This past July, our friend Chris Miller set off on a high altitude bouldering expedition to a Tibetan paradise known as Dao Cheng. The elevation ranged from 3700m (about 12,140 feet) to 4300m (about 14,100 feet), making even the smallest forms of physical activity exhausting. The area was first scouted by one of Chris’ close friends and climbing partners, Mike Dobie.“Dobie first told me of this high elevation bouldering area back in 2012. Coming from a strong bouldering background, I was immediately intrigued, but the timing wasn’t right. I was just returning to climbing after a painful year recovering from injuries and the last thing my tendons needed was the strain and intensity of bouldering. When I touched base with Dobie earlier this year, he mentioned teaming up for an alpine big wall expedition sometime in early August. It just so happened that this bouldering mecca was en route to the big walls of Zha Jin Jia Bo, and would be perfect for getting acclimated to the elevation before heading higher to the mountains. Excited to be bouldering again, we put together a team of friends and set course for Dao Cheng.”
High Altitude Bouldering in Tibet
The first area we explored was Rubu Chaka, a small village just outside of Dao Cheng. At 3700m, Rubu Chaka was a great place to get acclimated to the elevation before heading to the higher plateaus. Daily routine involved yak butter tea, soaks in the local hot springs, and of course bouldering until our fingertips were raw and bleeding.
The next area we developed was Haizishan. By far one of the most beautiful and isolated bouldering areas I’ve ever been to. Endless skies and rolling hills littered with boulders in all directions. Fresh mountain water from the streams, limitless solar power from the sun, and some of the best friends and company going…we had everything we needed and then some.
After a successful alpine bouldering expedition we descended back down to Dao Cheng, rounded up the rest of our gear, and made way for the big walls and mountain massifs of Zha Jin Jia Bo. The main objective that brought us out to this region of Tibet/China…