China – Mt Siguniang Sanfeng

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  • Duration: 10 Days
  • Grading: 3C
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Mt Siguniang (The Four Sisters Mountain) encompasses four peaks: DaFeng (Big Peak or 1st Sister Peak / 5038m), ErFeng (2nd Sister Peak / 5276 m), SanFeng (3rd Sister Peak / 5355m) and Yaomei Feng (4th Sister Peak / 6250m). The four peaks, standing between Haizi Gou and Changping Gou, is located in Siguniang Shan Scenic Area (The Four Sisters Mountain Scenic Area) in Xiaojin County of A’ba Prefecture in Sichuan Province of China. The area is reputed to be the “Queen of Mountains in Sichuan” and “The Oriental Alps” because of the beautiful mountain landscape and exquisite snow peaks scenery. Aside from Mt Siguniang, The Four Sisters Mountain Scenic Area also consists of Mt Balang, and 3 scenic valleys – Haizi Gou, Changping Gou, Shuangqiao Gou.

Of Mt Siguniang’s four peaks, Yaomei Feng, known as the “Queen of Sichuan’s peaks” is the second highest mountain in Sichuan Province. It is highly technical and extremely treacherous. Very few people have attempted to climb Yaomei Feng and even fewer have succeeded. The first ascent of Yaomei Feng was in 1981 by a Japanese team via the east ridge and from the southwest ridge was in 2008 by Chad Kellogg and Dylan Johnson.

The other three lower peaks DaFeng, ErFeng and SanFeng are regular mountain climbing destinations through all seasons. DaFeng is suitable for those who have been trekking below 5000m and would like to attempt a 5000m peak for the first time. ErFeng is more challenging and tougher than DaFeng with steeper rock formation nearer to the top. SanFeng has a fixed rope section near the peak and requires rock scrambling and fixed rope skills for the summit section.

About The Climb

Rilong town (now known as Siguniang Village/3160m) is the base where trekkers stay before and after climbing Mt Siguniang. The construction of the highway from Chengdu to Rilong town (220km), that started after the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, was finally completed in 2016. This newly-constructed highway has drastically shortened what used to take 8-9 hours of rough drive on winding and bumpy mountainous road to a mere 4/5-hour fast drive on wide tarmac road.

The shortened drive from Chengdu to Rilong heightens the chances of developing high altitude sickness. It is paramount to stay a day or two to acclimatize in Rilong before heading further up to the mountains to climb Mt Siguniang.

Sanfeng is not only taller than Dafeng and Erfeng but has a steeper incline approach trek to the base camp. For better acclimatization to climb Sanfeng, we have built into our Sanfeng itinerary: 

  • An acclimatization day in Rilong.
  • Climbing Dafeng as an acclimatization peak for Sanfeng.

The acclimatization strategy, is crucial and allow for better performance and higher success chances to reach the summit.

At the base camps, for more comfortable and better nights’ rest, we set up private camps with our own sleeping and dining tents instead of staying in the less cosy basic communal mountain huts.

Dafeng trek is through Haizi Gou. It starts with a short walk on tarmac road, from the lodge in Rilong, to the entrance of Haizi Gou (3200m). The trail from Haizi Gou’s entrance to Dafeng Base Camp is around 17km(7-8 hours) of straight forward gradual ascent. A series of boardwalk from Haizi Gou’s entrance leads to a vast open meadow (Guozhuanping), where there are Tibetan stupa and prayer flags and grazing yaks and horses against the majestic mountain backdrop. This section of boardwalk to Guozhuanping is very popular with tourists, especially in autumn. Few tourists venture beyond Guozhuanping, where the trail becomes steeper, wilder and narrows into a forested area. Lunch stop is at the ranger’s post at Dajianbao, slightly more than 10km from Haizi Gou’s entrance. From Dajianbao, continue to ascend to Jipengzi, where the terrain opens up again, to a dramatic close up view of the mountains. The trail starts to become rockier as it reaches the base camp. The summit trek starts at pre-dawn. The trail from the base camp that leads up to the summit is around 6km on a rocky pass directly to the north. It zigzags vertically up before getting steeper and narrower, where railings are in place for safety. After the summit, return to base camp to fuel up, pack and descent through the same trail back to Rilong to rest and recover for a day, before heading to Sanfeng. Sanfeng trek is in Changping Gou, starting near the Lama Temple. It is a short drive from Rilong.  The trek to Sanfeng Base Camp (4300m) on day 4, though straight forward, is much steeper than Dafeng’s and Erfeng’s approach trek. However, having climbed Dafeng and well acclimatized, the trek to the base camp should take only around 5-6 hours. For the pre-dawn summit attempt on day 5, be prepared to rock scramble on most part of the summit trail and cross narrow ridges. The last section before the Sanfeng summit is on fixed rope, which requires fixed rope skills. Because of the facing, Sanfeng is notoriously known to have strong wind conditions. After the summit (around 9-10 hours round trip), return to base camp for a meal and pack up, then descent through the same trail on Changping Gou to the Lama Temple and drive to Rilong.

