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A frog goes hiking: 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak)

posted by Martin Rubli at 04:38

A frog goes hiking: 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak)

Five years after the last time I finally managed to go to 合歡山 (He huan shan) again to bag the elusive west peak. And because of the constant wind there my frog-colored wind jacket that gave the series its name is back, too! :-)

We arrived early in the morning and first hiked to the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite), which is less than half an hour away from 合歡北峰 (He huan north peak). There's even a shortcut, so that you don't have to carry your luggage all the way to the peak first.

After a quick break putting up the tents I set off for an afternoon hike to 合歡山西峰 (He huan west peak), the only somewhat challenging mountain among the other rather easy-to-reach ones in the 合歡山 (He huan shan) area. It's not that the trail is particularly long or difficult, but the endless series of hills you have to cross to get there. Also, the actual west peak is hidden behind one last hill, so that you can't see your destination until you're almost there. All in all the little hills add up to about 1000 meters of elevation and a bit over 11 km of distance.

Normally, this wouldn't be a big problem with a light backpack but because I wasn't able to eat much for most of the day I felt exhausted on the way back. Luckily I still made it back to the campsite just before sunset and without having to resort to my headlamp.

The second day we only had to get back to the trail head but that proved a challenge for different reasons. Because it happened to be the wildflower season there was an endless stream of people going in both directions, let alone the traffic jam on the road caused by idiots parking their cars along the road with complete disregard of other people. 合歡山 (He huan shan) really is a beautiful area but you might want to avoid it on the weekends in May.


Overview

The red track is the first half of day one, the green track the second half of day one, and the blue track is the second day.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation charts

合歡北峰登山口 (He huan north peak trail head) to 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite):


小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) to 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak) and back:


小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) to 合歡北峰登山口 (He huan north peak trail head):


GPS track

合歡北峰登山口 (He huan north peak trail head) to 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite):

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) to 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak) and back:


Hiking log (day 1 only)

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0825: Departure from 合歡北峰登山口 (He huan north peak trail head), 2950 m
0855: Break near 1.0 km
0955: Continue
1025: Break near microwave reflector, 3340 m
1110: Continue
1140: Arrival at 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite)
1240: Departure from 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite)
1300: 合歡北峰 (He huan north peak), 3422 m
1335: Lowest point, 3110 m
1420: Highest point, 3230 m
1445: Arrival at 合歡山西峰 (He huan west peak), 3145 m
1510: Departure from 合歡山西峰 (He huan west peak)
1545: Highest point
1645: Lowest point
1805: 合歡北峰 (He huan north peak), 3422 m
1830: 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite)


Photos

The entrance to 太魯閣國家公園 (Taroko National Park). It took me over five years since [local:/blog/2010/04/19/a-frog-goes-hiking-he-huan-shan-day-1/ the last time] to return to this lovely place.

The entrance to 太魯閣國家公園 (Taroko National Park). It took me over five years since the last time to return to this lovely place.

The view from 昆陽 (Kun yang) at just over 3000 meters altitude.

The view from 昆陽 (Kun yang) at just over 3000 meters altitude.

The view from 武嶺 (Wu ling).

The view from 武嶺 (Wu ling).

View back to the trail head after just a few steps up towards 合歡山北峰 (He huan shan north peak).

View back to the trail head after just a few steps up towards 合歡山北峰 (He huan shan north peak).

The pointy rock in the foreground has no name but the one in the back is called 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan). :-)

The pointy rock in the foreground has no name but the one in the back is called 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan). :-)

On the way up you can soon see the huge [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_repeater microwave reflector].

On the way up you can soon see the huge microwave reflector.

The view towards the north peak. The ridge on the left is the trail to the west peak.

The view towards the north peak. The ridge on the left is the trail to the west peak.

The view back towards the trail head. On the right you can see 合歡東峰 (He huan east peak).

The view back towards the trail head. On the right you can see 合歡東峰 (He huan east peak).

Hiking with the beautiful 奇萊山脈 (Qi lai mountain chain) in the background.

Hiking with the beautiful 奇萊山脈 (Qi lai mountain chain) in the background.

