THE STORY OF… Crossing China’s “Prison” Xianjong Region
A mountain ridge with several +6000m peaks. This is one of the most awesome views during my trip so far!
Military checkpoints, flashing surveillance cameras every fifty meters, running face analysis and tracking you, whole villages being fenced off with barbwire and military check points and more propaganda posters than advertisements. Riding through a country-sized prison is how it felt crossing China’s autonomous Xianjong region.
Having finished Bartang valley, it is time to leave Tajikistan, go back to Osh (Kyrgyzstan). The Tajik-Kyrgyzstani border crossing is located at around 4300m and is quite a remote place with a funny road. In between the two countries, there is some kind of no-mans-land where nobody cares about the road and rules. Very often there is no “road”, or it is washed away, full of potholes, dirt and rocks. luckily it didn’t rain and it was more or less only dried dirt and puddles.
Arriving in Osh, I start to prepare my bike for the stressful and notorious China crossing. Since it is pretty expensive, a shitload of paperwork, mandatory guide and fixed itinerary, we will cross as a group and had organized everything upfront. Therefore, I HAVE to be on time at the Chinese border, otherwise I would have spent more than 1000USD for nothing.
I pick up my new tires, change oil, fix some bearings and realize I have some free time before crossing China so I decide to go visit Peak Lenin. With its 7134m it is the second highest peak in Both Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and is considered one of the less difficult 7000m peaks to climb. Well…. I’ll visit the basecamp, climbing it will be for another day.
It is located only a couple of hours from the Chinese border, so bloody perfect! The road towards basecamp is a bit notorious for being very bad, muddy and full with river crossings, which makes it a no-go when wet and proper adventure when dry. I Set up camp at 4100m (just above basecamp) and enjoy the spectacular views.
The next morning I’m snowed in with about 15cm of fresh snow! I enjoy the stunning white-coated mountains and start my snow-hike to the viewpoint at 4800m. There was only one thing that bothered me, will I be able to go back to the valley and make the river crossings? In 2 days I’m crossing China after all…
WATCH THE GALLERY
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