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A frog goes hiking: 桃山 (Tao shan)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:45

It took a long time for us to actually make up our minds whether we should go or not. The weather forecast had been bad for several days and the chance for rain rather high. But because the actual precipitation had been low for days we ended up giving it a try.

And luckily we did try! Despite the absence of sunshine and the occasional drizzle we stayed almost dry. Also, thanks to the high cloud cover we still saw most of the surrounding mountains.

As I always do when the weather forecast is bad, I left my camera at home and took photos with my toy phone instead. The result wasn't half bad and where it was a little bit of retouching did the trick.

Here is 單攻桃山, a single-day trip to Tao shan and back.


Overview


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation chart

武陵吊橋 (Wuling suspension bridge) to 桃山 (Tao shan) and back



GPS track


The night before: Dinner at the 武陵國民賓館 (Wuling hostel).

The night before: Dinner at the 武陵國民賓館 (Wuling hostel).

All-you-can-eat buffet, just what you need to load up for a day of hiking.

All-you-can-eat buffet, just what you need to load up for a day of hiking.

Rhododendron along the way.

Rhododendron along the way.

Notice the forest in the background. The right side has apparently been reforested.

Notice the forest in the background. The right side has apparently been reforested.

The view back down towards 武陵農場 (Wuling farm).

The view back down towards 武陵農場 (Wuling farm).

黑水塘 (Hei shui tang), a small pond along the hiking trail.

黑水塘 (Hei shui tang), a small pond along the hiking trail.

The trail has a great view of the surrounding mountains. The tallest peak in the left half of the photo is 南湖大山 (Nan hu da shan), the pointy one in the right half is 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan).

The trail has a great view of the surrounding mountains. The tallest peak in the left half of the photo is 南湖大山 (Nan hu da shan), the pointy one in the right half is 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan).

A little further up you can actually see the whole length of 武陵農場 (Wuling farm).

A little further up you can actually see the whole length of 武陵農場 (Wuling farm).

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Close to the top the always easy-to-recognize 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) pops out above the forest.

Close to the top the always easy-to-recognize 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) pops out above the forest.

And a little to the West you can see 池有山 (Chi you shan) in the front and 品田山 (Pin tian shan) in the back.

And a little to the West you can see 池有山 (Chi you shan) in the front and 品田山 (Pin tian shan) in the back.

Looking back towards 雪山 (Xue shan). If you look closely you can see a little white blot; that's 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut).

Looking back towards 雪山 (Xue shan). If you look closely you can see a little white blot; that's 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut).

The steeper parts of the mountains are riddled with rhododendron.

The steeper parts of the mountains are riddled with rhododendron.

The last few hundred meters.

The last few hundred meters.

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And finally at the top! That was about five minutes before it started raining.

And finally at the top! That was about five minutes before it started raining.

Time to dress up in rain gear ...

Time to dress up in rain gear ...

... and snap a few last photos.

... and snap a few last photos.

In this direction another peak would have been waiting to be conquered: 喀拉業山 (Ke la ye shan). But it's another 5-6 kilometers to go and come back and I hear the view is rather disappointing. Maybe next time!

In this direction another peak would have been waiting to be conquered: 喀拉業山 (Ke la ye shan). But it's another 5-6 kilometers to go and come back and I hear the view is rather disappointing. Maybe next time!


A frog goes hiking: 羊頭山 (Yang tou shan)

posted by Martin Rubli at 07:48

羊頭山 (Yang tou shan), literally translated "Goat head mountain" is located a few kilometers off 台8 (Highway 8), which links 合歡山 (He huan shan) with 花蓮 (Hua lian). With a trail length of only 7-8 kilometers (depending on whether you trust the milestones or your GPS) it can easily be done in a single day.

We left around 0635 from the 滑雪山莊 (Hua xue mountain lodge) where we had spent the night and drove for almost an hour East to the trailhead. The hike itself took a bit over seven hours, including breaks, which meant we were back at the trailhead by 1505.

The weather was dry and mostly sunny, which made for a nice training hike for our upcoming hike of 桃山 (Tao shan). Ironically, the training hike turned out to be slightly more strenuous than the one we were training for, but that's a story for another blog post.