You can see there are quite a few people hiking already. But this was nothing compared to the second day!

You can see there are quite a few people hiking already. But this was nothing compared to the second day!

Taroko valley in the background.

Taroko valley in the background.

The microwave reflector near the north peak.

The microwave reflector near the north peak.

At this point we took a shortcut directly to the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite), so that we didn't have to carry our backpacks all the way to the top first.

At this point we took a shortcut directly to the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite), so that we didn't have to carry our backpacks all the way to the top first.

The trail towards the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) ...

The trail towards the 小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) ...

... and looking back.

... and looking back.

If you look really closely you can see the campsite with a green tent. That's where we were going to stay the night.

If you look really closely you can see the campsite with a green tent. That's where we were going to stay the night.

杜鵑 (Rhododendron) along the way.

杜鵑 (Rhododendron) along the way.

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite).

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite).

Three hours later, a very tired hiker on the top of 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak). But the worst was yet to come ...

Three hours later, a very tired hiker on the top of 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak). But the worst was yet to come ...

4.7 kilometers back to the north peak and all you have to do is cross the few hills in between.

4.7 kilometers back to the north peak and all you have to do is cross the few hills in between.

North peak is the one with the rocky slope in the far back!

North peak is the one with the rocky slope in the far back!

The view back from the first hill. 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak) is the one on the left.

The view back from the first hill. 合歡西峰 (He huan west peak) is the one on the left.

You know you're walking but it just doesn't look like the destination is getting any closer.

You know you're walking but it just doesn't look like the destination is getting any closer.

The trail back from the west peak to the north peak.

The trail back from the west peak to the north peak.

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One of the (but not the last) hills to climb on the way back.

One of the (but not the last) hills to climb on the way back.

The sunlight fading over 合歡山 (He huan shan).

The sunlight fading over 合歡山 (He huan shan).

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) the next morning.

小溪營地 (Xiao xi campsite) the next morning.

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A small pond on the way back down.

A small pond on the way back down.

Scores of people queuing to get to the top of north peak. It's a good thing we were already on our way down.

Scores of people queuing to get to the top of north peak. It's a good thing we were already on our way down.

This why I will never come here again during flower season!

This why I will never come here again during flower season!

A short peaceful segment of the trail.

A short peaceful segment of the trail.


A frog goes hiking: 北大武 (Bei da wu)

posted by Martin Rubli at 16:21

It was a busy National Day weekend for my legs. After running the Hsinchu Post Office "23km run" (which was about four kilometers short thanks to the organizers' inability to count) on the morning of the tenth I took a quick rest before packing my bags and leaving again for a two-day/two-night hike in the South of Taiwan. The destination was 北大武 (Bei da wu), the highest mountain in Southern Taiwan.

This time we had hired two drivers with small all-wheel-drive buses because of the long trip to 屏東 (Ping dong) and the poor state of the mountain road. We stayed one night in a homestay about 45 minutes from the trail head, which allowed for a pleasantly reasonable wake-up time. It used to be possible to drive further up, but after a landslide a few years ago the trail head had to be moved down by about 2.7 kilometers.

Most of the hike is in the forest, which is not a big surprise given the relatively low altitude of the peak (3092 meters). That, and the rain the day before, made for a somewhat slippery walk, but at least it was another perfectly dry hike where my umbrella and rain jacket stayed where they should – at the bottom of the backpack.

Technical information and photos follow. If the photos seem a little substandard this time I apologize; the weather forecast was a bit uncertain and my backpack a bit full, so my trusted D-SLR had to stay home this time and make way for the waterproof pocket camera. Weather permitting I'll try to make up for it next time. :-)


Map


(Click the image for a larger version.)


(Click the image for a larger version.)

Elevation charts

北大武新登山口 (New Bei da wu trail head) to 檜容山莊 (Kuai gu mountain hut):


(Click the image for a larger version.)

檜容山莊 (Kuai gu mountain hut) to 北大武 (Bei da wu) and back:


(Click the image for a larger version.)

