a cold, you should take anti-cold drugs immediately.

9. Communicate well. Tell the tour leader if you are not comfortable. Do not hold on firmly despite extreme discomfort or hold back your pain to show your bravery. Care for each other. If you find someone in an abnormal condition (like being confused) deal with it properly and quickly.

How to cope with altitude sickness in an emergency situation?

There are hospitals or health centers in most towns in Tibetan area. Self-adjustment is suggested for those with mild altitude sickness and seeing doctor for those with severe one. Once the symptoms of altitude sickness appear, you should take more rest, do less exercise, eat regularly and take some medicines.

Treatment like inhaling oxygen is suggested for those with severe altitude sickness including puffiness, pulmonary edema and bad cold and leave the plateau as quickly as possible. Most people may gradually adapt to the climate of plateau in 2 or 3 days.

Altitude sickness may generally disappear as soon as you get on the plane or get to lower plain, and have no after effect.

A simple carelessness at high altitude could be life-threatening.

The High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE or fluid in the lungs) and the High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE or swelling of the brain) progress rapidly and are often fatal at very high altitude, and both of them should be taken seriously and avoided.

How to cope with HAPE and HACE?

The ways to cope with them, concisely, is a need for “active prevention, careful observation, early diagnosis, timely treatment, and quick descent”. Besides, those patients with suspected and confirmed HAPE or HACE should be sent to hospital, and the treatment from doctors should be started at once. There are hospitals or health centers in most towns in Tibetan area.

If the professional removal of HAPE or HACE is not accessible to patients, three things done by the non-professional can help:

1.Oxygen enrichment;
2. Taking orally two frusemide pills (an intravenous injection of dexamethasone for a patient in serious condition);
3. Going to a lower altitude as fast as possible.Decrease the intracranial pressure (pressure around the brain) of persons with HACE by cold compress; Do not delay or stay where you are to wait for rescue. Moving down 600 to 1,000 meters is the single most important factor in reducing altitude sickness; the faster descent, the quicker recovery; the lower altitude, the quicker recovery. And then the patients must be sent to hospital right away. Remember: a delay of one second may lead to death.

Why are those with a cold not advised to enter Tibetan Plateau?

Due to the impaired physical function and the weak disease resistance, symptoms of those with bad colds,after they enter Tibetan area, are very likely to deteriorate into other mountain sicknesses , especially the pulmonary edema, a very serious one, which, if not treated promptly, may endanger the life. You are suggested to have your cold cured before entering Tibetan area rather than bringing the pathogens in if you catch a cold.

If you catch a cold in Tibetan area, things may not be that serious, because your body has already adapted to the climate. What you only need to do is to see a doctor as soon as possible. Most of the doctors in Tibetan area are well-experienced in curing cold. Bring some common cold remedies with you into Tibetan area and take them once some symptoms of cold appear. Generally, they may disappear within one to two days.

Is showering possible in Tibetan area?

Standard rooms in most star hotels are equipped with private bathroom where hot water is available, therefore you can take a shower in it. In order to avoid cold or physical exertion which may cause or aggravate altitude sickness, try to shower as little as possible when you first arrive at Tibetan area. You can shower several days later when your body have already adapted to the environment. People may not feel much like taking a shower or get uncomfortable without showering in Tibetan area because of the dry air and the low temperature at night.

What is De-adaptation to High Altitude (Hyperventilation)?

After arriving in plain from a high-altitude journey, persons may suffer “de-adaptation to high altitude” also known as hyperventilation or oxygen toxicity; weakness, tiredness, sleepiness and lightheadedness may appear and chest tightness, increased appetite and diarrhea (having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day) begin to occur, but these symptoms will go away after one to two weeks of rest. Similar to altitude sickness, oxygen toxicity is naturally developed from the change in altitude, but oxygen toxicity is less harmful. Even so, do not underestimate its potential ill effects on your health.