Archive | Adventure Travel

Pure Joy: Checking 4 Peaks off Baiyue in 2 Days!

Last year, I went on a trekking trip to Hehuanshan (合歡山), or literally “Joy Mountain” in Chinese, in Taiwan from 5 June 2019 to 8 June 2019. Although a novice to high altitude trekking, I was able to trek up 4 different peaks that are above 3000 m in just 2 days!

This trip was organised by Ace Adventure Expeditions as part of its Start Trekking programme. This programme was designed for greenhorns just like me. Hitherto, the highest peak I have trekked outside National Service in the Army, other than Singapore’s own Bukit Timah Hill (163.63 m), was Gunung Lambak (510 m) in Johor, Malaysia. That achievement was also on a hiking trip with Ace Adventure Expeditions, back on 31 May 2014.

Hehuanshan is a series of peaks in Central Taiwan which forms part of the Central Mountain Range (中央山脈), a principal mountain range that runs from the north of Taiwan island to its south. Hehuanshan lies between the Nantou (南投縣) and Hualien (花蓮縣) counties and is located within the Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園).

On this trip, I had the opportunity to trek up 4 peaks on Hehuanshan, all above 3000 m. The East Peak (東峰)(3421m), Mount Shimen (石門山) (3237m) and the Main Peak (主峰) (3417m) on the first day of trekking and the North Peak (主峰) (3422 m) on the second day.

These 4 peaks are among the “Hundred Peaks” or “Baiyue” (百岳) chosen, by a group of prominent Taiwanese hikers, from amongst the named peaks in Taiwan known at the time to have a height of about 3,000 m. The criteria for getting onto the Baiyue list included uniqueness, danger, height, beauty and prominence. With the likes of Yushan or “Jade Mountain” (玉山) (3952 m) and Xueshan or “Snow Mountain” (雪山) (3886 m) at #1  and #2 respectively, the placings of the 4 Hehuanshan peaks I checked off the list are as follows:  North Peak #34, East Peak #35, Main Peak #37 and Mount Shimen #66.

I understand from the local guides on the trip that these 4 peaks are amongst the “easy peasies” in the Baiyue list in terms of height, difficulty and the time needed to hike up. While it was not a completely walk in the park for me, I found that the pre-trip training session organised by Ace Adventure Expeditions, that I attended 2 months before the trip on 11 April 2019, adequately prepared me for the trip. The trek leader and 2 local guides on the trip were also most helpful and watchful over us, especially those of us who were weaker and less experienced. These mitigated any challenges that I may have encountered in terms of the terrain on the trip.

During the pre-trip training session, we were educated on high altitude trekking and on general healthcare in such circumstance. We were also given tips on the kind of gears and equipment we should have on the trip. We were taught basic trekking techniques like footwork, pacing and the use of trekking poles and given guidance on the layering system, footwear, hydration and high altitude health concerns such as Acute Mountain Sickness. At the session, we were each given a little booklet on how to prepare ourselves for the trip between the session and the actual trip, complete with a list of what to pack on the list. Just before the trip, we were given another booklet on what exactly to expect on the trip and contained reminders of what we were briefed on a the pre-trip training session.

I would say that this trip would probably be considered a very “easy landing” in the experienced trekker’s universe. There was no necessity for us camp in tents over night or stay in a mountain lodge or hut at high elevation. We also did not need to cook our own meals in harsh conditions. We had proper dinners at restaurants at the end of each day of trekking and we got to sleep and shower in the comfort of our hotel rooms, which was a hot spring hotel on this trip. I even got to dip in a hot spring tub to soothe my aching muscles after trekking up and down the 3 peaks on the first day.

The trip down to our accommodation at a lower altitude for our overnight rest allowed those of us with risks of Acute Mountain Sickness to acclimatise much better. Lunch on the first day of the trek, which happens to be on the day of the Chinese Dumpling Festival, was dumplings at a café near the Hehuanshan Visitor Centre, which was close to the various trailheads, after our descent from Mount Shimen. The only “hardship” meal of cup noodles, canned food and 3-in-1 coffee I had to “suffer” was on the second day on the summit of the North Peak at 3422 m. Frankly, the experience was not bad at all. While the food may be basic, the magnificent mountain top view and the fellowship with the many new friends I have made on the expedition more than made up for the simple food.

The scenery on the way up and down the 4 peaks and the panoramic view at the summits were awesomely breath taking. Words fail me to do justice to the beauty I beheld. Hence, I took tons of photographs and some videos, not just of the beautiful scenery but of the moments of our interacting with each other and with Mother Nature on these hills. Needless to say, many of these photographs and videos found their way onto my Facebook page. At the conclusion of the trip, Ace Adventure Expeditions very thoughtfully weaved some of the photographs and some videos taken by those on the trip into a montage video clip that neatly summarised the joyful time we had. This clip can be found on YouTube.

I had a great time on this trip that earned me the right to brag that I have checked off 4 peaks on the Baiyue list! The icing on the cake was that I was able to catch up with 2 of my mates from my secondary school alma mater, Hua Yi  Secondary School (華義中學). One of them is none other than Joanne Soo, our trek leader and the honcho of Ace Adventure Expeditions, who was my classmate for a year and whom I now affectionately refer to as “Iron Lady” due to her fame associated with the Singapore Women’s Everest Team. After the 2 days of trekking, my ex-schoolmates and I extended our trip slightly and had the opportunity of hanging out in Taipei, mostly in Ximenting (西門町), for a day before return home to the hustle and bustle of work.

