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Hiking the world's most dangerous trail!

By Alice Teacake

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I was bricking it last week, terrified my hiking days were officially gonna be over and I might just be losing the plot?  There are no official death statistics, but the rumor is that 100 people per year die on this mountain.  Well…I’ve lived to tell the tale and oh boy, are you in for a treat!  China’s Mount Huashan blew my pretty little mind and Teacake is gonna let you know how to do it…that’s if you are still willing by the time you get to the end of this post!

Hiking The Worlds Most Dangerous Trail Huashan China

Are you ready for this?

Things start off pleasant enough. Everyone is eager, enthusiastic and completely oblivious to what we’ve actually signed ourselves up for.  Look at those faces!  We have no bloody idea!

We stroll past the laid back sleeping statue of Chen Tuan and begin to wind through the mountains and oh my, it’s fresh, it’s green, it’s magical, there’s deeply vibrant temples everywhere…all is good with the world!

Then we hit this…

We are totally giddy with excitement! We’ve passed the North Peak, this place is kicking our ass but the views are just mind blowing! We are so ready for more and everyone is spreading their lock love everywhere! We do a little dance on the East Peak then in the distance we spot the little blue man!  How did he get down there?

Teacake tops the world Teacake tops the world

Little Blue Man got down there by being a little blue madman.  If you can’t beat them, join them right?  Time to pay 30 CNY to hook myself up to what looks like a washing line my mum would hang her knickers on.  At this point, I know I have to go down but I can’t even see off the side of the cliff…but…

I make it to the chess pagoda with friends in tow and we’re so relieved.  Time to celebrate!

Time to take a break, check into the East Peak Hotel (东峰饭店) and crash out.

It's not the Ritz

If you want dinner here, you can purchase solo or it’s 800 CNY for 4 meat dishes, 4 vegetable dishes, unlimited rice and two giant sized bowls of soup.  Perfect for a group of 8-10 people but totally expensive.  When you’re in the middle of nowhere and want to eat something hot other than noodles, this hotel aren’t going to play dumb.  Breakfast for one is 30 CNY which involves an egg, a roll of bread and some red bean porridge.

New day! New adventures! Right next to this hotel, there’s a great sunrise viewing spot to get your blood pumping and enjoy the crack of dawn but hey ho, the weather was not happy today so we got up and saw some lovely blue fog.  You win some you lose some.

Time to suck it up nonetheless! We have reached the infamous plank road in the sky! This is where you really have to start saying your prayers.

And from then on, it was plain sailing.  We reached the West Peak, the highest peak South Peak (2155 m) and made our way back to the North Peak to get the cable car down.  Onwards!

Take me to the bar!

Wanna do all of this? Here’s how!

We started at Huashan Railway Train station (华山火车站) after a 13 hour overnight ride from Shanghai.  We booked a hard sleeper bed which will cost you around 300 CNY. Super cozy, warm and clean with the feeling that you’re in the boy scouts, these sleeper trains are the bomb!

How do I book that train ticket?

You’ll have to go directly to the departing train station (in our case Shanghai Railway station) or a train ticket shop which are scattered around your city.  Book ahead ideally 2 weeks before you leave to a) have a chance of getting a ticket b) getting a decent one. Teacake totally believes in luck and happiness though…you could go the day before and hopefully get a ticket with no problem.  Your call.

Where do I head after getting out of Huashan Train Station?

Take a taxi or if there is a bunch of you, hire a minibus.  You need to go to the beginning of the trail at Yuquan Yuan (Jade Spring Temple).

How much is a ticket for Huashan National Park?

It’s ¥180 CNY, ¥90 with a student card (during the off-season ¥100 and ¥50 with a student card).

What was your route again exactly?

Jade Spring Temple ⇒ Wuli Pass ⇒ Xiangshui Rock ⇒ Thousand Feet Cliff, Hundred Chi Gorge, Hundred Feet Gorge, High Lord Furrow ⇒ North Peak ⇒ Dulong Temple ⇒ Canglong Mountain ⇒ Wuyun Peak ⇒ East Peak ⇒ Plank Road in the Sky ⇒West Peak ⇒ South Peak ⇒ North Peak cable car

How long did all of this take?

We hiked all of this in two days but travelled overnight there and back from Shanghai.

Is this place really dangerous?

You’re gonna be fine.  Just keep a cool head, enjoy the view and don’t be an idiot.  The harnesses are there for a reason.  Some people have been known to take them off or decide not to use them at all.  Don’t do that.  Teacake would rather be alive tomorrow to drink more tea and cake.

Can I eat?

You sure can but please check Teacake’s Top Tips below for some good advice about that!

Mountain Warrior Food

Top Tips

Be prepared with your food

Buy your stuff outside and stuff it in your backpack. You can easily buy fruit, vegetables, noodles, chocolate, water, fizzy pop etc on the mountain but it’s understandably going to cost you more. Some strong/crazy/superhuman Chinese man is dragging all of those chocolate bars up the mountain for you on his shoulders…gotta pay for that magnificence.

Book your hotel in advance

Some people brought their own tent to camp outside the hotel (He-Man would be jealous of their courage) but some other poor folks definitely didn’t book.  Teacake found them outside at 3am on her way to the bathroom, huddled together freezing their youknowwhat’s off.  Currently you cannot book online, there simply isn’t a website for these places (no wifi in dangerous land) but you can book through an agency.  Search online and you’ll be able to book.

Bring a sheet/sleeping bag to cover you at bedtime

I’m hardly fussy but the sheets are damp up here and not very clean.  Bring something to cover yourself and you’ll sleep a little more soundly.

Dress the part

You are going to do a lot of climbing with your hands.  Make sure you have gloves with a good grip, a jacket to keep you warm, a raincoat and if the weather is kind, some sunglasses and sunblock

Wanna do more research?

Wiki VoyageWiki Travel and Travel China Guide all have excellent information to really help you plan your trip. Go and do it!

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About Alice Teacake

I'm a feminist British kickass solo female traveller who believes in women facing their fears, pushing their boundaries and reaching their full potential through solo adventure travel! I have been featured in Nat Geo Traveller UK, Lonely Planet, the Daily Mail and Buzzfeed and spoken about solo female travel safety on BBC One, whilst working with a bunch of awesome brands. Follow me for travel advice and inspiration, so you can go forth and challenge yourself to reach your own personal goals!

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Hiking the world’s most dangerous trail!

  • Ho-lee balls! That trail looked fantastic, exhilarating and scary as hell all at the same time. Crazy inspiring, m’friend.

    I really love that you give all the details of how to go about experiencing it for ourselves. So awesome and extremely helpful.

    Lady, in another life, you’d be my travel companion of choice. I mean, you even have “cake” in your blog name!

    I. Live. For. Cake.

    Alright, that’s all!

    Safe travels

  • I climbed HuaShan a year ago and it was tough going but we weren’t brave enough to do the scary bit!!