• Huangshan
  • 1864 m
  • Primary factor 1734 m
  • Location North 30.12709, East 118.16550 (GPS on the summit)
  • The highest peak is called Lienhua Feng, English: Lotus Peak.
  • China
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1
  • Climbed November 21. 2019.


How to get there:
The city of Huangshan is a good point of reference. It is served by an airport as well as high speed trains that arrive at the North Station, about 12 kilometer north of the city center.
This mountain is together with Mount Fuji in Japan, likely the most frequently visited mountains in the world. Huangshan means Yellow Mountain and many Chinese consider this to be the most beautiful mountain in all of China. Every day, there are thousands of visitors, in the high season tens of thousands.
As you exit from the high speed train station turn right and walk across to a bus station. They may not speak much Chinese, but if you say "Yellow Mountain", a ticket is sold and a bus is likely to depart within few minutes going to a town called Tangkou. This is called the south side of the mountain, there is also a starting point on the east side. In Tankou, they have a well organized system for getting people to the mountain. The location you must find is at N30.06779, E118.17085, elevation about 450 meter. Here, you buy a ticket for the lift as well as a park entrance. You next proceed to the mountain bus, when I was there they loaded about 10 buses in parallel, and this was low season!
Route description:
From the south side there are two gondola lifts (rope-ways). However, when I was there the west rope-way was closed. This description therefore starts with east rope-way and loops around, descending to the base of the west rope-way.
The bus will take you up a mountain road to the base of the east rope-way already at 940 meter of elevation at location N30.11974, E118.18808. This gondola lift will take you high up to location N30.14016, E118.17058, elevation about 1670 meter. Immediately after exit, tund left and walk uphill (steps), ignore the fact that almost everybody heads downhill from here. After cresting a local hill, you walk downhill, but take a smaller path that cuts left very shortly. You will pass some buildings, then climb several steps to reach a hotel, continue a bit downhill, then climb (steps) to the summit that is occupied by a large white radar dome. The landscape along this section is nice, but I would say that Sanqingshan impressed me more. This summit is the second highest in the park, but inaccessible due to the radar installations. There are some viewpoints nearby, location N30.13424, E118.16454, elevation slightly above 1800 meter.
From here, you can see two pretty impressive peaks, Lotus Peak is the rightmost, while the third highest peak is further left. Next, descend to the col beyond the radar station. The elevation here is slightly more than 1700 meter.
Finally, the terrain as well as the route starts getting interesting. There are spectacular rock formations and rock faces, all smooth granite. The path is also getting somewhat more exposed. Stone steps all the way, but sometimes quite narrow passages and also some of these stairs are quite steep, one should use some care when walking here as falling or slipping is not and option. Part of the ascent also takes you under some big rocks, the route is certainly interesting, but made for tourists, handrails and well made stairs.
The path arrives at the very summit. There is a small viewing area here with a summit marker and a few inscriptions. Very good views in all directions of the park. The descent route (different from your ascent) starts at the very top and is somewhat more exposed than the route from the east. However, solid steps and handrails all the way, YDS class 1. This path will take you down to a flat section with shops and services. From here, the route continues to descend to the col that separates the third highest peak, Tiandu Peak, from Lienhua Feng. Next, more steps will take you all the way down to the road where buses ferry people back down to the ticket area from where you started the day with a bus going uphill.
After climbing Sanqing Shan, I took the mini-bus back to the High speed train station in Shangrao, then got a train to the (north) station in Huangshan. Here, I got another bus that should get me to the (south) Huangshan Scenic Area. Arriving shortly after dark, this looked quite different from the Sanqingshan experience. There, the bus had dropped me in front of a fancy Hilton hotel, here the bus stopped in a bus parking area. I could not see any hotels or other facilities and my GPS told me that I was nowhere really close to the mountain. I decided that my best option, would be to walk up the road in the direction of the mountain. This could be 2-3 kilometer according to my GPS. However, after about one kilometer, I came to a lonely, fairly small hotel called Sleep Hotel. It was getting late and I decided that my best option would be to check in here.
This was indeed very smart. They had a nice, inexpensive room, they served me dinner and told me that they would drive me to the ticket area the next morning. All very good.
I had a minimal breakfast in the morning, then, around 0730 a car took me, quite surprisingly, back down to the same area from where I had started walking yesterday. I got a ticket for the lift and for a transfer bus. Entrance to the park was free since I was 65 or older. The transfer bus operation was interesting, they loaded about 10 buses in parallel - and this was low season!
I was at the lift by 0820 and exited the lift around 0850. The hike across to the radar mountain took about 40 minutes. After a break there, I walked downhill, then to the summit of Lotus peak, arriving there around 1030. I left the summit at 1050 and started the descent. With a break for some food on the way down, I arrived at the bus by 1220.
This bus got me back down to the morning starting point. There, I caught a bus back to the High speed (north) train station. After a bit of confusion, I found bus no 21 there, not near the bus station, but at the opposite side of the area in front of the railway station. This bus took me to the center of Huangshan. I located a bank and got some more yuans, then walked to my next hotel, located in the old town of Tunxi.