A journey on the legendary Balang Shan Pass
Balang Shan La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4.500m (14,760ft) above the sea level, located in the Sichuan province of China. The pass is traversed by an extreme high mountain road called 303 Provincial Road.
The road is mostly asphalted but includes several gravel sections. It’s 709 km long and climbs several mountain passes. In many places the road is bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. The surface of the road is in very poor conditions and includes countless hairpin turns. It’s very steep and the drive is surrounded by snowy mountains. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. The pass, between Siguniang Mountains and Wolong National Park, is blessed with a diversity of landscapes, including alpine meadows, river valleys, and alpine flowstone slope.The road is often underwater and severely damaged by rain and landslides and can be closed anytime. During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The top of the pass, also known as Banlan, offers breathtaking views of the mountainous region to the west and the snowcapped Siguniang Mountains. In the Tibetan language, it is called Balangla, which means "the mountain of strange willows ". Along the road there are several muddy, rough surfaced unlit tunnels to traverse–dripping water and speeding trucks only add to the terror.
Road suggested by: Hugh Wilson