檜容山莊 (Kuai gu mountain hut) to 北大武新登山口 (New Bei da wu trail head):


(Click the image for a larger version.)

GPS track

Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

Day 1:

0840: Departure from 北大武新登山口 (New Bei da wu trail head), 1200 m
1015: Arrival at 北大武舊登山口 (Old Bei da wu trail head), 1540 m
1045: Continue
1505: Arrival at 檜谷山莊 (Kuai gu mountain hut), 2110 m

Day 2:

0130: Wake up
0225: Departure from 檜谷山莊 (Kuai gu mountain hut), 2110 m
0355: 神木 (Divine tree), 2450 m
0550: 嶺縣 (Ridge), 2870 m
0635: 大武祠 (Da wu memorial), 3010 m
0705: Continue
0750: Arrival on 北大武 (Bei da wu), 3092 m
0855: Start descent
0930: 大武祠 (Da wu memorial)
0955: Continue
1130: 神木 (Divine tree)
1225: Arrival at 檜谷山莊 (Kuai gu mountain hut)
1400: Continue
1545: Arrival at 北大武舊登山口 (Old Bei da wu trail head)
1650: Continue
1810: Arrival at 北大武新登山口 (New Bei da wu trail head)


Photos

The end of the road and therefore the new trail head. Until a few years ago the road continued a few more kilometers, which poor hikers like us now have to walk.

The end of the road and therefore the new trail head. Until a few years ago the road continued a few more kilometers, which poor hikers like us now have to walk.

View from the point where the road was swept away by a landslide caused by torrential rainfalls.

View from the point where the road was swept away by a landslide caused by torrential rainfalls.

Group photo before the start. The guy who's not carrying a backpack is the one who took longest to get ready. ;-)

Group photo before the start. The guy who's not carrying a backpack is the one who took longest to get ready. ;-)

A parking lot in the middle of the forest. The sign looks quite new, which is rather surprising given that there's not much more left of the road than a narrow trail.

A parking lot in the middle of the forest. The sign looks quite new, which is rather surprising given that there's not much more left of the road than a narrow trail.

The first section until the old trail head is pretty flat, but if the fog allows it you can see the steepness lying ahead.

The first section until the old trail head is pretty flat, but if the fog allows it you can see the steepness lying ahead.

The old trail head.

The old trail head.

After a few hours of walking in the forest and the fog finally a little bit of view.

After a few hours of walking in the forest and the fog finally a little bit of view.

(untitled)
檜容山莊 (Kuai rong mountain hut). While it does look old and shabby from the outside it is one of the more convenient mountain huts in Taiwan. There's plenty of water (even for flushing the toilets!) and the cooking and sleeping areas are well designed.

檜容山莊 (Kuai rong mountain hut). While it does look old and shabby from the outside it is one of the more convenient mountain huts in Taiwan. There's plenty of water (even for flushing the toilets!) and the cooking and sleeping areas are well designed.

Early morning on the next day.

Early morning on the next day.

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Even the moon stayed around to make for nicer photos.

Even the moon stayed around to make for nicer photos.

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Finally at the top of 北大武 (Bei da wu).

Finally at the top of 北大武 (Bei da wu).

The view is not as breathtaking as other high mountains in Taiwan but I was told that you can see a great sea of clouds if you're lucky enough to get the timing right.

On the left in the far back you can see 關山 (Guan shan), the tallest one on the picture, and 玉山 (Yu shan), the tallest one in reality. The twin peak on the right is 美奈田主山 (Mei nai tian zhu shan).

The view is not as breathtaking as other high mountains in Taiwan but I was told that you can see a great sea of clouds if you're lucky enough to get the timing right.

On the left in the far back you can see 關山 (Guan shan), the tallest one on the picture, and 玉山 (Yu shan), the tallest one in reality. The twin peak on the right is 美奈田主山 (Mei nai tian zhu shan).

A curious bird also visited us while we were taking photos.

A curious bird also visited us while we were taking photos.

Apparently you're not even safe from photobombers on the highest peak in Southern Taiwan!

Apparently you're not even safe from photobombers on the highest peak in Southern Taiwan!

The forest on the ridge on the way down.

