October 12, 2011
Enjoyed an opportunity to accompany some Catalans along the early part of their preparations and introduction to Siguniang’s range. Siguniang is a 3-4 hour journey northwest of Chengdu. Our drivers took the S303 route which, since 2008 in the wake of a great earthquake, is now an area swathed in remnants of the devastation: massive landslides, broken roads, crumbled overpasses, abandoned homes, cheap, temporary housing for fast relief and heavy, heavy construction as the government ushers in builders to hurriedly develop the more touristy areas (such as Wolong – home of the pandas). The ride was interesting; violently tremulous in both comfort and thought.
We arrived into RiLong well before dark and I began to observe the four men I accompanied that would be climbing head first into an expedition to open a new route on the north face of the 6,250 meter Siguniang. Toti Vales, seasoned climber and mountaineer lead the group comprised of Pau (meaning “Peace” in Catalan) Herrero Carenys, Oriol Fernandez Ferrer and the youngest being in his early 20’s, Bernat Sort Costa. All four seemed to display competency and strength. This is definitely needed during a mission for a first ascent on such a high and dangerous peak, however no matter how many strong qualities one may have, it’s truly Mother Nature that directs the fate in her realm.
As I post this though, the word has been that since I left, the guys have met nothing but inclement weather….rain, rain, snow, rain. It has put a damper on this sojourn they were eager to attempt. But they have not returned back to Chengdu so we’ll see what the final outcome is. Here are some images: