Tibet Tour

Fungal & Floral Foray in Tibet
July 25 to August 6, 2016 
In August 2023 we are offering a Mushroaming Bhutan Tour!
Shukpa Gonpa near Nyingchi, June 2005. Unfortunately the temple of this Bonpo monastery burned down some years later but has been reconstructed since.
2016 Tour Announcement
This two week long journey in East Tibet is certain to be a once in a lifetime natural and cultural experience in some of the most stunning landscapes on the planet. We will be exploring the mountainous Southeast of the Tibetan Plateau. This incredibly bio-diverse area is a paradise for any nature lover, but especially rich in fungal and floral resources. We will take plenty of time in the field for anything wild and of interest such as wild life and birds, wild flowers, mushrooms or hot springs.

We will journey through incredible landscapes and encounter an exotic, deeply spiritual ancient culture. Tibetans will accompany us on our mushroom and plant forays as we look for a variety of life forms, including plants and mushrooms, the latter we will enjoy in delicious culinary sensations both Tibetan and Chinese.  We will traverse many altitudinal zones, from warm-temperate to alpine areas up to 17,000 ft (4800 m), thereby experiencing a wide range of ecosystems, all with their unique flora, fauna and funga.
July and August is prime season for ectomycorrhizal mushrooms in the old-growth conifer and oak forests. We will spend plenty of time out in the woods to encounter many wildflowers including incredibly beautiful orchids and find true Matsutake (Tricholoma matsutake),  Tibetan Caesar (Amanita hemibapha), all kind of boletes including King boletes, chanterelles, lion's mane, sulphur shelf and more exotic species. Of special interest is also the matsutake trade, which dominates the local economy. In alpine grasslands mushrooms such as Ser Sha (Floccularia luteovirens) a very tasty and several Agaricus species are fruiting. We will visit mushroom markets and surely encounter Yartsa gunbu, the Caterpillar fungus (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) in the markets.
Among hundreds of wildflowers we will find wild species of lilies, delphiniums, cremanthodiums, edelweiss and fields of Pedicularis. A few Rhododendron might still be in flower. June through September is monsoon season. Please note that the monsoon in this area is nothing like that in the south slope of Himalayas; there will be rain, but not enough to deter us and rainy days are often balanced with sunny skies.
Matsutake (Tricholoma matsutake) in evergreen oak leaves,
The tour will also include much cultural immersion. We will visit plenty of incredible Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, sacred lakes, mountains and forests. We will experience the mysterious and colorful spirituality that lies at the heart of Tibet and its people. We will travel to alpine grassland areas surrounded by glaciated peaks visiting nomads and yaks, and taste some fresh "yakgurt". Beautiful hot springs along the route shall not be missed! We will do plenty of day hikes to explore the out doors, some of them on pathless steep slopes, thus you should be in good shape. You do not need to be an athlete, but shortness of breath is magnified in a high altitude environment.             
           Testimonials by Participants           
As part of the "Ongkor", blessing the fields ceremony, locals carry Buddhist scriptures around the fileds. Ora, July 15, 2010
Brothers looking out a farmhouse window in Kongpo, June 2005
Kongpo's Draksum or Basong Tso (3450 m) June 2006.
A Tibetan sulfur shelf or chicken of the woods (Laetiporus miniatus ) in the old-growth fir forest at Draksum Lake, July 22, 2010. We enjoyed it for several meals in Lhasa.
A Giant cypress (Cupressus gigantea) in Kongpo. Photo: Tony Migas, June 2006
Family collecting Cordyceps, Bar La, June 2006
The highway along the Yigong Tsangpo Gorge, June 2005.
Habenaria arietina, what an orchid! It was flowering in Pome / Bomi, right were the road was washed out. July 19, 2010, 2470 m.
(Link to Orchid page)
Boletus reticulatus, the summer bolete, a close relative of the king bolete (B. edulis). Locals did not know of its edibility and we had to proceed very carefully in cooking them as to not upset anyone while "poisoning" ourselves. Handles, smells and taste just like a porcini.
Lunang, July 20, 2010.
Karma found a nice matsutake, locally known in Kongpo as Raba. Lunang July 20, 2010.
Two of the 15 orchids or so we saw in 10 days on the road and in the woods.
A rare summer view of the giant Gyala Pelri (7150 m / 23,450 ft) right behind the Tibetan farmhouse we stayed in. Gyala Peri is the sister peak to Namche Barwa, the two giants of the easern most Himalayan peaks [Between the two runs the Tsangpo River].  Lunang July 20, 2010
Maxine cooking king boletes we collected during the day on a wood fueled Tibetan stove. We also cooked a delicious dish of matsutake steamed in soy, red wine and a bit of butter, yummy!
Tashigang, Nyingchi Pref., August 6, 2011.
Kongpo is full of impressive alpine vistas like this one. July 18, 2010
Stereopsis cf. humphreyi, Draksum Tso, Nyingchi County, Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet AR, July 22, 2010
Nomad kids in their tent, Kongpo Bar La, June 2006
Lilium duchartrei in Gyalthang (Zhongdian)
Dechen TAP, NW Yunnan), July 23, 2007.
 A bridge leading from the prayer hall to the monks quarters in Dodung Gonpa, Pome / Bomi, Nyingchi TAR, June 2005
Amanita vaginata group found above
Nyingchi, June 2006
Girl churning butter the traditional way. She is not calling in a pizza, such services are not available in rural Tibet yet. Lunang August 2011.
An impressive Cirisium eriophoroides thistle common in Kongpo around 3400m, August 2011
Chanterelles (Cantharellus sp. maybe cibarius
or C.minor) found near Draksum Tso around 3500m, August 9, 2011
Old man of the woods - Strobilomyces sp. Aug. 7, 2011. Draksum Tso
Westside of the Potala palace, for several centuries the world's biggest building, June 2006
Meconopsis integrifolia growing at Kongpo Bar La Pass in 4500m.
Bayi's Prefectural Emporium with lots of dried mushrooms, herbs and many other local products and souvenirs.

