China’s Huashan Death Path – a journey between heaven and earth
The China Fear Trail, as this is the name of the famous hiking route on the slope of Mount Hua (Huashan), which is considered the most dangerous in the world. Huashan has long been known as the most precipitous mountain in China and is rumored to claim up to a hundred lives a year for inadvertent hikers. But this does not stop millions of tourists who dream to conquer the most dangerous path in the world, and resting from the adrenaline rush, drink incomparable tea in a Taoist temple at 2160 meters above sea level.
- What is the Huashan Death Trail in China ;
- The most dangerous trail in the world: the history of its appearance ;
- The treasures of Mount Huashan: what to see besides the trail of death ;
- China’s mountain death trail: accidents ;
- Huashan Fear Trail in China: how to get there and when to go ;
- What is important to know before visiting Huashan Fear Trail ;
- Death Trail in China – video .
The path does not inspire confidence.
What is the Huashan Death Trail in China
Huashan Fear Trail is a boardwalk anchored on a steep cliff on the southern slope of Hua. The unfenced walkway opens straight up into a chasm, and the only support is a carabiner chain linked to a cliff-mounted belaying chain. The situation is complicated by dizzying views from a height of two kilometers – it is not easy to endure the road over the abyss, even for those who have no fear of heights.
Even someone with no fear of heights can’t endure it.
The Fear Trail is only about 130 meters long. It consists of three sections:
The upper one is the safest and easiest to walk. This is a kind of training, where tourists can get used to safety harnesses and carabiners, which they bought at the beginning of the trail. The length of this section is about 20 m, width – 70 cm, there is an iron fence.
For safety purposes, some sections are equipped with iron rails.
Middle – 10-meter section along the almost vertical rock. Tourists go down the so-called “ladder” (in fact, iron bars, hammered into the cleft). In addition to safety ropes, there is only a chain to hold on to during the descent.
You can hold on to the chain while descending.
Bottom is the most dangerous and scary part. It was this part gave the name “the trail of death Huashan” in China, it was here made freezing bloody pictures of people moving over the precipice on a narrow ledge (width in some places less than 30 cm). The wooden planking of the “road to the sky” is supported by wedges fixed in holes in the rock. And in some sections there is no planking – tourists are advancing in lines, clinging to the steep wall and carefully shifting feet from one stone to another.
The wooden planking is supported only by wedges fixed in holes in the rock.
The World’s Most Dangerous Trail: History of the Appearance
Huashan is one of China’s five sacred mountains, to which emperors, clergymen, and ordinary people have long made pilgrimages. The five sacred peaks are located on each side of the world: south, west, north, east, and center. Mount Hua represents the West and has always been considered the abode of the god of the underworld, so it attracted those who wanted to establish a connection with the afterlife. To communicate with the spirits, a small temple was built as early as the 2nd century BC at the foot of Huashan, and over time the slopes and tops of the mountain were dotted with sanctuaries, some of which have survived to this day.
The Gates of the Golden Castles
Taoist and Buddhist monks have since ancient times gone into voluntary seclusion on Mt. Hua. This is how the routes for climbing the precipitous slopes arose. They were never easy – it was believed that the mountain is conquered only by those who are strong in spirit or “found the way.
The most popular trail up Huashan Yu (“Huashan Gorge”) to this day was laid as early as the 3rd century AD, and then strengthened and expanded during the Tang Dynasty. The second trail is a little younger – it dates back to the 8th century. According to legend, only the locals knew about it. During the civil war, they pointed the way to seven soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army of China, who secretly climbed it to the northern peak and captured more than 100 soldiers of the Kuomintang army.
The Huashan Death Path itself, like many things in China, is also far from a modern invention. It was arranged by the Taoist monk He Zhizhen, who, according to legend, achieved immortality on Mount Huashan. It was He Zhizhen who carved the first stone “steps” in the rock, on which he mounted the boardwalks.
