The magnificent trail of life or death

If you can’t live without the thrill of exploring exciting things in life and if you are just dreaming of a new portion of adrenaline, the extreme “attraction” of the Chinese mountain of Hua or Huashan is just perfect for you. Visit this magic mountain Come here and daredevils who want to prove to themselves and to the world their own courage, and weak-willed people who dream to get rid of internal uncertainty. Hua Mountain-is an effective cure for fear and effective vitamin affirmation.

The name Huashan can be translated as Flower Mountain – the sacred mountain of China, bringing together five points in the shape of flower petals. Huashan Mountain is located near the city of Xi’an in the Chinese province of Shaanxi . The mountain area counts with many fascinating and thrilling tourist routes – including some of the climbs on the cable car, climbing and hiking. If you belong to the group of curious daredevil travelers you can get to each of the five peaks of Mount Huashan – the Southern, Northern, Western, Eastern and Central peaks.

History

As early as the 2nd century BCE, there was a Daoist temple known as the Shrine of the Western Peak located at its base. Daoists believed that in the mountain lives the god of the underworld. The temple at the foot of the mountain was often used for spirits mediums to contact the god. Unlike Taishan, which became a popular place of pilgrimage, because of its inaccessibility to the summit, Huashan only received Imperial and local pilgrims, and wasn’t well visited by pilgrims from the rest of China.

Huashan was also an important place for immortality seekers, as many herbal Chinese medicines are grown there and powerful drugs were reputed to be found there. Kou Qianzhi (365–448), the founder of the Northern Celestial Masters received revelations there, as did Chen Tuan (920–989), who spent the last part of his life in hermitage on the western peak of Huashan. In the 1230s, all the temples on the mountain came under control of the Daoist Quanzhen School.

Trails to the peaks

There are two walking trails leading to Huashan’s North Peak (1614 m), the lowest of the mountain’s five major peaks. The most popular is the traditional route in Hua Shan Yu (Hua Shan Gorge) first developed in the 3rd to 4th century A.D. and with successive expansion, mostly during the Tang Dynasty. It winds for 6 km from Huashan village to the north peak. A new route in Huang Pu Yu (Huang Pu Gorge, named after the hermit Huang Lu Zi who lived in this gorge in 8th century BC) that follows the cable car to the North Peak is actually the ancient trail used prior to the Tang Dynasty, which has since then fallen into disrepair. It had only been known to local villagers living nearby at the gorges until 1949, when a group of 7 PLA with a local guide used this route to climb to North Peak and captured over 100 KMT soldiers stationed in North Peak and along the routes in the traditional route. This trail is now known as “The Route Intelligent Take-over of Hua Shan” and was reinforced in early 2000. The Cable Car System stations are built next to the beginning and ends of this trail.

From the North Peak, a series of paths rise up to the Canglong Ling, which is a climb more than 300 meters on top of a mountain ridge. This was the only trail to go to the four other peaks, the West Peak (2038 m), the Center Peak (2042 m), the East Peak (2100 m) and the South Peak (2154.9m), until a new path was built to the east and walk around the ridge in 1998.

Huashan has historically been a place of retreat for hardy hermits, whether Daoist, Buddhist or other; access to the mountain was exclusively and deliberately available to the strong-willed, or those who had found “the way”. With greater mobility and prosperity, Chinese, particularly students, began to test their mettle and began their visits in the 1980s.

The dangerous trail

The inherent danger of many of the exposed, narrow pathways with precipitous drops gave the mountain a deserved reputation for danger. As tourism has boomed and the mountain’s accessibility vastly improved with the installation of the cable car in the 1990s, visitor numbers surged. Despite the safety measures introduced by cutting deeper pathways and building up stone steps and wider paths, as well as adding railings, fatalities continued to occur.

The local government has proceeded to open new tracks and created one-way routes on some more hair-raising parts, such that the mountain can be scaled without significant danger now, barring crowds and icy conditions. Some of the most precipitous tracks have actually been closed off. The former trail that leads to the South Peak from the North Peak is on a cliff face, and it was known as being extremely dangerous; there is now a new and safer stone-built path to reach the South Peak temple, and on to the Peak itself.

Many Chinese still climb at nighttime, in order to reach the East Peak by dawn—though the mountain now has many hotels. This practice is a holdover from when it was considered safer to simply be unable to see the extreme danger of the tracks during the ascent, as well as to avoid meeting descending visitors at points where pathways have scarcely enough room for one visitor to pass through safely.

The road running along the sheer vertical cliffs, it is called the path of death – off the narrow boards into an abyss would mean certain death. The number of tourists who want to make a risky climb, isn’t thinning. The travelers set foot on board nailed over the abyss and move to the top of the cliff hugging or holding firmly soldered to the stone wall of the chain.

At some parts of the trail there aren’t any railings or fences – just you, the crazy wind, and hundreds of meters in the way.

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