China Adventures

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Black Sea Lake and Haba Mountain Summit

Hike 2 days through Yunnan's most famous attraction, Tiger Leaping Gorge. Camp on the shores of Black Sea Lake at 4200 metres. Climb to the summit of Haba Mountain at 5396 metres. This is an epic adventure through one of the world’s deepest river canyons, up to a pristine alpine lake and to the summit of one of Yunnan's most beautiful snow-capped peaks!

  • Key Info
  • Discounts & Inclusions
  • Season: all year
  • Length: 7 days
  • Hike level: 4 strong
  • departure time: 8 am
  • Hike distance: 75 km
  • Price: 7500 ¥ / 1100 $

Meeting and drop of point: Your hotel in Shangri La or Lijiang

Day 1: Tiger Leaping Gorge Upper Trail

Hiking duration: 4-5 h

Overnight in guesthouse

Day 2: Tiger Leaping Gorge Lower Trail

Hiking duration: 6-7 h

Overnight in guesthouse

Day 3: Haba Mountain to Black Sea Lake

Hiking duration: 6-7 hrs

Overnight camping

Day 4: Black Sea Lake to Haba Base Camp

Hiking duration: 3-4 hrs

Overnight in shared dorms

Day 5: Haba Base Camp Acclimatization Day

Overnight in shared dorms

Day 6: Haba Base Camp to Summit (5396 m)

Climbing/hiking duration: 10-12 hrs

Overnight in shared dorm or guesthouse

Day 7: Haba Base Camp to Haba Village – Transfer to Lijiang or Shangri La

Upcoming trip:

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge Upper Trail ( 4 to 5 hours)

We pick you up from your hotel in Lijiang or Shangri La between 7:30 and 8:30 am and  take you on a scenic drive to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Before the hike, we stop for lunch at the restaurant of a local Naxi family. The Naxi are the largest ethnic minority living in the Tiger Leaping Gorge area. Our hosts have been living here for many generations and made their home into a guesthouse that offers beautiful views of the gorge (see pic below). They serve a nice variety of Chinese and Western food.

Tiger Leaping Gorge day 1

Mountains surrounding the Tiger leaping Gorge on our arrival

After lunch we start our trek and climb the famous 28 Bends. It usually takes about 2 hours from the start of the trek to the top of the 28 Bends. We take a break at the highest point of today’s hike, which offers an excellent view of the Jinsha River raging through Tiger Leaping Gorge (the Jinsha River is the name of the upper reaches of the Yangzte River). We hike the upper trail for 2 hours, passing 2 waterfalls and a bird’s-eye view point of the famous Tiger Leaping Rock, which lies in the middle of the river. Legend says that to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river using this rock, hence the name. By 5-6 pm we reach our guest house and settle down to a hearty dinner. There are plenty of dishes to choose from and cold beers are available to put us all in a good mood.

Day 2: Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge Lower Trail (6 -7 hours)

We start the day with breakfast and a cup of coffee (yes, they have a coffee machine!), then hike downhill for 2 to 3 hours. By noon we reach the middle part of the Tiger Leaping Gorge and enjoy a nice, big lunch. After lunch the hike gets tougher but more amazing with every step you take.

We follow a small trail, climb down a steep cliff-side staircase and walk through a narrow pathway cut into the mountain. The mighty Jinsha River shows its immense strength as it rushes through the gorge between Haba Mountain and Jade Dragon Mountain . The 3-hour hike that follows is beautiful and mostly flat. For the last part of the trail we hike uphill through the Walnut Grove to a small but very nice Tibetan guesthouse where we celebrate the end of the day’s hike with a delicious meal. After dinner we drive one hour to Haba Village, check into our hotel and get to bed early in preparation for tommorow’s high-altitude hike up Haba Mountain to Black Sea Lake!

Day 3: Hike up Haba Mountain to Black Sea Lake (6-7 hours)

Today we make our way to Haba Mountain’s most beautiful spot, Black Sea Lake, a majestic alpine lake at 4200 metres above sea level. It’s a 6 to 7-hour hike from Haba Village through a stunning alpine landscape. We hike along narrow mountain trails through dense forest, past waterfalls and across mountain streams. We may also encounter local people roaming the mountain trails looking for medicinal herbs and wild mushrooms.

This is a vigourous hike involving roughly 1600 meters of elevation gain from Haba Village, located at 2600 metres, to Black Sea Lake, so you need to be in good physical condition. Luckily we have mules to carry our camping gear  and if you get too tired they can carry you for a while as well.

