Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ending the summer.

Time for an update - we’ve passed the first anniversary of Morakot, are most of the way through Ghost Month, and have yet to have a single typhoon hit us...hang on, what are these 3 fluffy, white things approaching?

The latest on Yushan:

Several of the longer trekking routes (Batongguan, Southern Second Section, Badashow, Yushan Main Peak via Batonguan) are scheduled to reopen September 20th. The deciding factor is safe access from Dungpu via the Batongguan Trail - especially in the Guangao area - just North of the Batongguan Meadow. There has been a lot of repair work done on it in the last few months, but it is in a poor condition and prone to bad weather damage. The Mapo cross-island, Xinkang, and Walami to Dashueiku sections are not yet being opened. The Southern Stars (Kuhanuoshin, Guan, Guan Ling/Da etc) are also supposed to be reopened next month - the lack of a road (Highway 20) to the trailhead has not been addressed - I’ve no idea what is supposed to happen. Likewise some confusion around Yushan N.P. announcing the opening of the Southern Second without firm plans from the Forestry Bureau to reopen Jiaming Lake - the most southern bit of the Southern Section.

Climbing Yushan.
Access to the main summit via Tataka (Tatajia) is much reduced due to the closure of Paiyun Lodge - rebuilding is to start next month, and last ‘8 months’. The latest news on the design is that the new lodge will not be that much larger. National Park laws and sensible consideration of the foundation’s stability mean the new building will not be the colossus that some had hoped for. For a taste of the ongoing debate, see these minutes (in Chinese) http://mountain.ysnp.gov.tw/upload/RelFile/News/179/634184206479553865.pdf

There are two options for those wanting to knock off the Main Summit - both are more strenuous and only suitable for the very fit. Single-day ascent, and camping at Yuan-fong Cabin.

Single-day ascent: This nasty option is available again (having been canceled a couple years ago), the daily permit limit increased from 20 to 40, with possible special allowances for foreigners. Hikers must prove experience of hiking above 3000meters (usually in the form of photos on summits). No access past Tataka before 5am, and hikers arriving at Paiyun after 10am (some say 12am) will not be allowed to proceed further uphill. I suggest hikers have porter-carried food prepared at Paiyun.

Camping at Yuan-fong: 15 spaces in the cabin, 21 camping nearby. Again this is only an option for the fitter and experienced. Yuanfong is further away, higher, and colder than Paiyun Lodge.

I’m not 100% sure of some of the practical issues that will come up with applying for these permits, expect surprises.

Taiwan’s national parks are marking this year (year 99 in the official ROC calender) with an activity called : Taiwan 99 (台灣99) encouraging hikers to climb Taiwan’s other National Park’s highest peaks: Nanren Mountain (南仁山) in Kenting (墾丁) N.P.; Cising (七星山) Mouountain in Yangminshan (陽明山) N.P; Nanhu (南湖大山), (and also Cilai North 奇萊北峰 and Hehuan East 合歡東峰) in Taroko( 太魯閣) N.P.; Snow (Xue, Shei, 雪山主峰) Mountain (and Daba 大霸尖山) in Shei-pa (雪霸) N.P.; Taiwu( 太武山) Mountain in Kinmen (金門).

Note: Shei-pa N.P. announced this month that that they are fining anyone found to have climbed to the top of the Daba's actual peak. For 99.9% of people getting to the foot of the summit (99.9% of the way) is more than satisfactory. The very final climb (yes - real climbing) has been treacherous since the various ropes and via ferratta were removed.

We are busy/on holiday until mid-October. Hope to able to arrange permits (think about Snow Mountain, Jhuilu, Daba, Hehuan) remotely in this time...and then soon after have a new schedule of open hikes/tours available!