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Shipton's Arch

I was fortunate enough to be able to visit one of the world’s tallest natural arches. At 1,200 feet, roughly the height of the Empire State Building, Shipton’s arch is truly an awesome sight to behold. Although its known to the locals as Tushuk Tash it is more widely known today as Shipton’s Arch after the English mountaineer Eric Shipton who discovered it (for the western world) in 1947.

Our journey to the Arch began with 8km drive up a dry riverbed. We could have driven further but instead chose to make the hike a little longer so that we could enjoy the (mostly) untouched beauty around us.  A nice Uyghur shepherd charges each visitor 30Y for use of the ladders that he installed. The arch is inaccessible without them.  Most visitors choose to do a day hike to the arch either early morning to view the sunrise, or early evening to view the sunset. We decided to camp out underneath the arch so that we could enjoy both sunset, and sunrise.  

China, Xinjiang, Uyghur, Central Asia, Shipton's Arch, Kashgar

You are surrounded by high canyon walls on the hike in to the arch

China, Xinjiang, Uyghur, Central Asia, Shipton's Arch, Kashgar

Shipton’s Arch is an estimated 1200 feet tall with a span of 180 ft

China, Xinjiang, Uyghur, Central Asia, Shipton's Arch, Kashgar

The rock formations just to the right of the arch provide for a fun scramble, just don’t slip!

China, Xinjiang, Uyghur, Central Asia, Shipton's Arch, Kashgar

Tents are recommended as an occasional rain is not uncommon

China, Xinjiang, Uyghur, Central Asia, Shipton's Arch, Kashgar

Star trails behind Shipton’s Arch

China, Xinjiang, Uyghur, Central Asia, Shipton's Arch, Kashgar

There is just enough room to pitch a few small tents.

China, Xinjiang, Uyghur, Central Asia, Shipton's Arch, Kashgar

Stunning views on the hike out

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