Yushu Zangzuzizhizhou, China

Hike from Princess Wencheng Temple to Yushu

19.9 Miles Total - 1400 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Kyle Obermann

You into legendary Buddhist princess gods? Or maybe just trekking on some ridiculously beautiful hills at 14,000ft? Either way, this one's for you.

Take a taxi one way from Yushu (玉树) to Princess Wencheng Temple (文成公主寺). Should be around 30-40RMB and something like 12km.Once you get to the temple, take a look around. It's famous, butpretty small. There are tons of prayer flags and yaks hanging aroundthough. After that, hike back 2km to the main road.

Cross the main road and head northalong it, back towards Yushu for a couple hundred meters. You'll passwhat seems like a very random, small tree farm, massive monastery on the right, andcontinue until you hit the telephone poles going up the ridge. Thereis a small path here for an underground wire and yaks, take thisup to the crest of the ridge (although in reality the grass is so shorthere that paths are not needed).

Once you're on the ridge, it's wide andfree, and you're on your own from here. There are no paths, becausepresumably no one walks here, but simply follow the wide ridge as itrolls up and down, gradually gaining elevation, first heading almoststraight west and then north towards Yushu. Once you head north,there is a peak that you will summit in order to ascend down toYushu. It's name is Mt. Graze, elevation 4835m, and there is a largemetal pole with prayer flags at the summit.

Graze is best approached by taking thelonger, but less painful, detour northwest to where the ridgeconnects with the highest part of the valley connecting to Graze(otherwise it's a steep shot down from the ridge and then way back upagain). Once on the peak, drop off due north/northeast down thesteep, rocky slope (it's a lot easier going down then up this one –which makes this route best not to do backwards). Head towards theobvious col below you and take the next ridge veering to the leftwhich takes you all the way back down to Yushu (this will be obviousfrom the summit of Graze in clear weather).

Some notes:

  • This route is not just long, but theconstant ups and downs make it strenuous. It is essentially entirely above 4000m. Be acclimatized before you go.
  • There is absolutely no shelter of any kind up here, be aware of the weather.
  • The wildlife up here is spectacular, we saw tons of Tibetan gazelle.
  • There are some small alpine tarns with water in them about 10-15km in that would be sufficient to drink and use for camping. I won't vouch for their seasonal persistence though – we took all the water we needed for the day with us.
  • There are some small tarns with water in them about 10-15km in that would be sufficient to drink and use for camping. I won't vouch for their seasonal persistence though – we took all the water we needed for the day with us.
  • The ridge makes for easy, clean trekking in good weather, but there are no paths, markers, or people On a clear day you can see the summit of Graze ahead of you the majority of the time. On an unclear day it would be a good idea to at least have a compass.
  • There is an alternate, shorter route available which starts from the next ridge after the one described in this route and summits a slightly lower peak. Look at a topo map or google maps for reference.  
  • Best time to go is in July-September, winter comes early and brings tons of snow.
  • You could trail run this and it would be amazing.
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