- The Plank Walk on China’s Mount Hua is considered by many to be one of the most dangerous hikes in the world.
- Hikers walk across a few planks of wood bolted into the side of a 7,000-foot peak to reach a small shrine. While hikers are harnessed, it is a terrifying adventure.
- I recently tried to do the Plank Walk on a visit to Mount Hua, but encountered obstacle after obstacle that prevented me from completing it. While hiking Mount Hua was an incredible adventure, I was never able to make to the Plank Walk due to massive crowds and bad timing.
You’ve probably seen the photos of tourists hanging off the side of a stunning mountain. Or else, walking across a few thin planks bolted into a mountainside, their faces buzzing with adrenaline.
When I found out that the site of those photos is in China, I decided that I had to visit on an upcoming trip to the country.
Located about an hour from Xi’an, one of China’s most popular cities for tourists, Mount Hua or Huashan (shan means mountain in Mandarin) is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous places to hike.
The mountain is considered to be one of China’s five sacred mountains and is one of the most popular tourist attractions and pilgrimage sites for Chinese people.
The mountain actually has five main peaks — a North, South, East, West, and Center. The infamous plank walk is located on the mountain’s highest peak, South, which has a height of 7,070 feet.
But nothing went quite as planned on my trip.
Here’s what happened:
To get to Mount Hua from Xi’an, you have to take a 40-minute bullet train to a 30-minute minibus that takes you to the base of the mountain. But due to a quirk in China’s train ticketing (they stop selling 30 minutes before the train departs), I couldn’t get on the 8:30 a.m. train.
While a train runs every 30 minutes for most of the day, for some reason, there were no trains until 10 a.m after the 8:30 a.m. That meant that I didn’t even get to the base of the mountain until a bit after 11 a.m. Some people start hiking the mountain before sunrise to see everything.
The view from the bottom of Mount Hua is lush. It looks less like a single mountain than a series of granite peaks cut into a valley laden with greenery. Knowing that hiking Mount Hua’s five peaks can take between 5-7 hours depending on your fitness level, our only chance to make it to the „plank walk“ was to take the cable car.
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Source: Business insider