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Climbing the Wuling Sixiu – A Hike for Hikers with a Good Head for Heights

May 19, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Located just north of Snow Mountain (Mt. Xue; 3,886m), the Wuling Sixiu is a group of four mountains in Shei-Pa National Park (www.spnp.gov.tw). Hiking all four of the peaks usually takes three days, making this a more challenging hike than Snow Mountain.

The hike begins at the end of Wuling Road, next to Wuling Villa (http://www.hoyaresort.com.tw/inn/), which is an excellent place to stay the night before the trek to acclimate and get ready for the first day.

It’s best to set off early in the morning. The first day’s hike is relatively short – only 4.5 km, the goal Taoshan Cabin – but it involves climbing some 1,500m in altitude. It takes the average person most of the day to complete.

You start out along a forestry road. We set out at 8am on the short 1.5km walk along the beautiful and flat pine – tree – lines road, which brings you to the trail proper. From there the route suddenly becomes very steep, and it’s a relentless slog uphill. About halfway up we came out of the trees, and found ourselves looking at a magnificent “sea of clouds” above the Yilan Plain. It’s amazing how quickly you forget about a difficult climb when being rewarded with such inspiring view.

Before reaching the cabin, you come to the peak of Taochan( Mt. Tao; 3,324m), the first of the three mountains we were hiking on the trip (we didn’t hike to the fourth of the Wuling Sixiu, Mt. Kelaye; 3,133m). On the exposed top it was freezing, with a bitterly cold wind blowing so strong that we could barely stand. After a quick photo, we headed on towards the cabin.

The cabin space had already been fully booked when we had applied for the necessary permit before our trip, so we pitched tents. There’s a small section of dwarf bamboo before the cabin that offers excellent protection from the wind, which was much needed.

A cold night, we woke up in time to hike back to see the sunrise from the top of Taoshan, and were grateful for the warmth that the sun provided.

After the cabin, the trail turns west and takes you along an incredibly scenic ridge. You’re surrounded by tall Chinese hemlocks and twisted junipers the whole time. After a couple of hours, we arrived at the base of a “waterfall of rock.” This vast river of small boulders has been formed by freeze-thaw action. Following it, we came to the peak of Mt. Chiyou (3,303m), where you are presented with spectacular panoramas of large swaths of Shei-Pa National Park.

From there we carried on towards Xinda Cabin, where we camped the second night. This night was even colder than the previous one. There was no moon and not a cloud in sight, and we were able to see the Milky Way. It would have been great to sit out looking at the stars for much longer than we did, but the cold drove us back into our tents.

The next morning we were once again up early enough to watch the sunrise above the Central Mountain Range, this time as we headed to Mt. Pintian(3,524m), the third and final peak of our three – day adventure. The climb to Pintian requires a good head for heights. The last stretch, 300 meters long, has some fixed – rope sections with tremendous drops. There are plenty of good footholds, but hikers need to have strong nerves to overcome the height. From Pintian, we simply retraced our steps back to our starting point and then continued on a bit further, hiking down to the main area of Wuling Farm (www.wuling-farm.com.tw), a popular recreation farm.

Safety

The Wuling Sixiu is certainly not a hike for beginners. The trail up to and down from the ridge is very steep. In several places hikers need to have a good head for heights as they scramble up cliff faces with big drops. It is highly recommended that anyone wishing to do climb join a group with a qualified guide.

English & Chinese

Central Mountain Range 中央山脈

Mt. Chiyou 池有山

Mt. Kelaye 喀拉業山

Mt. Pintain 品田山

Shei-Pa National Park 雪霸國家公園

Snow Mountain 雪山

Taoshan 桃山

Taoshan Cabin 桃山山居

Wuling Farm 武陵農場

Wuling Road 武陵路

Wuling Sixiu 武陵四秀

Wuling Villa武陵山莊

Xinda Cabin 新達山屋

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