Overview

The yellow track is the drive from the mountain lodge to the trailhead. The green track is the hike.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation charts

羊頭山登山口 (Yang tou shan trail head) to 羊頭山 (Yang tou shan) and back



GPS tracks


The road up from 滑雪山莊 (Hua xue mountain lodge) where we started our day.

The road up from 滑雪山莊 (Hua xue mountain lodge) where we started our day.

Can you spot the trailhead? It's right next to the entrance of the tunnel ...

Can you spot the trailhead? It's right next to the entrance of the tunnel ...

... where you have to climb the roadside fence to actually start hiking. By the way, here is where I lifted my legs high enough to see my shoes and noticed I was still wearing my sandals.

... where you have to climb the roadside fence to actually start hiking. By the way, here is where I lifted my legs high enough to see my shoes and noticed I was still wearing my sandals.

The view back towards the road.

The view back towards the road.

The sign at the trailhead says 羊頭山 (Yang tou shan) is the lowest of the 百岳 (Taiwan's 100 Highest Peaks) with its 3035 meters elevation but, depending on the age of the list you consult, the ranking looks a little different. On [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_Peaks_of_Taiwan Wikipedia] it ranks 96th.

The sign at the trailhead says 羊頭山 (Yang tou shan) is the lowest of the 百岳 (Taiwan's 100 Highest Peaks) with its 3035 meters elevation but, depending on the age of the list you consult, the ranking looks a little different. On Wikipedia it ranks 96th.

The trail leads you past beautiful trees ...

The trail leads you past beautiful trees ...

... several metal stairs ...

... several metal stairs ...

... and a few flat areas that allow your legs to take a break.

... and a few flat areas that allow your legs to take a break.

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Thanks to our good weather we saw quite far towards 花蓮 (Hua lian), which was covered by a sea of clouds.

Thanks to our good weather we saw quite far towards 花蓮 (Hua lian), which was covered by a sea of clouds.

In the right third of this photo you spot can a pointy peak, which is 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak), as well as the forest-covered 屏風山 (Ping feng shan).

In the right third of this photo you spot can a pointy peak, which is 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak), as well as the forest-covered 屏風山 (Ping feng shan).

The last section of the trail is very nice to walk. If you look back you see the beautiful view ...

The last section of the trail is very nice to walk. If you look back you see the beautiful view ...

... and if you look left and right you see 杜鵑花 (Rhododendron).

... and if you look left and right you see 杜鵑花 (Rhododendron).

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Close to the ridge line is the crossroad towards 羊頭山 (Yang tou shan), today's destination, and 畢祿山 (Bi lu shan), which with its 3371 meters elevation, didn't fit into today's schedule (or mindset).

Close to the ridge line is the crossroad towards 羊頭山 (Yang tou shan), today's destination, and 畢祿山 (Bi lu shan), which with its 3371 meters elevation, didn't fit into today's schedule (or mindset).

Here you can see 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) again, just left of the tree, as well as the grassy hill on its right, which is where 滑雪山莊 (Hua xue mountain lodge) lies.

Here you can see 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) again, just left of the tree, as well as the grassy hill on its right, which is where 滑雪山莊 (Hua xue mountain lodge) lies.

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Once again the beautiful view back towards 花蓮 (Hua lian).

Once again the beautiful view back towards 花蓮 (Hua lian).

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On the left is 無明山 (Wu ming shan) and the pointy one in the back is 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan).

On the left is 無明山 (Wu ming shan) and the pointy one in the back is 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan).

The round peak on the right is 畢祿山 (Bi lu shan). Further in the background you can see – from right to left – 合歡山北峰 (He huan shan north peak), the wide grassy one, 合歡山主峰 (He huan shan main peak), the one with the cloud above it, and 合歡山東峰 (He huan shan east peak), the grassy one left of the cloud. The rocky one on the far left is, once again, 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

The round peak on the right is 畢祿山 (Bi lu shan). Further in the background you can see – from right to left – 合歡山北峰 (He huan shan north peak), the wide grassy one, 合歡山主峰 (He huan shan main peak), the one with the cloud above it, and 合歡山東峰 (He huan shan east peak), the grassy one left of the cloud. The rocky one on the far left is, once again, 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

The triangulation point at the top of 羊頭山, 3035 meters above sea level. In the background you can see 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan), the impressive pointy one, and 無明山 (Wu ming shan), covered by a branch.

