Peak(s):  Balang Mountain 16,535 ft
Date Posted:  02/01/2021
Date Climbed:   06/25/2020
Author:  WSN
 One-Day Round Trip: from 1,600 ft Home to 16,000 ft Summit  

Several years ago I moved back to Chengdu, China, where I was born and grown up. Chengdu is the capitol of Sichuan Province and also the 8th biggest city in China, with 10 million people living in its metropolitan area. It is quite close to the east edge of Tibetan Plateau, and there are big mountains to the west and north of the city.


So it is possible to drive from the city center (elevation 500 m or 1,600 ft) to a trailhead, climb a peak higher than 5,000 m (16,000 ft) and go back home in one day under most favorable conditions. Here I report such a trip - climbing Peak 5040 of Balang Mountain on June 25th, 2020.

Peak 5040 (elevation 5,040 m) is located to the west of Chengdu. Usually it is snow free from mid-June, but monsoon season also starts from that time. Monsoon season in Sichuan is much wetter than in Colorado – actually in Colorado it is not real “monsoon” compared with what is coming from Indian Ocean. However, in 2020 the monsoon came later than usual, so we got a substantial time window of best conditions: snow-free + sunny all day so that we could climb in the afternoon (at least the weather forecast said so).

The trailhead by the high way has an elevation of 4200 m (14,000 ft) and is a 3.5-hour drive from the city. Four of us (me + 3 colleagues) left the city before 7:00 in the morning.

6:30 in the morining
Entering the mountain

on the road

Going up

Some other 5,000m + peaks

We started to hike around 11:00 AM from a U-turn of the high way below a mountain pass. Some other climbers set tents there. They were probably a few hours ahead of us.

tents next to the road
Road Pass (Balang Mountain Pass) in the background

Summit could be seen from here

Looking into the upper basin. Peak 5040 right in the middle


One of us had to stay low and not going up due to altitude sickness. We met two groups of descending climbers in the early afternoon. Some of them carried rock climbing gears, and told us that they did the wall in the middle below the summit. But we were not going to rock climbing, so we would go to the right side as planned.

We reached the end of the long talus slope at 2:00 PM. Our only female member opted for descending from here. She was not capable of climbing the complicated terrain awaiting us in the last 200 meters of elevation. Therefore only two of us did the summit push.

End of the talus slope

upper part of the peak

A scree slope. Not pleasant at all.
photo taken on top of scree slope #1: rock-climbing wall (left) and scree slope #2

Partner walking below the rock-climbing wall

Scree slope #2, we had to stay left.

On top of scree slope #2

Then we climbed a tilted chimney of about 10 meters long. I think it is the crux. It could be rated class 4 or even low 5.

Entrance of the chimney
climbing the chimney

After the chimney, we proceeded through rocks.


The 6,200m Mount Siguniang (middle) can be just seen

At 4:00 PM, we got to a platform at 5,000 m. The summit is not far away, but I still used 15 minutes to reach it.

summit from the 5000m platform
easy route is in the backside

Me on the summit


A small pillar to mark the summit


my smartphone showing the elevation is 5,055 m

The town of Siguniang-Shan (2,000 meters lower) could be seen.

The descent was not relaxed – we must reach the grassland before dark. We met the other two members below the talus, and then walked in completely dark and rain shower for a few hours before we got to the car.


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

02/01/2021 19:16
I really like the international TR to shake things up a bit. That rock looks pretty crummy but seems like you still crushed it

02/02/2021 11:04
More trip reports from this region please!


02/02/2021 15:31
This is too cool! I‘ve decided I need to move to Chengdu ha!


Thanks for your comments
02/04/2021 02:27
I will post a report of another climbing trip later.


Super Cool
02/04/2021 14:27
Thanks for sharing! I've been thinking about a climbing / backpacking trip to China for a couple years now, your trip report provides some good information!

Excellent report
02/06/2021 16:31
That was a great report with wonderful photographs.
Thanks for posting this.

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