Snow Mountain （雪山）
For any hiking enthusiast living or vacationing in Taiwan, I’d highly suggest planning for a Snow Mountain hike. It can easily be done as a weekend trip departing Friday night (from Taipei) and returning Sunday evening. It is an exhausting hike, but well worth the effort!
I heard about this hike through my cousin, who had college friends attempting to hike this mountain. I was recommended that I should it, but I had not researched much about this mountain until the week of. We joined a guided hike (which I highly recommend). They took care of transportation to/from Taipei city, a few cooked meals, necessary permits, and additional equipment like sleeping bags and crampons. See below for more information.
When the schedule was first e-mailed to me, I was a bit surprised to find that that parts of the hike would be done at night. It wasn’t something I had done before, and it sounded awesome! The schedule went something like this (mileage is measured absolute from starting point):
Day 1: Taipei to Snow Mountain entrance, arrive 1:30am. Hike to Qika Cabin 七卡山莊 (2K)
Day 2: Depart Qika Cabin 七卡山莊 at 8:30am to Snow Mountain East Peak (5.6K) －》369 三六九山莊 Cabin (7.1K)
Day 3: Depart 369 Cabin, 三六九山莊, at 2:30am to reach Snow Mountain Peak, 雪山主峰 (10.9K) at around 6:00 am. Return to the mountain entrance around 1:00pm. Return to Taipei ~8:00pm
A packed scheduled made it a very tiring, but enjoyable hike.
The unusual nighttime hikes combined with the high altitude will make you feel exhausted. There are also about 75-100 sleeping in the same room! Not getting a good night’s sleep is considered to be normal.
I had a 45 Liter backpack and it was definitely enough. Bring enough warm clothes, the wind picks up near the top. I had about 1.5 liters of water, but didn’t end up drinking it all. There is mountain spring water at both Qika and 369 cabins, but it’s highly suggested to boil the water before drinking. There are also bathrooms at both these locations. I brought more than enough food for myself and had much of left over since the group provided two hot meals.
This can be done as a two day trip (I met another hiker who left Saturday morning and came back Sunday night), but he looked pretty beat by the end of it.
K2 Mountain Friends, http://www.k2.com.tw/
The guide was straight forward and had done the hike countless times. This group spoke all Chinese so I’m not sure how or if they cater to English speaking foreigners. They do cater to do guided hiking tours for mountains all over Taiwan, including Jade Mountain 玉山.