Mount Tai has 7,000 steps up to the summit. Should you climb up the steps it is said you will live to a hundred. Not satisfied with the 15km round trip to the summit we began the day with a 3km walk to the entrance from our hotel. We arrived at the Red Gate dripping in sweat. The start of the real walk began quite steadily with a few steps then a small flat section.
Once the route merged with the road about half way up in terms of distance, the steps became much steeper. Really steep in fact, meaning we slowed our pace down.
After walking past the waterfall enroute we spotted the top. Even through the fog it looked steep, very steep and the path was busy.
After another 40 minutes we arrived at a section that was near on vertical. It was like climbing a ladder and took 40 minutes to reach the ‘gate to heaven’. We reached the top after 3 hours and 15minutes.
Although TaiShan is not a very scenic climb up to the top it is the holiest mountain in China. We climbed on a weekday and it was very busy. Unlike other places that are mountainous the people here climbed up due to the belief about vitality. The top of the mountain the busyness is reflected in the many shops. There are incense shops and shops selling stones plus other random tat. On our mountains we have a trig point and sometimes a view. The Chinese see a business opportunity.
At the top we found somewhere to eat paying 20 yuan or £2 for fried rice, usually we pay 10 or 15 Yuan. The rice was extra greasy helping it slide down easily. We washed it down with a coke before setting off for the summit Temple. We wandered past the numerous shops to find the Jade Temple, situated next to the television mast and mobile phone mast.
There was a bit of view down the valley and you could see ski-lifts coming from the end of another, even longer route up from the bottom. After a brief respite we turned back and began the same route down the mountain.
Coming down the ladder like steps required more concentration than going up. The steps were narrower than our feet so our toes were hanging over the edges. We spent an hour going down this extremely steep section.
Even coming down was tiring as the sun was baking hot. This also made the views non-existant. We tried once more to get the famous view up the ‘Emperors Path’ to the top.
We reached the bottom after around two hours and we were rather warm. We then continued our walk back to the hotel. Not satisfied with our 8 hours of wandering we continued our trip to the railway station. A mere 1.3km walk to purchase tickets for Qingdao. The train for the next day was full so we had to take the one the day after. We returned to our hotel after walking 24.2 km or 15miles.
Although lacking in views this was a real sense of achievement due to the steepness of the steps for the last 90 minutes. We finished the day feeling quite pleased as we’d achieved nearly all we wanted in China and had reasonably good weather – not much rain, a bit foggy at times and boiling, but rather that than extreme rain.