Tiger Leaping Gorge

The First Bend of the Yangtze River

Vision Magazine - - Destinations - ENGLISH TEXT BY CECILIA KWAN CHI­NESE TEXT BY PETER WU PHOTO CREDIT: FOTOLIA

Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the most thrilling and breath-tak­ing scenic canyons in the world. Lo­cated along the Jin­sha River, a pri­mary trib­u­tary of the up­per Yangtze River, the name comes from a leg­end of a erce tiger leaping on a boul­der to cross the rag­ing wa­ters to es­cape a hunter. 寬敞的金沙江在繞過長江上遊第一灣之後,突然擠進落差高達3,790公尺的大峽谷。峽谷中最窄的地方僅30余米寬,悠悠江水頓時像千軍萬馬一洋,在震耳欲聾的呼嘯聲中排山倒海,聲勢壯觀。在這段江水中有一塊巨石,相傳一只猛虎下山,曾蹬踩巨石一躍跳過巨浪滔天的金沙江,該處就是著名的觀景地——虎跳峽。

Nat­u­ral Dangers of the Jin­sha River

The Yangtze River is over 6,300km long, mak­ing it the long­est river in Asia. The sec­tion be­tween China's Yushu Town of Qing­hai Provice to Yibin City of Sichuan Province is known as the Jin­sha River. As the Jin­sha reaches Shigu Town in Yun­nan, cliffs change the river’s course, forc­ing the water into a V shape which is the fa­mous First Bend of the Yangtze River.

The leg­endary Im­pe­rial Chan­cel­lor, Zhuge Liang, dur­ing the Three King­doms pe­riod (220–280) was said to have be­gun his mil­i­tary cam­paign south of the First Bend.

After the First Bend, the next stretch of the river heads north and passes through a 16km long gap be­tween the Haba Snow Moun­tain and the beau­ti­ful Jade Dragon Snow Moun­tain. The pre­vi­ously tran­quil river turns wild here, fea­tur­ing ter­ri­fy­ing waves and pow­er­ful surges through what is known as the Tiger Leaping Gorge, 3,790 me­tres in depth and only 30 me­tres wide at its nar­row­est point. Aver­age width is merely 60-80 me­ters. Imag­ine the power of the water as it’s forced through this bot­tle­neck - such a thrilling and breath-tak­ing sight!

Tiger Leaping Gorge: not for the faint-hearted

This gorge is the one of the deep­est and most spec­tac­u­lar river canyons in the world. Ever since an­cient times, ad­ven­ture seek­ers are lured here to feel the power of mother na­ture and to be en­veloped within the thun­der­ous roar of the surg­ing water that vi­brates through­out the val­ley, en­gulf­ing all man-made sounds. Within the Gorge is a dis­tinc­tive land­mark - a huge boul­der with a fas­ci­nat­ing story. Leg­end has it that a hunter chased a fierce tiger into the gorge. The tiger used the rock to launch him­self across the rag­ing river and dis­ap­peared on the Haba Snow Moun­tain. The hunter was left in awe of the tiger’s jump, hence nam­ing the canyon - Tiger Leaping Gorge.

金沙江中的絕世天險

全長 6 千 3百多公里的長江是亞洲第一長河,自青海玉樹至四川宜賓一段稱之為金沙江,在途經雲南麗江石鼓鎮時,滾滾長江被山崖阻擋,急轉成一個「Ⅴ」形大彎,這就是著名的萬里長江第一灣。

三國時期的諸葛亮著有流芳百世的《出師表》,其中有這麼兩句:「五月渡瀘,深入不毛」,渡的就是金沙江,揮靡南下就是從這第一灣開始的遠征。

江水經過第一灣後,被迫掉頭北上,在穿過哈巴雪山和玉龍雪山之間的 16公里長的夾縫時,原本看似平靜的江面突然變得洶湧澎湃、驚滔駭浪,形成了世界上最壯觀的大峽谷之一。令無數遊客慕名親臨現場,感受一場驚心之旅。

