Mission Yangtze: Dogs Nearly Maul Dykes

Mission Yangtze

Briton Ash Dykes is walking the entire length of the Yangtze River, the world’s third longest river and Asia’s longest.

Dykes has successfully completed the rough stretch from Qumarleb to Yushu. He is elated that most of the extreme, harsh travel in excess of 4000m (13000 ft) is now behind him.

Throughout the journey, he has stayed in the yurts of local nomadic Tibetans. Only recently, however, has he had a translator with him so that he could interact with the nomads and understand their activities. He participated in such bizarre rituals as milking yaks and spreading yak dung in the sun to dry it as a fire fuel.

Dykes is taught how to milk a yak.

Dykes continues to see wolves and bears, but his scariest, most threatening interactions have been with dogs. Dogs such as the Tibetan mastiff are huge and are trained to be aggressive to protect families and livestock.

A Tibetan mastiff.

In one case Dykes was attacked by a mastiff and another dog who were on the verge of mauling him. He fought for survival by throwing rocks but it wasn’t enough. Next was a roundhouse kick. The two women who owned the dogs stood by powerless, they had no hope of intervening or calling off their dogs. Dykes fought for about a minute and a half, with the dogs fighting from either side. He became thoroughly exhausted. Fortunately the dogs also seemed to become exhausted and finally, Dykes was left unharmed.

Dykes with Tibetan nomads where he stayed.

Despite the milestone of having arrived in Yushu, extreme challenges certainly remain. Dykes encountered a side wall of the Yangtze where a landslide had collapsed making any footing unstable and virtually impassable. Dykes was forced to turn back. Martin, a photographer who had joined him on the trek, was unsure whether he could proceed further, given that everything was more difficult than he imagined. To this, Dykes responded that he thought the journey was still too difficult for anyone but rugged, extreme outdoorsmen to come with him.

The landslide that blocked Dykes’ path and forced he and his photographer to turn back.

Click here for Mission Yangtze’s base page that explains the expedition, contains the latest news, the best photos, expedition links and previous updates.

The Best Quest provides visual experiences of journeys. One by one you see the latest updates from the best expeditions and journeys currently under way around the world. Click here for more details.

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2 years ago

“The two women who owned the dogs stood by powerless, they had no hope of intervening or calling off their dogs.”
No kidding. The supine profile of one of those winged monkeys from Wizard of Oz can be made out beneath the mastiff. Maybe a pet, or half eaten snack for the Tibetan breed.

Roger Irwin
Roger Irwin
1 year ago
Reply to  Bulgakov

If you look closer, the photo doesn’t have Dykes’ photo credit. It’s a stock photo. That’s like me saying I was attacked by a platoon of Red Army commandos and posted a stock photo of Red Army commandos.