The forest on the ridge on the way down.

The view towards 屏東 (Ping dong) where we had started the day before.

The view towards 屏東 (Ping dong) where we had started the day before.


A frog goes hiking: 武陵雙秀 (Wu ling shuang xiu) (Day 2)

posted by Martin Rubli at 16:07

A frog goes hiking: 武陵雙秀 (Wu ling shuang xiu) (Day 2)

The second day started with an interesting false alarm at exactly 11pm when somebody's cell phone alarm went off. I checked my watch and was relieved to see that there was still plenty of time to catch some much-needed sleep. But shortly after there was rustling left and right as if people were getting up. Before long I nodded off again until 3am. Later that morning I was told that some people indeed got up before noticing that they were four hours early ...

After the actual wake-up time we had a quick breakfast before heading up towards 品田山 (Pin tian shan). Sunrise was earlier than expected, but it was just as well because hiking is simply more enjoyable when you can see more than just what's in the light cone of your headlamp. Even though we were far from the top the view was stunning and almost made me forget how early it was.

The truly interesting part was still to come, though. The last few hundred meters before the peak involve some real climbing, which makes you feel like you've earned the view at the top. And what a view it is! But see for yourself ...

This post covers day 2. Day 1 is here.


Overview

The green track is the first half of day two, the blue track is the second half.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation charts

新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut) to 品田山 (Pin tian shan) and back:


新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut) to 武陵山莊 (Wu ling mountain hut):


GPS track

Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0300: Wake up
0400: Departure from 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut), 3180 m
0445: Break for watching sunrise
0515: Continue
0625: Arrival at 品田山 (Pin tian shan), 3524 m
0645: Departure from 品田山 (Pin tian shan)
0705: Forced break waiting to cross bad-mannered hiking group
0725: Continue
0810: Arrival at 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut), 3180 m, break
0955: Departure from 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut)
1035: 池有山第二登山口 (Second Chi you shan trail head), 3230 m
1045: Arrival at 池有山 (Chi you shan), 3303 m
1105: Departure from 池有山 (Chi you shan)
1114: 池有山第一登山口 (First Chi you shan trail head)
1117: Arrival at 三叉營地 (San cha campground), 3200 m, break
1155: Departure from 三叉營地 (San cha campground)
1345: Arrival at trail head
1350: Departure from trail head
1440: 武陵吊橋 (Wu ling suspension bridge), 1860 m
1445: Arrival at 武陵山莊停車場 (Wu ling mountain hut parking lot)


Photos

Sunrise halfway up to 品田山 (Pin tian shan). As you can see from the chain of lights walking up hikers in Taiwan really get up early.

Sunrise halfway up to 品田山 (Pin tian shan). As you can see from the chain of lights walking up hikers in Taiwan really get up early.

These photos were taken in the direction of 宜蘭 (Yilan).

These photos were taken in the direction of 宜蘭 (Yilan).

If you look closely you can see a river ...

If you look closely you can see a river ...

... and even 龜山島 (Turtle island) in the distance.

... and even 龜山島 (Turtle island) in the distance.

(untitled)
Our hiking group admiring the sunrise.

Our hiking group admiring the sunrise.

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The first sight of 品田山 (Pin tian shan) on the way up.

The first sight of 品田山 (Pin tian shan) on the way up.

A close-up view of 雪山 (Xue shan) on the left and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao) in the middle.

A close-up view of 雪山 (Xue shan) on the left and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao) in the middle.

On the way to the main peak there's another small peak whose back slope actually poses the main difficulty of reaching 品田山 (Pin tian shan). If you're unlucky you can get stuck in traffic jam here.

On the way to the main peak there's another small peak whose back slope actually poses the main difficulty of reaching 品田山 (Pin tian shan). If you're unlucky you can get stuck in traffic jam here.

Climbing down the back slope of the "pre-peak" ...

Climbing down the back slope of the "pre-peak" ...

... and up again towards the main peak. But it's totally worth it because ...

... and up again towards the main peak. But it's totally worth it because ...

... halfway up you already get this magnificent view!

