Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dabajian DIY

One of the best high-mountain hikes in Taiwan, Dabajian Mountain (usually referred to as Daba), is now available as a self-guided package. It is the iconic 'Pa' part of the 'Shei-Pa' National Park (the 'Shei' is 'snow' as in Snow Mountain - Taiwan's 2nd highest peak). The trailhead is at Guanwu - approached from Hsinchu County.

If fit, and your transport to the trailhead is well organized, it is possible to do this hike in 3 days. We recommend you plan 4 or even 6 days for a truly fantastic hike. The route to Daba can be divided into 3 parts: the flat walk along Dalu Forest Road to Madala River; hiking up through lush forest to Jiujiu (99) Cabin; and the hike along the ridge to Daba proper. All very very scenic, rich with wildlife, peaceful (often no one else on the entire trail midweek) and with several pleasant extra options.

Prior to Typhoon Aere in August 2004 Daba (大霸尖山) was a popular 2-day hike for many Taiwanese. This standard approach reopened in July 2009, but hikers must now walk the 19 km of forest road (still just about passable by official/emergency vehicles) from Guanwu ( 觀霧) Forest Recreation Area to the original trailhead at Madala River. This essentially flat gravel road is a delight to walk but is despised by most Taiwanese hikers - in a hurry to the main peak.

We provide:
The necessary national park permits, and cabin bookings.
Professional, topographical maps with English annotation.
Detailed information on how to do this hike by yourself - trail notes, transport & accommodation options, flora/fauna, other options, suggested packing list, hiking language tips etc.
Additional follow-up email/phone support and advice.

NT$2500 (US$80) for the first person, NT$900 for additional individuals on the permit. We accept payment by Paypal, bank transfer, or cash. Discounts for poor students and English teachers (not poor).

Send your dates of travel, name, date of birth, either your passport or ARC number (just the main number is enough), and postal address (for the maps) to Richard at If possible include your cell-phone number, and any emergency contact in Taiwan.

Hiking Daba can be part of the world-class 4-9 day Snow Mountain Holy Ridge hike to/from Wuling. Only suitable for the more experienced.
Dabajian is also known as Tapachienshan, Daba, Taba, Dabajianshan. Is featured on the NT$500 note.
Possible to stay in cabins only, or a combination of cabins and camping.

See the photos from Rachael's recent trip there.

Other good news:
Snow Mountain's West Ridge is expected to actually reopen after after being closed for 10 years - as soon as the snow accumulated on the main peak melts in the next couple weeks.
Shei-Pa National Park are to build a new cabin at the ruins of Banan Cabin (just south of Daba on the Holy Ridge) this year. This will enable hikers to stay in modern cabins all the way from Snow Main Peak, or the Wuling Quadruple Peaks, right through to Guanwu.
We now have available weatherproof 1:50000 topographical maps covering the entire Shei-Pa National Park. For a modest fee we can annotate with English to your requirements.