Our Day Tour to Shipton’s Arch takes you to the tallest natural arch in the world. The tour involves travelling in a four-wheel drive as far as possible then walking and climbing when necessary. It requires the visitor to have a moderate level of fitness.
Activities of the day: Shipton’s Arch (Tushuk Tagh).
Place and Transport: Kashgar to Shipton’s Arch to Kashgar
Shipton’s Arch is the tallest natural arch in the World at a towering 500m high and 100m wide, meaning that a small aeroplane can pass through!It is one of the least well known top twenty natural wonders of the World.It was first documented after a visit in 1947 by English mountaineer Eric Shipton, who made the arch known to the West in his book Mountains of Tartary.
It stayed forgotten for many years due to its remote inaccessible location within the Kara Tagh (Black Mountain) range. It was only as recently as May 2000 that an expedition sponsored by National Geographic rediscovered the arch marking its position so that foreigners can now find it.
Shipton’s Arch is known to the local people as “Tushuk Tagh” which literally translates to “Hole Mountain” Shiptons Arch was recently used as a stage, called The Gobi March 2008, in the international stage event ‘Racing the Planet’.
This took competitors to the top of the arch during its seven-day, 250 kilometer footrace.This tour leaves from Kashgar in the morning and returns in the afternoon. Shipton’s Arch is situated in a remote loaction and requires a two hour drive by four wheel drive transportation to reach it.This drive includes an hour on road and an hour of exhilarating off road river bed driving.From the end of the terrain where the car can reach we will continue on foot for around 45 minutes.We will ascend through steeply walled canyons over rocky river bed terrain. This trek also involves climbing up a series of ladders placed to make the scramble to the base of the arch easier.
This walk is moderately challenging and will require good walking shoes and a moderate level of fitness. It is also advisable to bring water and snacks with you and warm clothes as it can be cooler at the arch due to the high Altitude (2000m).
On request and weather permitting you can make this tour a sunrise expedition.Leaving Kashgar early, three hours before sunrise, and watching the sun rise up between the arch. It is also possible to arrange an overnight camping stay.at Shipton’s Arch and upon waking watch the sunrise before returning to Kashgar.
“This arch far exceeded all my expectaions. It is quite simply breathtaking when the arch is revealed before your eyes at the summit of your uphill scramble and well worth the climb. Due to its extreme remoteness you can be overwhelmed by the absolute silence.”
Janina Henly Wales UK, March 2009