What a crazy last couple of days. First the Terra-cotta Warriors on Tuesday and then Mt. Huashan on Wednesday. Its been an intense couple of days. I’m leaving Xi’an tomorrow and am kinda sad to leave. Xi’an is actually pretty big, but once you get inside the “city walls” it actually feels like a small little town. Everything I need is pretty much just outside the hostel, and for one I will be missing the street vendors out on the corner and the food of Muslim Street.
But onto Mt. Huashan. It was an incredible hike and one of the most intense things I’ve ever done. It wasn’t necessarily scary, but you could say sketchy, but like the Chinese version of sketchy.
The hike is a grueling hike up who knows how many steps of stairs to the top. There are a total of 5 summits the tallest being the south peak at 7,087 feet. The base of the visitor center is right around 2,000 feet, so the steps are a grueling 5,000ft gain in elevation up some rickety Chinese stairs. These are not your average stairs either. They are often only 3-4 inches wide and 10-12 inches tall. You easily gain 30 feet of elevation up 25 stairs. Many of the stairs that are carved into the rock are almost vertical.
It took me just over an hour and a half at a pretty quick pace to reach the north summit. After that, the East, Central, South, and West summits were next. Once on top, there is another 1-2 hours of hiking around to reach each individual summit. Scattered in between are vendors selling food, souvenirs (NO I DO NOT WANT TO BUY A SAMURAI SWORD ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN), and rooms for the night at an astonishing 10-15x the normal price. I paid 35 rmb for an 8 bed dorm in Xi’an. Here they wanted 480! On top are also some very sketchy “side hikes” that are 30RMB each ($4.80) but are well worth it. One is a hike to a Chess Pavilion that sits out on a ridge, and the other is the famous plank walk.