Monday, October 3, 2011

Paiyun Lodge - not ready yet...

Paiyun Lodge (排雲山莊) is the only significant accommodation along the trail up Yushan (Jade Mountain) from Tataka (Tatajia). An old structure, it worked well when there were few hikers climbing Yushan. In recent years its basic facilities and modest capacity were deemed insufficient for modern climbers.

From September 2010 it has been closed and undergoing reconstruction. Real progress has been made, but many factors mean it is slow. Multiple deadlines for completion have passed. My latest prediction for it operating normally is sometime between spring and fall 2012. Please note, this is not the official line, but is based on personal observations and conversations with many individuals.

As it was late September 2011. More images here

Prior to Paiyun being completed and opening there are essentially 2 options for those wishing to summit Yushan’s main peak. Single-day ascent, and camping at Yuan-fong. Both are tough and only suitable for the hiking-fit and experienced.

There are one or two irresponsible individuals that will boast that that these options are ‘easy’ or ‘anyone can do it’. I (as someone that regularly guides hikers to the top) want to make it clear that this is nonsense for most people. Yes, some some very fit people can run up and down it in a day without a problem, for most it is extremely exhausting and potentially dangerous.

Yushan Main Peak (via Tataka/Tatajia) will, as usual, probably be closed for the month or two around Chinese New Year. Not announced yet (wish they would plan ahead...never do), but probably January, February, maybe March. Even if open around then, there may be extra restrictions or requirements for crampons, helmets, ice-axes etc.

The longer routes into remoter parts of the National Park are opening up after the damage caused in 2009’s Typhoon Morakot. Mapo Cross-Island, the Southern Second Section, and Hsin Kang (Xinkang) Routes are now open - special case applications needed. Batongguan Cross-island is still closed. The Walami Trail should reopen within the month. I hear (haven’t personally been there recently) conflicting reports about the condition of the trail near Guanggao - some say it os OK, some say it is lethal.

Look further north in Taiwan for better trails at the moment.