Watching the sunrise on the summit of the tallest mountain in Taiwan, then admiring the majestic main peak from the north peak, started from a Facebook post of my senior high school class mate. We were supposed to summit Mt. Jade (or YuShan) in mid-June. But night before we started the hike, a typhoon warning was issued and we had no other choice but cancel the whole hike. Two months later, we were ready to try again, but then an other potential typhoon was developing near the Philippines. Luckily it didn’t turn into a typhoon and it was good weather through out the whole hike.
Trail log starting from the trail head to the main peak.
We spent the night before the hike in DongPu lodge, to climatize ourselves and to get used to the low temperature as well. I was wearing my shorts at sea level, and as soon as we arrived at the lodge and opened the car doors, I instantly felt the drastic difference in temperature and had to put my jacket on. The cover the lodge provided was very warm so I had pretty descent sleep.
The next day around 5AM I was woke up by other teams who were getting ready to start their hike. Because many us drove to the lodge straight after work and were stuck in the Moon festival traffic, we decided to start the hike a bit later and get a bit more rest.
After handing our permits to the officers and had our IDs checked at the police station, we took the shuttle bus to the trailhead. Apart from the initial 1/3 of the trail, it was a gentle ascent to the PaiYu lodge -the place where we spend the night before summiting the main peak. The view was pretty nice until the West Peak viewing platform, after that we’re mostly walking in the woods. There’s an area of bare rocks (a.k.a Big Cliff) on the way which is considered as a photo interest point, maybe it’s because I had done hikes like Wuliaojiang so I wasn’t really impressed.
After arriving at Paiyun lodge, I put a dry base layer on and took a nap before the dinner at 5pm. A nap is recommended if you plan to catch the sunrise on the summit as you’ll have to start the hike around 1AM. I was worried that I won’t be able too fall asleep but turned out I was quite exhausted from all the walking and took me no time to start my power nap.
Day 2. 主峰攻頂
Not long after mid-night, because of the superb sleeping bag the lodge lent me, I woke up in sweat and noticed other teams were starting to get ready. I got up and started preparing my gears and by 1AM, everyone on our team is ready. After breakfast, we began the last 2.4KM push.
To be honest, it wasn’t the most spectacular sunrise I’ve ever photographed, but I’ll take whatever the weather gives. After all, just having good weather to do the hike was already quite fortunate. It started to get crowded and noisy as almost all the teams had reached the top by now. I was trying to make the most of golden hour that I almost forgot to get a photo with the stone that marks the summit -which is essential for getting a certificate.
Some say the descent is a lot scarier because you can actually see how dangerous the trail really is, but I find that exaggerated. Yes, I felt exposed but there are chains to grab on and you can see your footing a lot better in the day so it really isn’t that terrifying.
The beginning of the trail to north peak is a 45º rubble slope, it took us quite some time to descent safely. My friend started to image the “fun” we’ll have when return.
Here is the saddle point of the north peak trail. There’s an alternative route of reach the main peak that pass this saddle point. But it will take much longer than the most popular/ common route so it’s rarely used.
The view from the north peak.
This is an iconic perspective, you can even find it on the NT1000 note. The slope on the right is where came from, I got to say it’s so satisfying to look at what we had achieved.
It started to fog up when we return. It took us a while to find the right path without the visual reference as the air was thin and we’re carrying a lot gears.
Finally, we reached the trailed at 7PM and yet, there’s a 3-hour drive back home waiting for me……