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A frog goes hiking: 玉山前峰 (Yu shan front peak)

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:41

The front peak of 玉山 (Yu shan), Taiwan's tallest mountain, is not a popular destination among hikers here. For one thing it's about 700 meters shorter than its big brother. For another it's very steep and with a somewhat limited view on the way up. Our main goal, however, was to get a bit of exercise in aspiration of more challenging peaks, so it would do just fine.

Just like for our last hike in the area to 郡大山 (Jun da shan) last October we stayed overnight in 望鄉 (Wang xiang), about 1.5h away by car. Because this was going to be a relatively short hike it was okay to leave a little later than usual in the morning. Still, if I were to hike this peak again I'd try to stay somewhere closer, just to reduce the risk of being beaten to the top by fog and getting caught in afternoon showers on the way down.

Apparently the two of us leading the way walked a little too fast and missed the turnoff towards the peak. It took about half an hour for us to get suspicious and actually checking the map. But after all we were there for the exercise, so why not get a bit extra!


Overview

The blue path is 台21線, the road we drove in the morning from 望鄉 (Wang xiang) to 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia). The purple path is the shuttle from 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia) to the 塔塔加鞍部登山口 (Ta ta jia sattle trail head) and the green path the hike itself.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation chart

塔塔加鞍部登山口 (Ta ta jia sattle trail head) to 玉山前峰 (Yu shan front peak) and back to 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia)



GPS track


Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0950: Departure from 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia) by shuttle
0957: Arrival at the 塔塔加鞍部登山口 (Ta ta jia sattle trail head)
1000: Departure from 塔塔加鞍部登山口 (Ta ta jia sattle trail head), 2620 m
1040: 孟祿亭 (Monroe Pavilion), 2800 m
1110: Passed 玉山前峰登山口 (Yu shan front peak trail head) without noticing, 2855 m
1145: Turned around at ca. 4.5 km, 2960 m
1210: Back at 玉山前峰登山口 (Yu shan front peak trail head), 2855 m
1255: 玉山前峰 (Yu shan front peak), 3239 m
1340: Descent
1420: 玉山前峰登山口 (Yu shan front peak trail head), 2855 m
1450: Back at 塔塔加鞍部登山口 (Ta ta jia sattle trail head), 2620 m
1525: Back at 塔塔加停車場 (Ta ta jia parking lot), 2570 m


Photos

谷爐巴民宿 (Kulupa homestay) where we spent the night before our hike.

谷爐巴民宿 (Kulupa homestay) where we spent the night before our hike.

It's a nice place with a good view but it's about 1-2 hours away from 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia), depending on how lucky you are with traffic and getting through construction sites.

It's a nice place with a good view but it's about 1-2 hours away from 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia), depending on how lucky you are with traffic and getting through construction sites.

The view from 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia) with 大塔山 (Da ta shan) in the center.

The view from 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia) with 大塔山 (Da ta shan) in the center.

The parking lot at 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia) and the road up towards the trail head.

The parking lot at 塔塔加 (Ta ta jia) and the road up towards the trail head.

The 塔塔加鞍部登山口 (Ta ta jia sattle trail head) where most ascents to the various peaks of 玉山 (Yu shan) start. There's a convenient shuttle from the parking lot to here. It's around 35-40 minutes on foot but less than 10 minutes by shuttle. So to shave off some time (afternoon showers!) we decided to spend the 100 TWD per person.

The 塔塔加鞍部登山口 (Ta ta jia sattle trail head) where most ascents to the various peaks of 玉山 (Yu shan) start. There's a convenient shuttle from the parking lot to here. It's around 35-40 minutes on foot but less than 10 minutes by shuttle. So to shave off some time (afternoon showers!) we decided to spend the 100 TWD per person.

The trail to 排雲山莊 (Pai yuan mountain lodge) is about 8.5 km long but the trail towards 玉山前峰 (Yu shan front peak) branches off at around 2.6 km.

The trail to 排雲山莊 (Pai yuan mountain lodge) is about 8.5 km long but the trail towards 玉山前峰 (Yu shan front peak) branches off at around 2.6 km.

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The view back towards the 塔塔加鞍部 (Ta ta jia sattle).

The view back towards the 塔塔加鞍部 (Ta ta jia sattle).

Most of the path is quite easy to walk, which partly explains the scores of people you'll encounter here on a typical weekend day.

Most of the path is quite easy to walk, which partly explains the scores of people you'll encounter here on a typical weekend day.

The view towards the valley leading to 那瑪夏 (Na ma xia) in the north east of 高雄 (Gao xiong).

The view towards the valley leading to 那瑪夏 (Na ma xia) in the north east of 高雄 (Gao xiong).

Looking south-east we see 玉山南峰 (Yu shan south peak, 3844 m) near the center right below the cloud and 玉山小南峰 (Yu shan small south peak) in the right third.

