Tibet

Drive across the Suge la pass

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Petr Liška
Wrote 1969 articles and follows him / her 151 travelers
Drive across the Suge la pass
Inserted: 11.02.2014
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Suge la (5 452 m asl) is one the highest motorized passes in the world and its crossing, if weather permits, is a great experience. It lies on the road S304 at the western end of mountain range Nyenchen Tanglha. Driving over the pass is also a shorter version of the route between Nam tso lake and Shigatse, making it the perfect choice for those who do not need to go for some reason via Lhasa. The pass itself is relatively flat and a little bit lost in mountainsides, so it is worth to go above it (5 530 m asl) to have better views. The main magnet in the vicinity of the pass is glacial peak of Qiongmo Kangri (7 048 m asl) towering above everything. Unfortunately, only few people manage to see it not-hidden behind the clouds.

Southern slopes of mountains Nyenchen Ta

After you turn from the national highway G109 (Xining – Golmud – Lhasa /2,000 km/), set out along the provincial gravel highway S304 towards extremely high located pass Suge la. In the beginning you will be driving around immense plain overlooking the southern slopes of the mountain range Nyenchen Tanglha.

Southern slopes of mountains Nyenchen Ta
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Road S304

You will most likely be driving an off- road, but the road surface is relatively good, so it is passable almost for any car (in good weather of course). The bigger problem than the condition of the road is extremely low oxygen for engine combustion.

Road S304
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Suge la (5 450 m asl)

After you leave the upland plain, the road rises ever higher relatively straight on the valley of glacial river. Then follow five-twists and you're in the pass directly against seven thousand high mountain Qiongmo Kangri (7 048 m asl).The sign shows here 5,300 meters asl, but it is wrong – GPS and all sources show that it is significantly higher – 5,450 meters asl and it makes this pass one of the highest motorized passes at all.

Suge la (5 450 m asl)
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Above the pass Suge la

The pass is relatively very flat, clenched from both sides by the hillslopes, so the views from it are not very wonderful. Therefore, it is ideal to set out from here for a small trip (for about 30 minutes) to the flat ridge above it.

Above the pass Suge la
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Twisty road

During the ascent to the pass you can see at least a little to the valley, through which you ascended to the pass.

Twisty road
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Tibetan views

The view of the landscape on the other side of the pass is of the infinite number of ridges, flat hills and mountains with remnants of glaciers.

Tibetan views
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The ascent to the outlook point

The ascent of the outlook point itself along the rounded plain is very simple. However, if we do not consider high altitude at 5 500 +.

The ascent to the outlook point
Author: Jiří Klečák © gigaplaces.com

The outlook of Suge la

After twenty minutes lasting ascent you will finally be on the top of flat ridge (5,530 m asl) with a great view of mountains in the mountain range Nyenchen Tanglha.

It is a pity that the visit of Tibet is possible only with such a strict program. Right here would be a perfect place to camp and high-lying starting point for hikes into the surrounding glacial valleys, or to make a circuit around the amazing peak of Qiongmo Kangri (7 048 m asl).

The outlook of Suge la
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Downhill from the pass Suge la

On the plains just below the pass you will see the first simple houses of herders.

Downhill from the pass Suge la
Author: © gigaplaces.com

Qiongmo Kangri

The dominant of the horizon and the main attraction of this road, except for the high-lying pass, is Qiongmo Kangri (7 048 m asl) – amazing mountain, however if you see it as the whole :-)

Qiongmo Kangri
Author: © gigaplaces.com
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