Monday, March 23, 2009

Yushan. Tents and exams

Note: this is an old post, things are always changing, for up to date comments regarding Yushan click on the main blog page.

April 2011 update: Due to Paiyun Lodge being rebuilt, Yushan is effectively closed to regular hikers for several more months. A tough single-day ascent is possible. Contact us for details.

Starting March 1st, Yushan National Park have changed some of the regulations relating to approaching Yushan by the standard Tataka (Paiyun) Route.

Where previously camping was only allowed next to Paiyun Cabin at weekends and in the the summer vacation, now there are a small number of semi-permanent tents set up for any day when there is not enough space inside the (still greatly oversubscribed) stone cabin. As usual it is VERY difficult to get any of the now 98 (inside and outside) places at weekends. Weekdays are not too bad this season - perhaps easier now that not many recession-hit companies are paying for team-building trips to the top... Update June 2008: It's as bad as ever again. But there seems to be positive news about the lodge being rebuilt in the next couple years.

Additionally, hikers are now required to pass an on-line test based on a safety/ecology video (also online), before being allowed to start climbing. Those arriving at Tataka without proof of passing must do it all on the spot. Foreigners must watch an introductory video in the building next to the warden checkpoint, but for the moment are exempt from the test... an English version is due 'soon'.

Again I feel I must remind everyone that the main peak of Yushan is only one of hundreds of excellent mountains in Taiwan. If just wanting to get to the top of a well-known and certainly very beautiful mountain, do consider Snow Mountain. Permits are much easier to get hold of, the trail is in great condition, and various great extensions are possible - I can help you out with info/permit/maps for the North Peak, Cuichr (Emerald Pond), the Holy Ridge, and of course the Wuling Quadruple Mountains.

Local media have really have got excited about this New7Wonders of Nature project that is keeping Yushan at the top of it's dubious rankings. Of course, while not wanting to put anyone off voting for it, I would be more impressed if the tourism department etc would let the world know more about all the other great (and remote/empty) trails all through the high mountains - and make it easier for the average foreign visitor to actually experience them! Rant rant rant.

The park is not issuing single day (dan-gong) ascent permits of the main summit anymore - unless there are very very special circumstances. It was felt those doing this stupid stunt were putting themselves at too much risk for a pretty miserable experience. I have to agree.

Oh yes, almost forgot...the police (mountain entry) permit is now free - there is $10NT you can save for the weekend!