these days everyone wants to go to ice & alpine climbing in China.


tibbetan butcher gyantse

 never a dull moment in China. photo: Schewchuk


Things have been a bit up and down with ice climbing in china the last few years – after all its not Nepal or the alps with a huge industry catering to it. Permit changes, angry Tibetans, earthquakes and politics has been interplayed with good trips to new places in true expedition style – ie when you are not 100% certain of what you will find. 

After 13 years of trips to chinas mountains, from the central peaks like Hua shan out to the remote Kun Lun, Pamir and Tien Shan and lots of trips to Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet in between iceclimbingjapan’s crew have a good handle on things with a large local network. 


Shuangqiao gao is the center of China’s ice climbing, underneath Siguniangshan in the Qonglai range on the edge of Tibet. With dozens of icefalls along a high valley Shuangqiao gou has the climbing off europe with the exotic quality of high altitude asia.

In either direction along the Tibetan escarpment hundreds of valleys hide countless icefalls, almost all of them unseen and certainly unclimbed. Trips here can range from week long alps-style jaunts to month long expeditions into the vast array of surrounding valleys and peaks.  

Iceclimbingjapan has climbed extensively in this region, putting up dozens of first ascents and paving the way for a lifetime of future trips. Transport, accommodation and logistics are arranged to get climbers from Chengdu to the ice with minimal hassle from the bureaucracy that has affected this area in recent winters. 


How big is your imagination?. From accessible peaks like the Minya Konka massif and Bogeda Feng to truly remote unnamed peaks in Chinas far west Xinjiang and Qinghai, Iceclimbingjapan can get you there. Peaks in China can be tropical spires rising from the green forests of Yunnan to the high altitude deserts leading to K2 and the north side of the Karakorum. 

mixed alpine kangding north sichuan

northern Aba, Sichuan: mixed alpine at 4500m. photo: Schewchuk

Be aware this is not Nepal, or even Pakistan – getting to BC will be a process in itself. You wont be sharing a well-worn trail with hoards of tourists and school groups. 

Expeditions: The real thing 

Along with alpine stuff we have crossed deserts, paddled rivers, ridden horses, trekked and driven into many of chinas remotest areas. There are thousands of wilderness areas ranging from vast steppe and tropical areas to obscure mountain ranges that would be star attractions were they in any other country. 

Note these are true expeditions 99% into areas that have not seen foreign teams before. After leaving the big cities you are into a second golden age of discovery. Visit the EXPEDITIONS page for more details

Iceclimbingjapan provides preparation and on the ground logistics for foreign teams with real objectives. 

xueshan china sichuan ice climbing

5500m peaks along the Sichuan-Tibet border in China. accessible and good weather patterns, yet barely climbed.


Its no secret China is not for everyone. Even amongst ‘expedition climbers’ few are willing to take it on. 

This is exped climbing old-style with no industry to hold your hand. You wont be treated as just another visitor. But this means many of the conveniences of other climbing destinations wont be present – something that attracts climbers wanting what many of the popular places long ago lost. 

On the ground China is amazing: the food is good, access can be good, theres no Taliban or Maoists or religious rules. The cities we start and end in are huge and comfortable, visas are easy, crime is low and prices are good. Yes, there are issues with alienation, human rights, censorship and politics – but no worse (and a lot better) than many other expedittion destinations.

Note: Iceclimbingjapan offers these logistics services as an independent guiding group. We are not tour operators, we are not running hold-your-hand climbing trips. What we are is the connection. What we do is put 13 years worth of genuine expedition experience at your disposal for the planning, organizing and running of your independent trip. Essentially, we turn your ideas into reality.

Many climbers have ideas for ice and alpine climbing in China but making them happen proves strewn with barriers: info is scant, in-country knowledge is miniscule, local contacts are hard to negotiate, theres a void between the idea and what actually goes in. Going to China with Iceclimbingjapan has us doing the hard, confusing and annoying stuff for you. You come up with the plan, dates and budget and we pull the pieces together. From food, transport, equipment and redtape to guiding, overseeing and recceing we are the resource that makes independent climbing possible.  


 ice climbing China Sichuan

 locals in China: ice climbers are aliens to them, sometimes resulting in unusual interactions

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