Traditional nomad yak wool tent, Kongpo Gyamda, June 2006.
The three kings, Netcap King Bolete, Boletus reticuloceps, a close relative of Boletus edulis and very tasty.
Lamaling, Aug. 2011.
matsutake Tibet gyalthang shangrila Yunnan
Matsutake for sale at the mushroom market in Gyalthang a.k.a. Shangrila, Dechen Tibetan Aut. Prefecture, Yunnan. July 2012.
Itinerary for MushRoaming
East Tibet 
July 25 to August 6, 2016

Tentative Itinerary

Day 1 Saturday Jul 25 Chengdu – Dartsendo / Kangding

Drive SW via Ya'an, following the old tea road W, Erlan Pass, Luding, Kangding, Tibetan dinner

Day 2 Dartsendo / Kangding – Nyachuka / Yajiang

Explore mushroom market, drive West Gyela Pass, Welcome to the Tibetan Plateau, Minyak, Picnic Lunch with alpine flowers, Nyachuka, Matsutake market visit

Day 3 Nyachuka / Yajiang

Mushroom & Veggie market, Matsutake hunt, return to Nyachuka

Day 4 Nyachuka / Yajiang – Litang

Drive West up onto the highlands, subalpine Rhododendron forest stop, Picnic lunch, Lithang, Potala Hotel

Day 5 Lithang

Cordyceps market, day for excursion, Lithang Monastery, Seventh Dalai Lama Birth house, Hot spring visit, Potala Hotel

Day 6 Litang - Dabpa / Daocheng

Drive South through Lithang villages, High altitude Haizi Shan Nature Preserve, Sumdo monastery founded 12th Century, Dabpa County town with Hot spring visit

Day 7 Daocheng – Yading

Drive S thru Dabpa County to the foot of the Three Sacred Mountains, lunch picnic

Day 8 Yading

Day out in nature, Forest walk to high altitude lakes.

Day 9 Yading – Langdu

Drive S over pass and along Yangtze tributary, stay at Langdu Cheese factory guest house

Day 10 Langdu – Gyalthang / Shangrila

Drive SW over pass, flower stop, picnic, drive to Gyalthang, Tibetan dinner

Day 11 Shangrila (=Gyalthang / Zhongdian) – Chengdu

Explore Shangrila, markets, mushroom walk, dinner in town, evening flight to Chengdu

Day 12 Chengdu

Vegetable market, Panda breeding station, Shopping, Hot Pot Farewell Dinner

Day 13 - Thursday Aug.6  Chengdu - home

The fungal fellowship disperses

(Note, we might fly out of Dabpa/Daocheng and not Shangrila to reduce driving time and have more times in the woods & and for hikes)

A Tibetan village on Draksum Tso with the glaciated peaks of Gyachin Namlha Karpo in the background.
Aug. 8, 2012.
In the kitchen of Karma's house with her 90 year old grandfather Sonam. Karma cooked some tastyHygrophorus russula for us.
Leccinum extremiorientale, a beautiful and edible saberstalk.
An alpine Codonopsis flower encounter on Serkyim La in 4600m, August 2011.
Summer Fungal & Floral Foray in East Tibet 
July 25 through August 6, 2016
Land Costs: $4,950
price for 10 to 12 participants (12 is max.)
with 7-9 participants $4200, 4-6 participants $4450

includes all accommodation, meals, and overland transport
Single room supplement: $450
Additional costs:
International Airfare to Chengdu, China:
Tickets need to be purchased individually by participant. Be aware that July is not only fungal peak season, but also tourist high season. Please do check back before actually purchasing your tickets.
Other expenses: Souvenirs, alcoholic beverages, hotel bar, phone & laundry, tips for Tibetan guides,
Peak of the sacred Gyachin Namlha Karpo above Draksum Tso.
Aug. 8, 2012

Fungal & Floral Foray Summer 2012

Detailed Itinerary with Species lists
By Daniel Winkler

July 17 Tuesday Chengdu – Dartsendo / Kangding
Drive SW from Chengdu, via Ya’an, lunch in Yanjing near Yingjing, continue via Hanyuan and Shimian, following up the Dadu He / Gyarong Chu, Luding, arrive in Dartsendo / Kangding, Tibetan dinner with Troma tubers (Argentina anserina formerly Potentilla anserina), a Tibetan vegetable. Lamze Linka Hotel

July 18 Wed Dartsendo – Nyachuka
(formerly: Pundadrong) / Yajiang Explore mushroom market along River:
Mushrooms for sale (prices per pound):
Amanita hemibapha Jidan Jun ¥15 (open cap) to ¥25 (eggs)
Cantharellus cibarius
Catathelasma imperialis lao ren tou ¥20
Cortinarius emodensis Himalayan gypsy ¥15
Cortinarius sp.
Boletus edulis group beige-reddish velvety cap ¥25
Neoboletus luridiformis = Boletus erythropus? – red dot stem boletes Hei Niugan Jun
Hygrophorus russula
Leccinum versipelle Tibetan: Shiri Shamo
Lyophyllum sp.
Morchella sp. One sad looking morel
Russula sp. Fried Chicken mushroom
Sarcodon sp. Hawk’s wing
Tricholoma matsutake Matsutake / Beshing Shamo ¥80 to 100
Tricholoma sp. Mystery Knight Drömi Qing go ¥ 8-15

Medicinal plants for sale:
Gastrodia elata orchid tubers
Saussurea medusa – Snow Lotus
Rhodiola sp. Roseroot
Paeonia fruticosa or delavayi – Tree peony roots

Above Kangding:
Flower walk – Flowers between Rhododendron, and dwarf Juniper, willows and evergreen oaks, partially along small creek:

Allium prattii White wild onion, star-like flower
Allium sp. - Wild onion
Anaphalis flavescens – “Cat’s paws”
Arisaema sp. Cobra lily, trifoliate
Caltha sp. Marsh marigold
Cyanocalyx – yellow, gentian-like flower
Primula sikkimensis
Euphorbia sp - Spurge
Cardamine macrophylla
Cephalantera Orchis not flowering yet
Gentianella sp. - tiny blue Gentian
Gymnadenia orchidis pinkish orchid
Iris chrysographes
Juncus allioides - Garlic Rush wetland grass flowering white
Micronia sikkimensis “Tibetan Forget- me-not”
Podophyllum hexandrum - May apple
Pedicularis siphonantha var. delavayi
Pedicularis spp. Lousewort
Rheum alexandrae - Alexander’s Rhubarb
Stellera chamaejasme – herbaceous Daphne relative
Triosteum himalayanum (perennial in Caprifoliaceae)

Aleuria aurantia Orange peel fungus
Boletus / Xerocomus sp. (yellow pores, yellow grooved stem, not staining, not bitter)
Suillus sp.
Laccaria laccata?
Lactarius sp. Milkycap
Lycoperdon pyriforme pear puffball
Psathyrella sp. on dung.