View from above
Treasures of Mount Huashan: what to see besides the trail of death
Huashan consists of five peaks connected by hiking trails. Most hikers are limited to the first, the lowest (1,614 m) North summit, which can be reached by cable car.
The trail itself and the observation deck on the section closest to the cable car are crowded, but there are far fewer hikers from there. Only the bravest make it to the death trail.
In addition to the “road of fear,” there are more than 210 attractions on the mountain – observation decks, natural beauties, historic sites, temples and pavilions.
Scarlet ribbons tied for good luck
Among the most interesting places in Mt:
- Black Dragon Ridge, a staircase of 530 steps with a 45-degree slope along a narrow ridge of the mountain (about 70 cm wide) that drops off into an abyss on both sides.
- The gate of the golden castles is a stone arch reminiscent of a castle tower, considered in ancient times a gateway to heaven. The iron railings surrounding the road are studded with thousands of golden locks and scarlet ribbons “for good luck.
- The Chess Pavilion is an elegant Song Dynasty arbor with a chess table carved out of stone.
- Huashan Tea House – once a Taoist monastery, now a small tea house at 2,160 meters above sea level.
China’s Death Mountain Trail: accidents
Climbing Huashan is dangerous and suitable only for people with good physical training. According to unofficial data, up to 100 tourists per year die on Hua. The Chinese authorities neither confirm nor deny this statistic, but fatal accidents on the Huashan Mountain Death Trail in China periodically pop up in the press.
For example, in 2018, one of the hikers, who was walking up the most dangerous section, suddenly unbuckled both carabiners, turned around, and jumped into the abyss in front of his companions. And in 2019 an accident was reported when a young female hiker tried to take selfies while climbing up, but she couldn’t hold on to the ledge and crashed into the gorge.
Every year up to 100 hikers die here
China’s Huashan Death Path: how to get there and when to go
Huashan Mountain is about 120 km from Xi’an. It can be reached from Xi’an by high-speed train – the trip takes about 30 minutes. There are free shuttles from the station to the foot of Huashan Mountain. There is also a bus from the city to Huashan – travel time is approximately 1.5 hours.
If you want to visit the Huashan Road of Fear, you can combine the trip with sightseeing in Xi’an – including the famous terracotta army or the ancient city walls.
It will take at least 5 to 7 hours to walk around all five peaks of the famous mountain, depending on your physical condition. A cable car can help shorten the way, but during the season the line to board takes 2-3 hours. It will also take at least an hour and a half to two hours to get from the end of the cable car to the scare trail. There are several hostels and hotels on the mountain, where you can spend the night and admire the magnificent sunset and sunrise at the same time.
The sunrise or sunset on Mount Huashan is truly an unforgettable experience. Photo: ekd.me
Huashan is open to visitors all year round in good weather. The best months to visit are April, May, September and October. In winter and early spring, the summit is uncomfortable because of the cold and icing, and in the summer months it rains. There is a very large influx of local tourists during school vacations (July through August) and national holidays (May Day, April 30-May 3, Foundation Day of the People’s Republic of China, October 1-7, etc.).
What’s important to know before visiting the Huashan Scare Trail
- People under 150cm tall, over 50 years old, suffering from heart disease, hypertension, etc. are not allowed to visit the death trail;
- In addition to the cable car to the northern peak, there is also a “cable car” to the western peak. It has a much smaller queue, but is closed more often due to bad weather;
- Payment for the cable car and insurance can only be made in cash or through Chinese payment applications – credit cards are not accepted;
- Footwear should be as secure and comfortable as possible – no flip-flops, heels or sandals;
- You can bring a pair of non-slip gloves to hold on to the chains with more confidence;
- The Trail of Death is a dead end on the trail. In order to return, you will have to walk over the abyss in the opposite direction.
Trail of Death in China – Video
Want to take the Huashan Fear Trail without putting your life in danger? Watch the video!
