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The Trip-Finder, January 1999
Trekking to Mind Mountain

Outfitter Price Accommodations
Geographic Expeditions
$5,950 camping
High Asia Exploratory Mountain Travel
$3,800 camping

The Route: A 21- to 25-day trek to the sanctuary valley of 22,107-foot Kawakarpo, aka Mind Mountain, a sacred Buddhist peak in the remote Yunnan Province, whose mountains shelter Tibetan culture. On the approach, you’ll explore the more traditional towns of Lijiang and Dechen.

When to go: May-June and October-November

Difficulty: Difficult

Travel advisory: Don’t be offended when these Himalayan villagers stick out their tongues at you. It’s a traditional Tibetan Buddhist greeting that was originally meant to demonstrate that they were not disciples of the black-tongued devil god.

High/low points:

  • Sitting in the courtyard of a red-lacquered Lijiang home as nonagenarians play ancient instruments that survived the Cultural Revolution thanks only to Yunnan’s distance from Beijing.
  • Driving by jeep down the terrifying road to Dechen — a sheer gorge on one side of you, a mountain on the other.