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Mount Huashan – Surviving the World’s Most Dangerous Hike

Mount Huashan World's Most Dangerous Hike Plank Walk

Everything you need to know about hiking Mount Huashan, better known as the ‘world’s most dangerous hike’, or the ‘plank walk’, in China.

Staring over the edge on the Mount Huashan hike.

Check out our video of the World’s Most Dangerous Hike on Mount Huashan at the bottom of this article!

I still remember the first time I saw photos of someone traversing a narrow plank of wood bolted to the side of a cliff, 2000 feet in the air. I sat up straight in my chair, eyes open, and mouthed the words, “I have to do this”.

I was in Canada at the time, and a bit of research made me discover that the pictures I had seen were not just of any old via ferrata – These were images of Mount Huashan, and the world’s most dangerous hike.

I made a promise to myself. Come hell or high water, I would make my way to China and scale this exhilarating mountain.

The 2154m tall Mount Huashan is considered to be one of 5 sacred mountains in China, and locals know it as the “most precipitous mountain under heaven”.

Adorned with influential Taoist temples, this mountain has been part of folklore for thousands of years. Five peaks make up the jagged mountain, with each one holding teahouses and shrines.

Impossible pathways have been carved all over the crags, and it is this place that has caught the imagination of adventurers everywhere.

Cliffside Mount Huashan Hike
Insane cliffs on Mount Huashan.

Years later, Alesha and I found ourselves in Xian in the Shaanxi province of China. Xian is famous for its Terracotta Warriors, but I was more interested in Mount Huashan, which stands tall only a few hours from the city.

Alesha needed little convincing. She had seen the photos and watched videos. She too was keen to tackle the world’s most dangerous hike. A few days of city exploration was enough; it was time to climb.

The bus ride seemed to last forever as our excitement levels grew with every passing kilometre. Eventually we drove into Huayin City, disembarked and made a beeline towards the West Gate.

In true Chinese fashion there was now two cable cars that ferried hundreds of people to the summit every day, but we avoided this cheating way to the summit. It was not our style.

Taoist Temple Huashan
A Taoist temple at the West Gate. That is Mount Huashan in the background, on the left.
West Gate Shrine Hua Shan Hike
Picturesque shrines near the West Gate.

An ancient Chinese legend states that there is only one true path up Mount Huashan – the 12km trek rising 1800m that took 3000 years to build. This is where we began.

The trail…

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