What It's Like To Hike One Of The World's Most Dangerous Mountain Trails

Mount Hua, located near the city of Huayin and one of China’s most sacred mountains,is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous places to hike.

Photographer Jimmy Cheng, 39, though not an expert hiker, trekked all five peaks of Mount Hua, one of the steepest mountains in the world.

“Mount Hua has to be one of my favourite mountain trails by far. It was a body draining affair, physical but totally endurable,” Cheng wrote Business Insider in an email.

South Summit, the highest peak, is approximately 7,087 feet tall and hosts a Taoist temple as well as a quaint tea house.

Cheng shared his favourite photos with us, along with an account of his journey.

“When we finally reached the foot of Mount Hua, we immediately took the cable car up to the North summit, the lowest of all five peaks,” Cheng wrote.

“The cable car journey took a mere 10 minutes or so. We could see the famous Soldier’s Trail from our cable car. It looked dangerous, some parts covered in ice, and scary,” Cheng wrote. Here is a view of the Soldier’s Trail.

“North Summit is the lowest peak and at 1614 meters, we already felt the scale of Mount Hua and I knew the view could only get better,” Cheng wrote. Below is a photo of Cheng’s goal, the mountain’s highest peak.

Mount Hua

Jimmy Cheng

These locks are clipped to the chain barriers around the edge of the mountain and symbolise luck, health, and love.

Mount Hua

Jimmy Cheng

“We saw many locals who wore simple clothing and shoes. One woman was even in high heels,” Cheng wrote. Here is a local man carrying goods to the top of the mountain.

“The higher we went up, the harder it got. The air was thinner, temperatures dropped, and our worst enemy was ice on the path,” Cheng wrote.

“We had to be extremely careful on the slippery icy surfaces because in most cases, hikers were only protected by these flimsy chains,” Cheng wrote.

Mount Hua has five peaks named after their direction, North, South, East, West, and Central. Here is a view of another narrow path alongside the mountain.

This trail is cut into the face of the granite cliff and is so narrow that it’s impossible for two people to pass each other.

Steep staircases are carved into the mountain.

Hikers can stay overnight in hotels on the mountain. Cheng recommended this for those who would like to watch the sunrise from one of the peaks.

“The most famous part of Mount Hua is the wooden plank walk. I didn’t go on it because my wife wouldn’t allow me to. I certainly would recommend it if you are a brave soul with nothing to hold back,” Cheng wrote.

Mount Hua plank path

Richard Saunders

Hikers walk on a combination of wooden planks and flat mountain rock while clinging to chains for support. There is nothing, anywhere on this climb, to break a fall.

Mount Hua plank walk

Richard Saunders

After an entire day of extreme hiking, Cheng finally enjoys these views from 7,087 feet above sea level.

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