High Mountain trip plans for Winter-Spring 2012

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The awesome Mount Dabajian (taken on a 1999 hike!)

Hot on the trail of the great treks we did on Chilai and Nanhuda Mountains in November, I’ve been busy planning a series of Winter/Spring trips to the high mountains. I’ve come up with four routes for starters, with provisional plans for a fifth if it can be arranged. Here’s the rundown. All willing and EXPERIENCED hikers are welcome, and all you have to do is pay your share of the costs for the trip (there’s no organization fee) but numbers for all trips will be limited. Let me know if you’re interested! The following dates are provisional, but unless something bad happens (or I get an offer to do another recital!) these dates should be safe.

Snow Mountain, viewed from the East Peak (2003 picture)

1. March 10th-11th (Saturday-Sunday, leaving Friday evening at 8pm) Mt Junda and Mt Xiluanda (郡大山、西巒大山; 3,292 meters and 3,081 meters; MODERATELY STRENUOUS) FULL

This trip bags two less well-known ‘Top Hundred’ (bai yue) summits. The first is one of the easiest of the high mountains to climb, just two hours from the forest road trailhead, but this two-day trip is no walk-in-the-park, as the second peak is a much longer proposition, and we could be walking 8-10 hours each day.

The ‘White Forest’ on the way up Snow Mountain (taken in 2003)

2. March 23 – 25th(Friday to Sunday, leaving Thursday evening at 8 pm) Snow Mountain East, Main and North Peaks, plus Mount Zijiayangda  (雪山主北東峰, 志佳陽大山; STRENUOUS) FULL

This three-day loop trip combines the usual, relatively easy ascent of Snow Mountain (the second highest mountain in Taiwan) and the East Peak (passed on the way to the main peak) with two less-often climbed summits. Snow Mountain North Peak is the only ‘Top Hundred’ peak actually on the renowned Holy Ridge. Descending from Snow Mountain Main Peak we descend via another trail to its south (the original route to the top of Snow Mountain), passing over a fourth Bai yue, Mount Zijaiyangda, on the way down to rejoin the road and civilization somewhat south of Wuling Farm. Only strong hikers on this one. There’s quite a bit of ground to cover in three days, and I imagine it’s going to be a lot harder than the simple Snow Mountain summit there-and-back trip.

Rhododendrons on Hohuan East Peak (April 2011)

3.  April 21 – 24th: Holy Ridge, Wuling Four Peaks, Dabajianshan (STRENUOUS)

Leaving on Saturday morning and returning Tuesday evening, this trek will begin at Wuling Farm in the south, from where we’ll bag the Wuling Four Peaks (the trip planned for late November this year which was cancelled when I suddenly found my professional musical services were needed that weekend!). From there the plan is to bypass the most dangerous part of the Holy Ridge (west of Mount Pingtian) and instead take the useful trail that avoids the worst cliffs, passes the highest source of the Danshui River, and joins the Holy Ridge Trail somewhat south of the awesome Mount Dabajian. To finish we’ll bag Daba, Xiaoba and the two other nearby Top Hundred peaks before descending to Gwangwu and returning through Hsinchu county to Taipei on the evening of the fifth day.

This is a fairly major hike (probably similar in standard to the ones we did in November) and only  for hikers that are sure they can handle the conditions. I”ll need proof of experience for this one!

On the trail to Hohuan North Peak

  1. May 12-13: Mt Hohuan peaks (FAIRLY EASY – MODERATE)

Another hike arranged by ourselves, this should be a relatively easy one. It takes two days to bag the five bai yue at Hohuan, and the best time of the year – by far – to be there is in May, when, global warming and fickle Mother Nature notwithstanding, the alpine rhododendrons should be in full bloom. I was there this year, a bit earlier, and it was already a magical place to be. We’ll be leaving Friday evening, and returning Sunday night, and the trip is OK for all reasonably fit hikers, and a great intro to Taiwan’s high mountain climbs. Three of the five peaks we climb are easy; the North and West Peaks are a lot further (be ready for a nine-hour day there-and-back, although that’s only what I’ve heard, as I haven’t been all the way yet), but not too hard, at least  by Taiwan standards.

Dabajianshan in the early morning

Well, that’s the idea. More info on these as the plans develop. Let me know if you’re seriously interested.

Comments

  1. About XiLuanDaShan, I can confirm it’ll take 10 hours: about 6 up and 4 down. We started at 3 a.m. Great views at this unique summit. The security checkpoint at the ranger station is a little over the top. Your vehicle will activate via a camera a noise alarm as it approaches the road barrier. Then, the Forestry official will come down on his scooter and open the gate. However, if you arrive at night, he’ll turn it off and go to sleep and drivers sit there wondering what’s going on. So, if you get no response, just hop over the road barrier, walk up to the office and knock on the door. That’s important if you want to park, get organised and get an early start the next day.

    Also, about coming down from Snow Mtn via ZiJiaYangDaShan, it’s quite steep immediately below Snow Mtn.Need to be vigilant about the track and tags there. PiaoDan Pond was also bone dry when we were there in March although there had been rain the previous month.I don’t know how reliable that water source is usually, but be warned!

    1. Author

      Thanks Lyndon!
      Some useful info there! Now you mention it I remember the hiking map says that the pool near Zijiayang Da Shan is sometimes dry; we’d better bring some up from the night before, in case!
      Impressed to hear you’ve climbed Mt Xiluanda!

    2. Hi everyone,

      I’m planning to do a 3-day hike on Dabajian Shan with 5-7 fellow exchange students from Taipei, from monday 2nd of April to wednesday 4. We are not experienced so we would like to hire a guide there. Would you recommend me any agency which could arrange this hike for us.

      Thanks a lot,

      Edern

      1. Such a quick answer ! Thanks a lot ! I contacted Taiwan Adventures already, then I will contact the Bark-Deer. If you have any other suggestion… I would be glad to know it !

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