Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is a mountain massif (also identified as a small mountain range) near Lijiang, in Yunnan province, southwestern China. The range is also known as Mount Yulong after the Chinese or Mount Satseto after the Naxi name. Its highest peak is named Shanzidou (5,596 m). The view of the massif from the gardens at the Black Dragon Pool in Lijiang is noted as one of China’s finest views, and part of Yulong Snow Mountain Scenic Area, a AAAAA-classified scenic area.
The far side of the mountain forms one side of Tiger Leaping Gorge. The Jade Water Village is at the foot of the mountain.
About half of China’s plant species originated in Yunnan province, and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is home to about half of these, including trees, flowers, and medicinal herbs and plants. The mountain’s many ravines, creeks, cliffs, and meadows all have Naxi names and provide settings for the myths and legends of the people who have made the plain their homeland for 1,000 years.
Still heavily forested, the mountain bursts into bloom every spring with camellias, rhododendrons, and azaleas. Herders take their cattle, goats, sheep, and yaks to graze on its slopes. In autumn, some of the pine trees turn amber yellow, while the deciduous trees transmute their green leaves into patches of bright yellow, orange, and scarlet.
Shanzidou has been climbed only once, on May 8, 1987, by an American expedition. The summit team comprised Phil Peralta-Ramos and Eric Perlman. They climbed snow gullies and limestone headwalls, and encountered high avalanche danger and sparse opportunities for protection. They rated the maximum technical difficulty of the rock at YDS 5.7.
The Austro-American botanist and explorer Joseph Rock spent many years living in the vicinity of Mt Satseto, and wrote about the region and the Naxi people who occupy it. An interest in Rock later drew the travel writer Bruce Chatwin to the mountain, which he wrote about in an article that appeared in the New York Times and later, retitled, in his essay collection What Am I Doing Here? Chatwin’s article inspired many subsequent travellers, including Michael Palin, to visit the region.