26-Apr-2006 -- Lin Zhi (林芝) Prefecture, Tibet
Line Hunting Date: April 26, 2006
A Confluence point next to National Highway 318 – one of the easiest hunt in Tibet?
Tibet is by far the most remote area within China. One indicator to measure the degree of remoteness is the population to confluence point ratio. At this area known as “roof of the world” with a total of 112 confluence points, the total population is only 2.6 million, ratio of 24,000 people per confluence point. In contrast, the rest of China has a ratio of 1.5 million people per confluence point. The general rule of line hunting is that - higher the population density, easier to find a road to get close to the confluence point. Based on this rule, most the points in Tibet are harder to reach. However, based on the map, this particular confluence point is an exception to the rule, about 1 km south of the only major highway transverse central Tibet.
The trip started in Lhasa with final destination the capital of Linzhi prefecture about 520 km straight east. We followed national highway 318 which is a 4800 km road started in Shanghai and ended in Tibet and Nepal border. The portion within Tibet is better known as the Sichuan-Tibet highway - the main road connecting eastern and central Tibet. It just so happen this particular point located about 1000 meters from the 318 highway, near the marker of 4216 kilometer at a little village called Zhong Cun with newly build housings (Photo 9)
We started the hike 880 meters GPS distance from the confluence point. In most other places, this remaining distance means an easy track to complete the mission. But, at this location, what we saw was a rather intermediating steep rocky cliff over 250 meters tall, and this confluence point appears to be beyond this rocky cliff. This turned out to be a more difficult hunt after all.
Yuzhen decided to rest in the car, so the hike started with three hunters. We followed the valley on the right side of the cliff up the slope. It was a rather wide and open valley with many wild azaleas blooming and rocks covered with moss. About halfway up the steep slope, Xiaofeng decided this was the right amount of exercise and turned back. This left the two unacclimatized hunters just arrived from sea level 3 days ago pushed on.
As we huffed and puffed our way up the slope, Leland gradually fell behind. When Ray reached within 120 meters from the confluence point faced with a 4 to 5 meters rock wall, Leland was no longer in sight. Ray found a crack on the rock wall and climbed up and pushed the last 100 meters in dense trees to reach the objective. At which point, Leland was no longer within voice contact. After a few photos of the spectacular surrounding, Ray descended rapidly assuming that Leland already tuned back. But this was not the case. When Ray reached the car, Leland was not there.
Quickly Yuzhen and Ray started back up the slope again to search for Leland. Eventually, after 30 minutes about half way up the slope voice contact was established. All was well, and apparently Leland passed the rock wall went further up after Ray went up the Rock wall into the woods. Based on the description, Leland did pass within 100 meters of this confluence point.
The entire hunt including the extra time searching for Leland took a little over 2 hours. The hardest part was going up almost 300 meters when the starting point had an elevation of 3,700 meters for those of us only arrived from sea level recently. The small pitch of rock climbing was great fun. All in all, this was a hard track for probably one of the easiest confluence point in Tibet. The truth is that, there is no easy line hunting in the mountain with elevation near 4,000 meters.
We reached Linzhi in late afternoon. The hunting excursion gave some of us a wonderful break of exercise from the 6 hour car ride.>
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 3 – a difficult climb at 3900 meters for non-acclimatized person and final approach requires the climb up of a 4-5 meter rock wall (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery: 4– Beautiful mountain and valley with wild azalea blooming (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 3- rural Tibetan village (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)