Picnic Lunch with Dzomo Yoghurt, dzomo being the female yak.
Gye La Pass (Zheduo Shankou, 4290m, “officially” 4400m),
Welcome to the Tibetan Plateau,
Drive through Minyak valley on HW G319. Highway splits after Dzongzhab / Xinduqiao. Serious road work starts, including massive tunnel project under Kabzhi La Pass (4412m). We still cross the Rabgang Plateau area in clouds. Descend. Accident blockage.
Arrive at Nyachuka / Yajiang on the Nya Chu / Yalong River. Yalong Jiang Hotel

July 19 Thu Nyachuka / Yajiang (2650m)
Matsutake hunt in Evergreen Oak forest (Quercus semecarpifolia? ) with Drolma and Tsering Tashi near Kagyu Gompa around 4000m
Amanita pantherina
Armillaria mellea gr. Honey mushroom
Agaricus subrutilescens found lower down
Clitocybe fragrans? / deceptiva? Anise aroma, white
Cortinarius sp.
Hygrophorus sp. white
Laccaria laccata?
Laccaria amethystina
Lactarius mitissimus white milk, slightly bitter (SM 188)
Lyophyllum not clustered
Tricholoma matsutake Matsutake / Beshing Shamo
Tricholoma focale
Tricholoma sp.
Cantharellus minor?
Boletus edulis group beige-reddish velvety cap w/oak B. umbrinus? (SM 113)
Boletus / Xerocomus sp. (yellow pores, yellow grooved stem, not staining, not bitter)
Leccinum holopus?
Phylloporus sp. gilled bolete
Rhizopogon rubescens
Suillus luteus
Suillus sp. viscid cap
Spathularia flava
Lycoperdon pyriforme - puff ball
Geastrum sp.? Earthstar - Tibetan: Pusseru = Squeeze blower

Plants: Erigeron or Aster sp.
Incarvillea maieri Gloxinia
Orobanche sp. (Scrophulariaceae parasite)
Neottia acuminata (a holomycotrophic orchid, East Asia & Himalaya)
Pinguicola alpina – butterwort, carnivorous plant- wiki
Rhodiola chrysanthemifolia stout, glossy clustered leaves under red buds
Rhododendron nivale group bluish, aromatic, small leaved

Mushroom collectors encountered:
Orgyen Rinchen & little brother Tsewang Dorje
Wildlife: 3 lynx

Tea and Tsampa at Tashi’s mother Sonam Lhamo in Riche (Riche Cun, Bajiaolu Xiang)
Return to Nyachuka, Dinner with matsutake (Tricholoma matsutake)-soup, fried Himalayan gypsy (Cortinarius emodensis) and Mystery Knight (Tricholoma sp.)

July 20 Fri Nyachuka / Yajiang
Mushroom & Veggie market with Lactarius deliciosus (Tib.: Ma Sha = Red mushroom), Amanita hemibapha (Tib.: Dabi Shamu), Suillus sp. and Sarcodon sp.).
Visit to the matsutake market, but hardly any product yet, most arrives in the late afternoon.
Interview with Dorje, a matsutake dealer in the trade for 6 years or so. Matsutake is being collected since late June, and will be collected for over another month in September it is mostly over. Usually it takes 24h from the slope to Chengdu. Trucks of Chinese buyers drive all night. Mushrooms are being cooled with ice in regular transporters or cooling trucks are used. Collectors receive ¥40 per pound right now, he resells for ¥42 or ¥43, same pound trades in Chengdu for ¥60 to ¥70.
Road to Lithang is blocked. Drive through tunnel N to upper Yalong, trying to find other road to Lithang. Road flooded, return to Nyachuka. Afternoon free roaming in town

July 21 Sat Nyachuka - Lithang
Drive West, up the valley, Lilium bakerianum
Stop at Kabzhi La Pass (4412m)
Picnic stop with plant walk. Met Dorje on motor bike transporting Besha (Tricholoma matsutake) to market. He showed musk deer tuft and glands, supposedly worth ¥5000.
Plants above the fir (Abies squamata) & spruce (Picea balfouriana) forest:
Adenophora sp.
Ajuga lupulina – “Pagoda” Bugleweed
Allium prattii
Anemone demissa
Aster / Erigeron sp.
Astragalus sp.
Geranium pogonanthum
Halenia eliptica – small flowered, Gentian, grazing indicator
Lamiophlomis rotunda
Leontopodium - Edelweiss
Ligularia sp.
Pedicularis variegata
Senecio sp. (orange)
Stellera chamaejasme – herbaceous Daphne relative
Rhododendron nivale group -blue-flowering
Taraxacum sp. Dandelion white petals 

Birds: Corvus corax tibetanus - Tibetan Raven, the biggest raven.
Dinner at Mr. Zheng’s Tian Tian Restaurant
Metok’s Potala Hotel

July 22 Sun Lithang (4017m / 13,250ft).
Lithang Chöde Gonpa founded by the 3rd Dalai Lama in 1580, with huge Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) statue under construction [link to Tsongkhapa biography], Maitreya, the future Buddha in back of older temple,
Tsakar (White mouth) Sulfur hot springs visit 10 km west of Lithang
Dinner with Boletus edulis and Shiitake,
Potala Hotel

July 23 Mon Lithang - Dabpa / Daocheng
Drive South, Stop at sacred site of Trakaniri with calcified rangjung (= self arisen) mantra syllables. Sang smoke offering, meeting of drokpa (= nomad) family from NW Lithang.
Aconitum sp.
Myosotis sp. “Tib. Forget me not”
Picea balfouriana spruce
Passing through Lithang villages, Gyalwa (Jiawa) and Choksam,
Geologic stop: gigantic rounded river rock documenting much higher periglacial water flow.
Plants: Epilobium angustifolium – fireweed, Corydalis.
Flower stop: Rheum alexandrae Alexander's Rhubarb & alpine Saussurea
Crossing glacial boulder and lake landscape of Sangtob La / Haizi Shan Nature Reserve.
Passing below construction site of future Daocheng airport. news release
Pombu or Dekyi Gompa (Kagyupa, founded in 1169 by First Karmapa Dusum Chenpa), just north of Sumdo (4200m / 14,000ft). Picnic lunch in gompa yard, next to aromatic juniper, that is used to fill the statue.
Watching locals erect statue of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Trees: Thuja occidentalis?, a Oriental cedar
Arrive in Dabpa County / Daocheng Xian town.

Mushroom and flower walk
Allium prattii
Aletris nana – tiny, orchid-like
Lilium lophophorum yellow lily, 20cm
Ligularia sp.
Morina alba
Pyrethrum tatsienense or
Senecio sp. (orange hawkweed?)
Spenceria ramalana (yellow)
Primula sikkimensis – tall yellow

Amanita vaginata group
Amanita pantherina
Gomphidius sp.
Gymnopus dryophilus – smallish, white gilled, brown cap, thin stem
Lycoperdon pyriforme - puff ball
Mycena sp.
Mycena sp. (green, bleach smell)
Polyporus with hairy edge

July 24 Tue Dabpa / Daocheng – Nyade / Yading
Drive S through Dabpa County to Rigsum Gongpo or Dabpa Lhari, the Three Sacred Mountains,
Stop in Riwa Xiang, another wood-be Shangrila claim
Lunch picnic in pine (Pinus densata) & aspen forest in Yading National Park
Suillus luteus, Lepiota sp., spongy conk, Psathyrella sp.