The triangulation point at the top of 羊頭山, 3035 meters above sea level. In the background you can see 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan), the impressive pointy one, and 無明山 (Wu ming shan), covered by a branch.

The view from the top towards South East.

The view from the top towards South East.

And finally the mandatory group photo, as always with my flags. :-)

And finally the mandatory group photo, as always with my flags. :-)


A frog goes hiking: 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:03

This was my second hike of 雪山 (Xue shan) but after the last trip to the main peak this time our destination was the north peak. 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak) is a little further away from the mountain hut than the main peak, so we stayed in 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) for two nights.

The weather was once again great, so I'm seriously considering making a sacrifice to the weather gods to make sure it stays that way. There was a bit of fog right around the time we got to the peak but the view had been so good for the whole day that it wasn't much of a detriment. But see for yourself ...


Overview

The green track is day two, the blue and purple tracks are days one and three.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation charts

Day 1, 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head) to 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut)


Day 2, 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) to 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak) and back


Day 3, 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) to 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head)



GPS tracks

Day 1, 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head) to 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut)

Day 2, 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) to 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak) and back

Day 3, 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) to 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head)


Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

Day 1:
0820: Departure from 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head), 2180 m
0925: Arrival at 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut), 2530 m
1005: Continue
1105: Arrival at 哭坡觀景台 (Ku po view platform), 3020 m
1335: Continue
1445: 雪山東峰叉路 (Xue shan east peak crossroad), 3180 m
1540: Arrival at 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut), 3150 m

Day 2:
0530: Departure from 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut), 3150 m
0810: Emerged from 黑森林 (Black forest), 3575 m
0830: Arrival on ridge line, 3710 m
0835: Arrival on 凱蘭特崑山 (Kai lan te kun shan), 3731 m
0915: Continue
1115: Arrival at 雪北山屋 (Xue bei mountain hut), 3660 m
1210: Continue
1230: Arrival at 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak), 3703 m
1300: Return
1315: Arrival at 雪北山屋 (Xue bei mountain hut), 3660 m
1335: Continue
1430: 凱蘭特崑山 (Kai lan te kun shan), 3731 m
1450: Enter 黑森林 (Black forest), 3575 m
1545: Arrival at 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut), 3150 m

Day 3:
0310: Departure from 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut), 3150 m
0410: 雪山東峰叉路 (Xue shan east peak crossroad), 3180 m
0450: 哭坡觀景台 (Ku po view platform), 3020 m
0550: 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut), 2530 m
0625: Arrival at 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head), 2180 m


Getting ready at the 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head).

Getting ready at the 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head).

Don't forget to look back, otherwise you might miss this great view. Of course from [local:/gallery/2013/09/08/23 behind the water tank] it's even better.

Don't forget to look back, otherwise you might miss this great view. Of course from behind the water tank it's even better.

七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut), about an hour from the trail head. It is mostly used by people who arrive in the afternoon or at night and prepare for a single-day ascent to one of the peaks.

七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut), about an hour from the trail head. It is mostly used by people who arrive in the afternoon or at night and prepare for a single-day ascent to one of the peaks.

The first three kilometers are mostly in the forest but relatively easy to walk.

The first three kilometers are mostly in the forest but relatively easy to walk.

The higher you get the less forest and the better the view.

The higher you get the less forest and the better the view.

The 哭坡 (Ku po), the "Slope of pain", isn't as bad as the name suggests. In fact, the part right after 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut) is probably more difficult and much longer.

The 哭坡 (Ku po), the "Slope of pain", isn't as bad as the name suggests. In fact, the part right after 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut) is probably more difficult and much longer.

The view to the opposite side where you can see 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan) on the very left and 無明山 (Wu ming shan) near the center.

The view to the opposite side where you can see 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan) on the very left and 無明山 (Wu ming shan) near the center.

Mountain birds aren't scared of people much. This one hopped around me for minutes while I was eating my lunch. Apparently they have learned the convenience of befriending people.

Mountain birds aren't scared of people much. This one hopped around me for minutes while I was eating my lunch. Apparently they have learned the convenience of befriending people.