Editor: Daria Ivanyushkina
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Death Trail on Huashan Mountain
The Death Trail is open during national park hours:: March – November: 7:00am-19:00pm. January – February: 09:00-17:00.
It costs 30 yuan to walk the Trail of Death. Entrance to the national park is 180 yuan.
The Trail of Death is a kind of extreme attraction, located on Mount Huàshān, almost in the heart of China, namely in Shaanxi Province. The famous trail is located on a steep cliff at a height of several hundred meters and consists of 3-4 boards, stapled together and laid along the mountain. The route involves about a 30-meter trail, where at the end there is a special platform with views of the surrounding area, and the way back.
Mount Huashan’s peak tourist season is from May to October. Nevertheless, Huashan Mountain is also open to the public in winter, but it is not recommended to conquer its peaks.
Accidents on the Huashan Mountain Death Path
Only the most courageous can take the step of hiking one of the most dangerous and terrifying routes in the world. The Death Trail is so narrow that any wrong step can lead to an accident.
But fortunately, official statistics do not confirm tragedies. Nevertheless, locals are sure that one way or another people die here.
Features of the Trail
The Trail of Death, despite its name and exciting experience, each year attracts more and more tourists and the Chinese themselves. That is why you have to wait in line here, because the trail has the same beginning and end. At the end of the trail, all hikers will get an incredible view from the top of Huashan Mountain, but the most important thing is the emotions that will last a lifetime.
The Trail of Death is not recommended for the faint-hearted, because on one side is a huge rock, on the other side is a deep abyss. But of course, you will have to walk the trail not without equipment. The most courageous who dare to pass it, put on a belt with a small rope. As one moves toward the peak of the mountain, one must hold on tightly to the chains that are attached to the rock itself along the trail.
The Death Trail did not just appear and was not made specifically to attract tourists. The wooden trail across Huashan Mountain was originally built by monks about 700 years ago. At that time, the trail consisted only of planks, and the chains, handrails and equipment were made relatively recently.
Huashan Mountain in China
Huashan Mountain, which means “Flower Mountain” in Chinese, consists of five main peaks, namely North, East, South, West and Central. The highest is the South Peak, which has a height of 2,154 meters.
Huashan Mountain not long ago was still a place for hermits, but in recent years this place has become so popular with tourists that they do everything to attract them. But as for the Trail of Death, it attracts fans of extreme sports solely because of its phenomenal atmosphere. The most adventurous tourists dare to walk the trail from the North Peak to the South Peak.
Trail of Death is not the only route to be overcome. There are many unusual trails, including cable car rides and hikes, all of which are safe, but require excellent physical fitness and attention from hikers. You can conquer each of the 5 peaks if you wish, and you can even rent hotel rooms, guest houses, or just rent a room at some of them.
How to get there
To get to the Trail of Death, you have to travel a long way: first drive to the mountain, then get to the nearest summit and then to the trail itself.
To get to Huashan Mountain is as follows:
- In the nearest city of Xi’an, take the subway (red line #2) to Xian North RailWay Station.
- Then go up from the subway and to the right of the exit enter the train station where trains run periodically to “HuaShanBei, i.e. HuaShan North” station. The travel time by train will be no more than 40 minutes.
- From the railway station square go to the nearest bus stop where bus number 1 goes to the foot of the mountain.
- Even there you can take a bus that goes to the funiculars, after buying a ticket to the national park, where the Huashan Mountain is located.
The mountain itself can be climbed in two ways: by cable car through the East Gate of the park or directly to the North peak of the mountain, where there are routes to other peaks.
The path to the trail has a long start. First you have to go up the long staircase on the north summit, which is called the “Heavenly Staircase.” It seems to lead to the sky, as it is impossible to see where its steps end. At the end of the staircase are houses and a village where there are even hotels. And the road to the Trail of Death continues. Next you have to walk along the south side of the mountain, where the famous Trail of Death is located.