Larch-Spruce open forest
Armillaria sp. yellow cap & stem, white gills
Boletinus / Suillus cavipes? Hollow-stemmed boletes, w/ larch
Helvella? Stalked light brown cap fungus, black stalk
Naematoloma sp. not bitter
Sparassis crispa Cauliflower mushroom
Laetiporus sulpherus var. minor
Pluteus cervinus?
Psathyrella sp.

High altitude conifer-oak mixed forest with Rhododendron
Agaricus sp.
Auricularia delicate wood ear
Amanita sp. citron yellow cap, white spots, some yellow at volva edge
Armillaria mellea group Honey mushroom on wood
Entozoan bloxami? – Blue-black cap, grey, hollow stem, pink spores
Lycoperdon pyriforme
Lyophyllum sp. out of Rhododendron
Mycena spp.
Naematoloma sp. not bitter
Pholiota aurivella?
Polyporus badius
Trametes? Orange-edged, grey pored turkey tail-like
Lethariella orange

July 25 Wed Nyade / Yading – Dabpa / Daocheng
Rigsum Gongpo / Gongkar Ling Sacred peaks
The three sacred mountains: Mount Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara, 6032 m / 19790 ft), Mount Jampeyang (Manjushri, 5958 m / 19,547 ft), and Mount Chakna Dorje (Vajrapani, 5958m). They are the representation of the Buddhas of compassion, wisdom, and energy
Hike up to high altitude lake below the massive Chenrezig Mountain via Tsongu Gompa (Gelukpa, chin: Chongu Si) with local guide Drolma.
Bird: White capped River chap
Plants on the way up:
Aconitum sp. blue, 5ft
Androsace intense purple pink Primula relative
Codonopsis sp. Skunk smelling medicinal Campanulaceae
Pedicularis spp.
Coprinus sp. Ink cap
Calocera viscosa yellow branching coral like Dacrymycetaceae

Walk through subalpine wetlands surrounded by willow shrubs (Salix sp.):
Gentiana crassicaulis, big white flowering Gentian
Juncus allioides fields of white flowering garlic rush
Pedicularis sp.
Primula sp.

Picnic & group photo on lake below Chenrezig Peak (6032 m / 19790 ft)
Spotted Laughing thrush
Red finch
Larix mastersiana Master’s larch
Abies ernestii (lower elevations) Ernest’s fir
Abies squamata (high elevations) Scaly fir
Picea likiangensis Spruce
Quercus aquifoiloides et al Evergreen oak
Pinus densata Pine
Rhododendron sp. yellow flower
Cimicifuga yunnanensis
Ephedra monosperma Mormon tea
Leonurus cardiaca Motherwort, tall, medicinal, hemp-like leaves, mint family
Monotropa hypopitys Indian pipes - a myco-heterotroph Scroph
Pedicularis cyathophylloides
Pedicularis spp.
Orchid – tiny, white
Orchid – tiny, single blue flower
Primula sp., small, purple
Pterocephalus hookeri - white globular terminal flowers

Coprinopsis atramentaria Tippler’s bane / ink cap
Armillaria mellea group – honey mushroom
Dacrymyces? Tiny yellow coral like Asco
Suillus sp.? Fuscoboletinus laricinus grey pores, pale brown cap, slime ring, slowly blue staining stem base w/ larch
Suillus sp.
Lepista nuda - Blewits
Lyophyllum sp. solitaire Fried Chicken mushrooms
Marasmius dryophilus
Clitocybe - big, wavy white cap, brown stem.
Lactarius sp. whitish
Pleurotus sp.?
Russula sp.
Brown cup fungus
Paper [with several misidentifications] on traditional land use and tourism potential link

Mount Jampeyang (Manjushri, 5958 m, 19,547ft) in full view.

Drive back to Dabpa/ Daocheng
Dinner with Blewits (Lepista nuda).
Late night Rubu Tsaka Hot Spring soak near Dabpa

July 26 Thu Dabpa / Daocheng - Gyalthang / Shangrila
Drive N, then W. Stop at Dhimi Lakha / Kuluke Pass (4560m / 15,000ft), sign claims 4708m and uses non-existing Tibetan word “Dhi”.
Flower walk:
Allium nanodes – ground covering wild white garlic
Allium sp.
Codonopsis – skunk smelling bell flower relative
Corydalis hamata? yellow
Cyananthus langiflorus? Gentian-like, blue
Cremanthodium rhodocephalum? – dark purple nodding flower
Gentiana atunsiensis - blue, multi-flowered, mid size Gentian
Lamiophlomis rotate – big basal leaves
Meconopsis horridula – blue, thorny
Meconopsis integrifolia - yellow further down the road
Pedicularis spp.
Potentilla sp. sub shrub, yellow
Saxifraga sp. white
Saxifraga consanguinea Yellow-orange
Soroseris cf. hookeriana
Thermopsis sp. (hairy vetch with big bean)

Drive South through Chaktreng / Xiangcheng County.
Picnic stop South of County town along Chatreng Chu River, another Yangtze tributary.
Ring-necked Pheasant hen (Phasanius colchicus) with chicks tries to cross road / Pass by Ranwu Hot spring, last village in Chaktreng.
Drive S over forested pass between Chaktreng and Gyalthang along the Da Shu Shan and the Shao Shu Shan limestone range.
Matsutake camp right at the county boarder populated by Chaktreng people.
Yangchun Sai Wu Hotel

Stop in Wang Shor / Weng Shui for water, red bull and driver’s smoke offering.
Lilium duchartrei & orchid
Yangchun Sai Wu Hotel

July 27 Fri Gyalthang / Shangrila
Visit vegetable market
Mushrooms for sale:
Grey-white and yellow white Pleurotus, Shiitake & Enokitake or Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes).
Engleromyces sinensis – a medicinal bamboo fungus

The medicinal uses of E. sinensis in China have been recorded mostly under the name E. goetzei
[as “goetzii”]. The fungus has long been used for treating illnesses and has
anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties (Ying et al. 1987). A study
of secondary metabolites from Engleromyces from Yunnan revealed a novel
compound, neoengleromycin (Liu et al. 2002). These authors also refer to the
folk-use of this fungus against infectious diseases and cancer in Tibet, Yunnan,
and Sichuan Provinces. The cytochalasins are known to inhibit cell division
(Betina 1989) and the link to treatment of cancer is therefore very interesting.
Source: M.A. Whalley, A.M.A. Khalil 1, T.-Z. Wei, Y.-J. Yao & A.J.S. Whalley. 2010. A new species of Engleromyces from China, a second species in the genus. In: MYCOTAXON Vol112, pp. 317–323.