Trekking Seasons

Mt Siguniang can be climbed all year round. However, having four seasons means there are still best time and not so ideal time to visit. The climate in Mt Siguniang can also be drastically different in the high peaks and valleys. In the high peaks, the climate is constantly alpine and even arctic all year round. In the valleys, the dry season and the rainy season are obvious.

In general, April to September is the wet season. October to March is the dry season.

The best time to climb Mt Siguniang is in the drier months of autumn and winter from October to early March. Mid October when the leaves change colour to the autumn hue of red, brown, orange and yellow, at the lower terrain, is the most popular and peak season.

Late spring and summer may not be an ideal time to climb Mt Siguniang. From April to May, the rain dumps massive amount of snow in the mountains creating knee deep soft snow that is difficult to walk, especially on the trail leading to the summit. From June to early September, in summer, the intensity of the sun melts the snow as quickly as they are being dumped by the rain, making the trail muddy and slippery. The rainy season also means gloomy and cloudy sky that obstructs the otherwise beautiful scenery.

Experience Required

This trek is graded 3C.

You should have above 5000m snow and ice peak climbing experience. Rilong is located at 3160m. You will be trekking from 3160m to above 5000m and climbing two 5000m peaks in a short duration. The average personal backpack load you will be carrying during the trek is around 5-6kg. Dafeng is a relatively straight forward 5000m peak and used as an acclimatization climb for Sanfeng. Sanfeng has a tougher and steeper approach trek to the base camp. The summit climb is particularly challenging and treacherous. Rock scrambling is required and there are narrow ridge crossings. The last section before the summit is a fixed rope section. Because of its facing, Sanfeng often encounters strong gusty winds. You will also be sleeping at above 4000m at both Dafeng’s and Sanfeng’s base camp.

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 provided.

You will also need the following equipment for Sanfeng’s summit attempt:

1. Climbing harness
2. Climbing helmet
3. Sewn slings
4. Locking karabiners
5. Ascender
6. Abseil device

Equipment are provided. You can also bring your own equipment if you wish.

A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page for information on the layering system and how to choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.

DAY DESCRIPTION MEALS
1

Arrive Chengdu.

Overnight: Chengdu hotel

-/-/-
2

Transfer to Rilong.

Overnight: Rilong hotel (3200m)

B/L/D
3

Acclimatize in Rilong. Visit scenic area – Shuang Qiao Valley (3500m).

Overnight: Rilong hotel (3200m)

B/L/D
4

Trek to Dafeng base camp.

Overnight: Dafeng base camp tent (4200m)

B/L/D
5

Summit trek to Dafeng (5038m). Return to base camp. Descend to Rilong.

Overnight: Rilong hotel (3200m)

B/L/D
6

Recovery and training day in Rilong.

Overnight: Rilong hotel (3200m)

B/L/D
7

Trek to Sanfeng Base Camp.

Overnight: Sanfeng base camp tent (4400m)

B/L/D
8

Summit trek to Sanfeng (5355m). Return to base camp. Descend to Rilong.

Overnight: Rilong hotel (3200m)

B/L/D
9

Transfer to Chengdu.

