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Shipton's Arch Travel Guide

Shipton's Arch Travel Guide Travel Guide

Shipton's Arch is likely the world's tallest natural arch. It was famously visited in 1947 by English mountaineer Eric Shipton.

In Uyghur, it is تۆشۈك تاغ‎; in ULY, it is töshük tagh; or Hole Mountain in English; simplified Chinese: 天门; traditional Chinese: 天門; pinyin: Tiānmén;. The meaning is Heavenly Gate in Chinese. It is a conglomerate natural arch, located to the West-northwest of Kashgar (75 km), near the village of Artush in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Shipton's Arch is likely the world's tallest natural arch. Though long familiar to locals, it was famously visited in 1947 by English mountaineer Eric Shipton, while he was traveling between Tashkent and Kashgar - and made known to the West in his book Mountains of Tartary. The arch once figured in the Guinness Book of Records for its exceptional height, but editors of the book could not verify the location of the arch exactly, so the listing was dropped.

It was only as recently as May 2000 that an expedition sponsored by National Geographic rediscovered the arch for foreigners.

The height of the arch is estimated to be 1,200 feet, about the height of the Empire State Building. The span of the arch is roughly 180 feet. The "true" height of the arch is debatable: viewing the arch from the east (normal approach route) it appears to be 200 feet tall from the top of the 100-foot rubble pile; from the west side (approachable via a technical canyon ascent), the height is closer to the estimated 1,200 feet. The height depends upon what constitutes the base of the arch, which is either the base of the rubble pile (which is partially under the arch and where the span achieves its maximum width) or the floor of the west side canyon head, 900 feet lower.

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