Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Start of winter notes.

An update on Yushan, Snow Mountain and a friend’s treks.

First, a reminder: Most of Taiwan (south of Taipei and Yilan) has great weather in winter. Get out of grey Taipei!

Shei-pa Permits.
Shei-pa (Snow) National Park have announced some changes to the process of applying for national park permits see announcement (in Chinese). Starting today there will be a ‘waiting list’ function for over-subscribed cabins. Starting January 2011 there will be no need to apply for the Police Permit in addition to the National Park permit. Applies to Shei-pa only but I hope this sensible policy will be adopted elsewhere. I will watch how both of these new policies are put into practice - the devil is always in the tiny details...and update things here.

Yushan is, as mentioned before, effectively closed due to the rebuilding of Paiyun Lodge. The only options open are a single-day ascent or staying at the higher and remoter Yuanfong Cabin. THESE OPTIONS ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON. If you have the fitness and experience I may be able to help you out with logistics. Expect (not announced yet) Yushan to close as usual for Chinese New Year for the month of February.

Disappointed? Do not forget Yushan is usually very visible from around its Tataka (Tatajia) trailhead. Permits are not required for the excellent day-hikes in the Tataka area.
The roads to Tataka from Chaiyi/Alishan (Highway 18), and from Sun Moon Lake/Dongpu (Highway 21) are reliably open and should remain passable until the next rainy season (summertime) or earthquake.

Some longer treks being led by a Tsao aborigine friend of ours, Xiao Yang (Small Goat) in the new year:
January 6 - 11 Nengao-Antongjun 能高安東軍
February 24 - March 2 Southern Second Section 南二段 (assuming it’s open by then)
March 11 - 20 Southern Third Section 南三段 (hope to join him on this one)
March 31 - April 5 Cilai East Ridge 奇萊東稜
Dates listed are only for the core hiking dates and do not include travel or extra days. If interested in joining in please email or call Xiao Yang's wife, Sarah Tsai, 0972218185 (speaks excellent English) to register, or see their website (in Chinese).

As of December 1st 2010:
All Shei-pa (Snow Mountain) National Park hiking/trekking trails open.
All Taroko hiking/trekking trails open.
Most of Yushan National Park trails closed (including the Southern Second Section, Batongguan etc). Some special exemptions may be possible for trails starting around Jiaming Lake. If you read Chinese have a look at this document on the state of the Batongguan Trail...not cheery. A couple interesting observations about the increase in sanbar deer and the emerging eastward erosion of the Chen-you-lan River/Kinmen Tong landslide.
Jiaming Lake, Nengao, Bei Dawu open.
Southern Cross-island Highway closed from Meishan to Xiangyang. Some rumors of possible opening.
And remember, many of Taiwan’s trails can be very tough going, only attempt what you really are ready for!