... halfway up you already get this magnificent view!

小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

The last few meters of the trail.

The last few meters of the trail.

These flowers reminded me of the Swiss "trademark" flower, the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edelweiss Edelweiss].

These flowers reminded me of the Swiss "trademark" flower, the Edelweiss.

Me at the top of 品田山 (Pin tian shan) with 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the background.

Me at the top of 品田山 (Pin tian shan) with 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the background.

The obligatory group photo on the peak. :-)

The obligatory group photo on the peak. :-)

The 雪山 (Xue shan) family always makes for a nice setting. From the left:

* 甘木林山 (Gan mu lin shan). Originally and erroneously measured at 3690 meters (instead of the correct 3666) it gave 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) its name.
* 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak). The second highest mountain in Taiwan.
* 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).
* 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak).

The 雪山 (Xue shan) family always makes for a nice setting. From the left:

  • 甘木林山 (Gan mu lin shan). Originally and erroneously measured at 3690 meters (instead of the correct 3666) it gave 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut) its name.
  • 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak). The second highest mountain in Taiwan.
  • 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).
  • 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak).
樂山 (Le shan) with its radar station in the distance. I believe on the right parts of 大鹿林道 (Da lu forest trail) are visible.

樂山 (Le shan) with its radar station in the distance. I believe on the right parts of 大鹿林道 (Da lu forest trail) are visible.

Looking back to 品田山 (Pin tian shan) on the way down.

Looking back to 品田山 (Pin tian shan) on the way down.

The view from the spot we watched the sunrise a few hours earlier. You can see the trail down as well as 桃山 (Tao shan) in the far back.

The view from the spot we watched the sunrise a few hours earlier. You can see the trail down as well as 桃山 (Tao shan) in the far back.

Approaching 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut) again where we had stayed the night.

Approaching 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut) again where we had stayed the night.

Cut, two-and-a-half hours later. After being disappointed by the afternoon weather the day before we decided to give 池有山 (Chi you shan) another try. The view was great! On this photo you can see 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut), 品田山 (Pin tian shan), and part of the trail between the two.

Cut, two-and-a-half hours later. After being disappointed by the afternoon weather the day before we decided to give 池有山 (Chi you shan) another try. The view was great! On this photo you can see 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut), 品田山 (Pin tian shan), and part of the trail between the two.

Turning around 180° you can see 桃山 (Tao shan) and 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut).

Turning around 180° you can see 桃山 (Tao shan) and 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut).

Such nice weather deserves another flag raise! On the right you can see 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

Such nice weather deserves another flag raise! On the right you can see 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

And once again the whole scenery, from 雪山 (Xue shan) to 品田山 (Pin tian shan).

And once again the whole scenery, from 雪山 (Xue shan) to 品田山 (Pin tian shan).


A frog goes hiking: 武陵雙秀 (Wu ling shuang xiu) (Day 1)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:16

武陵四秀 (Wu ling si xiu, or "Wuling's beautiful four") is a group of four mountains in the area around 武陵農場 (Wuling Farm): 桃山 (Tao shan), 喀拉業山 (Ke la ye shan), 池有山 (Chi you shan), and 品田山 (Pin tian shan). Our trip was the light version, only going to two of the four, therefore making it 武陵雙秀 ("Wuling's beautiful two").

Our car left early on Friday and arrived at 武陵農場 (Wuling Farm) late in the afternoon, which gave us enough time to put up everyone's tents on the camping site and then go enjoy the buffet at the hotel nearby. By the time the last of our group arrived I was fast asleep in my snuggly sleeping bag. Since last time my hiking equipment had gained a super light inflatable pillow, making my sleep even more comfortable. I might even enjoy camping one day. ;-)

The next morning we set off with a bit of delay but our schedule had enough buffer, so that we made it to 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut) well in time before dusk. There was even enough time to bag the first peak of the trip, 池有山 (Chi you shan). By the time we were there the weather wasn't quite what you would hope anymore, but luckily two of us decided to go there again the next day on the way back, and we were not disappointed.

This post covers day 1. Day 2 is here.


