British adventurer and extreme athlete Ash Dykes, from North Wales, has just arrived at his first major milestone during Mission Yangtze, his third world-first record attempt to walk the entire 4,000 mile length of the Yangtze river in China – one the world’s genuine and last remaining world-firsts.
After setting off in late August, Ash has completed the first 550 miles and has arrived at his first city – Yushu, situated in Qinghai province in the west of China.
In the first five weeks of the expedition Ash has faced and overcome a number of serious scenarios.
Within the first three days of attempting to make it to the source of the Yangtze, one of the highest sources of any major river at over 5,100 metres, Ash’s first film-crew left the expedition due to the harsh conditions and altitude sickness. Ash’s Tibetan guide then began suffering with serious symptoms of altitude sickness, including nose bleeds and vomiting, which forced Ash to temporarily abort the mission and get his guide off the mountains to receive medical attention.
After quickly finding another guide so he could re-start the expedition before the weather conditions worsened with the change of seasons, he finally made it to the true scientific source of the Yangtze.
Once officially underway, Ash, his two guides Bima & Tuda and Castor Troy (his horse), faced -20 degree Celcius temperatures, snow blizzards, mountain passes over 5,000 meters, glacial river crossings, cliff faces and threats from wolves and bears including awakening to fresh bear prints outside their tents one morning and seeing a bear close by. On a few occasions whilst walking at night, Ash and his guides would feel the need to blow their whistle to make bears aware of their presence, in the hope they’d stay well clear.