Mushrooms in secondary pine forest (Pinus densata):
Auriscalpium vulgare tiny toothed mushroom on pine cone
Bankera fuligineoalba bad tasting, whitish toothed hawk's wing
Suillus spectabilis? reddish scaly cap
Suillus placidus? Pale slippery Jack
Amanita vaginata var. alba White grisette
Lactarius sp. pale cap, orange milk, not bitter
Hygrophorus eburneus? Ivory waxgill
Hygrophoropsis auriantica false chanterelle
Tricholoma sp
Tricholoma vaccinum
Astraeus Earth star
Rhizopogon rubescens truffle like boletes

Morina delavayi

Visit of Rangjung Dosam / Tiansheng Qiao Hot Springs with steam cave next to river tunneling through limestone ridge.
Plant: Adenophora capillaris
Dinner: Sherab’s Lhasa Restaurant with Matsutake and Yunnan Red vine

July 28 Sat Shangrila (Tibetan Pinyin: Xamgyi'nyilha) – Chengdu
Mushroom market – Shangri-La Matsutake Park
Mushrooms for sale:
Tricholoma matsutake Matsutake / Beshing Shamo ¥50 to ¥110 per kg
Cantharellus cibarius
Boletus edulis group beige-reddish velvety cap
Catathelasma imperialis lao ren tou ¥
Sarcodon imbricatum. Hawk’s wing
Sarcodon sp. light brown-purplish Hawk’s wing with much smoother cap
Sparassis crispa cauliflower mushroom
Ramaria purple

Group splits: Explore Shangrila old town / forest walk at Ringha Gompa
Mushrooms under spruce & pine forest:
Amanita franchetti / flavipes
Amanita hemibapha var. ochracea Ochre Himalayan Caesar
Amanita vaginata Grisette
Lactarius sp. orange cap, orange milk, staining green, not bitter
Hygrophoropsis auriantica false chanterelle
Russula spp. - red and cream Brittlegills
Tricholoma sulpherum?
Boletus edulis gr.
Polyporus arcularius? soft tissue, big pores on wood
Rhizopogon rubescens truffle like boletes
Suillus sp.
Arisaema consanguineum Cobra Lily

Dinner: So Ya La Tibetan Restaurant run by Soni / Songtsen Soni
with King boletes (Boletus sp.) and Gyalthang micro-brew

evening flight to Chengdu, successful on 2nd attempt
Garden City Hotel

July 29 Sun 13 Chengdu
Panda breeding station,
With Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) & Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)
Phallus rugulosus – an orange stinkhorn
Polyporus on dead trunk, mid-size pores, white
Auricularia delicate Wood ear
Agaricus sp., smallish
Lepiota? brown scaled, 15cm cap
Macrolepiota? Whitish, big
Rhodocollybia maculata with Rhizomorph / extended stem base

Meet thousands of Chinese in Jinli Market tourist paradise

Hot Pot Farewell Dinner amongst other with Shiitake (Lentinula edodes), Enokitake or Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes) and Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus sp.)
Garden City Hotel