驚險莫過於虎跳峽

該全長 16公里的夾縫因一個傳說故事而定名為「虎跳峽」,它是世界上最深的峽谷之一,以「深、險、奇、絕、秀」的曠世景觀而聞名世界。自古以來,愛好探險的人們總是會選擇親臨虎跳峽,感受一下大自然的偉大力量,這裏的滔滔江水,沖天怒吼,震撼著整個峽谷,並在峽谷中層層回蕩,雜亂的人聲被完全淹沒。

相傳,曾有一位勇敢的獵人在玉龍雪山中追趕一只猛虎,猛虎逃到峽谷邊無路可走,為了逃避獵人,猛虎縱身一躍,借助江中大石逃到對岸,消失在哈巴雪山內。獵人被眼前的景觀以及猛虎的雄姿所震撼,於是提筆在該處留下記號,取名「虎跳石」,自此該名稱便一直沿用至今。

虎跳峽兩側巖石為片巖和大理巖組成,寬度僅60 至 80 米,最窄處約 30 余米。

Scenic Ar­eas of the Gorge

As the num­ber of tourists has in­creased year by year, three new view­ing plat­forms have been built to ac­com­mo­date the de­mand. There is a view­ing plat­form at the up­per, mid­dle and lower sec­tion of the gorge.

The up­per view­ing plat­form is the most pop­u­lar. Tourists can climb a 100-foot stone stair­case lead­ing to a clear view­ing plat­form where they can en­joy a unique per­spec­tive of the surg­ing wa­ters and the fa­mous Tiger Leaping Rock.

The mid­dle plat­form is about 5 km away from the up­per area and pro­vides the per­fect spot to get up close to the roar­ing wa­ters and the Tiger Leaping Rock from a trans­par­ent plat­form un­der­neath one’s feet. The lower plat­form is at a depth of around 1 km and is closer to where the river ex­its the gorge. This plat­form af­fords a won­der­ful view of the en­tire gorge.

Con­quer­ing Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge came onto the world stage when rafters from all over the world be­came de­ter­mined to con­quer the un­tamed up­per reaches of the Yangtze River. In 1985, 32-yearold Yao Maoshu re­solved to beat the for­eign­ers and rushed to be the first to tri­umph. Un­for­tu­nately he did not suc­ceed, trag­i­cally drown­ing in the at­tempt.

In 1986, the Loyang Yangtze River Raft Ex­pe­di­tion Team set off with the mis­sion to bring glory to the na­tion. De­spite the loss of two team mem­bers, they suc­ceeded and were the first team to nav­i­gate the ex­treme rapids of Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Tiger Leaping Gorge has re­mained an im­pos­si­ble chal­lenge for the ma­jor­ity of rafters due to its sheer un­pre­dictabil­ity. In the 33 years since Yao’s first ill-fated at­tempt, less than 150 peo­ple have man­aged to con­quer these wild rapids.

開放中的虎跳峽景區

隨著遊客的不斷湧入,虎跳峽分別開辟了上虎跳、中虎跳和下虎跳三個不同的觀景區域。

上虎跳是最多人前往的地方,走在落差 100公尺的石階上,下方有透明地板的觀景臺可欣賞滾滾江水與虎跳石。

中虎跳距離上虎跳約5 公里,江面落差大,滔滔江水奔騰而過, 相當壯觀。

下虎跳有縱深1公里的深谷,且接近虎跳峽的出口,欣賞虎跳峽的最佳地點就在這。

漂流者以征服虎跳峽為榮

人們認識虎跳峽應該來自世界漂流者對其作挑戰開始,1985年,一位叫堯茂書的青年,為了搶在美國人之前開始了在長江上的漂流探 險,不幸的是,堯茂書在金沙江虎跳峽附近遇難。

1986年,「中國洛陽長江漂流探險隊」抱著為國爭光的信念,開始了全程漂流長江,並首次在無動力下漂流虎跳峽獲得成功,但在同時有兩名隊員在漂流中殉難。

直到今日,虎跳峽依然令無數漂流者們望而卻步;全世界成功漂流虎跳峽的探險家不超過150 人。

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