Taklimakan Desert Traverse


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What: An 870-mile, end-to-end walk across the 125, 000-square-mile Taklimakan Desert

Where: Northwest China, travelling from west to east.
When: September 16 to November 17, 2001

Who: Climber-turned-walker Mike Libecki, teammate Don Bowie, as few Chinese officials as possible, and two local Uighur people who will serve as guides and camel tenders. Around 40 camels are needed to carry water, equipment, fuel, and food—Mike and crew plan to carry all their personal clothing and gear for the duration of the expedition.

Why: The interior of the “desert of no return” is almost completely uninhabited. It offers ancient archeological sites and promises extreme temperatures and violent sandstorms.

Photos: Will be posted regularly beginning September 27 at

November 19: Libecki’s back!
And his photos tell the story of a punishing expedition across one of the harshest and most remote places on the planet. His online slideshow will be posted here beginning December 3.


Abandoned, burned, and bruised, Libecki pushes on.

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