Onwards after lunch break. Note the family with two kids who went all the way to 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak) and back in one day. That's the spirit!

Onwards after lunch break. Note the family with two kids who went all the way to 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak) and back in one day. That's the spirit!

A remarkable tree on the way that looks like a drill.

A remarkable tree on the way that looks like a drill.

After the 哭坡 (Ku po) the trail follows the ridge for a while.

After the 哭坡 (Ku po) the trail follows the ridge for a while.

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雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak), which we skipped this time. It's only a twenty meter walk from the trail but everyone had already been there several times.

雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak), which we skipped this time. It's only a twenty meter walk from the trail but everyone had already been there several times.

At last, 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) in sight with the characteristic zig-zag trail towards the top.

At last, 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) in sight with the characteristic zig-zag trail towards the top.

The next day on the way to 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak) inside the 黑森林 (Black forest).

The next day on the way to 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak) inside the 黑森林 (Black forest).

This is where the view starts to get impressive: The side of 凱蘭特崑山 (Kai lan te kun shan).

This is where the view starts to get impressive: The side of 凱蘭特崑山 (Kai lan te kun shan).

The hiking trail goes right along this rock slope, so it's two steps forward, one step back.

The hiking trail goes right along this rock slope, so it's two steps forward, one step back.

Here you can see how steep the slope is. Still, if you pick the right stones to step on you can make good progress.

Here you can see how steep the slope is. Still, if you pick the right stones to step on you can make good progress.

The view upwards to what lies ahead.

The view upwards to what lies ahead.

This is the trail, right at the edge of the slope. Ironically, it is also the path that's most tiresome to walk.

This is the trail, right at the edge of the slope. Ironically, it is also the path that's most tiresome to walk.

Once on the ridge you get a beautiful view of 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

Once on the ridge you get a beautiful view of 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

Only a few minutes of walking and you're at the top of 凱蘭特崑山 (Kai lan te kun shan).

Only a few minutes of walking and you're at the top of 凱蘭特崑山 (Kai lan te kun shan).

凱蘭特崑山 (Kai lan te kun shan) is not part of the list of Taiwan's 100 peaks but the one in the background is: 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak), our destination of the day.

凱蘭特崑山 (Kai lan te kun shan) is not part of the list of Taiwan's 100 peaks but the one in the background is: 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak), our destination of the day.

The trail on the ridge makes sure you have excellent views in all directions as well as the occasional climbing challenge.

The trail on the ridge makes sure you have excellent views in all directions as well as the occasional climbing challenge.

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Again, 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak) on the left.

Again, 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak) on the left.

After walking a around four kilometers we were able to see where we had left in the morning: 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut)

After walking a around four kilometers we were able to see where we had left in the morning: 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut)

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Looking back you can see 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao) near the center and 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak) to its left.

Looking back you can see 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao) near the center and 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak) to its left.

And looking forward you can see a whole range of mountain starting with 穆特勒布山 (Mu te le bu shan) on the left, 品田山 (Pin tian shan) in the middle and 桃山 (Tao shan) on the right.

And looking forward you can see a whole range of mountain starting with 穆特勒布山 (Mu te le bu shan) on the left, 品田山 (Pin tian shan) in the middle and 桃山 (Tao shan) on the right.

A close-up of 品田山 (Pin tian shan) my [local:/blog/2014/07/ favorite mountain] so far!

A close-up of 品田山 (Pin tian shan) my favorite mountain so far!

And a close-up of 穆特勒布山 (Mu te le bu shan) with 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the background.

And a close-up of 穆特勒布山 (Mu te le bu shan) with 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the background.

雪北山屋 (Xue bei mountain hut) where we had lunch before the last short ascent to the top.

雪北山屋 (Xue bei mountain hut) where we had lunch before the last short ascent to the top.

Of course, right before we got to the top the fog started coming up.

Of course, right before we got to the top the fog started coming up.

Finally at the top! If you look carefully you can see 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak) on the left.

Finally at the top! If you look carefully you can see 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak) on the left.

After the fog got thicker and thicker I put my camera away which, incidentally, also makes for a much faster descent.

