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Old 1st July 2008, 09:02   #1
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Smile The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat

I made this trip 2 years ago. The Yellow Mountain or the Huangshan Mountain as it is recognized worldwide, is in Anhui Province, P.R.China. This trip was lined by some marvelous scenery and some amusing incidents. Here we go:

May, 2006: I get an email in broken English on my official link, saying that a trip to the mighty Huangshan Mountain (Yellow Mountain) has been arranged and those interested register their names.

Ok, I am thinking and I notice at the bottom of the email there is a note. It says, only strong people must go on this trip, there will be lot of climbing.

I ask myself, Hmm I am strong ain’t I? Am not even 30 yet!

I get in touch with other Indian colleagues in my department to know their opinions about the trip for strong people. There are 6 of us including me, all below 30. Everyone is thinking. Climbing a mountain could be tiresome, even in best of conditions. And we have no idea what it would be like. Also, now it’s kind of who is tough enough to do it thing going on in everyone’s mind. Finally they all say ok.

Maybe it’s going to be hard but we will do it.

I get back to my seat and start researching on Huangshan Mountain on the internet. Find that it’s vast, lined with pines everywhere, lot of hot springs and also find that there are 3 cableways connecting different summits on the mountain. Am happy, and begin thinking that it will not be tough after all. We can take the cable car.

I tell others the same and they are happy.
Why do these Chinese have to mention in the email about being strong, I wonder.

On the day of the trip we 6, along with our Chinese colleagues, set out from our company in a big bus. The journey to the mountain is about 5 hrs.

Avi, Jai, Mondy, Ashley and Boss is what I call my Indian buddies.

We hit the super highway soon and am gazing at the fantastic 6 lane road ahead. Am also swinging my head right and left, looking out of the window.

Soon we take a break at a fuel bunk to relieve ourselves.
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-2.jpg

We start-off again. The varying landscape, villages, small towns, rivers, lakes, vegetation and the people, they are all so beautiful. Am enjoying every minute of it.
Here are some snaps taken from the bus:
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The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-4.jpg
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As we get nearer to the foot of the mountain, the landscape changes dramatically and I see lovely streams spiraling and running along the road. I also see many mammoth tunnel projects being undertaken.

We reach the foothills of the mountain. It’s 7 P.M. We all checkin to a pretty decent hotel. Per room 2 persons. We buddies take rooms situated consecutive to each other. Now we have time for ourselves. We are informed that the mountain spree starts the next day at 7 A.M.

Here are some snaps of the room:
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-img_0081-large.jpg
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-img_0082-large.jpg

We are damn hungry and set out on foot in search of food and beer. Everyone drinks except Boss. Boss doesn’t drink or smoke. He doesn’t like to be forced.

Before we leave we are warned not to get lost and told to come back as soon as possible. We get to the main road and see that all along the road there are small hotels and shops. All have boards in Mandarin. We don’t understand anything. We look at each other and walk. The Chinese on the streets are staring at us as if we were from planet of the Apes. Maybe they just saw it on TV.

We are thinking which hotel to go into. We also go past a super market. We have come too far and the hotels are fading away. We enter a small hotel that is occupied by none. Surprisingly, we are greeted in English by a beautiful lady with a toddler in her arms. We are overwhelmed. We order fried rice and beer (safe bet). Green tea is served as welcome drink. Food is good. We enjoy it with beer.

While leaving we tell the lady that her English is good. She says, I know!

On the way back we buy more beer in the super market to gulp down later in the room.
Soon we reach the hotel, get together in my room, chat and drink beer, and after many antics everyone retires to their respective rooms with their respective partners. 2 bottles of beer are left over.

The story to continue and more photos to follow..
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Old 1st July 2008, 11:27   #2
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MM..interesting chinese story. Keep it coming.
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Old 1st July 2008, 11:40   #3
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Nice story. Look forward to more pictures as you continue with your narration.
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Old 1st July 2008, 11:53   #4
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Nice narration and let more pics start to flow. Well ! If am not wrong this is the first thread hitting the chinese frontiers and its landscapes. Do keep us glued "Dolphin".
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Old 1st July 2008, 12:04   #5
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China!! Well written. Keep it coming pal.

Wasn't is a bad idea to have beer on the eve of mountaineering?
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Old 1st July 2008, 12:26   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteKnight View Post
China!! Well written. Keep it coming pal.

