27-Oct-2002 -- We headed out to what we believed was the second highest confluence point in the world (I'm aware that the degree confluence project's altimetry is not the best set so if anyone can shed light on how this one ranks I would appreciate it). I needed to find people to share the cost of a jeep rental in Tibet. We had eight people in 2 jeeps to take a tour to the Mt. Everest region, but only Mireille and Kaspar Smits from Holland were eager enough to join me to try to get to the point (there was also the Tibetan driver and guide which is required by Tibetan permit laws).
We got up early after spending the night in a small town called Saga. I used my Tibet atlas and GPS to lead us north, 2.5 hours down dirt roads. Once we were about 30 km from the point, the dirt road veered off in a direction that was not in agreement with my Tibetan road guide.
We backtracked to find another pair of tire tracks heading toward a valley in the direction of the point. At this point we had reached an altitude of 5300 meters. We looked off into the brown, slightly snowcapped mountains at the other side of the valley but we couldn't see any evidence of tracks or roads going into the mountains. The mountains were in such a place that we certainly would have had to cross them to get to the point. The tracks seemed only to head to a cluster of farm houses at the foot of our hill. There was another cluster of farm houses at the foot of the brown mountains, but as we looked with binoculars we couldn't make out any roads to it. We would have to drive down to see if there was a way across.
Up to this point the driver seemed to be having trouble getting the jeep to go up slightly steep hills. He had to form his own S-turns several times to get up hills, and he and the guide had gotten out several times to mess with something under the hood (the carburator?). When I told him we wanted to go down the tracks he, unprovoked, yelled his head off at me in barely comprehensible Chinese. It seemed he was worried about the problems with his jeep and he didn't think the road led anywhere. He was not happy with us trying out roads that we weren't certain about. After his long tirade he finally, grudgingly, decided to take us down the road.
We went down a few hundred meters until we came across a lone herdsman. The guide asked him if the road went anywhere. It seemed like they pointed and talked about a lot of things, but the final answer was "no, the road didn't go anywhere". At that point I wish I would have kept on going but I felt the momentum to give up was too much to overcome. We had gotten about 28 km from the point and it was too far to hike in. We headed back and called it an attempt.