Dafeng, or Da Feng or Mount Dafeng or Dafeng Peak, is a 5038-meter mountain, one of the four sisters of Mt. Siguniang. Da means No. 1 and Feng means peak. Dafeng is the oldest sister of them all. Dafeng is not a very distinct peak among all the peaks at Mount Siguniang but it is famous for its representational status as a rookie mountaineering place in China. Lots of active travelers come here to hike to its summit every year.
Dafeng is located between Changping Valley and Haizi Valley. A trek to Dafeng starts from Haizi Valley. Usually it is one day’s walk to the base camp of Dafeng at the elevation of 4300 meters and then proceed to the summit the second day and come back to either base camp of even back to Rilong. For a rushing plan you can go to the summit and come back it in two days from Rilong. But a more reasonable plan is to have time for acclimatization first: longer time is necessarily planed before you spend your night at the 4300 meters campsite.
Total elevation gain is about 1800 meters and elevation loss is the same as going up and going down will follow the same trail. The hiking starts from the entrance of Haizi Valley, one of the few valleys of Mount Siguniang. Haizi Valley is the valley leads to eastern face of Mount Siguniang. First day on trekking is difficult. You will need to walk from 3200 meters to 4400 meters at Dafeng base camp for 15km usually for about 7-8 hours. The sheer elevation gain is substantial considering it is done in one day. However you can break this day’s walking into two days and have one night stay by the campsite at around 3800 meters. The second day you will need to walk from base camp to the summit at 5025 meters and come back to base camp. The walking distance for the second day is about 16km, half ascent and half descent. The third day you will walk another 15km back to Rilong from base camp. It is the same trail you walk on first day but downhill.
From entrance of Haizi Valley to base camp of Dafeng, the first half of walking is easier as it is not steep. After the middle post at Dajianbao the trail becomes steep all the way to base camp. Entrance of Haizi Valley is at 3200 meters and base camp is at 4300 meters. Summit of Dafeng is at 5038 meters. After base camp and before summit, the trail is basically very rocky but a simple handrail is set up, making the walking much safer. At the summit of Dafeng, the view is spectacular!
There are basically two kinds of trails you will experience during a Mount Siguniang Trekking. First one is the trail at lower elevation where you may see bushes and grass. These trails are recognizable and easy to walk (some are paved boardwalks). The second kind of trail is at high elevation generally after the base camp or at places with elevation over 4000 meters. These trails are made out on the rocks. Although many hikers use these trails very often but you are suggested to have a local guide with you for this part because the snow may cover the trail and at such elevation the snow stays for a long time. The trail to the summit is not difficult in terms of trail conditions. There are shortcuts made by former hikers but it is better to walk the usual and longer trail for safety reasons. For the days of hiking at Mount Siguniang, you will see stunning views of beautiful peaks for most of the time whilst hiking.
There are in total two nights’ camping for a Mount Siguniang Trekking trip to Dafeng summit. Two nights are both at base camp of Dafeng. This base camp is generally a very good campsite. It is quite flat. The elevation of the base camp is at about 4400 meters. At the campsite, there is a lodge for rent. They have basic bunks for hikers to sleep overnight. But you can always use your own tent. There are no dangerous animals around the campsite. And campfire is not allowed here as this is a national park although you wouldn’t be able to find any firewood easily at such elevation.
Try to eat healthy and do not drink from the streams directly. If you are using packhorses, the horsemen can cook for you for dinner and breakfast. The meals are basically Chinese food in a Sichuan flavor. It is good to eat something hot and fresh while hiking although you can always use your own mountain food that you are used to. At Rilong, you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, etc. You can also find many groceries selling snacks like chocolate and other food. There is also Tibetan bread you can consider. As of drinking, you can buy bottled water from Rilong or you can always cook water by yourself at campsite. Water purifier is also a solution but it is better to cook the water and always drink boiled water here.
Pack horses are available to hire for hikers and climbers. Food and hot water is provided by the porter teams. Mt. Siguniang has the most experienced mountaineering working people in China. Local horsemen are also mountain guides and hiking guides. If you prefer you can find local guides and packhorse through Sichuan Travel Guide. A basic but functional rescue system is active at Mt. Siguniang due to its former experience on rescuing for some reckless travelers.
A Climbing Permit is required to go to the summit of Dafeng. It needs to be acquired before hand. For individuals who want to get a paper like this is possible but with lots of waiting and tedious work. If one gets this permit through companies like us, it saves lots of trouble.
Entrance Ticket: 60 yuan per person for high season (Apr - Nov), 40 yuan per person for low season (Dec - Mar)
Camping Fee: 150 yuan per person (you can stay up to 3 nights camping, it supersedes the 60-yuan ticket)
Dafeng Climbing Permit Fee:300 yuan per person (this is required even if it tours out to be an unsuccessful attempt)
Optional Horse-riding:From 200-360 yuan depends on how far you go into the valley
Recommended Time to Spend:3-4 hours / 2-3 days