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Permit Frustrations in China

Posted on: January 24th, 2010 by admin

Seerdengpu (middle left) in Siguniang National Park, China. Beautiful, but now, apparently, much more expensive. Courtesy of Pat Goodman.

Pat Goodman and Dave Sharratt, winners of a 2009 Lyman Spitzer Award from the AAC, experienced a surprising and frustrating permit situation in Sichuan, China, effectively shutting down their expedition. Goodman had climbed in Siguniang National Park in 2005 and had researched the October 2009 trip extensively, but the two men were surprised to learn upon arriving at the park gate that they needed a special climbing permit. Back in the nearby town, officials told them they had to get their permit in person in Beijing; locally, they were only able to obtain an expensive camping and trekking permit. Despite a threat of fines and jail time, they made a brief attempt on unclimbed Seerdengpu (the “Barbarian”), but the wind had gone out of their sails.

Late, Goodman learned that the permit rules had been in place since the mid-1990s, but were only strictly enforced beginning in 2009. One team that obtained the proper permits in 2009 paid roughly $3,000 for 10 days of climbing. You can read Goodman’s full trip report and find more info about the permit situation at the AAC website. Sharratt’s account can be found at the Black Diamond site.