After the fog got thicker and thicker I put my camera away which, incidentally, also makes for a much faster descent.

The inside of 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) ...

The inside of 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) ...

Not exactly a hotel but still pretty comfy for a mountain hut at over 3000 meters above sea level!

Not exactly a hotel but still pretty comfy for a mountain hut at over 3000 meters above sea level!


A frog goes hiking: 奇萊主北 (Qi lai main and north peaks) (Day 2)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:33

The second day started with a collective lack of motivation to get up. Several people had slept little to nothing because of tent-induced discomfort, loud snoring, or high altitude. So instead of getting up at 0230 it was already past sunrise when our tent woke up. The weather report from the insomniacs outside about fog was hardly motivation to get out of bed. Only breakfast finally did the trick.

As the fog started to lift some of us felt it would be a shame not to climb 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak) as planned, despite the delay in schedule. So, three of us started preparing light backpacks and cameras and went on our way, leaving the large backpacks behind.

The weather got better by the minute and everything but the summit was fog-free, which allowed for great views along the ridge trail.

The fog did start to rise again during our descent but the weather stayed mostly sunny and completely dry for the rest of the hike. Even the way back up from the valley didn't turn out to be as bad as I had feared. Personally, the most tiring part was the last kilometer, probably because once you know that you're almost there your body starts to wind down. Luckily, the 100m-stones passed quite quickly and before we knew it we were back at the parking lot.


Overview

The red track is the first day, the green track is the second day.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation chart


GPS track


Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0620: Departure from 奇萊山屋 (Qilai mountain hut), 3350 m
0730: 卡羅樓奇萊主峰叉路 (Ka luo lou and Qilai main peak crossroad), 3410 m
0750: Arrival at 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), 3560 m
0815: Departure from 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak)
0830: 卡羅樓奇萊主峰叉路 (Ka luo lou and Qilai main peak crossroad)
0930: Arrival back at 奇萊山屋 (Qilai mountain hut)
0950: Departure from 奇萊山屋 (Qilai mountain hut)
1030: 叉路 (Trail fork), 3160 m
1115: Break at 成功山屋 (Cheng gong mountain hut), 2860 m
1140: Continue
1215: Break at 黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut), 2735 m
1225: Continue
1325: Break at 小奇萊 (Xiao qi lai), 3150 m
1345: Continue
1420: Arrival at 奇萊山登山口 (Qilai trail head), 3040 m


Photos

View from 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) towards 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), the "twin-peaked" mountain in the far distance. (To the top and slightly left of the blue tent.)

View from 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) towards 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), the "twin-peaked" mountain in the far distance. (To the top and slightly left of the blue tent.)

Three kilometers to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), the first destination of the day. In the background you can see the second destination: the 合歡山 (He huan shan) area, 6.6 kilometers away.

Three kilometers to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), the first destination of the day. In the background you can see the second destination: the 合歡山 (He huan shan) area, 6.6 kilometers away.

The view back towards 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut), the small white square, and the pointy 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) to its right.

The view back towards 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut), the small white square, and the pointy 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) to its right.

Most of the trail towards 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak) is on the ridge line and therefore makes for fairly relaxed hiking with the best possible view!

Most of the trail towards 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak) is on the ridge line and therefore makes for fairly relaxed hiking with the best possible view!

Clouds building up near 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

Clouds building up near 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

Nice to see from a distance but not so nice when you're there: Clouds at the top of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

Nice to see from a distance but not so nice when you're there: Clouds at the top of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

The beautiful ridge line leading to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

The beautiful ridge line leading to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

合歡山 (He huan shan) from a distance. The tallest one in the middle is 合歡東峰 (He huan east peak), the grassy one to its lower right is 小奇萊 (Xiao qilai) where we passed through the day before on the way down into the valley.

合歡山 (He huan shan) from a distance. The tallest one in the middle is 合歡東峰 (He huan east peak), the grassy one to its lower right is 小奇萊 (Xiao qilai) where we passed through the day before on the way down into the valley.

Alpine flowers and 清境 (Qing jing) in the background (the hill that is now mostly covered in farmland and illegally erected homestays).

Alpine flowers and 清境 (Qing jing) in the background (the hill that is now mostly covered in farmland and illegally erected homestays).

