A precarious way to enjoy a day 險路行

Sat, May 20, 2017 - Page 14

We were looking at an elevation increase of almost 800m in 1.5km: that is, intimidatingly steep, and often relying on fixed ropes. At one stage it involved scaling a vertical rock wall 20-25 precipitous meters straight up. By the time we made it back down, I was exhausted. I must have spent every last drop of energy I had in me.

We had set out at 4am for the roughly 10km hike along the 820 Forest Road to the trailhead for the ascent to the 3,371m high Mt. Bilu, located between Taroko Gorge and Mt. Hehuan in central Taiwan.

We had known from the outset that it was to be, if not outright dangerous, a precarious hike that had to be approached with caution and much preparation. Safety and avoiding missteps or stumbles were constantly on our minds as the gentle slopes of the forest road turned into a steep, narrow and rocky path. That path must turn into a small river when it rains.

The parts where we had to rely on roping were especially steep. It took a lot of energy to get through some of these sections.

The whole hike took about 13 hours, roughly six of which had been spent on the climb from the trailhead to the peak and back again. Those six hours included a well-earned rest at the top to take in the beautiful vistas.

It had been a tough and challenging climb.

(Perry Svensson, Taipei Times)