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In October 2003 Tim Boelter and climbing partner Jon Otto attempted the 20,505 foot Mt. Siguniang in the Sichuan province of southwest China. The mountain is one of the “Four Maidens” — four striking peaks that stand side by side like sisters.

The attempt of this stylish alpine pyramid was cut short because of unrelenting and dangerous rock falls. This vertical technical rock and ice climb lived up to its reputation. See an excerpt from our upcoming film (high-speed Internet connection recommended).

Tim and Jon have returned to this beautiful, diverse region known as the Asian Alps for another attempt and to continue the film. This time they hope to log progress updates to this website.


The Siguniang climbing team proudly uses the following equipment:

Black Diamond Mountain Hardwear MSR Smith Optics

View a map of China
map of China

View a map of Sichuan
map of Sichuan

Dates: November 1–15, 2004
Main Sponsor: Sinian Food Group

Team Members:
Cao Jun
Ma Yihua
Jon Otto
Chen Junchi
Jia Guiting
Kang Hua
Chenzi Gang
Tim Boelter

The Siguniang (Western Sichuan) region of China has steadily gained recognition among climbers due to its variety of climbing and relatively easy access. The area offers easy walk-ups, ice climbs, long traditional rock routes, glaciers, and challenging alpine ascents. Westerners have pioneered most of the new technical new routes, including the incredible winter ascent of Mt. Siguniang’s 4th peak (Chinese name “Yao Feng”) in 2002 by Mick Fowler.

The Siguniang massif is composed of 4 peaks: Big Peak, 2nd Peak, 3rd Peak, and Yao Feng (or 4th Peak). The lowest is Big Peak at just over 5,000 meters and they go up in height consecutively. Chinese have climbed all but Yao Feng. At the present level of alpinism in China most Chinese climbers wouldn’t consider attempting Yao Feng because of its technicality.

Yao Feng is the highest peak in the area and there is no straightforward route to its summit. All of its routes have incredible exposure and require some degree of technical rock and ice climbing.

This team is composed of China’s more technically skilled climbers with many years of climbing experience plus two American alpinists. Tim Boelter is a documentary filmmaker and climber who specializes in mountaineering and adventure films. Jon Otto is an expedition planner and leader, author, travel consultant, and owner of BlueSheep Travel. Jon is credited with introducing technical climbing to China.

The team is attempting the Japanese route, which ascends the west face to the southeast ridge. This line starts on a glacier, ascends more than 400 vertical meters of a steep ice and rock up a gully on the west face to a saddle at 5,600 meters. It then ascends the southeast ridge to the summit. If successful, this climb will set a precedent for what is possible among the Chinese climbing community and will hopefully start to move more Chinese towards attempting alpine-style climbing.

July 1981 — A Japanse team ascended the Southeast Ridge
July 1992 — A Japanse team ascended the South Face and Southwest Ridge
1994 — American Charlie Fowler ascended the South Face
May 2002 — The British team of Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden ascended the Northwest face