July 30 Mon 14 Chengdu - home
The fungal fellowship disperses


Detailed itinerary
for MushRoaming in Kongpo
July/August 2011 
July 31 Sunday Chengdu                       Link to 2010 Foray photo report
Arrive Chengdu, 530m / 1640 ft asl, City Garden Hotel
Chengdu: Panda Breeding Center.  
           "Wildlife": Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)
Mushrooms in Panda base:
Amanita flavofloccosa?
Termitomyces sp.
Calvatia craniiformis Skull puffball
slime mold orange
Lepiota castanea?
Fresh market
Dinner with Cordyceps militaris
August 1 Mon   Chengdu - Lhasa
Flight Chengdu - Gongkar / Gongga Airport (3542m/ 11,621 ft).
Pick-up by Guide Tashi, driver Pemba, transfer to Kyichu Hotel
Lunch with Ser Sha "Yellow mushroom", Lhasa's favorite - Floccularia luteovirens
visit to Barkhor market.
August 2 Tue       Lhasa
Ani Sangkhung Nunnery with meditation chamber of King Songtsen Gampo (7th Century),
Yartsa gunbu = Caterpillar Fungus = Ophiocordyceps sinensis market near Kachi Lhakhang mosque
Jokhang temple with Jowo, Tibet's most revered Buddha statue, core started 7th Century,
Sera monastery - one of Lhasa's 3 big Gelukpa monasteries.
August 3 Wed       Lhasa - Bayi
West of Nyingchemo, Meldrogongkar (3770m / 11,700 ft)  
Arisaema flavum
Artemisia sp.
Astragalus sp.
Berberis sp. Barberry
Corallodiscus kingianus
Ceratostigma minus
Erigeron sp. Aster
Leontopodium stracheryi an Edelweiss
Onosma hookeri var. longiflora
Phlomis tibetica
Pedicularis sp.
Polygonum molle
Lysurus mokusin - a Stinkhorn
Psilocybe montana?
Driving up the Meldro Mel Chu Valley
Lomar - Last farming village just before gorge above Tashigang / Zhaxigan (4030m / 13,200 ft)
Betula utilis - Himalayan birch
Hippophae rhamnoides - Seabuck-thorn below at River
Rhododendron sp. - white flowered
Rosa sericea (white)
Myricaria squamosa - small shrub
Adenophora himalayana
Bistorta sp.
Codonopsis sp.
Gentiana erectosepala
Geranium lambertii
Halenia eliptica
Herminium sp. tiny green flowered Orchid
Meconopsis horridula
Pedicularis crytantha yellow, not stalked
Potentilla parviflora
Primula sikkimensis?
Spenceria ramalana
Amanita sp.  pale beige, no ring, striate edge
Leccinum scabrum - Birch bolete
Boletus cf chrysenteron
Lactarius glyciosmus beige, velvety, coconut odor, mild, white milk
Lactarius sp. hairy cap edge, hot
Russula sp. green, mild
Russula sp. red, hot
Clitocybe? Orange cap, white decurrent gills, mild
Paxillus involutus Rollrim     
Hygrocybe conica?
Inocybe sp.
Lycoperdon perlatum? Puffball
Paneolus sp. on dung
Small yellow, dark-spored agaric on dung
Below Kongpo Barla / Mila Pass (4650m / 15,250 ft) pasture w/ Rhododendron sp.
Erigeron uniflorus
Meconopsis integrifolia
Phlomis rotata
Pterocephalodes hookeri
Ranunculus sp.
Rheum delavayi
Rhododendron nivalis group
Silene gongsparma
Kongpo Barla / Mila Pass
Bayi in Nyingchi County, Nyingchi Prefecture (Chin. Linzhi)
August 4 Thu       Bayi - Lamaling - Bayi
Visit vegetable & mushroom market,
Kongpo berry an orange blackberry Rubus macilenthus?? (not R. ellipticus)
Tibetan name: Tsigar (Kongpo = Maram (Chamdo) = Ci pao
Drive Lamaling: Nyingmapa gonpa rebuild in Zandok Pelri style by Dudjom Rinpoche (2950m / 9670ft).
Heavily grazed evergreen-oak pine-spruce-fir forest
Forest walk:
Arisaema sp. Cobra lily
Hypericum sp.(shrub) a shruby St John's Wort
Iris chrysographes
Platanthera chlorantha. tall white butterfly orchid
Podophyllum hexandrum - Himalayan may apple
Salvia castanea (purple brownish flower) - a True sage
Senecio raphanifolius  yellow 60cm hawk weed along creek
Triosteum himalayanum (perennial in Caprifoliaceae) red berried perennial
Amanita hemibapha - Himalayan Caesar mushroom
Amanita hemibapha var. alba - White Himalayan Caesar mushroom
Amanita flavipes? yellow, small
Amanita sp. dark yellow
Boletus reticuloceps
Boletus edulis group
Borangia (=Boletus) bicolor var. borealis - red pored
Boletus sp. yellow pores, slender stipe
Coltrichia sp.
Suillus luteus
Suillus sp. a Slippery Jack
Gomphidius sp.
Helvella elastica
Hygrocybe flavescens
Hygropheropsis aurantiaca  
Clavaria vermicularis
Entoloma ater?
Dermocybe sp.
Collybia sp.
Lactarius sp. Milkcap brown-red cap, orange-brown stem white milk
Lactarius deliciosus
Leucopaxillus sp.? White giant?
Gomphus floccosus - Woolly chanterelle
Ramaria sp. a coral
Russula cyanoxantha
Russula spp.
Spatularia flavida
Back to Bayi - market King bolete and potato pancake dinner
August 5 Fri       Bayi - Lunang
Primula stop above Nyingchi town (3100m / 9600ft):
Primula florindae - tall, bright yellow
Pedicularis longiflora ssp. tubiformis dark yellow, shortish
Primula stop above Nyingchi town (3850m / 11,935ft):
Primula sp. white to cream
Primula capitata  blue
Primula florindae
Cirisium eriophoroides thistle
Dracocephalum hemsleyanum Dragonhead
Halenia eliptica
Pedicularis corymbifera white, pink trunk, short stalk
Polygonum molle Knotweed
Serkyim La pass (4653m / 15,267ft):
Allium kingdonii -
Allium prattii?
Anaphalis nepalensis var. monocephala
Bergenia purpurascens?
Bistorta griffithii
Carex / Kobresia sp. a sedge in flower
Cassiope fastigata - heather family
Codonopsis thalictrifolia?
Codonopsis sp.
Cyananthus macrocalyx - Campanulaceae "looks like a small yellow Gentian
Gentiana sp. white-green
Gentiana sp. tiny, blue
Meconopsis simplicifolia or M. prainiana
Oreorchis sp.?
Pedicularis spp.
Potentilla sp. yellow
Rheum nobile Himalayan Rhubarb on the other slope
Rhodiola nobilis? - a Roseroot
Rhododendron nivale group
Rhododendron spp.
Salix sp. ground willow
Saussurea bomiensis
Coprinus comatus Shaggy mane
Cortinarius sp.
Geoglossum sp. tiny, black
Hygrocybe sp.
Inocybe sp.
Lactarius sp.
Leccinum sp.
Lycoperdon sp.? Yellow puffball
Russula spp.
Blue Primula stop (4380m / 13,580ft):
Primula siphonantha [subsec. Soldanelloides] (blue)
Omphalogramma sp. a purple-blue Primulaceae
Notholirion bulbiferum Liliaceae
Pinguicula sp.???
Lady slipper stop (4238m / 13,140ft) with Mani stones and Namche Barwa view:
Cypripedium himalaicum - Himalayan Lady slipper
Oreochis? small purple flowered in moss
Boletus sp.
View of Gyala Pelri (7294m / 23,924ft) Stop walk down the road:
Fragaria nubicola wild strawberry
Cirisium eriophoroides thistle,
Dracocephalum hemsleyanum
Gentianopsis grandis
Pedicularis spp.
Salvia castanea purple-maroon sage
Phlomis medicinalis
Bolete Hunt Stop around oaks near Tashigang (3150m / 10,330ft):
Leccinum extremiorientale Fareastern Scaberstalk
Boletus reticulatus* B. edulis group
Neoboletus (Boleteus) cf. erythropus* - red pored, dotted stem
"Boletus" sp.* stem apex velvety red, pink cap
Caloboletus calopus bitter boletes
Xerocomus sp. smallish, slender stemmed, brown velvety cap, yellow big pores
Amanita rubescens? red staining flesh
Amanita fulva (vaginata group)
Laccaria sp. bright yellow
Hydnellum sp.
Hygrophorus russula
Ramaria sp. coral
Russula spp.
* cooked for dinner
Aconitum sp. monkshood
Arisaema spp.
August 6 Sat     Lunang
Matsutake walk with Karma (38 years). Tashigang Village (3150m / 10,330ft) - oak coppice and forest (Quercus aquifolioides) with a few spruce, fir and larch trees left. Ridge (3500m / 11,500ft) fir forest.
Amanita fulva Tawny grisette
Amanita sp. - spiky warts
Amanita citrina
Amanita pantherina?
Amanita rubescens?
Armillaria sp. Honey mushroom
Auricula sp. Woodear
Boletus calopus Bitter bolete
Boletus erythropus dark brown cap, red pores Red-dotted stem bolete
Boletus flammans? red pored, red stem, red cap, mild
Boletus reticulatus light brown cap, reticulate - Summer bolete
Boletus sp. red-yellow scaly stem, yellow pores
Boletus subtomentosus, leathery beige-brown cap, yellow gills, slender stem, mild tasting, little slow staining
Boletus velutipes?
Boletus sp. purplish cap
Clavaridelphus sp.
Collybia sp.     
Cortinarius / Rozites emodensis Himalayan gypsy
Cortinarius sp.
Cortinarius sp.
