Hello, and welcome to the column where I advise you whether or not to go somewhere.
Should you go here? Glad you asked. I’ll dig deep, and ask questions like: What is this place? What is happening here? Do I like this? Will YOU like this? Should anyone go to this place? Should this place cease to exist??? Let’s find out.
Where is this?
Near the city of Huayin in Shaanxi province, China
What is this?
Welcome to Mt. Huashan. In the second century B.C., a Daoist temple was built at the base and ever since, the surrounding areas have been populated by monks, pilgrims, and nuns. It is considered one of the most sacred mountains in China. There’s a network of alarmingly risky trails that lead you to each of its five summits–including one with a tea house only accessed by climbing an extremely terrifying and tall cliff. So, although it’s a lovely place of religious importance, most people go there for the thrill of how ridiculously dangerous it is.
It’s known as the “world’s most dangerous hike,” where you climb the cliffside of a mountain and then have tea afterward on top of said mountain. Tourists risk their lives walking on small, not-at-all comforting wooden ledges bolted poorly into the cliffs. Oh, and sometimes there are no boards at all and you have to secure yourself to an iron chain.
What do you mean, “iron chain?”
I mean an actual iron chain attached to some rods stuck into the side of the mountain. It’s exactly as it sounds. You’re attached to the large cliff by chains, put there by humans, and absolutely NOT guaranteed to keep you safe.
This is the thing you will be securing yourself with. Doesn’t that look nice? Nice comforting chain tying you to tall mountain. Great. That’s great. I personally love to wrap an iron chain around my body as I scale a cliff.
INSIDER TIPDo not fall. You will die.
What is happening here?
You’re extremely high in the air, that’s what! You are holding on to a large rock (mountain), while extremely high up, and risking your whole life–entirely by choice! You are a skilled climber, most likely, who is sick of all of the other, safer mountains. You are strong and require danger, and this mountain provides you with just that! You are the bravest person and this is proof of that. That is what is happening!
Well, wait a minute. It looks like there are stairs. Stairs are safe.
The stairs are only at certain points of the hike. Also, some of the stairs look like this:
What?? Those stairs are too steep!
Those don’t really even qualify as stairs! Those stairs don’t work!
That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, man.
Why would a tourist want to go to this????
Because they’re thrill-seeking adventurers with no fear of dying by falling off extremely tall cliffs. They seek thrills, baby, and no mountain is too high or lacks too many places to walk!
Wait. Are those… are those small children in that photo?!
How in the…?
I. Don’t. KNOW.
Would you go to this?
I personally would absolutely never go to this. Is it beautiful? Yes. But chances are I won’t get too high up the cliff before my wobbly legs step wrong, and I fall to an untimely, extremely obvious death.
Why wouldn’t you go to this?
Listen, I don’t know about you but if I am going to risk my life on top of a mountain, I better have been chased up there by some sort of villain. There is absolutely no chance I would, just, be up there by choice, possibly falling off a cliff for fun.
But there’s a tea room at the top of the cliff!
I will obtain tea from a lower altitude.
It’s probably really good tea.
It had better be.
Where should people go instead?
Go to a different mountain.
If I were you, I’d find a little mountain to walk up–just a thought! There are tons of other mountains! Would you like me to give you examples of other mountains you can go on, instead of this absurdly dangerous one? Look, there are luxury mountains out there.
Anything closer to this experience, though?
You like drinking tea up high? There’s Rooftop Tea in Barcelona, where you can walk up the stairs to a regular roof and drink tea while looking at views of a city, from up high, just like you would on top of a scary mountain.
That’s not a hike.
So? It’s a place that serves tea where you have to climb (stairs) to obtain it, but they’re regular stairs, not vertical, and you can’t fall off a cliff to your death–so it’s safer.
There are smaller things you can climb. Why not walk up a nice, non-threatening hill in Scotland?
Any last thoughts?
Here’s the thing: if you need to attach chains to people and bolt wooden platforms to the sides of a mountain to make it walkable, maybe it isn’t walkable. But, hey, what do I know.
So… should you go here?
NO. GOD, NO.