And who cleans this place?
Hua Shan is one of China’s most important tourist attractions and over one million people visit it. Therefore, 46 people are required to keep the mountain clean. The workers, hanging from ropes, collect 180 tons of rubbish thrown away by tourists every year.
Mount Hua or Hua Shan is located in the province of Shaanxi, China, around 120 kilometres to the east of Xi’an. It is one of the five sacred mountains of Taosim, which according to Chinese mythology were created from the body of Pangu, the first living being and creator of the universe. Mount Hua also has five peaks, which from the summit appear to form a lotus flower, a sacred symbol in Oriental culture. The highest one at 2,154 metres is the South Peak, although the East Peak at 2,096 metres and the West Peak at 2,082 metres are not far behind. The latter is known as the Dawn Peak because of the stunning views that await you as the sun rises. The ascent to the North Peak and the Central Peak (or Jade Maiden Peak) is simpler, although still a challenge.
Begin your journey to immortality in the early hours of the morning. The lower part of the mountain has a moderate slope, meaning that your first few steps are easy, but don’t be fooled by this simple start. Little by little, these steps become incredibly narrow rock steps. In order to ascend you need to use your legs and hands, being helped by the chains that are attached to the rock. The most extreme part of the route is a real challenge even for the most experienced climbers. Compose yourself, because the Changong Zhanda footbridge, which is four metres long and 30 centimetres wide, has complicated curves. Some wooden boards encrusted into the rock are all that will separate you from the outright void below. Its name could not be more fitting: it means “path of boards in the vast sky”. You’ll need to rent a safety harness for this part of the route.