Backpack to Leduomanyin Glacier & Lake

Garze, China



24 miles

Elevation Gain

3937 ft

Route Type



Added by Kyle Obermann

Pristine glacier, remote lake, 6000m peaks. What could be a better campsite?

This is a variation of the Outbound adventure which takes you on a hike around the full western side of Sichuan's highest peak, Minya Konka (7556m). In fact, you can follow the instructions on the other adventure up until day three. Here is a brief summary of the instructions for that adventure and what to do on day 3.

Day 1: 

Starting from Chengdu, you can take an early bus to Kangding starting at 7am from the Chengdu New South Station (新南门汽车站) (there are buses leaving until the early afternoon) which takes about 7-9 hours depending on traffic. A one way ticket is around 120RMB. The bus will only stop once for lunch and a bathroom break. Once in Kangding, you have the option of staying the night in a hostel, or hiring a driver for a bumpy 1.15 hour ride to the trailhead which starts at an old dam/power station (电站). There should be plenty of drivers for hire hanging around outside the bus station that will approach you. The average cost is about 200RMB to hire a car. Make sure to get his number or arrange a time to meet back with him at the end of your hike since this is an out and back route and there is no service at the start.

At the power station the trail starts directly from the road at around 3500m and is only a one hour easy hike up to the first campsite located in an open, grassy swath of land that is quite obvious. This is about 3600m and located next to the river.

Day 2:

Follow the trail as it rises and falls along the valley river in a steady climb. Expect to pass and see local, friendly Tibetan herders as well as their huts. The valley will eventually split into a Y with a large peak in front of you, follow the path and stay in the valley to the left, continuing on the left of the peak. You have two main, optional sites to camp: the Lower Riwuqie (下日鸟且) or Upper Riwuqie (上日鸟且) valleys at approximately 4090m and 4330m respectively and around 4km apart. Both valleys are distinguishable as large, flat, grassy plains with a river cutting through them. During April of 2014, the river section of the Lower Riwuqie was completely dry (in October 2017 it was running). The ascent to the Upper Riwuqie is aggressive and gains elevation quickly up a large rocky moraine. The scenery of the upper valley is fantastic and much better than the lower, but there is more trash. Also, in April there was still fresh flowing water cutting through the Upper Riwuqie coming directly from the glacial lake above. Alternatively, past the lower valley and before the steep ascent to the upper valley there is a rocky river plain filled with low shrubs that still had a small stream flowing in April 2014 on the far left side. With a small group it is no problem to camp here. In total this is about a 7-9 hour day.

Day 3:

Ascend into the Upper Riwuqie Valley, do not head to the right of the valley where the path a bridges lead as that will take you towards the pass on the full Minya Konka route. Instead, stay to the far left of the valley and navigate around the streams staying all the way to the left (or true right). Eventually, you will begin to ascend, you will see the glacial moraine wall above you which is covered heavily in grasses and shrubs. The lake is around 4,600m in elevation and is stunning. Skirt around the true right of the lake to head towards the glacier and there are some good, flat, gravelly campsites between the lake and glacier. The glacier terminus is at around 4,700m and there is a cool ice cave right there worth peaking into! Have fun exploring! (also there is no path up here, time to use google earth and you navigation skills!)

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Backpack Mount Gonga, Sichuan Mountains (蜀山之王): Minya Konka West Route