Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Great Wall at Jinshanling

I had the good fortune to get to go climbing on the Great Wall of China on Saturday. I had been once before back in January to a different section of the wall but I must say the view was better this time. We got a nice day albeit a hot one and the mountains on the Jinshanling section of the wall were beautiful and green.

Here's a picture of me sweating under the July heat after hiking uphill for about an hour.

Here's the view of the wall back behind where I'd been climbing.

Here's the view up ahead of me about where I stopped climbing and turned around to go back to the bus.

another shot back in the direction I came from.


The view way out in the distance ahead of me.

This is close to where the trail from the parking lot joins the wall from the right-hand side.

A lovely Chinese bride was getting wedding pictures taken on the wall. At one time the photographer was trying to get a shot with the wall and tower in the background and yelled at the tourists (in English) to please move on up the wall to get out of her picture.

A view along the wall.

A few pointers and suggestions for tourists who might make this climb in the future.
  • Buy a hiking stick before arriving at the wall. The steps are steep and sometimes difficult and putting a stick into the rocks can help your footing. However, they were 100 RMB near the parking lot and I was able to buy one 3 hours away in Beijing for 30 RMB.
  • You don't have to carry too much food and water. There was a tower with a snack and drink vendor about 1 hour into my climb. I was told there was someone selling drinks about every five towers between Jinshanling and Simatai.
  • Don't be surprised if a Chinese person follows around. One of the shops at the foot of the trail assigns a person to each Westerner. They help you know where to step. Help you get up the steepest sections, fan you to cool you off when you stop to rest, and hope to sell you a picture book of on the Great Wall, a "I climbed the Great Wall" teeshirt, a fan, or something. Several in my party tried to give tips instead of buying something but they seemed only interested in selling something.
  • It is possible to hike/climb from Jinshanling where I started to Simatai, the next starting/ending point for Great Wall tourists. I didn't try to do that but five of my party did and it took them about four hours.

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