XINGYI, China - The 2017 International Mountain Tourism and Outdoor Sports Conference kicks off in Xingyi, the capital of Qianxinan prefecture, a region in the southwestern part of China's Guizhou province, on August 15, 2017.
Olivier Balma, a French alpine guide and seasoned mountaineer who climbed several peaks across the Qianxinan region for the first time ten years ago, said, "The rock climbing environment in the prefecture is truly amazing." At the time, he noted the locations where he had climbed on a map that was later circulated, providing references to the more than one hundred rock-climbers who subsequently came to the prefecture and climbed the terrain.
Over the past few years, outdoor sports enthusiasts have had a fantastic adventure in this "Kingdom of Mountains" that features karst limestone mountains, countless steep canyons and magnificent waterfall clusters.
Guizhou province, a mountainous region which promises thrilling and adventurous experiences to travelers from all over the world, is gaining global recognition.
This year's conference will host a series of events, including the China Rally Championship, which will be held on the Twenty-four Turn Road, the Chinese Balloon Club League, the Sino-French International Walking Festival and an international cycling competition. A large number of alpinists, including Mr. Balma, plan to gather in Qianxinan to participate in the event.
Qianxinan prefecture is perfect for hosting mountain sporting events as it is home to the widest karst mountains around the world as well as to Wanfenglin (Forest of Ten Thousand Peaks), one of the five most magnificent peak forests in China, and Ma Linghe Canyon, referred to by many as "the world's most beautiful scar". In addition, fossils of the Nothosaur, an aquatic reptile that roamed the region that is now Guizhou during the Triassic period roughly 210 million years ago, are widely distributed across the prefecture.
Photo caption: The Twenty-four Turn Road in Qinglong, a county in Qianxinan prefecture, was a strategically important road during World War II and, at the time, became well-known around the world when an American military correspondent snapped a picture that got wide distribution across the newspapers of the day. The road is now where the China Rally Championship is held annually