Gomphus floccosus Wooly chanterelle
Helvella lacunosa - Elfin saddle
Hydnum repandum Hedgehog
Hydnellum caeruleum
Hygrophorus russula = Qingang Jun = Beshing Shamo ="Oak mushroom"
Laccaria amethysta
Laccaria lacata
Lactarius rufus or mitissimus? [SM p.108], full red, smallish, abundant
Lactarius cf. deliciosus group
Lactarius sp.dull orange spotted with grayish tinge, red milk
Leccinum exteremorientalis
Lyophyllum sp. a solitaire Fried chicken mushroom
Ramaria spp.
Russula cyanoxantha
Russula rubra? like R. xeramplina, red stem, mild, not quickly staining, strange cap
Russula emetica (bright red)
Russula olivacea
Russula sp. purple cap, purplish gills, (ridge)
Tricholoma matsutake Matsutake in Kongpo "Raba"
Tremella meserantica? and Stereum
Stereopsis humphreyi?
Bistorta sinomontana
Iris sp. (clearing near ridge)
Rodgersia aesculifolia
In Dekyi's kitchen in Tibetan farmhouse mushroom dinner: Matsutake in Soy, butter & red wine and a little bit of sugar, Hedgehog (Hydnum repandum) with jives and garlic, king boletes (B. reticulatus) in butter and tsampa (roasted, ground barley), Himalayan gypsy (Rozites / Cortinarius emodensis) in butter, "Beshing Shamo" Hygrophorus russula cooked by Karma, matsutake (Daniel).
August 7 Sun       Lunang to Bayi
Above vista point in 4288m / 13290ft, open juniper forest (Juniperus saltuaria?) with willow shrubs (Salix sp.)
Senecio / Ligularia sp. huge leaved, tall
White orchid
Galeatris sp / Oreorchis? purple
Cremanthodium sp.
Corydalis sp. blue
Primula siphonantha [subsec. Soldanelloides] blue
Primula florindae
Primula cream colored, candelabra
Xerula pudens, velvety brown cap and stem, white gills, elongated stem
(= Oudemansiella badia = O. longipes)
Serkyim La pass (4653m / 15,267ft)
Bistorta macrophylla a drooping knotweed
Cassiope fastigata - heather family
Rhodiola nobilis
Meconopsis sp.
Pedicularis megalochila light big yellow petals
Potentilla sp. yellow
Rheum nobile tall Rhubarb on the slope
Saussurea obvallata
Old growth fir forest walk (4000m? / 12,400ft)
Abies georgei var. smithii Smith's Fir
Larix griffithiana - Larch
Sorbus rehderiana - Rehder's Mountain Ash/Rowan
Boletus reticuloceps - sample DaW2010-8-7#1
Boletus subtomentosus
Lactarius sp.
Leotia lubrica / lutea?
Rozites emodensis Himalayan Gypsy
Lobaria sp. - Lichen
Kushuk Drong Gonpa, Bönpo temple with 2000 year old giant cypress near Nyingchi village. Gonpa burned down in 2008, old gonpa was 700 years old. Giant Cypress (Cupressus gigantea) = Shukpa is advertised as "10,000" years old.
Giant Cypress Forest, Cupressus gigantea forest relict on 5 ha. Oldest tree 2600 years. Kongpo berry feasting.
Aug 8 Mon  Bayi - Draksum Lake
Berry stop with mushroom stand in Shöpa Lung Chang / Baiba Cun
Mushrooms for sale:
Ramaria sp. Chalak Chelack = birds foot
Boletus reticuloceps = ?? = big foot or Beli Shamo = fat mushroom
Gomphus clavatus / Ponggu Amcho = pig's ears
Tremella sp. = Be tsel = fat of oak (Chin. Huang Er = yellow ear)
Nangsel Zampa (Langga / Bahe) stop (3100m / 10,170ft) along creek
Spiranthes chinensis - spiraling orchid
Epipactis royleana red orchid
Primula sikkimensis
Codonopsis convovulvacea ssp. vincifolia
Salvia castanea
Draksum Tso / Basum Tso / Basong Co Lake (3450m / 11,300 ft)
Photo excursion with Gyachin Namlha Karpo, first peak.
Dinner at Draksum Tso Lodge with Boletus reticuloceps
Aug 9 Tue   Basong Tso = Draksum Tso (Three Peak Lake)
Temple on Island: Tsodzong Gonpa (Nyingma) with Guru Rinpoche and his 8 manifestations plus two main statues to left Guru Drakpur and Singhamuka, beginnings dating back to 13th Century.
Herminium sp. orchid green tiny flowers
Polygonatum sp.
Arisaema consanguineum
Triosteum himalayanum
Forest walk - Secundary oak forest (3500m / 11,450ft) to old-growth fir-spruce forest with bamboo and birch (3700m / 12,000ft).
Amanita fulva brown cap, no veil, striated cap, no ring, hollow stem, white volva
Boletus subtomentosus, leathery beige-brown cap, yellow gills, slender stem, mild tasting, little slow staining
Boletus chromapes?
Boletus sp.
Boletus flammans?. red pored, red stemmed, mild
Boletus velutipes?. brown pored, red-stemmed, mild,
Cantharellus minor?
Clavulinopsis helvola - yellow, unbranched tall coral-like
Clitocybe sp.
Cortinarius spp.
Chroogomphus cf tomentosus
Helvella sp. infula?
Hygrocybe sp. orange
Hydnum repandum Hedgehog
Hygrophorus sp./ Tricholoma
Inocybe hirsuta?
Laccaria sp.
Lactarius cf. deliciosus group
Lactarius fallax
Lactarius sp. velvet dark brown cap, acrid white milk
Leccinum versipelle
Leccinum scabrum
Leccinum extremiorientale - Far-Eastern Scaberstalk, oldish with pink viscid cap, yellowish stem with red and pink hues and red apex
Lycoperdon perlatum - Gem-studded puffball
Brown puffball
Mycena spp.
Paxillus involutus Rollrim
Peziza sp.?
Pleurotus sp.
Pluteus sp.
Polyporus badius?
Psathyrella sp.
Pseudohydnum gelatinosum - Toothed jelly fungus
Ramaria sp.
Russula foetens
Russula sp. purple-brown, white stem, mild, white latex
Russula cyanoxantha
Russula sp. deep red cap, red stemmed, not acrid
Stereopsis humphreyi - small white toadstooly "polyplore" under spruce
Stropharia sp.
Strobilomyces sp. Old man of the woods
Plants (secondary forest):
Aconitum kongpoense  - Kongpo monkshood
Codonopsis sp.
Spiranthes chinensis Ladies' tresses orchid
Halenia elliptica Gentian family
Podopyllum hexandrum May apples
Geranium sp.
Antennaria cat's paws
Erigeron ? Blue Aster
Iris chrysographes
Ligularia sp.
Bistorta sp.
Primula florindae
Hydrangea sp shrub
Prunus sp. wild cherries
Notholirion bulbiferum
Dinner at Draksum Tso Lodge with Boletus reticuloceps & Tricholoma matsutake
August 10 Wed        Basum Lake - Lhasa
Basum Tso - Kongpo Gyamda / Gongbu Jiangda County Town
Lunch stop below Sumdo  (3820m / 12,530ft)
Rutok Hot spring soak (4300m /14,100 ft)
Stop before Meldrogongkar County town
Lhasa (3650m / 11,972ft).
Dinner: Khyichu Hotel Restaurant
August 11 Thu       Lhasa
Potala Palace - the world's tallest occupied building from 1653 to 1889 or Lukhang temple with its Dzogchen murals built by the 6thDalai Lama.
Lunch at Tashi's with Beli Shamo = Boletus reticuloceps
Barkor market
Dinner at Steakhouse with Tricholoma matsutake
August 12 Fri       Lhasa - Chengdu
Flight Lhasa / Gongkar to Chengdu
Sichuan Hot Pot good-bye dinner
Jinli Street market and Wuhou Ci Temple
August 13 Sat       Chengdu - home
Fungal fellowship dissolves
Tibetan place and sight names based on:
*Gyurme Dorje's `Tibet Handbook', 3rd Edition, Footprint 2004,
Tibetan Himalayan Digital Library [thlib.org] and field inquiries.
*Toshio Yoshida 2005. Himalayan Plants Illustrated (in Japanese)
*Wang Xianghua, Liu Peigui, Yu Fuqiang 2004. Color Atlas of Wild Commercial Mushrooms in Yunnan. Yun. Sci. & Tech. Press, Kunming (in Chin.), 133p.
Imazeki, R., Otani, Y. and Hongo, T. (1988). Fungi of Japan (Nihon no kinoko). (Yama-kei Publishers Co. Ltd., Tokyo.) 1-446.
*Kinoko (Mushrooms) Field Guide 2006. Yama-Kei Field Books 7, 384 p. (In Japanese)
Mao Xiaolan, 2000: The Macrofungi in China. In Chinese with Latin names, 719 p.
*Yuan Mingsheng & Sun Peiqiong 2007. Zhongguo Xunjun Yuanse Tuji [Pictoral Book of Mushrooms of China], Chengdu 552 p. / 2166 photos, ISBN: 978-7-5364-6318-9.
*He Xinsheng 2011. Sì chuân pén dì xùn jûn tú zhì (Illustrated Mushrooms of Sichuan), Beijing, 1-288, ISBN 978-7-03-031222-8 (In Chinese)
* books we along in Tibet
                                                                              Link to 2010 Foray photo report
Taking the train
If you would like to use the new railroad, it is recommended to leave Lhasa by train at the end of the tour. Coming up from China can cause a lot of discomfort due to the quick gain of altitude and all the hours spend above 4700 m (15,000 ft) without sufficient time for acclimatization. If we are informed well ahead of time we can arrange for tickets.

