China – Haba Snow Mountain
Haba Snow Mountain or Haba Xueshan 哈巴雪山 (5396m) is located in southeast Shangri-La 香格里拉 and northwest of Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡). One of the tallest peaks in Yunnan province, its peak covered in snow all year round.
"Haba" means golden flower in Naxi language. Rising opposite the higher and better known Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山/5596m) and towering 3500m above the upper reaches of the Yangtze River (also known as the Jinsha River), legend has it that Haba Snow Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain are brothers with Jinsha River flowing between them to form Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Improved road accessibility from Lijiang to Haba Village (3 hours drive) in recent years has helped Haba Snow Mountain to gain popularity, as a mountain climbing destination, among the locals and climbers from Asia.
The Haba Snow Mountain massif is the southern most end of the extensive Shaluli Mountains. While crampons and ice-axe are required for the summit push, its straight forward terrain, without crevasses, make it suitable as an entry level snow and ice mountain.
About The Climb
Our itinerary includes an additional acclimatization day at Haba Village, before heading up to Haba Snow Mountain. This additional acclimatization day, with a trek to a small peak (3500m) near Haba Village, is paramount for a higher summit success rate.
Haba Snow Mountain's trail head (2900m) is a short drive (15mins) from the village lodge. The trail head, which is a dirt trail that leads into an alpine forest, is not marked by any signage. Emerging from the alpine forest is an open meadow, where there is a rest hut (3600m), that is used as the lunch point. After the hut, it is a series of uphill switchback into the alpine forest again, before a short rock trail that leads to the base camp (4100m). It takes about 6-8 hours to reach the base camp from the trail head.
At the base camp, there is another acclimatization day to 4500m.
Summit day starts at around 3am on a short gentle slope up to a vast grey morainic slab left by retreating glaciers. Continue the uphill climb on the gigantic morainic slab, with a sharp rise in elevation gain, to reach the glacier (4950m/3-4 hours). Beyond the glacier is a 950m snow slope up to the summit. This snow slope, which requires crampons, is famously known as the "Hopeless Slope" (绝望坡). It is seemly endless, with countless slopes, and can take 2.5 to 3 hours to complete. Fixed ropes might be required on the "Hopeless Slope" should the snow conditions warrant. From the summit, the descend (3-5 hours) is the same way back to the base camp.
Rest and recover at the base camp, after descending from the summit. The next day, trek out to the trail head on another route. This alternative route, which takes around 3-4 hours to complete, is a short diversion from the ascend to the base camp but steeper and more scenic.
The best time to climb Haba Snow Mountain is in spring (late March to mid June) and autumn (mid September to November). The rainy season starts from end June to early September.
The fringe/low climb season during the winter months of December to February typically sees hash and extreme winter conditions. Mountaineering boots are required for protection from the extreme cold and snow.
Important to have 5000m peak climbing experiences. Good to have crampons skills but not essential. While Haba Snow Mountain's straight forward terrain, without crevasses, make it suitable as an entry level snow and ice mountain, it is highly physically demanding on fitness and endurance. The sharp rise in elevation gain from the trail head (2900m) to the base camp (4100m) and from base camp (4100m) to the summit (5396m) requires the body to be able to adapt fast to quick altitude gain. The 950m snow slope at above 5000m can be extremely challenging to complete.
Equipment and Gear
You will need thermal base layers, a fleece jacket and an outer shell jacket. When at the base camp, after sundown and during the summit trek, a down jacket will help keep you warm. A down sleeping bag is also needed and NOT provided.
You will also need climbing equipment like crampons, ice axe, harness, slings and karabiners. The climbing equipment are provided.
A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to learn about the layering system and choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.
- Group size: 6 - 16 people
- This Haba Snow Mountain climb is part of our Ice and Snow Peak Challenge To promote mountain climbing and to encourage people to challenge themselves physically and mentally, we have initiated and introduced a few Mountain Climbing Challenges into our calendar each year. These Mountain Climbing Challenges trips are accompanied by a team leader.
- You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Day||Description||Meals||Altitude at Rest Point|
|Day 1||Arrive in Lijiang||2400m|
|Day 2||Visit Tiger Leaping Gorge and transfer to Haba Village||B/L/D||2600m|
|Day 3||Acclimatization day. Day hike to a peak (3500m) near Haba Village||B/L/D||2600m|
|Day 4-5||Trek to Haba Snow Mountain base camp. Acclimatization day and hike to 4500m on Day 5||B/L/D||4100m|
|Day 6||Summit day. Descend to base camp||B/L/D||4100m|
|Day 7||Descend to Haba Village||B/L/D||2600m|
|Day 8||Drive to Lijiang||B/-/-||2400m|
|Day 9||Depart Lijiang||B/-/-|
- Return airport transfer in Lijiang
- All land transfer as in itinerary
- Accommodation: Twin/Trip sharing accommodation in hotel in Lijiang and guesthouse in Tiger Leaping Gorge, mixed and non heated dormitory in Haba Village and Haba Snow Mountain Base Camp
- Meals as indicated in itinerary
- Boiled drinking water during trek
- Climbing equipment: Crampons, helmet, climbing harness, karabiners and walking ice axe
- Trek support: Climbing guide (1:1) and cook. Horses for porterage support
- 1 x trek leader from Ace adventure Expeditions
- Emergency support: Comprehensive first aid kit and portable oxygen cylinders
- Tiger Leaping Gorge entry fee
- Air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
- Visa Fee (if any)
- Single Supplement
- All beverages except boiled drinking water during trek
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- All tipping
- Personal porters
- Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover agent insolvency/trekking up to 6000m)
- Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
- Personal travel & trekking gear
- Sleeping bag (up to -15 degree C)
- Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
- Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items etc)
- Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Training guideline kit
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)
Our Local Operator
We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding Haba Snow Mountain, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture and are trained in mountaineering skills.
Training: Regardless of your level of fitness and physical conditions, it is advisable to train prior to embarking on a trekking or mountain climbing trip.
Pure cardiovascular fitness is NOT enough.
Focus your training effort in the following areas, assuming that you are in good health and injury-free:
- Climbing conditioning – stairs and load training.
- Cardio training - Jogging/running and interval training like CrossFit or HIIT.
- Strength training for the lower body, shoulder, back and core
- Flexibility training - eg: Yoga and stretching exercises
A good four to five months of training would be a good preparation for this trek.
A recommended training guide specific to the trek or climb will be given to you upon signing up.
Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trek.
Refer to our Training Guide for tips on trekking and mountain climbing training.