Climbing Huashan (华山), China’s Most Heart-stopping Hike
In China’s Shaanxi province, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Xi’an, the peaks of Mount Hua, or Huashan (华山), pierce the clouds, tempting adventurers to explore their heights.
The westernmost of China’s legendary Five Great Mountains, Huashan has stood as a destination for Daoist and Buddhist pilgramage for centuries—though the inaccessability of its peaks attracts only the most dedicated of pilgrims.
The southern peak reaches the highest altitude at 2,155 meters (7,070 feet), igniting the imaginations of thrill-seeking travellers. Home to an ancient monastery that in recent years has been converted into a tea house, the trail to the peak is one of the most dangerous in the world. Those brave enough to make the climb face steep and winding staircases carved into the cliffs and Huashan’s notorious plank road: a series of wooden planks affixed to the mountain’s face with no rails or barracades between hikers and the abyss below.