All the things you have to learn about mountaineering Mount Huashan, higher referred to as the ‘world’s most harmful hike’, or the ‘plank stroll’, in China.
Take a look at our video of the World’s Most Harmful Hike on Mount Huashan on the backside of this text!
I nonetheless bear in mind the primary time I noticed pictures of somebody traversing a slender plank of wooden bolted to the aspect of a cliff, 2000 toes within the air. I sat up straight in my chair, eyes open, and mouthed the phrases, “I’ve to do that”.
I used to be in Canada on the time, and a little bit of analysis made me uncover that the images I had seen weren’t simply of any outdated through ferrata – These had been pictures of Mount Huashan, and the world’s most harmful hike.
I made a promise to myself. Come hell or excessive water, I’d make my strategy to China and scale this exhilarating mountain.
The 2154m tall Mount Huashan is taken into account to be considered one of 5 sacred mountains in China, and locals understand it because the “most precipitous mountain beneath heaven”.
Adorned with influential Taoist temples, this mountain has been a part of folklore for hundreds of years. 5 peaks make up the jagged mountain, with every one holding teahouses and shrines.
Unattainable pathways have been carved all around the crags, and it’s this place that has caught the creativeness of adventurers in all places.
Years later, Alesha and I discovered ourselves in Xian within the Shaanxi province of China. Xian is known for its Terracotta Warriors, however I used to be extra all in favour of Mount Huashan, which stands tall just a few hours from the town.
Alesha wanted little convincing. She had seen the pictures and watched movies. She too was eager to sort out the world’s most harmful hike. Just a few days of metropolis exploration was sufficient; it was time to climb.
The bus journey appeared to final perpetually as our pleasure ranges grew with each passing kilometre. Ultimately we drove into Huayin Metropolis, disembarked and made a beeline in direction of the West Gate.
In true Chinese language trend there was now two cable vehicles that ferried lots of of individuals to the summit day-after-day, however we averted this dishonest strategy to the summit. It was not our type.
An historic Chinese language legend states that there’s just one true path up Mount Huashan – the 12km trek rising 1800m that took 3000 years to construct. That is the place we started.
The path began off pleasantly, with few folks alongside its leafy, meandering path – Most Chinese language vacationers now go for the easy cable automotive. With the shortage of individuals on it, it reminded us of Tiger Leaping Gorge.
We adopted the river previous small temples and shrines, closing in on the mountain above us. Alongside the way in which we met a younger English man named Jon who was trekking on his personal, and we determined to hitch forces. Quickly we began to climb, larger and better, up steep staircases carved into the stone.
We had been barely on the mountain however already the hazard was rising. Hours handed and we pushed on into extra stunning surroundings, earlier than lastly reaching the cable automotive station.
Scores of home vacationers now slithered all around the mountain, snapping pictures and screaming out to the huge sky above.
Determined to get out of the shambles we set our sights on an abrupt stairway that adopted a ridge like a knife’s edge.
Every step required each effort and vigilance, as sheer drops on both aspect tumbled into jagged rocks under. Solely pausing to snap a photograph, we charged up the well-known stairway and moved nearer to the peaks.
As we gained altitude the vistas improved. In all instructions had been equally spectacular summits, lined in bushes clinging to cliffs.
The pathways break up throughout the mountain, heading off in direction of numerous temples and peaks. Vertical ladders dug into rocks allowed entry to larger factors, generally with solely metal bars or chains for assist, however usually with nothing to arrest your fall.
We noticed an indication main in direction of the “Plank Stroll In The Sky” and ignored every other distractions.
The afternoon solar was now beaming down on us, however we had reached the positioning that had first attracted me to China. From a vantage level we might see the slender plank bending across the fringe of a mighty cliff, with nervous hikers clutching at chains alongside it.
We checked out one another, grinning from ear to ear, and joined the queue of adventurers.
A person in navy uniform was issuing obligatory harnesses for $5 and we enthusiastically grabbed ours. They had been of poor high quality, solely securing the higher physique.
The lanyards and carabiners had seen higher days, however we didn’t let this deter us. The shrills of Chinese language college students echoed throughout and we clipped in to a metal cable that might be our solely lifeline alongside the plank.
We descended down a set of strengthened metal bars that had been bolted into the stone, inching our approach in direction of the cliff.
In a second it was there, proper in entrance of us, in all its glory. Simply as I had seen in these first pictures all these years in the past.
