Lodging on the Mountain

Base Camp

Base Camp Lodging (4,100 meters)

Base Camp (大本营)—also known as Upper Base Camp—sits on the north slope of Haba Snow Mountain (哈巴雪山) above Haba Village (哈巴村). The site is reached after a 5-hour hike via the Base Camp Route (大本营路线). In recent years, on-going construction has transformed the place. A variety of structures and warren-like compounds can accommodate around 300 visitors. Base Camp is owned and operated by residents of Longwangbian (龙汪 边), the Hui settlement a short distance southwest of the center of Haba Village.

There is a one-time nature reserve entrance fee of 200 RMB. Lodging at Base Camp is 150 RMB per night, camping nearby is 50 RMB. If you want to hire a guide, you’ll best organize this in Haba Village, rather than at Base Camp. Be clear about the terms of the agreement before you head to Base Camp, and avoid paying double after arriving at your lodgings. Nine Haba Village guest houses utilize Base Camp for clients attempting the peak.

Independent trekkers should not assume they can arrive unannounced at Base Camp and be taken in. During off season, the caretaker may be on holiday and the buildings locked down. Best to make arrangements for your stay ahead of time in Haba Village.

Guided group tours generally include meals. Independent travelers can order meals with the on-site caretaker. Another option is to bring your own food and have it heated. Since the operators of the site are Hui (Muslim) no pork is allowed. The cook house provides hot water from a sea of giant-size thermos bottles. Water comes from a tiny pond a few meters south of the building.

A typical dorm room has up to eight bunk beds. Pillows and ultra-thick blankets are provided, but no sheets. You may want to bring your own sheet, sleeping bag liner and/or sleeping bag for personal comfort and peace of mind. The bathroom facilities are primitive, without toilet paper or running water.

A small hydro-generator provides electricity at Base Camp. Some rooms come furnished with lightbulbs. Ask the caretaker where to find outlets for charging your devices. For cell signal, walk a few meters north of the building where the caretaker lives, until you are in sight of the valley below.

Lower Base Camp Lodging (4,000 meters)

There are two base camps on Haba Snow Mountain. Upper Base Camp is the best known and sits at an elevation of 4,100 meters. One kilometer away as the crow flies, Lower Base Camp stands in a separate valley at 4,000 meters, in a place called Luwanping (绿湾坪, Green Bending Meadow).

A trail to the lower camp leaves Base Camp Route at a place called Ganhe (干河, meaning Dry River), elevation 3,800 meters. There are several run-down huts near the trail junction. Much of the year Ganhe is indeed a dry wash of sandy ground. The hike to Lower Base Camp takes about 40 minutes.

Four Haba Village guest houses utilize the lower camp. If you hire a guide through one of these, you’ll have opportunity to lodge there.

From Lower Base Camp, the route to the summit threads a ridgeline leading south to rocky outcrops at the tree line. At about 4,400 meters it joins the Mountaineer’s Route (登山者路线) from Upper Base Camp and continues to the top of Haba Snow Mountain.

Lodging in Shepherd Huts

Throughout the high country you will encounter shepherd huts, corrals, stables and other buildings. There are dozens and dozens of them scattered all over. Most are falling into ruin. The ones in best shape are invariably locked, and these buildings and their owners should be respected.

In earlier times, these huts served the needs of numerous yak and goat herds. Throughout the summer, herds lodged at one hut, grazing the area before moving on to another hut. These days, only about ten families in Haba Village move herds into the high country, partly because many young people opt for city life.

A few huts in halfway decent shape offer refuge, where you can build a fire and cook inside. Guided tours may also use these huts. Please be aware, the roofs leak when it rains, so you might want to set up a tent inside.

From time to time, local inhabitants build new stone or log buildings, invariably locked. Occasionally they tear down old huts and replace them with new ones, also locked.

During the height of high season (early October and other times), guides erect house tents on the shore of Black Lake (黑海). These are for the use of paying clients and not available to all hikers.