Mt. Hua (Huashan): One of the Best Days in China

I’ve been off grid in terms of ability to upload photos lately, because our contracts in Shanghai ended and we had two weeks to travel in China. After 36 hours of travel beginning at 7AM on Hainan and :

  • five airports
  • a four-hour delay in Sanya
  • three planes
  • four taxis
  • several buses
  • some the worst air in Shanghai in quite some time
  • bingewatches of both Cosmos and Game of Thrones

I am back in Colorado!

This morning I finally had the opportunity to look at my photos from our hike of Huashan near to Xi’an, which were taken a couple weeks ago. My tiny HD camera makes it like the old days of waiting for film to be developed. It has no sight for looking through, and I couldn’t plug it in to look at them until now, my laptop having been killed outright by the humidity in our apartment.

It was worth the wait.

Huashan (华山) is 75 miles outside Xi’an, but you can just get the 300kph train and then a slightly overpriced taxi. We opted to take the gondola up the North Peak, which is best summed up by the video below.

it was so much cooler than i would have even imagined. A giant adult-sized playground hanging between heaven and Earth. The drops on all sides were very intimidating, and after the gondola up we had both pretty much decided we would not be able to muster the courage (nor the clean underwear) to do the famous ‘Plank Walk’ on the South peak.

As the day wore on, clouds came blowing upwards around the peaks. We had talked beforehand about whether it was scarier to be able to see the 1000-foot drops, or not to have them occluded by the whiteness.

Definitely the latter. Definitely more terrifying. I’ll take the known void over the unknown any day.

Mt. Hua has been a sacred mountain in China since at least the 220s BCE, around the time that the First Emperor united the warring kingdoms. Without the assist from gondolas and carved out stairs (and hotels!), the mountain could be a brutal climb. As it is now, it stands no less impressive, but much more accessible. A 70-year-old grandmother climbed up a rock ‘ladder’ just ahead of us on the West Peak.

That day, we wandered in a loop to all five of the peaks. North Peak, WuYun Peak, East, South, and West. It was so much fun, and worth it. Probably the best day of traveling that we had in China, followed closely (if not tied) with the day we climbed up the Great Wall.

I’m going to get out of the way here and let the pictures speak for themselves.


It was one of the best things I’ve done while travelling. So very much fun and a wonderful day that I will never forget.

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