Wasn't is a bad idea to have beer on the eve of mountaineering?
We were what you could call illiterates at mountain climbing. You will know as the story proceeds.
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Old 1st July 2008, 15:03   #7
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Default The Climb

Next morning I get up at 6, and am ready by 7. We check out of the hotel with our luggage (small backpacks), as the plan for that day is to stay at a hotel somewhere in the mountain. Everyone is ready and pretty excited. For later drinking, we slip the 2 bottles of beer into Mondyís bag without his knowledge.

A snap of the hotel:
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-img_0101-large.jpg

We set out in our bus through the small town of Haungshan. A very relaxed town. Soon we reach a bus terminal. We get down and are in queue to board a smaller bus which will take us to place where we begin our climb. The queue moves fast and we are on the bus soon.

This is a picturesque ride, trees everywhere and in-between the trees a rare glance of the towering mountain range in the distance. The Sun is bright and hot. Am raring to go.

We reach the spot and get down. Everyone starts walking. Mondy complains that his bag seems heavy. No one speaks.

There are many petty shops selling all types of traditional climbing equipment, hats, caps, photos of the mountain etc., etc. Many Chinese colleagues buy walking sticks. I am grinning, why do they need a stick?

This is the road lined with shops leading to the climbing area .
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-img_0103-large.jpg

Soon we reach a diversion. To the left we have the cable car station with almost 200 people waiting for their turn and to the right we see a path leading to the steps.
This is the place. Look at the crowd.
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-img_0117-large.jpg
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-img_0121-large.jpg

All our Chinese colleagues are moving towards the steps. We catch hold of one and ask him, why is everyone going that way? We are supposed to take the cable car right?
He says, Cable car? No, no. We come to mountain to climb, not cable car. Climb you see the beauty of mountain.

Our jaws drop. We had taken it for granted that we would take the cable car. How stupid.

We tell him that we donít want to climb, itís tiring, and so, we will take the cable car and meet them later at the summit. He says, So many people in queue, you will have to wait atleast 2 hrs. Then you will get lost. No one speak English here.

We think that itís kind of risky to leave the group. Boss and Mondy are ready for the climb. I, Avi, Jai and Ash are reluctant. The Chinese say we can do it, come on. We somehow feel itís going to be hard. Frowning, we start the climb.

Soon we are huffing and puffing, and sweating like pigs. There are 1000s of steps. One by one almost all our Chinese colleagues leave us behind. We donít see them anymore. Boss and Mondy are strong, they move on. Apart from our team, there are a lot of other Chinese climbing the mountain, one or two foreigners also come by. We now see new faces climbing with us. We notice that the scenery is beautiful, greenery all around. We are gaining altitude slowly.
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I am tired. Feels like lungs will burst. I canít move on anymore. There seems to be infinite number of steps. We are 1 hr into our climb. My small backpack containing some clothes, snacks and water, now feels as if it weighs a ton. We take a break. Jai and Avi light cigarettes. Itís prohibited but still they smoke.

I wonder and ask, How can you guys smoke?
We are already exhausted and cigarette is going to make things worse! They say it keeps them going.

We move on. Now each leg feels like it weighs a ton. I want someone to carry me. Now I remember the walking stick. I badly need a stick, to support my weight and lean while climbing. I wish I had a stick, searching for one but in vain.
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Old 1st July 2008, 16:59   #8
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We continue climbing. Lush greenery and the granite peaks are very beautiful and calm.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 1st July 2008, 17:12   #9
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Another master story telling session seems to have begun. I can anticipate more fun!

Go on Dolphin!
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Old 2nd July 2008, 07:24   #10
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Thank you guys for all your comments.

Continuing the story-

Again we take a break. Avi and Jai are puffing cigarettes like exhaust vents. 15 mins and we start climbing again.

Suddenly I hear and see something falling down the steps. It comes to rest near my feet.
Voila! It’s a walking stick.

Some climber dropped it accidentally maybe. I pick it up. My intention is to give it back. I climb looking out for someone waiting with a smiling face to take back the stick. But I encounter no one. I climb. Still no one. I keep the stick. My prayers were answered. Was I happy!

That’s me with my gift from heaven: The walking stick!
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-img_0165-large.jpg

I was shocked on what I saw next. There are these men climbing, carrying on their shoulders 2 baskets full of vegetables and groceries hooked on to 2 opposite ends of a flat bamboo cane. Each basket would easily weigh around 15 Kg.

