It’s been a while since the last climbing trip in 2011 where we scaled Gunung Rinjani. In 2013, we finally decided on a destination — Yushan (玉山) in Nantou County (南投县）, Taiwan （台湾）. Yushan is the highest mountain in Taiwan at 3,952m above sea level. It is touted as one of the mountains in the “Asian Trilogy” hiking experience along with Gunung Kinabalu (4,095m) and Mount Fuji (3,776m).
This round we managed to gather a group of 6 to do the climb. Mike, Weizhen, Tony, Kenneth & I. There’s also Jimmy, who decided to give his virgin climbing experience to Yushan.
There are over 100 mountains in Taiwan. Taiwanese are avid climbers themselves and Yushan is one of the favorites among Taiwanese climbers. Yushan belongs to part of Yushan National Park (玉山国家公园）, you do not require a guide to climb Yushan with you but you need to apply for a climbing permit and unfortunately, this permit is not really easy to get as issuance is limited to about 60 permits per day which are actually the number of bed spaces at Paiyun Lodge (白云山庄). You are required to stay a night at Paiyun Lodge before the summit attempt the next day in the early morning. Especially during the weekend when there will be more people climbing, the issuance of the permit will go into balloting.
Instead of us applying through the Yushan National Park website for the permit which is quite confusing to us, we decided to deal directly with trekking company in Taiwan who can organize the trek and apply the permit for us. After much research and emailing, we decided on “Little Flower” (小花） from Puyuma Outdoor Co. She was also recommended by Tony’s friend.
Our final trekking itinerary as follows:
Day 1 pick up at Taichung (台中) to Dongpu (东埔) for the night.
Day 2 to Paiyun Visitor Centre for registration and start the climb from Takaka to Paiyun Lodge (白云山庄). Reach Paiyun in the afternoon. Rest & relax for the night
Day 3 2am summit attempt for the sunrise. Back to Paiyun Lodge for breakfast and back to Tataka. Transfer to celebration dinner and back to Taipei.
The trekking trail to Paiyou lodge is not difficult, as long as you are reasonably fit, one should not have a problem. The only worries I feel is altitude sickness. Jimmy had a very bad headache when he reaches the lodge. Luckily he felt better after taking the Diamox I got from the doctor before the trip.
Day 1 Taichung city to Dongpu
A Taiwanese uncle joined us on our expedition to Yushan. We were transferred to a mountain lodge in Dongpu for the night. The room is simple with mattresses and thick blankets placed on the floor. Before we sleep, we packed all the items to bring for the 2D1N trek into our backpack and the rest to dump in the van.
Day 2 Dongpu to Tataka (塔塔加)
In the early morning, breakfast was served with sweet potatoes porridge and some simple side dishes such as pork floss.
Before the start of the trek, we need to register at the Paiyun Visitor Centre. Thereafter transfer to the trailhead at Tataka where we will start our 8.5km trek to Paiyun Lodge.
It was a beautiful day for the trek. Clear blue sky and the sun smiling brightly at us. The trail here towards to Paiyun Lodge is gentle, not much steepness here. However as we reach a higher altitude, our pace got slower and breathing heavier.
Finally, after about 6+hrs of trekking, we reached Paiyun Lodge. Rejoiced! Time to wash up, eat dinner and sleep!
Day 3 Paiyun Lodge to Yushan’s summit and back to Tataka
Morning call was at about 2am. We hurried to eat some simple breakfast and were all eagerly ready to start our summit trek! It is another 2.4km from Paiyun Lodge to the summit. After yesterday trek, our guide Songshu (松鼠) had more or less know our pace, so the pace up the summit was actually very manageable. This pace also helped us to be the first group to reach the summit that day! Hooray! We quickly grab a good spot and patiently waited for the sunrise.
We were very blessed. The weather was so good on summit day. We had a really good sunrise. Before we headed back down to Paiyun lodge, we had to take the obligatory summit photo! 😏
Heading back down to Paiyun Lodge is the same way as climbing up. The trail here is more difficult and steeper than the trail form Tataka to Paiyun Lodge.
After about 2 years hiatus in mountain trekking, the decision to climb Yushan was a good choice. It is non-technical and not difficult as long as one is reasonably fit. The path is well-maintained and Paiyun Lodge, after a 2 years renovation which re-opened in the year 2013 is cozy and comfortable. Yushan is definitely and should be on every mountain lovers’ to-climb list.