Travel along Xinjiang-Tibet Highway

5 mountains over 5000 meters,16 ice bergs and mountain passes,     44 ice rivers.

It is Xinjiang-Tibetan Road, National Highway line 219

which is the road in the highest altitude, the hardest condition, and it is the steepest.

There is popular folk adage on Xinjiang-Tibetan line saying having taken bathing in Bangong Lake, having peed on the boundary mountain and ice berg, having slept in the dead ditch.

And now, great changes have happened on Xinjiang-Tibet line,

It is not only a legend living in the words of mouth…

From Zero Kmes

The famous scenery road-lineG318 starts from Shanghai People’s Square, and the zero km of line G219 is located in Yecheng in Xinjiang. There stands a fabulous medal sign on the side of road, saying walking to the world roof from this point.

Moving forward, we can see a huge blue signs erected on the road far away, said: “Ali of Tibet”, and a straight arrow. People who don’t understand may think that Ali is not far away. In fact, this “not far” distance is 1100 kilometers away. Xinjiang-Tibet line is called the “the road of death” since Yecheng in Xinjiang is the 1100 km away from the administrative center of Ali, Shiquanhe.

The Endless Daban

The endless uphill road, crossing the pass again and again which make you sign for them, it is unique memory of Tibet line.

The Risk of Kudi Daban, Seeming Gate of Hell

Kudi Daban (elevation 3250), also known as Akazi Daban, is the first snow mountain pass of Xinjiang-Tibet line, named for its difficult terrain, the Uygur language meaning-the mountain monkey cannot climb.

The slope is 27 km long. When people get here for the first time, the effect of altitude is not obvious, but the pressure of high contrast greatly. Individuals will suffer from the eardrum bulging, severe cases can cause a ruptured eardrum.

From the Mazha Daban,  Drop of 5300 Meters

The second high in Xingjiang-Tibet line is Mazha Daban, also called Selleck Daban, which is the longest one in Xingjiang- Tibet line. At an altitude of 5100 meters, compared with the Kudi Daban, it is more dangerous. The mountain in Mazha Daban, is steep and straight into the sky.

There is a sign pointing forward to ‘Pulan’in the intersection of the Mazha Daban, and it is a scene of extreme desolation on both sides. There is not as much as the barren rocky mountain, deposited with brown gravel. It is a very lonely scene, barren, dust, white top of the mountain, lifeless. We can be reminded by the the occasionally passing truck we are still on the earth merely.

Heika Daban Spin, 99 Bends

We began to climb Heika Daban(elevation 4930) in the place331km away from Yecheng . If we encounter rain or snow melting, it is easy to cause landslides because of the soft soil in this section. It is very dangerous.

The continuous turns is absolute test to the drivers. The car soldiers said: Twenty km, ninety-nine bends.

The Jieshan Daban High, Stretch Out Your Hand to the Sky

The pass of Jieshan Daban suggests the boundary of Xinjiang and Tibet, and one of the most famous passes on the Xinjiang-Tibet highway. Its altitude was once thought to be 6700 meters which frightened countless travelers. After the actual measurement, it is confirmed to be 5248 meters.

The climate of the mountain pass is changeable. It rains,snows, and hails sometimes, the air is thin, and the oxygen content is less than 50% of the plain. Stopping in the Jieshan Daban, it means you have reached the highest point of the highest road on the earth. In addition to happiness, people may have headache because of the altitude sickness.

Qitai Daban

Passing the Jieshan Daban, we arrive at the west of Kunlun Mountains pass, 5186 meters above sea level, Qitai Daban, which is famous for the steep slope. There is the same bad weather, the wind, snow and rain, long and barren slope.

Hongtu Daban

Many people assume that Jieshan Daban is the highest point on the Xinjiang- Tibet highway. Actually, the highest point is the Hongtu Daban which you need to travel southward 23 km from Jieshan Daban. GPS measured it is 5256.50 meters above sea level. So,Hongtu Daban,the highest highway in the world theoretically, it is said people who want to complete a kiss in high quality must take breath for 100 times. Have a try!

The Dead Ditch

However, the most horrible Tibet line is not the bad road condition, but the high altitude, altitude sickness caused by thin oxygen. It is the death ditch that is one of the most dreaded place. It is located in the hinterland of Karakorum which is  jaws of death on the Xinjiang-Tibet highway.

There is popular saying “leaked in the Tianshan Daban, slept in the dead ditch.” It can be used to describe a person who are experienced, bold and brave. It is obvious that it leave the horror in the hearts of the people.

When it comes to the origin of the name of the dead ditch, the local legend said that the advance troops of Liberation Army from Xinjiang to Tibet company had camped overnight here in 1957, but the whole army was wiped out because of the altitude sickness! At that time, people did not know much about the altitude sickness, and thought that the place was mysterious and terrible, and it took people’s life invisible]y, so it had such a creepy name.

So far, it is notorious and the most dangerous spot on Xinjiang-Tibet line. When the vehicle pass through here, and the wind like ghosts and howl of wolves is to let a person dare not stay  .

The Cry of No Man’s Land

Once, Ning Hao’s  film “no man’s land”, show the desert, harsh, desolate and uninhabited scene of the hinterland of Xinjiang incisively and vividly. In fact, such a scene can be seen everywhere on the 1100 km road of Yecheng to the Shiquanhe.

Due to the bad weather, in this section, the average elevation is over 4500 meters, and oxygen content in the air is only 40% of the Inland. There is almost no trace of human life this area. Except the passing trunk by accident, the frontier troops, and bare tourists, we cannot find the traces of human activity again.

The environment of unmanned area is unspeakable desolation, we can even feel the lifeless here by taking a breath. From time to time, we can see a group of wild animals passing through the plateau, which is spectacular. It seems to imply that such a place does not belong to mankind.

After all, this kind of place is not suitable for human living. It is needless to mention its extreme natural conditions which make people live hard. Even though we can survive here, who are willing to sacrifice the life in the desolate and wild world?

No one who returned from the no man’s land, shook off the dirt smartly

In the relaxing narration, depict the life path, cross the gap between heaven and hell .

In the alternation of night and day, have a passionate affair with the desolate wilderness,

In the struggle for survival, complete a legend with blood and soul.

Changes Have Occurred

The Xinjiang Tibet highway which it used to be, had bad weather, thin air, and long dirt road. Once it rained, and it became muddy. You had to worry about landslides, road collapse…… It was a nightmare of pedestrian , and few travelers were willing to have a visit.

Now, change has happened. The pavement is fully paved with asphalt, which shortens the distance and we can start at dawn and arrive at dusk. After the overhaul and repairing of the Xinjiang-Tibet highway, it is solid.The number of accidents is greatly cut. From Yecheng to Ali, there are few buses. If you shout ‘I want to go to Ali’ on both sides of Line G219 National Road in Yecheng, there will soon be a lot of off-road vehicle drivers coming up to talk to you about the price, of course, the price is expensive.

Although this journey is still difficult, the altitude is still high, and the air is still thin, compared with the past, it is easier to conquer.and it takes you a day to travel from Yecheng to Ali. Traveling the Xingjiang-Tibet line is no longer a dream, and the convenient traffic makes the medals of the brave travelers dim.

Anyway, the Xinjiang-Tibet line is still the  ultimate challenges for backpack donkeys, riders, and self-driving tourists. Needless to say, it is the beautiful natural scenery that companies with the harsh climate and extreme terrain conditions .

There is no a road, like the Xinjiang- Tibet line, fulling of difficulties and unique charm. The steep Ice Berg, the desolation, the wind, the snow and rain, the exotic scenery ….. You should feel it.