杜鵑 (Rhododendron) in all their beauty.

杜鵑 (Rhododendron) in all their beauty.

Clouds looming over 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

Clouds looming over 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak) in the distance.

奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak) in the distance.

Once again the view back towards 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) that we climbed yesterday. In the center you can see the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range) in the far distance.

Once again the view back towards 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) that we climbed yesterday. In the center you can see the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range) in the far distance.

卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan), the impressive mountain between 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak)and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak).

卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan), the impressive mountain between 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak)and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak).

The last relaxing section before the ascent to the peak.

The last relaxing section before the ascent to the peak.

The crossroad between the trail to 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and the one to the peak of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

The crossroad between the trail to 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and the one to the peak of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak).

A sign warning of the dangers of the trail to 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak). And for a change the sign isn't lying; large parts of the route consist of rockslides without an actual trail that's visible.

A sign warning of the dangers of the trail to 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak). And for a change the sign isn't lying; large parts of the route consist of rockslides without an actual trail that's visible.

Once again the view towards 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak).

Once again the view towards 卡羅樓山 (Ka luo lou shan) and 奇萊南峰 (Qilai south peak).

Finally at the top of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak). Which begs the question ... If the north peak is higher than the main peak, why are the names the way they are? Shouldn't north peak be called "main peak" and main peak be called "south peak"?

Finally at the top of 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak). Which begs the question ... If the north peak is higher than the main peak, why are the names the way they are? Shouldn't north peak be called "main peak" and main peak be called "south peak"?

The clouds only lifted briefly when we were getting ready to descend. That's why apart from this one there are no nice summit photos this time!

The clouds only lifted briefly when we were getting ready to descend. That's why apart from this one there are no nice summit photos this time!

On the way back the fog started to rise over the ridge line. Good thing we had taken our time to shoot photos on the way up.

On the way back the fog started to rise over the ridge line. Good thing we had taken our time to shoot photos on the way up.


A frog goes hiking: 奇萊主北 (Qi lai main and north peaks) (Day 1)

posted by Martin Rubli at 07:27

Third time's a charm: After two attempts of climbing 奇萊山 (Qi lai shan) that got canceled because of bad weather the third time finally worked out. And it's well worth to wait for good weather. For one thing the view is obviously only as good as the weather and for another 奇萊山 (Qi lai shan) has a reputation for being dangerous in bad weather conditions. As a matter of fact, it has even received the nickname 黑奇萊 (black Qi lai), not only because of the dark appearance of its cliffs, but also because it has claimed numerous lives over the years.

We stayed the night before in the 合歡山 (He huan shan) area, so that we could start early without having to get up too early and still have enough time to make it to 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) and back to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut). For the second day we had planned an early return trip to 奇萊主峰 (Qilai main peak), followed by the return journey.

One of the things that make 奇萊山 (Qi lai shan) feared amount hikers is the fact that there's a valley between the trail head and the peak. This means that on both ways you "lose" about 350 meters of altitude that you then have to hike back up. Also, water is rare near 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut). Luckily we had organized a helping hand who helped us put up the tents and prepared dinner. That easily took a few kilograms off everyone's backpacks.

A word of warning: 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) doesn't lend itself as an example of good hiking infrastructure. It is small and therefore notoriously hard to book, the "toilet" doesn't deserve the name and is more of a big pile of excrement that drives everyone into the bushes, and there's no such thing as rain water collection. It's sadly obvious that the Taroko National Park administration funnels most of the money into Taroko Valley. Bottom line: If you plan to hike 奇萊山 (Qi lai shan) prepare to be on your own.

After a little more than six hours of hiking we finally found ourselves relieved at the top of the Qi lai ridge. That's a good place to switch to light backpacks and attack the last kilometer to the peak. It's about a two-hour round-trip from there to 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak) and once you get back you're only left with a relaxing 15-20 minute walk to 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut).

The weather was good for most of the trip, but unfortunately the fog reached the summit around the same time we did. Despite the lack of view climbing the peak involves a bit of climbing fun. And we still had the outlook of day two, with a slightly better weather forecast ...


