Ash Dykes Reaches Halfway Point of Yangtze Expedition

It’s been awhile since we posted an update on the progress of Ash Dykes, the Welsh adventurer attempting to become the first person tot trek the length of the Yangtze River in China. But earlier this week he reached an important milestone, having now passed the halfway point of the expedition. It hasn’t exactly been an easy trek so far, but Dykes has managed to perceiver to this point, despite some enormous challenges along the way.

When he originally started back on August 26, 2018, Dykes estimated that it could take up to a year for him to complete his trek along the length of the 6400 km (3976 mile) Yangtze. So far, he’s a bit ahead of his pace however, having completed the first 3218 km (2000 miles) in 136 days. The midway point came in the remote town of Panzhihua on Tuesday of this week, leaving Ash feeling relieved and proud, but with still thousands of kilometers to go before he’s done.

The expedition officially began with Dykes searching for the true headwaters of the Yangtze on the Tibetan Plateau From there, he began his descent along the river, facing rough terrain, incredibly bad weather, and sketchy maps to help him find his way. Worse yet, his guide suffered serious altitude sickness and had to leave the expedition, a theme that would become common over the first few months. Of the nine companions that have accompanied Ash so far, eight have had to drop out due to injury, illness, or just plain losing their nerve.

Amongst the other difficulties that he’s had to negotiate were staying alert to wildlife –– he’s encountered both bears and wolves –– and landslides blocking his route. He’s also experienced temperatures dropping as low as -20ºC/-4ºF and has been caught in a blizzard more than once. He’s also passed through heavily populated areas where he has been detained by authorities on more than one occasion as well. Apparently they don’t see many Welshmen trekking through remote corners of China.

Despite all of those challenges however, Dykes remains committed to seeing the expedition through to the end. Even now, he has set off on the second half of the journey. You can follow along with is progress not only on his website, but also on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and via his live tracker here.

Kraig Becker