Posted on: December 5, 2007

The south-southwest face of unclimbed Holy Damyon (6324m), Nu Shan, Mekong-Wi Qu Divide. In November, Japanese explorer Tamotsu Nakamura made another foray into Tibet and China seeking virgin peaks. Despite considering the recent journey frustrating—the team was denied access to their planned route due to dangerous roads and heavy snowfall—Nakamura was able to photograph a number of peaks, documented here, that have never been attempted, let alone climbed. [Photo] Tamotsu Nakamura

This autumn, famed Japanese explorer Tomatsu Nakamura traveled to the "Deep Gorge Country"—so called because the main tributaries of the Yangtze River have carved very deep river gorges through the Hengduan Mountains—in Yunnan, southeast Tibet and Sichuan, China. After circumstances forced a change in plan, Nakamura trekked up the Yu (Wi) Qu River, a tributary of the Salween River.

Nakamura has explored part of this region before, as featured in an April 10, 2007 NewsWire, and had intended to travel north, up the Salween from Tsawarong, into largely unknown territory, but his plans were stymied by dangerous conditions and the refusal of local horse and mule team owners to put their pack animals in danger. Extraordinarily heavy snowfall in November caused a further change in the expedition's plans, as two passes—4900m and 5300m—leading deeper into the mountains became impassable.


Still, the region's complex geography and topography leaves much to be discovered. Nakamura returned with photographs of more peaks that have yet to see an attempt.

Nakamura, who has almost singlehandedly mapped and explored this remote region, has proven to be a boon to serious mountaineers seeking new adventures. Various expeditions, inspired by Nakamura's photographs (like those in the February, 2007 Climbing Life), climbed several new peaks in 2005.

Sources: Tamotsu Nakamura, AAJ (2003)

A peak located south of Holy Damyon, Nu Shan, Mekong-Wi Qu Divide. [Photo] Tamotsu Nakamura

A 6005-meter peak on the Mukong Xueshan massif, Baxoila Ling, Salween-Irrawaddy Divide. [Photo] Tamotsu Nakamura

Another unclimbed peak (5900m) on the Mukong Xueshan massif, Baxoila Ling, Salween-Irrawaddy Divide. [Photo] Tamotsu Nakamura

A peak of ca. 5700 meters in the Geuzong. [Photo] Tamotsu Nakamura

A peak of ca. 5800m in the Geuzong. [Photo] Tamotsu Nakamura

Ca. 5700-meter peak on the Yu (Wi) Qu Salween Divide. After muleteers refused passage to the upper Salween, Nakamura's team were forced to choose a route along this tributary of the Salween, where Nakamura had explored previously. [Photo] Tamotsu Nakamura

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