Overview


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation chart


GPS track


Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0750: Departure from 奇萊山登山口 (Qilai trail head), 3040 m
0940: Break at 黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut), 2735 m
1000: Continue
1050: Break at 成功山屋 (Cheng gong mountain hut), 2860 m
1140: Continue
1230: Break at 叉路 (Trail fork), 3160 m
1320: Continue
1425: Break at 嶺線 (Ridge), 3440 m
1455: Continue
1550: Arrival at 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak), 3607 m
1630: Departure from 奇萊北峰 (Qilai north peak)
1715: Break at 嶺線 (Ridge)
1725: Continue
1740: Arrival at 奇萊山屋 (Qilai mountain hut), 3350 m


Photos

松雪樓 (Song xue lou) with 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) in the background, our destination for the day.

松雪樓 (Song xue lou) with 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) in the background, our destination for the day.

The trail head is right next to the 滑雪山莊 ("Skiing mountain hut"). Of course it's been a long time since anyone has been able to ski in this area but the name has stuck.

The trail head is right next to the 滑雪山莊 ("Skiing mountain hut"). Of course it's been a long time since anyone has been able to ski in this area but the name has stuck.

The trail head. From here it's around 7 kilometers to the top of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak), a little less if you hike directly to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut).

The trail head. From here it's around 7 kilometers to the top of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak), a little less if you hike directly to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut).

In order to get to the other side you have to hike down into the valley first, a fact particularly dreaded on the way back.

In order to get to the other side you have to hike down into the valley first, a fact particularly dreaded on the way back.

Looking back towards 小奇萊 (Xiao qi lai).

Looking back towards 小奇萊 (Xiao qi lai).

The area is filled with beautiful 山杜鵑 (Rhododendron), here mostly with purple ones but in higher altitudes with white ones, too.

The area is filled with beautiful 山杜鵑 (Rhododendron), here mostly with purple ones but in higher altitudes with white ones, too.

黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut) near the bottom of the valley.

黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut) near the bottom of the valley.

The inside of 黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut), which is now rarely used except as a weather shelter.

The inside of 黑水塘山屋 (Hei shui tang mountain hut), which is now rarely used except as a weather shelter.

3.7 kilometers from the trail head and 1.1 kilometers to the next stop ...

3.7 kilometers from the trail head and 1.1 kilometers to the next stop ...

... 成功山屋 (Cheng gong mountain hut), the nicest and most convenient place to sleep. A small creek flows right next to it, so water is readily available.

... 成功山屋 (Cheng gong mountain hut), the nicest and most convenient place to sleep. A small creek flows right next to it, so water is readily available.

This is where the trail forks off in two directions: The right one directly heads to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) while the left one brings you closer to 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

This is where the trail forks off in two directions: The right one directly heads to the 奇萊山屋 (Qi lai mountain hut) while the left one brings you closer to 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

The view back towards 合歡山 (He huan shan).

The view back towards 合歡山 (He huan shan).

The trail from the junction towards 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) starts off easy ...

The trail from the junction towards 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) starts off easy ...

... but then rapidly becomes challenging.

... but then rapidly becomes challenging.

Flowers like these make the steep hike a little more enjoyable ...

Flowers like these make the steep hike a little more enjoyable ...

... especially when there are entire patches of them.

... especially when there are entire patches of them.

Finally on the ridge. Behind this little hill awaits 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

Finally on the ridge. Behind this little hill awaits 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak).

Even though it's only 1.2 kilometers to the north peak we switched to light packs. There's quite a bit of climbing on the last few hundred meters, so it's a lot safer and less tiring that way.

Even though it's only 1.2 kilometers to the north peak we switched to light packs. There's quite a bit of climbing on the last few hundred meters, so it's a lot safer and less tiring that way.

This is where the ascent to the top of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) starts.

This is where the ascent to the top of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) starts.

Almost there ...

Almost there ...

Finally at the top. Enjoy the view because ...

Finally at the top. Enjoy the view because ...

... just a few minutes later the fog had taken over and there was little else to be seen than gray and a bit of sky.

... just a few minutes later the fog had taken over and there was little else to be seen than gray and a bit of sky.

The north side of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) is a precipitous cliff.

The north side of 奇萊北峰 (Qi lai north peak) is a precipitous cliff.


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