Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nanhu Mountain

Nanhu Dashan (南湖大山)

If you ask 10 experienced Taiwanese high-mountain hikers which mountain is the most beautiful, 9 are likely to say ‘Nanhu’.

Taiwan’s fifth highest (3,742 meters) and the highest in the North-East. If you have climbed  any of the main peaks in Shei-pa (Snow) National Park you may have watched the sun rise from behind Nanhu and its formidable neighbor, Jhongyangjian Mountain.

The trailhead is 3 hours from Taipei City in southern Yilan County, quite close to Wuling Farm - the trailhead for Snow Mountain. The first day’s trail passes through lush mixed temperate and pine forest. On later days there are expansive views from alpine meadows of dwarf bamboo, juniper and rhododendron. At the higher sections the paths traverse craggy cliffs next to enormous landslides, ending in the glacial cirques these mountains are famous for.

More photos here.

Nanhu is only suitable for the more experienced and well-prepared hiker prepared to invest between 4 and 8 days (doing a loop including Jhongyangjian). If time-limited or if there is a a lot of snow present, consider making Nanhu North Peak your target - thus avoiding the trickier fixed-rope sections before the final peaks. Less experienced hikers should consider other peaks elsewhere such as Snow Mountain, Hehuan, Cilai South etc.

I can assist in arranging logistics for this area (serious hikers only): permits, cabin booking, and booking the direct shuttle from Taipei (getting off right at the trailhead).