Taiwan Adventure! – Summit Pintian Mountain, Abseil the Cliffs, Sleep under the Stars

Departing from Xinda hut at 7am, we hit the trail with some beautiful weather. Dabajianshan and Xiaoba stood to our right, the sheer mountain faces jutting straight up. To the left the snow covered face of Xueshan loomed and straight ahead lies Pintian Mountain.

Pintian Mountain itself is not noted for being a hard climb. At 3,524 meters, the way up is not technical, but a safe descent of the 60-meter dropoff would make for an interesting day. We indulged at the summit, taking in the 360 degree panorama.

Pintian Mountain

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Abseiling the Pintian Cliffs

The Pintian cliffs are two, 20-meter pitches, one 10-meter pitch and another 8  meter pitch. Some people choose to climb down these rock faces, but with the amount of loose rock, unstable hand holds and snow and ice patches still around at this time of year, abseiling was long decided as the safer choice. Pulling on our knowledge from the abseil courses we teach, setting up the anchors and prepping for an abseil was a breeze. With additional carabineers, attaching the pack to the descender got the backpacks down quick and safe with all the weight on the rope, allowing for a smooth abseil.

In the end, we used a combination of everything. Sometimes wearing our backpacks, sometimes lowering them, sometimes having them locked into our descenders as dead weight to the rope, we descended via four multi pitch abseils with rope pull downs. Setting up, lowering packs, abseiling, pulling down the rope, walking 5 meters, setting up and repeating the process was exhilarating, time-consuming, and humbling.

Coming Down Safely

With the Pintian cliffs behind us and on the ridge between Pintian and Sumida Hut, we felt good, though tired and a little concerned about time. . We summited Buxiulan Mountain and moved towards Sumida Mountain and Sumida Cliffs – which turned into a bigger challenge than the Pintian cliffs. The weight of our packs pressed ever harder as the hours ticked by.

The Backside

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With the fast approaching sunset at 6:30pm, we took an opportune stop at a soft tree-filled plateau and pulled out the map for a quick huddle. To press on in the dark with unknown obstacles ahead or to risk a night in the open in hopes that the weather forecast (clear) holds up. Tapping on the experience of previous Shei-Pa hikes, a quick run-through of gear, fuel, and water source, the decision was made to camp on the ridge.

With a nice flat bed of moss and pine needles, a huge pile of mountain snow that would be our water, we had found our oasis, our spot for the night. What we thought was going to be an uncomfortable night turned out to be one of the highlights of  the trip. With a clear night out, falling asleep under the stars and waking up from time to time and finding myself under the brightest dome city lights can never equal was a humbling experience.

Under the Stars

Sharing it with my team members was rewarding beyond compare. The combination of a new moon, and beautiful weather made for the best night one could ask for. At over 3500 meters, there was no humidity to get our equipment and sleeping bags wet. This night was probably the best night’s sleep I got on the entire trip. It proved to be much needed as day 3 would challenge us in many different ways.

This write up is part of the 5 day trek of the  Holy Ridge (Shengleng trail) trek. Join our next trip to share the adventure! We also summit Pintian mountain with our trek to one of Taiwan’s iconic mountain, Dabajian. Check our Twin Peaks Traverse trek as well!.

The Team

About Author

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Patrick
have been doing outdoor activities solo since my early adulthood. Usually when I get involved in a hobby or sport, I don’t let go until I achieve a high level and understanding of the sport. I got my scuba instructors in 2001. In 2006 I took up Kite surfing and am one level away from instructor on kite surfing. I have been doing trips into the wild, the off the beaten path trips for most of my life. I learned to repel and climb at a young age and have always enjoyed camping and backpacking. Over the 6+ years, I have gotten really involved in alpine style mountaineering. With certifications in mountaineering, and instructor certifications in lead climbing, and repelling (abseiling), I enjoy sharing or knowledge and teaching to those who have a passion for outdoors. Now I am working on completing the outdoor wilderness leadership program. People have always heard of my trips, and spoke with envy that they wanted to try such things but didn’t know how. This has inspired me to move to open this company. The Wildfire Expedition Company or “Wildfire Expeditions”

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