Overview

The red track is the first day, the green track is the first half of day two before returning along the red track.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Altitude graph


(Click the image for a larger version.)

GPS track

Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0430: Wake up
0610: Departure by car from 武陵農場營地 (Wu ling farm camping site)
0620: Arrival at 武陵山莊 (Wu ling mountain hut)
0630: Start hiking at 武陵吊橋 (Wu ling suspension bridge), 1860 m
0735: Arrival at trail head, short visit to 桃山瀑布 (Tao shan water fall) to fill up water, break
0840: Departure from trail head, 2230 m
1030: Arrival at lunch site, break, 2960 m
1310: Departure from lunch site
1410: Arrival at 三叉營地 (San cha campground), 3200 m
1420: Arrival at 池有山登山口 (Chi you shan trail head), break, 3200 m
1505: Departure from 池有山登山口 (Chi you shan trail head) towards the peak
1520: Arrival at 池有山 (Chi you shan), 3303 m
1540: Departure from 池有山 (Chi you shan)
1555: Back at 池有山登山口 (Chi you shan trail head)
1600: Departure from 池有山登山口 (Chi you shan trail head) towards 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut)
1725: Arrival at 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut), 3180 m


Photos

Getting ready on the parking lot at 武陵山莊 (Wu ling mountain hut).

Getting ready on the parking lot at 武陵山莊 (Wu ling mountain hut).

武陵吊橋 (Wu ling suspension bridge), behind which lie the trail heads to 品田山 (Pin tian shan), 池有山 (Chi you shan), and 桃山 (Tao shan).

武陵吊橋 (Wu ling suspension bridge), behind which lie the trail heads to 品田山 (Pin tian shan), 池有山 (Chi you shan), and 桃山 (Tao shan).

In our case, we had to walk for about 3.5 km first before getting to the trail head.

In our case, we had to walk for about 3.5 km first before getting to the trail head.

One of the informational signs. ([http://rubli.info/gallery/data/a-frog-goes-hiking-wu-ling-shuang-xiu-day-1/images/original/20140705-065103_MR7318_D90.jpg Click here for a larger version].)

One of the informational signs. (Click here for a larger version.)

The start of the trail to 品田山 (Pin tian shan) and 池有山 (Chi you shan). The concrete road continues on to 桃山瀑布 (Tao shan waterfall) for about ten minutes.

The start of the trail to 品田山 (Pin tian shan) and 池有山 (Chi you shan). The concrete road continues on to 桃山瀑布 (Tao shan waterfall) for about ten minutes.

桃山瀑布 (Tao shan waterfall), the last water source before the mountain.

桃山瀑布 (Tao shan waterfall), the last water source before the mountain.

桃山瀑布 (Tao shan waterfall).

桃山瀑布 (Tao shan waterfall).

This rather misleading elevation chart makes the hike look easier than it really is. Especially after 三叉營地 (San cha campground) there's a fair amount of tiring ups and downs.

This rather misleading elevation chart makes the hike look easier than it really is. Especially after 三叉營地 (San cha campground) there's a fair amount of tiring ups and downs.

A 山羌 ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reeves's_muntjac Reeves's muntjac], a kind of small deer) that I was lucky enough to get in front of my lens before it disappeared in the undergrowth.

A 山羌 (Reeves's muntjac, a kind of small deer) that I was lucky enough to get in front of my lens before it disappeared in the undergrowth.

The lower part of the hiking trail is mostly in the forest, so there isn't much to see.

The lower part of the hiking trail is mostly in the forest, so there isn't much to see.

Once you get out of the forest, though ...

Once you get out of the forest, though ...

... the view gets more and more spectacular. The pointy mountain here is 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan).

... the view gets more and more spectacular. The pointy mountain here is 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan).

The forest also gets lighter in this area and grass is more common.

The forest also gets lighter in this area and grass is more common.

Looking to the left you get a great view of 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut), 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

Looking to the left you get a great view of 三六九山莊 (369 mountain hut), 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

Cooking 羊肉爐 (Lamb hot pot), a typical winter dish, half-way up the mountain. Personally, I was already warm enough, so I stuck with my sandwich.