Looking south-east we see 玉山南峰 (Yu shan south peak, 3844 m) near the center right below the cloud and 玉山小南峰 (Yu shan small south peak) in the right third.

Most of the trail looks something like this ...

Most of the trail looks something like this ...

... and every so often you'll encounter a few remarkable dead trees on the side of the trail.

... and every so often you'll encounter a few remarkable dead trees on the side of the trail.

The view of 玉山前峰 (Yu shan front peak), which we would climb later. You can clearly see the main trail along the mountain. The trail up to the peak cuts straight up through that little patch of forest.

We walked an extra hour just to snap this picture! (Okay, I made that up. We really just missed the turnoff.)

The view of 玉山前峰 (Yu shan front peak), which we would climb later. You can clearly see the main trail along the mountain. The trail up to the peak cuts straight up through that little patch of forest.

We walked an extra hour just to snap this picture! (Okay, I made that up. We really just missed the turnoff.)

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The beginning of the trail to 玉山前峰 (Yu shan front peak) that we had missed.

The beginning of the trail to 玉山前峰 (Yu shan front peak) that we had missed.

The path up is super steep but the view is not bad at all.

The path up is super steep but the view is not bad at all.

Another view down towards the valley, this time from higher up.

Another view down towards the valley, this time from higher up.

The fog beat us to the top, so the only thing to do was to take the obligatory peak bagging photo and have lunch.

The fog beat us to the top, so the only thing to do was to take the obligatory peak bagging photo and have lunch.


A frog goes hiking: 郡大山 (Jun da shan)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:16

Not too far away from 玉山 (Yu shan), Taiwan's highest mountain, is 郡大山 (Jun da shan), the 61th-highest mountain. While that isn't spectacular I like this mountain because most of the trail isn't buried under a dense forest with no view, but along the ridge, so you can enjoy the view for almost the entire time.

It's also not a difficult mountain to hike. The tiring part is getting to the trail head: 32 kilometers of windy concrete and gravel road with potholes that send your head bumping against the ceiling! And when you're exhausted it's the same ordeal in reverse.

Regardless, it's well worth the trouble and when I go back there I'll try to make sure it's not after a weeklong flu that left me with enough energy to hike to the top but not enough to hike comfortably down. :-)


Overview


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation chart

32k工寮 trail head to 郡大山 (Jun da shan) and back



GPS track


Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0800: Departure from the 郡大林道 (Jun da forest trail) 0 km mark.
0955: Arrival at the 32k工寮 trail head, 2860 m
1005: Departure from the trail head, 2860 m
1025: 望鄉山 (Wang xiang shan), 3007 m
1150: 郡大山北峰 (Jun da shan North peak), 3241 m
1230: 郡大山 (Jun da shan), 3265 m
1410: Departure
1455: 郡大山北峰 (Jun da shan North peak)
1600: 望鄉山 (Wang xiang shan)
1615: Back at the trail head


Photos

The entrance to 郡大林道 (Jun Da Forest Road) where everyone gets stuck until the official in charge peels himself out of bed and presses a button.

The entrance to 郡大林道 (Jun Da Forest Road) where everyone gets stuck until the official in charge peels himself out of bed and presses a button.

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The newly built 台21線 (highway 21) towards 望鄉 (Wang xiang) where we had spent the night.

The newly built 台21線 (highway 21) towards 望鄉 (Wang xiang) where we had spent the night.

Finally through the gate it's a bumpy ride.

Finally through the gate it's a bumpy ride.

Every so often the forest clears up a bit and you can see the beautiful view.

Every so often the forest clears up a bit and you can see the beautiful view.

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Shortly after the 22.5 km mark we took a little break.

Shortly after the 22.5 km mark we took a little break.

The obligatory temple along the way. :-)

The obligatory temple along the way. :-)

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Apparently I was too shaken to take a picture of the trail head but about an hour later we got off the bus and started hiking. The first landmark on the way is this little weather station.

Apparently I was too shaken to take a picture of the trail head but about an hour later we got off the bus and started hiking. The first landmark on the way is this little weather station.

Most of the trail leads through shrubs and tall grass.

Most of the trail leads through shrubs and tall grass.

The absence of trees on the ridge makes for great views all around.

The absence of trees on the ridge makes for great views all around.

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(untitled)
In the distance you can already see 玉山 (Yu shan).

In the distance you can already see 玉山 (Yu shan).

The trail ahead ...

The trail ahead ...

... and behind.

... and behind.

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(untitled)
Every so often the path leads through patches of bamboo.

Every so often the path leads through patches of bamboo.

Finally at the top, about an hour before the flu from the previous few days caught up with me and made me feel rather miserable.

Finally at the top, about an hour before the flu from the previous few days caught up with me and made me feel rather miserable.

But that won't stop me from snapping another photo with 玉山 (Yu shan) in the background!

But that won't stop me from snapping another photo with 玉山 (Yu shan) in the background!