Walking Up Hua Shan

Hua Shan in Shaanxi province is one of the most prominent members on a long list of “Sacred Mountains” in China. Finally in October 2015, 21 years after I first became aware of this list, I got a chance to scale Hua Shan.

This was the plan:

day 1: 35 minutes bullet train from Xi’an to HuaShan, shuttle bus to the starting point, an estimated five hours hike up to the North Peak, find a place to sleep and eat. Enjoy my 10th summit in China (in case you are interested in the details, click HERE).

day 2: get up early, walk up to the East and South Peak, enjoy sunrise, a knee-friendly cable-car downhill and back to Xi’an for the quasi mandatory dinner buffet orgy.

This is what happened:

day 1: in less than two hours we reached the North Peak. During a short rest, I jokingly propose to speed up the climbing, i.e. try to reach South Peak today, take the cable car down and back to Xi’an by train tonight. Surprisingly (or maybe not…) my hiking mates agree without much ado. This spontaneously devised plan B gets executed well: around 20:30 we are safely back in Xi’an.

day 2: a leisurely stroll through the Muslim Quarters of Xi’an with endless food tasting and shopping opportunities and – of course – the sumptuous dinner buffet (Hilton Xi’an – highly recommended).

What’s next ? Three Taoism-related mountains in China remain to be experienced, let’s see whether another twentyone years will pass to completion.

my Youtube channel has a short video (click on the logo and set the player to 1080p HD) youtube_2

The pictures in the gallery show the journey from the main entrance all the way up to the South Peak and down to the exit gate with a little help of a cable car.




Dear Lucy……..

…. I quasi religiously follow all your reflections about corporate guff, empty phrases, meaningless mission statements, empty value brimboria, the leashing out at CEOs possessing or missing skill sets – to name just a few.

I thoroughly enjoy listening to your careful choice of words, the apparently never ending choice of ranting vocabulary and the elegance and eloquence of your word- and phrase-forging capabilities – may this flow blossom eternally.

However, the other day as I indulged in my weekly listening pleasure “Lucy Kellaway” on FT.com and the regular replays on BBC’s podcasts, a thought crossed my mind: what is your mission statement, why are you doing this, and most importantly of all questions: SO WHAT?

PS: if anybody wants to join the group of followers: here is the link to the Financial Times

Completing Something and then NOT…

Ten days prior to a hike on Hua Shan in Western China, I’m gleaming with joy as I type this up: once I stand on the peak, scheduled for Friday 25. October 2015, I will have summited all nine Sacred Mountains in China, a journey that started by accident in 1994 and became an obsession ever since. My own personal Nine Summits.
To get the vibes, I refresh my memory on Wikipedia and discover – initially much to my horror, but then to my great delight – that the list actually consists of 13 peaks and not 9 as I wrongly assumed over the past two decades! I got the 5 Great Mountains and the 4 Buddhist Mountains correct, but how the f#*! could I not pay attention to the Taoists? How utterly non-inclusive and narrow-minded of my good self!

Taoists need their own, proprietary set of mountains as well – does that surprise the kind reader? This oversight is especially embarrassing since my wife follows some Taoist routes, I have read and unsuccessfully tried to understand Lao Tze over and over again and a quote from Lao Tze is on my Ph.D. thesis’ cover sheet, much to the chagrin of my thesis supervisor, but that is a very old and different story….

Some consolation: I have been to Wudang Shan, one of the four Daoist mountain, spent a week there in a Kung Fu school and climbed the peak – that must be worth some mileage 😉

Greatest – mostest superest – highly awsomest: I have another goal to achieve and more travel plans can be made !!! HOOOORRAAAAAY.

“9” mutates to “13” and we live happily ever after.

details are on wikipedia.
Lets hope all goes well in a week’s time.

Another Beautiful Sunday in Hong Kong

Going to Hong Kong for a breath of fresh air – you gotta be kiddin’, right? In September / October 2015 this scenario is reality. Plagued by persistent haze from Indonesia, PSI readings in Singapore remind us of bad days back in Beijing a few years ago.

Hop on a Tigerair flight just in time to join my HK hiking gang’s quasi mandatory Sunday activity.

The day starts humanely early @ 07:30. I need carbs to move from stand-by to operational: for HKD 28.50 (CHF 3.50 at the time of writing) a decent breakfast at one of the local giga-fast food chains called “Fairwood” is mine.

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Hong Kong’s ubiquitous, fast and efficient public transport, which is a real estate company with an attached human dislocation division, gets us to the starting point.

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Sai Kung Country Park offers spectacular views of the sea, our route is easy (very easy, actually too easy….), so my original plan to use this hike as a full dress rehearsal (aka fitness test) for the upcoming Hua Shan Hike isn’t happening today. Never mind, the stroll is very enjoyable!

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Long live the “selfie-king” Henry I.IMG_4989

PS: the dress rehearsal for HuaShan happened a day later: a mid afternoon solo ascent of Lantau Peak, HK’s second highest mountain. 900 meters altitude difference made for a very good work-out.