Cooking 羊肉爐 (Lamb hot pot), a typical winter dish, half-way up the mountain. Personally, I was already warm enough, so I stuck with my sandwich.

Clouds forming in the direction of our target.

Clouds forming in the direction of our target.

The view back.

The view back.

A sea of clouds over 宜蘭 (Yilan), apparently a common occurrence because it already looked like that [local://blog/2013/09/13/a-frog-goes-hiking-xue-shan-day-1/ last time I was hiking in that area].

A sea of clouds over 宜蘭 (Yilan), apparently a common occurrence because it already looked like that last time I was hiking in that area.

There's quite a number of interestingly shaped trees in that area.

There's quite a number of interestingly shaped trees in that area.

桃山 (Tao shan) and 桃山山屋 (Tai shan mountain hut) on its left. Three people of our group added another day to the trip to visit these.

桃山 (Tao shan) and 桃山山屋 (Tai shan mountain hut) on its left. Three people of our group added another day to the trip to visit these.

The start of the trail to 池有山 (Chi you shan) leads up this rock slope. According to the sign next to it, the rocks are broken into pieces by temperature fluctuations.

The start of the trail to 池有山 (Chi you shan) leads up this rock slope. According to the sign next to it, the rocks are broken into pieces by temperature fluctuations.

Nice flowers are also plentiful up here.

Nice flowers are also plentiful up here.

Walking up to 池有山 (Chi you shan).

Walking up to 池有山 (Chi you shan).

Close to the top the fog started to rise, rather abruptly ending the nice weather we had had during the first half of the day.

Close to the top the fog started to rise, rather abruptly ending the nice weather we had had during the first half of the day.

Still, there was just enough blue sky left to take a nice photo at the top!

Still, there was just enough blue sky left to take a nice photo at the top!

The last part of the trail isn't quite as easy to tackle because it involves climbing up and down over rocks. Nevertheless, some people did so very swiftly, even with the weight of an extra backpack.

The last part of the trail isn't quite as easy to tackle because it involves climbing up and down over rocks. Nevertheless, some people did so very swiftly, even with the weight of an extra backpack.

Finally, 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut) came into sight where we would spend the night. Our arrival there also coincided with a bit of rainfall as it often happens in the afternoon.

Finally, 新達山屋 (Xin da mountain hut) came into sight where we would spend the night. Our arrival there also coincided with a bit of rainfall as it often happens in the afternoon.


A frog goes hiking: 雪山 (Xue shan) (Day 2)

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:35

The second day started with three hours of hiking in the dark. There's an obsession in Taiwan with watching the sunrise on mountain tops that I can't quite comprehend. For me the whole point of hiking is to enjoy the scenery while doing some slightly challenging exercise. Hiking at night takes that most important part away from that. Be that as it may, thanks to a final ten minute sprint we just made it to the top in time to see the red sun rise above the horizon.

Even the rising sun didn't help much with the temperature, though. It was rather cold at the top and I was seriously considering unpacking my down jacket. But the view could almost make you forget about the cold. The three-sixty view at the top is very impressive and you can even spot Taiwan's highest mountain, 玉山 (Yu shan) in the distance.

On the way down it got warm pretty quickly and by the first rest stop it was high time to put on sunscreen again.

Back at the 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) we had an early lunch before we switched the light daypacks for our heavy backpacks again and started heading down. The weather held up very well the entire time and just like on the way up we could see the sea of clouds above the flatlands.

This post covers day 2. Back to day 1.


Overview

The red track is the first day, the green track is the first half of day two before returning along the red track.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Altitude graph


(Click the image for a larger version.)

GPS track

Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0130: Wake up (no, the time is not a typo ...)
0240: Departure from 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut), 3140 m
0525: 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), 3886 m
0610: Descent
0855: Back at 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut), 3140 m
1005: Departure from 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut)
1040: 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak), 3201 m
1110: Arrival at 哭坡觀景台 (Ku po view platform), rest break, 2976 m
1150: Departure from 哭坡觀景台 (Ku po view platform)
1300: Arrival at 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut), break, 2506 m
1320: Departure from 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut)
1400: Arrival at trail head, 2139 m


Photos

Question: Is this a sunset or sunrise?

