Added by Kyle Obermann
Ox Heart Mountain rises above the colorful plains of Qinghai Province, giving 360 views of the surrounding peaks and landscape： the breadbasket of northwest China.
From Xining, Qinghai Province's main airport and city, take the bus 6~ hours to Qilian Town (祁连县). The bus ticket is 58RMB and the first one leaves at 8:15am everyday. There are multiple buses every day.
From the SE end of the Qilian (near the main town square) head almost due south, following the patchwork of small roads through the town until you reach a main road (small, but the only one) that leads up towards the mountain to a concrete lookout spot above many of the fields and pastures. From here, head in a more SE direction to the top of the forest along its western edge, where the ground flattens out and there are some nice camping spots in pasture at around 3200m right above the treeline. There are some seasonal springs coming from the ground as well in the area. If you are looking at Google Maps, this campsite is approximately directly due south from the center of the town and right south (~100m above) the far southwest corner of the forest before a large, dry, gully feature.
From this campsite, you have two options to ascend: head further east to the crest of the small ridge at which the other side the gully plummets down, and then head up through the thick and annoying brush along the ridge; or, head straight up the steep slope almost directly south of you, which, although is quite steep, is a lot more clear than the ridge line. Follow these ridges upwards keeping the large gully to the east of you and eventually there is a large grassy bowl before the final scree slope ascent to the peak. The bowl is at approximately 3880m and makes for great camping and has some small streams as long as there is snow melting from the peak.
From the bowl, it is a steep, scree scramble ascent to the peak heading slightly SW straight up a scree face and then turning slightly back SE towards the summit at 4667m. There is a “false” summit at 4353m which makes a good resting point. No technical gear is needed, but good scrambling skills are essential at some parts and it is very steep. It's slightly dangerous, and the route should be not attempted without previous experience.
- 50L backpack
- Food for 2-3 days
- Water purifier
- Winter clothes
- Tough gloves
- Sturdy trekking pole
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