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Matt Woodmansey has been teaching in China and is coming home overland and expects the trip to take about 3 months. His blog is here http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/mattwoodmansey/1/1302179822/tpod.html
Huà Shān [shān = mountain] is one of China’s five sacred Taoist mountains and officially has five peaks: North, East, South, West and Central [although Central Peak is more of a ‘zone’ rather than a peak]. It’s classed on a lot of forums and by tour guides/books as the ‘most dangerous hike in the world’ – so plenty of reason to be excited! Plus some of the images that i’d seen of the board-walk over the abyss below looked incredible. This was heightened by stories from the Chinese teachers at school and by the fact that the Chinese Government don’t record or document fatalities on the mountain – although there seem to be plenty of stories!
After a tough 12 hour day at school, and 11 hours teaching, Tom and I decided against the traditional Chinese ascent. This involves climbing the treacherous route over night with a torch in your mouth with the carrot/goal being sunrise on East Peak. I’ve asked around about the reasoning behind the night climb, I thought it must have some historical, cultural or religious background but the consensus is that you can’t see what you’re climbing; ie no reason to be scared.
We decided if we were climbing some vertical sections we’d rather see what we were doing – plus it’s surely more enjoyable to see the views on the way up…?