The weather is looking OK, so hoping to check two walks from the book.
On Saturday we’ll do the more strenuous one, an old favorite and one of Taipei area’s most famous hikes, Huangdidien.
We’ll be doing the long route (NOT what I call the ‘tourist route,’ a short loop up and down from the car park at the base of the ridge, which has been all but ruined in recent years since they added ridiculously wide stone steps up the hill, and flattened out the narrow ledge atop knife-edge ridge, AND added hand rails.)
We’ll be climbing first to the West Peak, and (after a section which they already got to ‘improve’, laying down lots of stone steps) this is the most ruggedand nicest bit of the whole trip, with some rough rocky clambering and a series of four iron ladders scaling high rocky cliffs. Later we join the Tourist Route for the famous knife-edge ridge, which is still exhilarating, if far less scary than in the past. On the way back down I hope to do a short detour to the mountain’s Bat Cave, which is apparently much easier to find than the one near Shifen (a blog coming up about that place soon!)
On Sunday we climb the Stone Bamboo Shoot and Shulung Point, two of the Pingxi Three Peaks. The Stone Bamboo Shoot is an extraordinary rocky protuberance, and although it looks difficult to climb from below, it’s not hard, and great fun. After this we descend into a valley dotted with old mine entrances and then climb to the highest of the Three Peaks, Shulung Point. Unfortunately, the local authorities have already got to both peaks (like at Huangdidien) and made ‘improvements’ which rob them of some of their former excitement. At Bamboo Shoot this is minimal, and also probably a good thing, changing the route slightly at one spot that was once quite dangerous, but at Shulung Point it’s involved putting a long flight of steps to the very top. Luckily our way down again is, as far as I know, still gloriously natural.
As usual, if you’re interested in coming PLEASE let me know as soon as possible. I’ll send info out via the mailing list on Friday for both hikes.
See some of you this weekend!