Friday, 14 June 2013

Day 111: Climbing Hua Shan - Fri 14 Jun, 2013

Day 111: Climbing Hua Shan - Fri 14 Jun, 2013
Off to climb Hua Shan today, mountain often featured on traditional Chinese art works.

Stood on glass tiles in ticket office with 3D model of mountain, tracks, connections beneath our feet. English translation on signs for disability access "deformity man’s passage" (ouch!) Shuttle bus up first level, then walk-up steep steps through Heavenly Gates to catch cable car up west face of Hua Shan mountain (so named as five peaks resemble lotus flower). 

Map of cable cars, walks and tracks

Steep stairs up to Heavenly Gate...
...and looking back from even more steep stairs beyond

It was certainly the most spectacular cable-car Wanderoos had ever encountered, 4000mtrs, over multiple granite peaks, dizzying drops into metamorphic rock, landing straight into a hand-bored tunnel, all built by the French (thank goodness!). 


Counter weight going in opposite direction

Who chooses to live clinging to the side of a mountain??
Our hole-in-the-wall landing cave

We thoroughly enjoyed our 2hr walk through forest, along sheer drops, down stairways including some steep ladder-like drops to the North Peak. We wondered why many locals were wearing gloves - and found out later they walk up “on all fours” (hands on the stairs instead of using the chains).



Amazingly there was construction work up at 2154mts and people carrying cement UP the passes, some quite aged men, one was really struggling, and people looking at him with concern, whereas another was playing a flute (jauntily!) at same time. 

Saw a pretty bright bird; had most expensive coffee ever – felt worth it to get away from “madding crowd” (not another customer in over an hour- not surprising with those prices!) Toilets were abominable, smell to make you retch, open cement pits side by side, excrement and paper straight down side of mountain, no water anywhere. 



Finally took our sore feet down the other cable car - Jon & Jude did the walk down instead, and Jon even did the plank walkway off the side of the mountain, using Chinese safety harness (ah, the immortality of youth....) 

JonBoy - you're one crazy fella!!

Once down it was a hot afternoon in airless vehicles. GirlRob’s dinner in cafĂ© was inedible, pickled egg and meat that looked suspiciously offal, so ate BoyRob’s dumplings instead. Firecrackers at dusk, lights in carpark stayed on all night... not most restful night we’ve had.

Rest area for aged and weak

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