The planks, the chains, the relentless menace of dying over the aspect of the mountain, all of it. Like an excited youngster the evening earlier than Christmas, I used to be getting jittery.
Clipping in our two factors of contact on the lanyards, we stepped out onto the plank and away from the protection of strong floor.
With nobody else on the plank it could have been pretty tame, so long as you weren’t afraid of heights. However the concern got here from placing your belief in each historic Chinese language engineering, and within the terrified college students that groped and grasped at something they might to regular their trembling our bodies – ourselves included.
Nobody was prepared to maneuver out from the sting of the cliff, so we had been compelled to step behind the scared locals. With one hand on the chain, we might swing out over the sting and proceed on. It was exhilarating.
The trail was solely 50m or so, and as soon as we reached the top there was a small platform to climb and benefit from the panoramic views. With a couple of photos taken, we circled and headed again throughout the plank stroll.
The magnitude of the second crossing kicked in after we discovered ourselves as the one ones on there.
We had managed to seize a short second of solitude, and we simply stood nonetheless, mouths open, wanting on the surroundings round us. Leaning proper out over the sting, we stared down into the vacant house under.
Rumours of 100 folks a yr dying on this mountain could also be unfounded, however I nonetheless puzzled what number of corpses lay on the backside of that cliff.
We moved additional on and eventually accomplished the world’s most harmful hike. We cheered in jubilation, hugged and threw high-5s throughout.
Part of me wished to climb again out on the plank to overcome it as soon as extra, however with the daylight dwindling and nonetheless an extended bus journey to get again to Xian, it was time to maneuver on.
That’s till we noticed the Chess Pavilion…
Jutting out from the East Peak the Chess Pavilion is a lonesome pagoda in a precarious place.
The one strategy to attain it’s through a harmful climb down a slipper rock face, with aged footholds carved into the aspect and steel bars offering the occasional leverage.
We noticed one other military-costumed man issuing harnesses and we rapidly rented three from him.
In contrast to the Plank Stroll within the Sky, the hike to the Chess Pavilion can solely have a restricted variety of folks on it without delay. It simply isn’t large or giant sufficient for a complete barrage of adventurers trampling down the aspect of the cliff.
We set off on our personal, descending rigorously in direction of flatter floor. Requiring much more power and climbing methods than the Plank Stroll was much more fulfilling, and whereas the heights weren’t anyplace close to as overwhelming, the hazard was nonetheless there. Fortunately our pathetic harnesses gave the phantasm of security.
Arriving on the Chess Pavilion we had been in fact met with humbling views of the mountains and valleys round. After a couple of final snaps, a fast recreation of faux chess and a worrisome have a look at our watches, we knew it was time to depart this sacred mountain.
We turned and climbed as quick as attainable, speeding to get again in direction of the underside of Mount Huashan. At this level Jon mentioned he was going to proceed on and go to the opposite peaks that we had missed, as he had a personal automotive ready for him on the backside.
He graciously supplied to offer us a journey, however we declined, having already pay as you go for our bus tickets. We hugged, parting methods, stoked with how our new friendship had introduced us to dizzying heights.
Alesha and I ran down the mountain, nonetheless pumped up on adrenalin. We made it to the highest of the cable automotive in report time, however noticed that with the solar already setting behind the mountains, that we had been too late.
We wouldn’t have sufficient time to hike right down to the underside earlier than 7pm, when our final bus would depart. In a heartbreaking sigh of defeat, we took the cable automotive to the underside of the East Gate.
We ran and hitched to get again to the village, simply in time to board the final bus to Xian. Sitting down on the bus, rumbling down a manicured Chinese language freeway we had been completely buzzing. The hike was the whole lot we had hoped it could be.
The fun of surviving the world’s most harmful hike was as immense because the mountain we had simply scaled. However with such an vital aim ticked off, it was time to show our eyes onto a brand new problem.
What on the market will examine to the magnitude of climbing Mount Huashan and traversing its notorious Plank Stroll? Solely time will inform…
The way to Get to Mount Huashan From Xian
Mount Huashan is situated within the city of Huayin, solely 120km from the favored Chinese language Metropolis, Xian.
Most individuals will go to the notorious mountain accomplish that from Xian, and fortunately it’s comparatively straightforward to get there!
Your complete journey, together with trekking on the world’s most harmful hike, could be accomplished in a day journey.
If you wish to keep the evening in Huayin, there are a selection of lodging choices, together with some on Mount Huashan itself.
