Backpack Kawariluo (卡瓦洛日神山) Holy Mountain Pass

Rate this Adventure China Gengda Village

Added by Kyle Obermann

A pretty epic and secluded out-and-back route near the town of Ganzi in western Sichuan which gets you some pretty amazing views of a holy peak and close up with wildlife. 

The route starts right off HWY 317 on the opposite side of the river at Gengda Village (更达村), elv. 3450m. Follow the road through the village along the river valley, soon crossing a bridge to the right side of the river (true left). Follow the road up the valley above the river for 5k or so until you reach the next village at which point the road will descend into the valley below. This is where the real trail starts. Alternatively you could cut out this first 1hr+ slog by taking a car down the road from Gengda to the start of the trail at the last village. If you can, I'd recommend this.

There are three main valleys splitting off from the village, take the middle one close to where the houses are located by the river. Large paths big enough for a trucks lead up both sides of the river. Take the true right to save yourself a crossing later. There are still a few crossings you will have to do later on in order to follow the trail (it's really a logging road).

After a while the road gives out into an actual trail on the true left of the river and the steep valley eventually shallows out into a long, gentle sloping valley above the tree line. There are plenty of fresh water streams here coming down from the mountains above and camping spots if you need. Head up the valley towards the small triangular peak in front.

Near the end of the valley, the stream becomes quite steep and it is best to take to the right slope early on to the true left of the stream and begin to slowly gain elevation towards the ridge on the right of the small peak. There is a low pass near the small peak but that adds distance to the route. A direct ascent to the ridge is steeper but has better views of Kawariluo. The elevation of the ridge is about 4840m. The ridge is also wide enough at some points if you want to bivy on top.

From the ridge you have the option of descending the scree (it's quite nice) down 400m or so down to the low bowl below and camp there. The ridge is also wide enough at some points if you want to bivy on top.

  • Extra: This link shows this pass linking up with a 3-4 day route descending into the other valley below the ridge and around the near face of Kawariluo, it is also a good map for the out and back route. Note: we tried to do this route but failed, after you pass over the ridge and ascend to the low bowl we found the stream too steep and flow too heavy to descend and the surrounding rhododendron brush too thick. In theory, it's possible, but we couldn't do it and spent a miserable night in a poorly put up tent in bushes. Would be a beautiful route if you could make it, however.

Pack List

  • 50L pack
  • Food for two days
  • Capacity to carry at least 1L of water
  • Tent
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Backpacking, Camping, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



18.6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4593.2 Feet



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Added by Kyle Obermann

China Environmental and Adventure Photographer || 探险中国

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