Rope way

Gongga Shan

Gongga Shan (Chinese, Traditional: 貢嘎山, Simplified: 贡嘎山, Pinyin: Gònggá shān), also known as Minya Konka, is the highest mountain in Sichuan, China. It is situated in the Daxue Shan mountain range. It is the easternmost 7000 m peak in the world and the third highest peak outside of the Himalaya/Karakoram.

The peak has large vertical relief over the deep nearby gorges.

A rope way has been constructed that can transport tourists across the glacier below the mountain to a cable car station at 5000 meter altitude.


In 1930 the explorer Joseph Rock, making the first attempt to measure its altitude, mis-calculated its height as 30,250 feet (9,220 m) and cabled the National Geographic Society to announce Minya Konka as the highest mountain in the world. This measurement was viewed with suspicion from the start, and the Society's decision to check Rock's calculations before publication was well-founded. Following discussions with the Society, Rock reduced the claim to 7,803 m (25,600 feet) in his formal publication. In 1930 Swiss geographer Eduard Imhof measured 7,590 m.

A second, better-equipped American team returned in 1932, and did an accurate survey of the peak and its environs. Their summit altitude measurement agreed with Imhof's figure of 7,590 m. Two members (Terris Moore and Richard Burdsall) of this small expedition (only four climbing members) succeeded in climbing to the summit. They began on the west side of the mountain and climbed the Northwest Ridge.

This was a remarkable achievement at the time, considering the height of the mountain, its remoteness, and the small size of the group. In addition, this peak was the highest summit reached by Americans until 1958 (though Americans had by that time climbed to higher non-summit points). The book written by the expedition members, "Men Against The Clouds," remains a mountaineering classic.

The Himalayan Index lists five additional ascents of Gongga Shan, and seven unsuccessful attempts. There have been a number of deaths on Gongga Shan, which has earned a reputation as a difficult and dangerous mountain. In 1981, eight Japanese climbers died after a successful ascent.


  • R. Burdsall, T. Moore, A. Emmons, and J. Young, Men Against The Clouds (revised edition), The Mountaineers, 1980.
  • Jill Neate, High Asia: An Illustrated History of the 7000 Metre Peaks, ISBN 0-89886-238-8

Further reading

  • Michael Brandtner: Minya Konka Schneeberge im Osten Tibets. Die Entdeckung eines Alpin-Paradieses. Detjen-Verlag, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-937597-20-4
  • Arnold Heim: Minya Gongkar. Verlag Hans Huber, Bern–Berlin 1933
  • Eduard Imhof: Die großen kalten Berge von Szetschuan. Orell Füssli Verlag, Zürich 1974

External links

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