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Haba Snow Mountain

Haba Snow Mountain (haba xueshan) boasts glaciers, lakes and waterfalls, and contains one of the best preserved nature reserves in Shangri-la. Ha Ba the high 5396 metres of snow mountain of the highest peak, in summit age, ice-bound snow is frozen.The glacier on the Haba Snow Mountain is the southmost glacier in China.The nature reserve extends 22 kilometers from south to north and 19 kilometers from east to west.

The main peak of the mountain is 5396m above sea level and is capped with snow all year round. On the mountain side, crystal-clear glaciers hang and the valleys on the northern side of the mountain are dotted with numerous lakes, the most beautiful being Heihai Lake. Each year between June and August millions of azaleas come into bloom. One of the most unusual things about this spot is that you can walk on the flowers without crushing them!

There are also many waterfalls here. Tumbling down the northeastern side of the mountain is Haba Waterfall, also known as the "Great Hanging Water", which is more than 200m high and pours down with an amazing momentum.

The mountain is also rich in animal resources. Yunnan gold-haired monkeys, rhesus monkey, wild boar and even snow leopards, pandas and black bears inhabit this wild land. Rare plants and medical herbs also thrive here, including orchids, lily and Chinese caterpillar fungi.

The highest peak is straight and aloof and arrogant, 4 little summits surround upright around, are hoped, seem exactly one dodge the crown of silver light. Interlock along with season and the change of cloudy eye, snow summit is unpredicatable , from time to time cloud steam fog cover, Yin show; From time to time mist float Miao, silk thread ripples between snow summit, " white cloud is in no mood if want , with snow appearance spit out to swallow ". In protection zone, numerous high mountain ices Qi Lake, the most of elevations are more than 3500 metres. In which, with the Black Sea, round sea, the Yellow Sea and two sea sceneries, it is best.

Haba Snow Mountain's highest – but nameless – peak attains a height of some 5400 meters above sea level, and is covered with snow and ice year round. Surrounding the main peak are four smaller peaks, also nameless (perhaps a mountain's peaks are given names only if they attain very high heights... the peaks of Haba Snow Mountain – though climbing them is no Sunday afternoon stroll in the park – are considered of "teething" height among dedicated mountaineers). The weather on the mountain below the tundra zone changes paradigm with the seasons, but it can change mood within hours, especially on the higher slopes, suddenly becoming chilly as cloud and mist descend, or becoming warm and bright as cloud and mist are chased away by the sun, while both phenomena are a wonder to behold from a warm vantage point in the valleys below.

At a height of 4700 meters, circa, gigantic icicles begin to form on the underside of overhanging rocks. It is also at this altitude up the slopes of Haba– and Yu Long Snow Mountains that one finds glaciers. The glaciers in this part of China are the country's lowest-latitude glaciers, which perhaps also explains why they are melting so rapidly, given the changing global climate. The many odd landscape features of these two mountains, not to speak of the deep gorge which separates them – are believed to be the footprints of much larger former glaciers that have melted, carrying soil, gravel, trees and even large boulders in their runoff waters as they eroded away those parts of the surrounding landscape that could thus be dislodged.

28 Bends on Haba Snow Mountain
With the height of about 400 meters (1312 ft), the 28 Bends on Haba Snow Mountain is a difficulty on the hiking way of the gorge; it is also the only way when hiking. Just as its name implies, you should hike across 28 bends to get to the top; but when you get to the top after the exhausting walk, you will find the landscapes are much more enjoyable.

The whole distance of the 28 Bends is 7 km (4.347 miles) which takes about 3 hours to finish the hiking. After the 28 Bends there is a highway extending to the Halfway Hostel. The highway is in 16.5 km (10.25 miles) which takes 7 hours. The sights on the highway are splendid.  The sight of the extending 13 mountains of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the wriggling Golden Sand River with sunshine casting on the mountain and the village will surprise you.

From haba village to the base-camp, it takes an average walk of 5-6hours (we did it in 4.5 hours). The base-camp is 4,100meters in elevation. From here, we hike up to 4,900 meters in 3hours, and another 2 hours to the top. If there is no snow up to the 4,900m point, you can easily get there in 2hours, and another 1.5 hours to the top (highest peak elevation is 5,406 meters). Back in April 2007, we started climbing at 6.30am and reached the peak at 11.30am - all in  5 hours trekking and climbing.

Essential items for the climb: climbing gear: snow cover, tent, ice pick, crampon ,health food, especial tea for climbing mountain sleeping bag, warm glove, headlight, sunglasses,  garbage bag, assault pants , feather fine hair clothes, waterproof backpack, warm water bottle 2-3 liters, waterproof mountaineering boots, warm socks,  headgear,

Best Time to go: July and August.

Getting In & Out
Buses run daily to/from both Lijiang and Zhongdian, and are rarely full. Bear in mind that these will stop at many points along the way to pick up locals from intermediate villages.

Bicycle
To the south, the road towards Tiger Leaping Gorge rises for 5km or so, offering a spectacular view of the valley before descending almost constantly for nearly 30km to the valley entrance. From there a slight climb will get you to Walnut Grove.

Heading north out of town a 2km climb sees you through a pass, after which a slight but near-constant descent brings you within a brief distance of Baishuitai.

Lodging
Accommodation is basic and similar throughout most of the Haba town, with budget beds from Y10-15. Showers are shared with solar powered hot water.

The two most popular options are the Haba Snow Mountain Inn and the Fourth Sister Inn. The former provides a computer and a generator, as well as a larger selection of vegetables for meals.

Dining
Other than the impressive range of locally gathered wild mushrooms, there is a definite shortage of culinary variety in this town. Most places offering accommodation feature a limited variety of sorry-looking vegetables and a hunk of meat of two. The staple food is often baba or flatbread rather than rice, and you may be offered Tibetan-style butter tea, which is an acquired taste by all accounts. The saving grace is that all food available is locally produced and is completely free of agricultural chemicals. Also note that Muslim establishments will not serve pork.

Haba Snow Mountain Climbing
Recommend you start with a warm-up trekking from Tiger Leaping Gorge to Haba village first instead of arriving Haba by bus.

Phase I - Tiger Leaping Gorge to Haba Village

D1: Qiaotou-> Nuoyu Village-> 28 Turns-> Halfway Guesthouse
D2: Halfway Guesthouse ->Middle Rapids -> Tina's -> Walnut Grove (Woody)
D3: Walnut Grove -> Haba Village(2800m)

More details on Tiger Leaping Gorge Trekking & Route Maps
Phase II - Haba Village to Haba Snow Mt.

(Horse & guide can be hired in Haba Village, Y100/day total)
D4: Haba Village-> Base Camp (4200m) 6-8hrs
D5: Base Camp--Camp 1(4800m)--Summit(5396m)--Base Camp
D6: Base Camp--Haba Village, take a bus to Baishuitai
D7: Bus from Baishuitai back to Lijiang or further northern to Zhongdian(Shangri-La)

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