Saturday, April 7, 2007


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On the western edge of Kham, bordering with Xizang one mountain in particular takes our attention : Qu Er Shan.

The ascent is long, it reaches 5000 m above s.l., neck breaking manouvers by car, uncertain when another vehicle will appear from nowhere behind a bend.

A rough, scarcely maintained road leads to the near the summit, the only access to the Dege valley.

Qu Er Shan is one of the Holy Mountains in Tibet. Alongside with its big brother, Mount Everest as we know it, (and a few others) these mountains take a very special place in Tibetan Buddhism, they are sacred.

When we reach the summit, all the passengers of Tibetan descent break out jubilating the event, and prayer scripts are thrown left and right of our vehicle to proclaim the visit to the summit.

And this by no means is a undertaking without perils.

Each year, in the months of August to March the mountain claims many lives, the daring drivers will face death on many occasions.

Snow and ice will make the roads near unpassable, with Chinese Army and the Forestry units unable to clear the roads of the snow and ice effectively.

Storms and fog make the visibility impossible, and treacherous avalanches draw many to their death.
In summer, when the weather is warmer, the mountain is passable, but even then, rainstorms mean delays, sometimes for days.

We have passed the mountain 4 times so far, and everytime it is an unforgetable experience.

It takes your breath to see the swindling heights and serpent roads, rocks of the size of an Elefant that have broken and fell on its surface the night before.

Each time you manage to pass safely is of great relief, as luck must be on your side to be able to reach the next town.
Still, with its breath-taking beauty, this place has captured my heart and soul.

In the near future - I will hope to be back again...

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