Jade Mountain (Yu Shan)

  • Jade Mountain (Yu Shan)
  • 3952 m
  • Primary factor 3952 m
  • Taiwan HP
  • Location: East of Alishan, about 300 km from Taipei.
  • Location: North 23:28.200, East 120:57.436 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2 (mostly class 1, with exposure)
  • Climbed June 26. 2007.


How to get there: Taiwan is a beautiful, extremely rugged island with more than 100 mountains exceeding 3000 meter. Background (essential!) information in order to hike in this area is provided in my detailed report.
From the Taipei airport (west of Taipei), go east (direction Taipei) on freeway number 2, then after approximately 10 km, enter freeway number 1, south (direction Jhongli). Stay on freeway number 1 and drive 220 km south. You will cross 5 toll stations, at each you pay (2007) 40 NT. From the 5th. such pay station, you have 26 km left before you exit onto Hwy. 82 east. Follow Hwy. 82 for 13 km until you reach freeway number 3, enter this in direction north and drive only to the next exit, this is about 2 km. This exit is marked with Hwy. 18, there are also signs reading Yu Shan national park and Jade Mountain.
Measure from this exit, first you go through a small town. Stay on Hwy. 18 as it forks left after about 2 km. Enter Alishan township after 44 km, there is a convenient "7-11 store" with good parking on your right hand side. At 69 km, Hwy. 18 forks right, continue along Hwy. 18 and enter Singi township at 77 km. Continue another 12 km until you have driven 89 km along Hwy. 18. There is parking on your left hand side, as well as various signs related to Yu Shan national park. The road continues to its highest point where it changes name to Hwy. 21, this is just a little further ahead.
A convenient place to stay is the Tongpu Lodge, located below the road. The small side road serving this lodge forks left near a parking area at location N23:28.870, E120:53.130, elevation approximately 2580 meter. See my detailed trip report about making a reservation.
This drive is 308 km, and took me 5 hours including a few rather short stops to buy gasoline aqnd provisions, but no stop for having a meal. Of this, the last 89 km along Hwy. 18 required 2 hours, as this road is quite winding and narrow.
Route description: There is a small road leading to the actual trailhead. This road was closed to general traffic, hikers depend on an organized shuttle service to get there. The charge was NT 100 for the van that would take you from the main road and up to this very distinct col in the west ridge. This trailhead is at location N23:28.547, E120:53.995, elevation 2612 meter. The road actually continues through this col and in steep switch-backs down on the south side.
From this trailhead, the very well developed trail heads uphill and towards the east. The trail stays on the south side of the ridge while climbing gradually up towards the Paiyun lodge 8.5 km from the trailhead. The trail is very well developed all the way, with wooden sections and protected by chains in many places. It is very much a YDS class 1 trail, however, with considerable exposure in many places. The hillside that is traversed is rather steep and often the trail is just a "cut out" shelf with very steep drops below.
The Paiyun lodge at 3004 meter, is nicely located with a good view down the valley and within striking distance (2.5 km) of the summit. Most every local climber spends the evening here and starts out for the summit very early the next morning. However, one may also continue directly to the summit. The trail zig-zags uphill and one should stay left at a trail fork where the right forking trail provides a route to a south summit and in more general, the south ridge. Even higher up, the trail enters somewhat steeper terrain, but the path is clear and easy to walk. Finally, the trail traverses left and hits a small col on the north ridge. This place is known for high winds that may sweep climbers off the mountain (this has happened). This section is now protected by steel bars making it impossible to fall off. At this col (location N23:28.227, E120:57.361, elevation 3863 meter), the trail serving the north ridge and the north summit forks left and descends parallel to a sharp ridge. The summit trail climbs a bit more right and then more or less straight to the summit. This short section traverses fairly steep terrain, but the going is still easy and there is no need for other than sporadic touches on the rock by your hands. Thus, the difficulty stays at YDS class 2.
Comments: I climbed this peak solo. This was the first of four peaks climbed in Taiwan, a more detailed report from this trip is available.
I started from the trailhead at 0650, made the Paiyun lodge at 0905, rested there 15 minutes before continuing to the summit, arriving there after one hour at 1020. I spent quite some time on the top, hoping that the clouds should break. Finally, left the summit at 1100 and decided to head across to the North Summit.
The next peak climbed was therefore The Yu Shan North Summit.