Answer: Okay, it was a trick question. It's neither. This photo was taken at 2 am and the red light are atmospheric reflections of the city lights. :-)

Question: Is this a sunset or sunrise?

Answer: Okay, it was a trick question. It's neither. This photo was taken at 2 am and the red light are atmospheric reflections of the city lights. :-)

北稜角 (Bei leng jiao), 雪山's little step brother. It's only a few meters shorter but didn't get the title of 百岳 ...

北稜角 (Bei leng jiao), 雪山's little step brother. It's only a few meters shorter but didn't get the title of 百岳 ...

雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), 3886 meters above sea level, just before sunset.

雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), 3886 meters above sea level, just before sunset.

Me at the top of 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), raising my usual 百岳 (Taiwan's 100 highest mountains) flag, wearing my usual frog-colored jacket. :-)

Me at the top of 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), raising my usual 百岳 (Taiwan's 100 highest mountains) flag, wearing my usual frog-colored jacket. :-)

大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the distance, but still clearer than [local:/blog/2012/06/01/a-frog-goes-hiking-big-failure-mountain-day-2/ when I actually went there last year].

大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the distance, but still clearer than when I actually went there last year.

The peak in the middle is 玉山 (Yu shan) and, ironically, also clearer than [local:/blog/2011/05/05/a-frog-goes-hiking-yu-shan-oneday-trip/ when I went there]!

The peak in the middle is 玉山 (Yu shan) and, ironically, also clearer than when I went there!

The view towards 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) and 品田山 (Pin tian shan).

The view towards 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) and 品田山 (Pin tian shan).

This was quite an interesting sight with the mountains casting shadows at sunrise.

This was quite an interesting sight with the mountains casting shadows at sunrise.

The 樂山 (Le shan) radar station near 觀霧 (Guan wu).

The 樂山 (Le shan) radar station near 觀霧 (Guan wu).

About 50 meters away from the main peak somebody built a little stone heap.

About 50 meters away from the main peak somebody built a little stone heap.

Dead trees on the side of the path on the way down.

Dead trees on the side of the path on the way down.

Another look at 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

Another look at 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

The view back up towards 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak). It's a shame that it doesn't quite look like a peak from this angle.

The view back up towards 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak). It's a shame that it doesn't quite look like a peak from this angle.

Cliffs are visible from the 黑森林 (Black forest).

Cliffs are visible from the 黑森林 (Black forest).

The 黑森林 (Black forest), which is about as black as your run-of-the-mill forest. :-)

The 黑森林 (Black forest), which is about as black as your run-of-the-mill forest. :-)

As soon as you get out of the forest you can spot 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) again.

As soon as you get out of the forest you can spot 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) again.

This used to be forest many years ago but burned down in a large forest fire.

This used to be forest many years ago but burned down in a large forest fire.

三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) on the way down.

三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) on the way down.

And 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) again, a little later from 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak). You can see the windy trail that leads up to the 黑森林 (Black forest) and 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak).

And 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) again, a little later from 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak). You can see the windy trail that leads up to the 黑森林 (Black forest) and 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak).

Just like the day before you can see the sea of clouds covering the lower areas.

Just like the day before you can see the sea of clouds covering the lower areas.

The peak on the left is 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak) where we had just been a few hours ago. The rocky peak (third one from the left) is 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

The peak on the left is 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak) where we had just been a few hours ago. The rocky peak (third one from the left) is 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

A few tired but happy members of our hiking group back down at the trail head. This picture was taken by the park ranger.

A few tired but happy members of our hiking group back down at the trail head. This picture was taken by the park ranger.

After he had taken our group shot he asked me if he could borrow my camera for a bit. So he went back to the normally inaccessible area behind the water tank and started shooting a few great pictures like this one. :-)

After he had taken our group shot he asked me if he could borrow my camera for a bit. So he went back to the normally inaccessible area behind the water tank and started shooting a few great pictures like this one. :-)