Excessive Pace Practice From Xian To Huashan
- Head to the Xian North Railway Station and catch a excessive pace prepare to Huashan North Station (华山火车北站). This prepare is on the Zhengzhou-Luoyang-Xian line, and may value between 34 and 55 RMB. The journey shall be lower than 45 minutes.
- Whenever you get off at Huashan North bounce on one of many inexperienced minibuses and it’ll take you on to the mountain. This minibus is free (a primary for China!).
Common Practice From Xian To Huashan
- Make your strategy to the Xian Railway Station and catch a daily prepare to Huashan Railway Station (华山火车站). This prepare ought to value between 17 and 20 RMB. The journey shall be about 2 hours.
- At Huashan Railway Station take a taxi or minivan to the mountain.
Buses From Xian To Huashan
- Head to the Xian North Railway Station and go to the southern car parking zone. Search for buses on the east aspect.
- There shall be indicators for Huashan (华山) that will help you find a bus. First bus leaves at about 0700.
- The bus drops you off close to the bottom of the mountain on the West Gate. From there you possibly can simply stroll up the street. The one we took dropped us off at a lodge/tour company the place they then tried to guide us into a bunch tour. We simply ignored them and began strolling, regardless of their protests. The associated fee was about 35 for a technique, or 55 RMB for a return journey.
- Apparently there are different buses which is able to drop you straight on the East Gate, however we didn’t see these. We’re glad we took our bus although as we wished to trek up from the extra picturesque West Gate somewhat than the East Gate.
- The final bus again to Xian leaves at 1900, so make sure you’re again within the village if you wish to return to Xian with out taking an costly taxi.
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How A lot Does it Price to Climb Mount Huashan?
Mount Huashan is a part of the Huashan Nationwide Park, and as such there’s an entrance charge to get in. It’s not as costly as locations like Zhangjiajie Nationwide Park, however nonetheless fairly dear.
Word: Similar to most locations in China, college students get 50% off the common worth. However concern not in case you don’t have a scholar card! As most Chinese language working in these parks can’t learn English, simply present them any type of ID together with your image on it. We managed to journey all of China paying scholar costs by simply exhibiting our PADI dive playing cards!
- Customary Value: 180RMB
- Pupil Value: 90RMB
- Cable Automotive One Approach: 80RMB
- Cable Automotive Return: 150RMB
- Plank Stroll In The Sky: 30RMB for harness rental
- Chess Pavillon: 30RMB for harness rental
Favor to Do a Tour?
Currently we’ve been receiving numerous emails from folks questioning if it’s in any respect attainable to do a tour to Mount Hua Shan, together with transport, a information and naturally entry to the Plank Stroll and the world’s most harmful hike.
We’ve accomplished a little bit of analysis, and checked with our readers, and this feature that’s discovered on Get Your Information appears to be the most effective one. It consists of transport from Xian and a information, however not entrance charges (though these could be added at checkout on the Viator website to make issues straightforward).
Ideas for the Mount Huashan Hike
Whereas the time period “the world’s most harmful hike” could also be a tad overdramatic, that is undoubtedly not one thing for the faint-hearted.
If you’re fearful of hikes, or crawling over petrified Chinese language college students, then this shall be a problem like no different. However even for many who concern nothing, there are nonetheless some ideas that it’s best to take heed to if you wish to climb the sacred mountain.
- Take numerous water. You should purchase bottled water on the mountain itself, however it’s ridiculously costly.
- Deliver snacks!
- If you happen to’re doing it in a day journey, go away Xian early!
- Put on correct footwear! Don’t try to do it in flip flops simply to be a hero.
- If you happen to plan to hike by the evening to observe dawn (which is feasible), take a very good high quality head torch.
- Deliver layers with you, and moist climate gear. The local weather can change rapidly up on the mountain.
- It’s attainable to do that in winter. Remember that snow and ice will make issues slippery and extra harmful.
- The Plank Stroll and Chess Pavilion hike are literally a number of the most secure elements of the mountain since you are required to put on harnesses. Be sure you have further vigiliance on different elements of the mountain the place steep drop offs don’t have handrails or chains to carry on to, and you must navigate round large quantities of vacationers.
- If you’re making an attempt to catch the final bus again to Xian then you definately may wish to take into account taking the cable automotive down round 6pm to make sure you get again in time.
- Don’t overlook to take numerous pictures!
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