Haba mountain covered in Rhododendron

Haba mountain covered in rhododendron

Our campsite at Black Sea Lake is absolutely stunning. On a clear day you can see the snowcapped, 5396 metre-high summit of Haba Mountain. During May and June, the mountain is filled with orchids and lilies. With its stunning scenery and abundant flora, this 4200-meter high alpine lake is arguably the most beautiful campsite in all of Yunnan. It’s also an excellent place to continue the vital process of acclimatization for summiting Haba Mountain.

Black sea lake at Haba mountain

 

Day 4:Hike to Haba Mountain Base Camp (3-4 hours)

After a hearty breakfast we set off for Haba Mountain base camp. Base camp is at roughly the same elevation as Black Sea Lake and the hike takes us about 3 to 4 hours. We can take our time to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Around noon we settle into base camp, have lunch and relax for the afternoon as we continue the process of acclimazation.

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Haba Base Camp (4100 m)

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Day 5Haba Base Camp Acclimatization Day (4100 metres) 

Today is an acclimatization, rest and info day. We get up early and go over our summit plan and  gear check.  The afternoon you can rest or go for a short hike. Today we get to sleep early as tomorrow we rise way before the roosters for the most exciting part of the journey.

Day 6Haba Base Camp – Summit ( 5396 meters) 

The day we all have been waiting for, summit day! We get up at 3 am for an “alpine start” at 4 am and must arrive at the summit before 11 am. After enjoying breathtaking views at the summit, we descend the mountain and return to base camp. Depending on the condition of all the climbers and the weather, we spend the night at base camp or continue down to Haba Village the same day and spend the night there instead.

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Standing on the summit of Haba Mountain

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axing our way to Haba Mountain summit

Resting on the final stage of the summit push.

 

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On a clear day, the summit of Haba Mountain offers expansive and breathtaking panoramic views for hundreds of kilometers. Other snow-capped mountains that can be seen from the summit of Haba Mountain include the enormous multi-peaked massif of neighbouring Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, located just across Tiger Leaping Gorge, as well as the spectacular 3 Sacred Peaks of Daocheng County in Sichuan province, and even the Meili Xueshan massif on the Yunnan-Tibet border; this latter massif is home to Yunnan’s highest peak, Kawagarbo (6700 m).

Day 7Hike to Haba Village, Transfer to Lijiang or Shangri La

After breakfast, we will either hike down  from base camp to Haba Village for about 3 hours and then provide transportation to Lijiang. If we already arrived at Haba Village the previous evening we will provide transportation directly from Haba Village to Lijiang.

 

Important notice:

The altitude and ever-changing weather on Haba Mountain can present even experienced climbers with difficulties. It is recommended to budget one or two extra days to acclimatize or wait-out bad weather at basecamp if necessary.  Please note that the trip package is for 7 days; any extra days will be charged separately on a day by day basis.  

We will provide a detailed gear list of recommended and required items that each participant should bring with them on this trip.

Luggage transport and packing:

Day 1:

Luggage will be transferred to the hotel at the end of Tiger leaping Gorge where we will pick it up before heading to Haba Village at the end of Day 2.

Day 1/2:

Hike with a daypack containing:

Camera, toilet paper, flashlight, light jacket, toothbrush, sun lotion, hat, fresh shirt and socks, water bottle

Some cash for snacks and meals on the way

Day 3/4

You can choose to carry your own gear up or rent a donkey to do the heavy lifting for you

Camera, toilet paper, flashlight, warm jacket, gloves, toothbrush, sun lotion, hat, fresh shirt and socks, water bottle.

All camping gear will be delivered to the campsite by mountain horses.

Day 5: 

Acclimatization day

Day 6:

Climb Haba Mountain with daypack containing:

Camera, toilet paper, flashlight, warm jacket, gloves, toothbrush, sun lotion, hat, fresh shirt and socks, water bottle.

Day 7:

Hike back to Haba Village with backpacks  and transfer to Lijiang or Shangri La

Cancellation policy.

Cancellation made by the participant more than 3 weeks before the trip will entitle the participant 100% refund.

In case of cancellation by the participant 3 weeks or less before the trip there is no refund but you can reschedule your trip to another date.

If a trip gets canceled due to unforeseen circumstances (very bad weather, closed trails,  not enough people signed up for a trip or other acts of god) you will of course get a 100% refund..

Hike level 5

Haba Mountain is a great entry level high-altitude climb for beginners and experienced climbers alike. Those in good physical condition and with hiking experience are welcome to climb Haba with us. During the trip, our guides will provide basic mountaineering training to help enable all clients to have the best chance of reaching the summit.

Planning a trip ahead or want a private tour?