The most dangerous hiking trail in the world

April 25, 2010

By Judy McEuen
Travel Writer
Troy Media

Judy McEuen
Judy McEuen

MOUNT HUASHAN, CN, Apr. 25, 2010/ Troy Media/ — A hike to the peaks of Mount Huashan will keep even the most experienced adrenalin junkie’s blood pumping for days.

Considered one of the most difficult and dangerous hiking trails in the world, it continues to beckon adventure seekers to its peaks for the sheer experience of overcoming the perilous challenge of conquering its summits.

Mount Huashan is located in Shaanxi Province, China. It towers right up to the gates of heavens, looming over low hanging clouds. It is a five-peak mountain that resembles the shape of a flower. Considered holy by Chinese locals, its embankments are home to several beautifully constructed Taoist temples that date back to the emperors of old. Monks and pilgrims are occasionally found along the steep trails of the mountain on a pilgrimage trip to these temples.

Five peaks

The five peaks – petals – of Mount Huashan are known as the Facing Sun in the east, Jade Maiden in the middle, Lotus in the west, Cloud Stand in the north and the South Peak of Mount Huashan, which is the highest at 7,087 feet.

The South Peak is perhaps the most visited of all the peaks, due to the panoramic vistas it offers and the challenge of its steep stone stairs and precipitous cliff trail. The steep stone stairs stretch to an agonizing 15 km of nothing but a small chain railing. Right after you have recovered from the exhaustion of the steep stairs, expect a height-induced vertigo to follow upon reaching certain areas where only a small plank, resting on rocks, separate the hiker from the cliff to thousands of feet of sheer drop to oblivion. 

Miss on your hold and you are sure to plummet straight down the face of the mountain. So, how do you go about conquering it? It’s just a case of going back or holding on to the chains for dear life while you make sure that your feet still touches the plank on your next step. One excruciating step after another. After what feels like an eternity you are at the peak.

Savor the triumph of your daring and absorb the beauty of being on top of everything else as far as your eyes can see. After a few minutes of personal glory, brace yourself for another treacherous climb, this time down the same daredevil trail over again!

Climb a mystery

Why hikers and pilgrims continue to risk their lives to reach the peaks of Mount Huashan is a mystery in itself. Maybe they have something to prove to themselves, or it might be it’s the sheer beauty that they the climb itself.

Whatever the reasons may be, the mystery remains and tens of thousands more will be tempted to scale this mountain’s precipitous trails. If you feel up to the adventure, don’t just dive in. Make sure you are fit and capable enough to face up to the challenge.

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