ClimbReport

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Diving into an Active Volcano

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Diving into an Active Volcano from Sam Cossman on Vimeo.

Absolutely thrilling and wonderful experience it must have been. Mother Nature’s fury up close and personal.

The Himalayas from 20,000 ft

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The Himalayas from 20,000 ft. from Teton Gravity Research on Vimeo.

This is a wonderful video of Everest, Lothse and Ama Dablam taken from a helicopter. Worth watching.

Climbing Yushan Mountain (3,952m), Taiwan

This trek is a continuation of the Taiwan Twin Peaks trek with the same group. We start off where we left off on the previous post.

Yushan, also called the “Jade Mountain” is the highest peak in Taiwan. It stands mightly amongst the other mountains in the Yushan range and could be easily identified from the Xueshan summit.
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The trek to Yushan lasted 3 days since we boarded the bus at the trailhead at Xueshan.

Day 4

With the bus travelling towards the Yushan range, it took us about 4-5 hours to reach the town called Dongpu, where we were to stay overnight. The place was a proper hotel and warm shower and a comfortable bed was a welcome change from the barracks like bunkers at “369 hut” at Xueshan.

We arrived at the hotel at around 5pm and after some rest and freshening up, we went for dinner. Dinner was excellent as usual and i managed to sink my teeth into the specially prepared dishes for me.

Day 5

After breakfast, we checked out and boarded the bus to go to the Yushan trailhead, which was about 2 hours drive from Dongpu town. Once there, we registered at the office and boarded vans that would take us to the starting point of the trek.

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The start of the trek was relatively easy with a very slight to moderate slope uphill. Having done Xueshan before, our bodies were pretty much acclimatized and weathered for the trek. As usual, the same guide provided the right pace and rest required to ensure that the team was sticking together. The group were together most of the time and enjoyed the moderate climb uphill till the Paiyun lodge.

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The view throughout the trek was simply amazing as the trail was along the side of the mountains instead of through forests like in Xueshan. So, we had a majestic view of the surroundings throughout the trek. At some points, the path was very slim and chains were put in place to hold onto while crossing them. There was a total of 82 wooden bridges that needed to be crossed to reach the lodge. Although the number seems large, many of the bridges are placed very close to each other. So, they are not a good indicator of the actual distance covered.

We rested at a regular spot for lunch before we commenced on the trek. It was a spacious shelter and had a good view of the range.

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After an hours rest, we commenced on the trek which became more steep. By 4pm we had reached Paiyun lodge.

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Paiyun lodge, unlike “369 hut” is a privately maintained and run establishment. So, the facilities are very well maintained. There was Wifi connectivity as well as cellular signal.

The food there was excellent and the facilities allowed us to unwind and relax. Just outside the lodge is the most beautiful view of the sun setting.

Since the climb to the summit was set at 3.30am, we hit the sack as soon as dinner was done at 7pm. Again, all the while, the weather was good with sunshine and cool breeze.

we managed to take a few pictures of the wonderful sunset from the lodge before retiring to bed.

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Day 6

The day of the summit attempt. We get up early at 2.30am and have a quick breakfast. It is complete darkness and the headlamps were on. The climb was steeper than the previous day’s trip up to the lodge. However, being acclimatized we kept a steady pace and reached the sheltered pathway one hour ahead of schedule at 5.00am. So, we stayed there till 5.45am to make the final push for the summit.

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The path from the sheltered walkway to the summit is a 40% rise along a scree slope, making it extremely tough if not for the chains to hold onto. At some places, the chains themselves had come loose as this section is extremely prone to rockfall. A couple of days prior to our trip, we had recieved news that a rockfall had damaged one of the bridges and as a result, our attempt on yushan was not confirmed. If we were not allowed, then we had an alternative summit planned. Luckily, the bridge was rectified promptly and our plans on yushan remained intact.

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We had reached the summit before sunrise and so we waited for a few minutes. The sunrise at the summit was astounding. It was a humbling experience to see what beauty nature provided us at those moments in time. The rising of the sun between the lower ocean of clouds and the upper formation. A picture can never do justice to the magnificent view that you experience. All those on the summit who were jubilant had fallen spell bound at the beauty unraveling in front of our eyes.

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Once the sun arose, we started taking pictures of the summit stone and the usual group photo.

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It was a glorious feeling of accomplishment. 3 peaks in a span of 6 days. I guess that we would have spent an hour on the summit.
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The wind was strong and the temperature was below zero. After all the photo shoots and congratulations, we started down the trail back to Paiyun lodge. The trip down was much harded in the scree slope. However, we all made it to the lodge in good time. At the lodge, we rested for a short while and then made our trek back to the trailhead and the bus on the same day. Again, we made good time and were in the bus by 2pm.

We boarded the bus and headed for Fenchihu where we stayed overnight.

Day 7

The whole day was a bus ride back to Taipei where we checked into a hotel and did some night market wanderings.

Overall it was a fantastic trip and it was more fun with a group than to do it alone. Many bonds were formed and future treks planned. I was humbled by the capabilities of the various people in the trek. People who yearn for adventure and experience life away from the daily humdrum of life. It is these moments that we cherish what nature has provided to us. And it is in such moments of suffering and anguish do strong bonds form.

For the experienced and well trained, Xueshan and Yushan are not that challenging if you have done the himalayan trails. For the newbies, this is a great starting point for an adventure trek but you will need good cardio fitness and strong leg muscles. You may not need diamox but panadol may come in handy at times.

I had trained buy running (not jogging) 10km-13km every 3 days and rest on the last week prior to the climb. It would be ideal if you did some serious stairs climbing with a 8-10kg load or trekked some trails in your neighbourhood.

 

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