Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge (simplified Chinese: 虎跳峡; traditional Chinese: 虎跳峽; pinyin: Hǔtiào Xiá) is a canyon on the Yangtze River – locally called the Golden Sands River (金沙江; Jīnshā Jiāng) – located 60 km north of Lijiang City, Yunnan in southwestern China. It is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.

Around 15 km in length, the gorge is located where the river passes between 5,596 metre Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山; Yùlóng Xuĕshān) and 5,396 m Haba Snow Mountain (哈巴雪山; Hābā Xuĕshān) in a series of rapids under steep 2000 metre cliffs. Legend says that in order to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point (still 25 metres wide), hence the name.

Administratively, the river in this area forms the border between Yulong Naxi Autonomous County of Lijiang City (right bank) and Shangri-La County of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (left bank).

Tiger Leaping Gorge is a contender for the world’s deepest river canyon, depending on the exact definition used. The inhabitants of the gorge are primarily the indigenous Naxi people, who live in a handful of small hamlets. Their primary subsistence comes from grain production and foreign hikers. The gorge is not considered navigable. In the early 1980s, four rafters attempted to go down the gorge and were never seen again. In 1986, the first known successful attempt to sail through the gorge was made by the first expedition to float down the entire length of the Yangtze, starting at the river’s high source at the Gelandandong glacier lake. source : wikipedia.org

During my trip to Yunnan last month, we left Shangri-La for Lijiang. Tiger Leaping Gorge was on the way between these tow counties. The main attraction of Tiger Leaping Gorge is the rapids at the bottom of the canyon. It was quite spectacular and certainly worth the more than 1,000 steps of stairs down and up again. Of course you have to be fit. It was quite a fight climbing back up 1,000+ steps carrying 18kg of camera equipments on my back!

After the photos, I have uploaded a short movie showing the rapid raging river at the bottom of the gorge. You can get a better perspective of the scene than just seeing the still photos. You go to YouTube to see Full HD version of the movie.

All photos and movie were shot with Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM and Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM. All photos were shot in RAW and converted to TIFF with Capture One Pro with further processing by Photoshop CS5 before final output to the web. The movies were shot in Full HD and processed with Apple iMovie.

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One thought on “Tiger Leaping Gorge

  1. Love the video and great pictures.Just bought the 16-35f/2.8 II usm and the 24-105f/4 is usm from Mr Yip
    Looking to go to Yunnan Provence one day. WE that is J.J. Audrey and self did 9kl through yellow mountain and over 10,000 stairs in 5hrs,it was the coming down that was pounding the knees. I to carried a back pack about 8.5kg. As cold as it was with stairs with ice on them and walking stick in
    one hand and camera in other was hard going. Will not do it again in a hurry unless I spend a few nights there.
    We did what some do in a week,we had a guide and private car all to our selves and weather was good.

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