Have a look:
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-img_0169-large.jpg
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They were climbing with a particular technique and rhythm, swaying forward and backward.
Look at us, we are not able to carry our own weights and these fellows are carrying such monstrous mass.

I just couldn’t digest what I saw. Later came to know that these groceries were for the hotels in the mountain. They employ these men to save costs, rather than using the cable cars to transport vegetables and other food stuff.

What a hard way to earn a living.

We are now 2 hrs into our climb and still no sign of the summit. We are moaning and moving on. The beauty of the mountain keeps us going. The pine trees are beautiful. They are everywhere.
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The daunting climb has beaten the wind out of us. We four guys have forgotten everything about the talks we had about determination to climb the mountain. It will be hard, but we will do it. tsk tsk.

We stare each others sweaty faces, floppy bodies and feel like rolling with laughter.

We are hungry now. We had started the climb on an empty stomach. Whatever little food we had in the backpack is long gone. We did come across one or two kiosks but they were selling only liquids. Cursing ourselves for being unprepared we move on.
Soon we approach a kiosk and what we see makes all of us drool. Cucumbers!

A man is selling fresh cucumbers. We attack and eat with such greed, it’s as if we have not eaten for a year. It’s like a twister ripping the man’s cucumber basket. That man sure is amused. We devour almost all his stock. Some relief now.

We catch a glimpse of the cable car moving above us. How I wish I was in that thing.
The cable car moving above us:
The Magnificent Yellow Mountain: Of Beauty & Sweat-img_0172-large.jpg
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After about 3-4 hrs of tiresome climbing we finally see the summit. It’s like an oasis to us. We see our team, and Mondy and Boss are already there waving, and making fun of us.
These are last few steps to the summit:
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Ok we have made it. Every muscle in my body is aching. We think there is no more climbing. We are in for a shock soon.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 08:43   #11
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Its a great journey Dolphin and am sure it would have been exhausting but the scenery around would have kept you guys going ofcourse not to mention your pal's stamina sticks . So how many KM approximately you would have walked and i suppose there were no stretches without steps is it?
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Old 2nd July 2008, 09:11   #12
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Gosh, Dolphin, you're an absolute natural at narrative!
You manage to make the trip happen for the reader!
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Old 2nd July 2008, 12:07   #13
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Wow dolphin great writeup. I still remember a trek which was done when in school. It was a 8 kms slight incline and 2 kms Steep incline through a jungle.
The girls in class at the start of the trek were singing dancing etc etc but as time went on we were ten of us who reached the destination which was a water fall about 2 hours before any soul.
The worst part of this trip was we were reprimanded as we had left the group and ventured without any teachers. The punishment was we had to climb down the steep incline and carry frooti cases back all the way up
Horrible was all i can say. Was sweating like pigs on the way back
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Old 2nd July 2008, 13:21   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VJ_MAVRICK View Post
Its a great journey Dolphin and am sure it would have been exhausting but the scenery around would have kept you guys going ofcourse not to mention your pal's stamina sticks . So how many KM approximately you would have walked and i suppose there were no stretches without steps is it?
Stamina sticks! Rightly said.

Absolutely no walking stretches. It was steps, steps and more steps, and very steep incline also.
Upto the first summit, we may have covered roughly around 3.5-4 KM I think, am not sure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
Gosh, Dolphin, you're an absolute natural at narrative!
You manage to make the trip happen for the reader!
Anupji Thanks for coming. I was expecting you.

After the brake fail incident in Ooty, and the accident in MM Hills, this time thankfully am on foot in a mountain. But my awes donít end. lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
Wow dolphin great writeup. I still remember a trek which was done when in school. It was a 8 kms slight incline and 2 kms Steep incline through a jungle.
The girls in class at the start of the trek were singing dancing etc etc but as time went on we were ten of us who reached the destination which was a water fall about 2 hours before any soul.
The worst part of this trip was we were reprimanded as we had left the group and ventured without any teachers. The punishment was we had to climb down the steep incline and carry frooti cases back all the way up
Horrible was all i can say. Was sweating like pigs on the way back
Thank you maddy42.
And your little ordeal really had me laughing for a while.
I enjoyed it.
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Old 2nd July 2008, 13:47   #15
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Nice writeup and pics Dolphin...

Abhi
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