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Trip reports - 12 days hike to Madwe mountain ridge, Putao, Kachin state in Dec 2011


We spent two weeks in Putao from 6th to 20th Dec 2011 during which we went to scout the trail to 3700 - 4000 meter high Madwe mountain ridge covered in snow. The 12 days and 11 night hike took us on the village trail to the rivers, rugged rain evergreen forest of the low hills, stone filled swift flowing creeks, steep mountains and finally to the snow land leading to the 4600 meter peak of Madwe.

The hike is hard and strenuous. In the low elevations and near the rivers there are ticks. In the wet days there are leeches. We had to walk pass the river several times, and had to walk on the stones and rocks along the rivers. Then there are several steep going up and down on the way to the snow peaks. Weather is unpredictable. On our trek it rained during the way up, and it snowed when we were walking on high mountain ridge. It is a combination of rain forest and sub alpine landscape.

In addition to stone hopping and cold water crossing, there are some scramblings in the higher ridge and some walking up and down the stoney creeks in the thick jungle in the lower mountains.

Between the town of Putao and the foot hills there are tribal villages. If you have time you should spend nights in these villages and enjoy the simple life of these hill peoples including Rawan, Lisu, Khanti Shan. Small primary schools, Buddhist monasteries and Christian churches in this area are different from those in the cities. Atmosphere is fresh, buildings and furniture are mostly made of wood and bamboo.

Fishing in Mayli Kha river, Nam Yin creek, Ma Khu creek, Madwe creek are possible. Bamboo is everywhere from lowland to high evevation before you reach the snow.

In our hike we saw Gibbons a couple of times, and a mountain goat in the snow. However for an ordinary hiking group it is not common to see these wildlife although you may hear the sound of Gibbons.


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