 On High Altitude
and ways to minimize and mitigate its impact on well being
During the Fungal & Floral Foray we focus on lower areas of Tibet, and not the high altitude grasslands (which we also will cross). Still, Lhasa is at over 11'000 ft / 3500 m.  But we will fly into Nyingchi / Bayi, which is "only" at 9826 feet / 2994 m, to get acclimatized. We will save Lhasa for the end and fly out of Gongkar Airport. The summer tour is clearly easier in regard of altitude exposure than the Cordyceps tour.
One easy fundamental in regard of high altitude is taking it very easy in the beginning and drinking a lot of water. We always provide bottled water for everyone. Altitude usually slows down everyone considerably in the first days. But since we all know what the cause for the lack of breath is, one can handle it fine and structure the activities according to it. And with every day passing it gets less of an issue. The first 2 days we take everything quite slowly, just check out local markets or drive to temples etc. Unfortunately in Tibet we do not have access to Coca tea like in Andean nations, especially Bolivia, where it is perfectly legal to drink the tea or chew the leaves as the natives have done for millennia to adjust better to altitude, increase endurance and suppress hunger. Although the FAO has declared unprocessed coca leaves as save, its international; trade has so far been blocked by the US veto. In Tibet we also have access to bottled oxygen. Our Tibetan counterparts always have it on the bus or in the car and it is in the hotels. And a couple days later, we are still not climbing mountains. Later on, when we are out in nature, we use more of a drive-in approach, since the roads cut through very beautiful country. We take plenty of time to stroll and explore. Yes, we might go up steep slopes, there are plenty of those, but if so slowly. It is more about looking what is growing there then hiking long distance form one altitudinal level with its unique habitat into the next. We are also going to be based in a few locations in the forest zone from where we can split up and have two groups if some people insist on strenuous hiking. The beauty being out with nature enthusiasts is that there is no hurry up a slope, since there is so much to see. We all pretend it is not the altitude, but just the plants, insects, mushrooms and taking pictures that slow us down.
In regard of Western mainstream medicine 400-600 mg Ibuprofen and Vitamin C (up to 4 times per day 1000mg) might help you to adjust to high altitude. Some people like to take Diamox. One needs to start taking it a few days before rapidly ascending. However, its side effects of frequent urination undermines good sleep and furthermore possible numbness and tingling in hands and feet are not very pleasant.
Nadia Kimmel from DesertMountainMedicine.com told me, one should not take more than 250 mg Diamox per day, since it is a dehydrant! So regular 500 mg pills should be divided into halves or quarters to be spread over a day. Also Nadia swears by high doses of Vitamin C, best 1000 mg [something you should take with you to Tibet, I could not find it easily in Lhasa], it can relieve acute symptoms within 30 minutes. If Vitamin C does not help, one could take 4 mg of Decadron every 6 hours. If there is no relieve within an hour one needs to move down or find an altitude tent, a space where lower air pressure is simulated. Altitude sickness can be deadly, but if we encounter it, most cases are about discomfort.
Important disclaimer - I am not an MD, this is just what I have gathered so far - if you feel you need to protect yourself from altitude sickness please discuss these issues with your personal physician!
Also Kanla Metok - Roseroot - Rhodiola spp. is very helpful with altitude adjustment. I always order Rhodiola drinks for my clients, it is available in Lhasa restaurants, it is quite tasty and not too sweet as too many drinks in China nowadays. I never used Diamox, but always use coca homeopathically. It really helps me and I share what I have. If someone is convinced homeopathy can not work due to the extreme dilution, at least there could not be any side effects.

Last Change: July 16, 2016
Saussurea obvallata, a high altitude specialist. Serkyim La in 4650m, August 2011.
Another high altitude specialist and I am talking here about the stunning plant Rheum nobile and not myself. More on the Noble rhubarb.

Last edited on Wed, July 5, 2023, 1:18 pm