Overnight: Chengdu hotel

B/-/-
10 Depart Chengdu. B/-/-
DATES PRICE
16-25 Oct 2020 (with a trek leader) $2,690.00 (SGD)  / person
15-24 Oct 2021 (with a trek leader) $2,690.00 (SGD)  / person
  • Group size: 6 – 15 people
  • You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg
Inclusions
  • Return airport transfer
  • All land transfer as in itinerary
  • Meals as in itinerary
  • Boiled drinking water during trek
  • Accommodation: Local hotels in Chengdu and Rilong (twin/triple sharing). Tents during trek (twin sharing)
  • Camping equipment: Sleeping tent (twin sharing), sleeping bag and mat, dining tent, table and chairs
  • Climbing equipment: Harness, helmet, abseil device, ascender, locking karabiners, ropes & slings
  • Trek support: Climbing guides (1:1 trekker) cum kitchen crew, porterage services by horses and herders.
  • Emergency support: Comprehensive first aid kit and portable oxygen cylinders
  • Permits & fees: Conservation, National Park fees, trek permit
Exclusions
  • International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Visa fee (if any)
  • Single supplement
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • All tipping
  • Personal porters
  • Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover agency insolvency and trekking up to 6000m)
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal travel & trekking gear
  • 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
Pre-trip Support

1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Complimentary group training sessions
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)

Local Support

We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. Our local partner is one of the most established and reputable mountaineering company in China. The climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in China, including Siguniang, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture. They are trained in mountaineering skills and emergency rescue. A few of them have climbed Mt Everest and other major peaks in the world.

Visa

Holders of ordinary passports issued by the following countries do not need a visa to enter China as long as their trip does not last longer than the visa-free period listed below.

Duration

Countries

30 days

Bahamas, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Mauritius, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Tonga

15 days

Brunei, Japan, Singapore

For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit https://www.visaforchina.org.

Money

In Chengdu, currency exchange services are available at the airport, hotels, malls, local banks, and moneychangers throughout the city. ATMs are plentiful, most accepting international credit cards and debit cards. Credits cards are commonly accepted in most mid-range to high-end restaurants and hotels in the city. However, these are all scarce or not available at all in the remote towns and areas. 

In recent years, mobile payment and going cashless has become mainstream in China (E.g. Alipay, WeChat Pay and QQ Wallet). Otherwise, for foreigners, cash is still the most reliable form of payment in China.

As of November 2019, travellers can now use AliPay and WeChat Pay mobile payments. AliPay and WeChat Pay are the 2 dominant mobile payment platforms in China accepted by everybody from big brands to street vendors.

AliPay lets tourists create a prepaid account and fund it with Visa, MasterCard, JCB or MasterCard. WeChat Pay links to a credit card and supports Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover, JCB, and Diners Club.

Electricity

China’s electricity is 220V and 50HZ. There are three types of plugs used in China. Two flat parallel pins (Type A) is the most common; two narrow round pins (Type C) and three-pronged angled pins (Type I).

Language

Mandarin is the official language spoken and taught in schools all over China. There are 56 official ethnic groups, some having their own language and writing system. Even the majority Hans which make up 91% of the population speak many different dialects and their variations, according to the region they hail from. So their common language is hence Mandarin (普通话).

English is gaining popularity in the young and professionals as a window to the world, but common usage is non-existent. It is hardly understood or spoken by anyone including those working in the tourist service industry, except in international chains of hotels.

Drinking Water

Tap water is not drinkable in China, even in major cities. Bottled water is easily available from supermarkets to hotels.

Tipping

Giving a tip to tour guides is a common practice in China but other service staff in hotels, restaurants and taxi drivers in general do not expect a tip from tourists.

 
Travel Safety Advice

With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrests, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.

As with traveling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.

It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.

For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/eregisterportal/common/preLoginEregisterView.action

 
Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.

 
Travel Immunization Advice 

There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter China. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:

Hepatitis A

Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.

Hepatitis B

Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.

Rabies

 

Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.

Tetanus

 

Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.

Typhoid Fever

Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Influenza

A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.

For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.

For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:

Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx.