While googleing random stuff do around the world and pondering whether or not I should add it the official bucket list or not (you know instead of doing lesson planning for my four year olds) I have frequently seen Mt Huashan listed as one of the most dangerous hikes in the world if not the most dangerous hike in the world.
So naturally, I had to go and check it out.
The most dangerous in the world? I’m not sure, do you know any others? I’m sure there must be some path that is less stable, or more narrow, or does not conveniently provide a harness.
You can’t really appreciate how high up it is in those photos as I got a cloudy day (it was actually cloud, not smog, which was nice. Xian is far enough away.) and the low cloud cover obscures things slightly, but there is no barrier, only a narrow plank to stand on, and only a two carabina harness to attach you to the side of the cliff. To move along the planks, you have to remove the carabinas from the cliff to attach them to the next section.
I thought it was brilliant, at the very least the photos are something to make my mother cringe. Hi Mum!
If 2000 meter high planks, on the side of a mountain, wide enough to fit one person isn’t something your’re keen on however – still go. You can hike Mt Huashan for the stunning scenery and ignore this section.
I really want to go back when there isn’t so much low cloud! In the lower parts and when the cloud shifted it was so beautiful. Really dramatic – if scenery can have drama.
Many articles seem to like to say that this tea house is at the end of the planks. It’s not. It is closest to the western peak.
How to get to Mt Huashan?
Take a train from Xian’s North Railway Station. That’s not the one just outside the city walls. You can get to it on the subway system.
Go to Hua Shan station. This is a high speed train railway station so you’ll have a choice of second and first class rather than the general hard seat/soft seat etc. Then outside the station ignore the taxi drivers and go to where the small buses depart just beyond the taxis (You should be able to see the bus, if not just follow the Chinese tourists that know where to go). That bus is free, and it takes you to just outside Mt Huashan park.
When buying tickets you will need the standard entrance ticket and a ticket to get a bus to either the base of the west peak, or the base of the north peak. You’ll also need a bus ticket back from one of the peaks. The west peak bus is a bit more expensive. I think it was 100 yuan instead of 80 yuan.
At these two peaks there is a Gondala. The north peak is the lowest of the peaks and so it is also the cheapest Gondola. If you are going up one of these Gondalas, or going back on one of them – get a ticket for it too.
At the north peak there is a path under the Gondala, so a ticket for the Gondala is not compulsory. You can just walk up.
If you want to save your feet the best route would be to go up the west peak Gondala and down the north Peak Gondala (or even back down the west peak Gondala, but you’d miss stuff).
The Plank walk is another 30 yuan. It is not right at the south peak but close to it. There are signs in Chinese and English all over the place. Just follow them.
Not that cheap, but really cool.