All in all, this was a good short getaway with a dash of adventure.  If you are keen to join this start trekking programme, the next Mt Hehuan trek is scheduled for 26-29  Nov 2020.

Looking forward to my next mountain with Ace Adventure Expeditions.

– Michael S Chia
Trek participant of Mt Hehuan Trek (5-8 Jun 2019)

Start Trekking to Beautiful Mt Hehuan

Mt Hehuan was our inaugural trek for our Start Trekking initiative and has continued to be popular.

The beautiful mountain scenery and friendly terrain is suitable not only for beginners but also for families or anyone who want to embark on a short scenic trek.

The trek covers four peaks above 3000m with an overnight stay in a local hotel in town. At the end of each day’s trek, there’s a sumptuous dinner, hot shower and nice comfortable bed to look forward to.

Every year, we schedule our Mt Hehuan trek during the Dragon Boat Festival. Our participants will get to enjoy delicious Taiwanese rice dumplings!

Keep a lookout for our talk on Mt Hehuan to be held on 21 Feb in collaboration with Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Singapore.

Our next Start Trekking to Mt Hehuan is on 18-21 Jun 2020. For package details, refer to our website at http://aceadventure.com.sg/even…/taiwan-mt-hehuan-hehuanshan

Start Trekking – A Trekking Programme for Beginners

Start Trekking 2018

More and more people are discovering the regenerative power of the outdoors, both physically and spiritually. Trekking is one of the BEST ways to enjoy the outdoors and immerse oneself in nature! For those of you who have been wanting to put on a pair of trekking boots to start trekking, this Start Trekking programme is FOR YOU!

We have handpicked 3 treks for the Start Trekking programme. The treks selected  are well suited for beginners. They are great picks to ease you into your first trekking adventure.

These treks offer breathtaking sceneries without overly taxing your fitness. Make new friends with trekkers of similar experiences, pick up trekking tips and skills from the trek leader(s) and embark on exploring new adventures together.

Poon Hill Sunrise Trek (23 Mar – 1 Apr 2018)

The Poon Hill trek is one of the most scenic short treks in the Annapurna region in Nepal. It offers magnificent snow-capped Himalayan mountain views without drastic ascend to high altitude. The sacred Machapuchare, also known as “Fish Tail Mountain” is constantly in sight. The sunrise at Poon Hill with a panoramic view of the snow-capped mountain range is breath-taking and world famous. Passing through mountain villages, farmlands and rhododendron forests, this trek starts at 1600m with the highest point at 3200m on top of Poon Hill. The risk of Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) is low. Accommodation will be in teahouses with comfortable basic amenities. Perfect for those who are new to high altitude or trekking!

Mt Hehuan Trek (14 to 17 June 2018)

Hehuanshan, 合 歡山, Mt Hehuan (also called Joy Mountain) 3416m is one of the most accessible high altitude hiking trails in Taiwan.  This trek covers the Mt Hehuan Main Peak (3417m), Mt Shimen (3237m), East Peak (3421m) and Mt Hehuan North Peak (3422m). The peaks are among the “Hundred Peaks” (百岳) identified by Taiwanese as great mountains of Taiwan. At the end of each day, we return to the hostel or hotel to stay overnight. Covering four peaks above 3000m in just 2 days, this is ideal for an experience of high altitude trekking in a short duration of days.

Kalaw to Inle Lake Trek (3 to 10 Nov 2018)

This rustic trek is gaining popularity among travellers to Myanmar. The trek goes through the hilly countryside and villages in the western part of Shan State, offering a glimpse into the rural lives of the different tribes. The journey from village to village, through bamboo and pine forests, farmlands, railway and dirt tracks, with a mountain view in the backdrop, has a straightforward terrain without much undulation between 1300m-1500m. Any one with an average fitness is able to complete this trek. The cool (at times maybe HOT) but not cold hill climate means you do not need to invest in a lot of gear. For attire, a quick dry t-shirt, trekking shorts and trail shoes with any light sweater for the night is sufficient! The comfortable homestays mean you do not have to lug a sleeping bag or sleep in a tent! The trek ends with a boat ride to the famous Inle Lake where you will get to spend a night before heading back to Yangon.

Training and Gear/Trekking Health Knowledge Sessions

To help you prepare for your first trekking adventure, we have included a training session and a gear/healthcare knowledge session prior to your trip.

The training session will cover all the basic trekking techniques on footwork, pacing, how to use the trekking poles etc.

The trekking gear/ healthcare knowledge session will cover the layering system, footwear, hydration and high altitude health concerns such as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) etc.

Ladakh Marathon 2017

ladakh-marathon1

Ace Adventure Expeditions – Exclusive Singapore Partner of Ladkah Marathon

We’re SO HONORED to be the exclusive Singapore partner of the Ladkah Marathon !!!

The 6 Edition in 2017  will be held on 10 September 2017.

The Ladakh Marathon is the highest and amongst the toughest marathons. The various races take place in and around Leh, the historic capital of Ladakh and offer runners the unique opportunity to run with local Ladakhis through the most beautiful landscape offering stunning vistas of mountains, rivers and valleys and will leave you with lifelong memories and a chance to say you ran the Ladakh Marathon !

Participants have the options to join these races:

7km Run

21.1km Half Marathon

42.1km Full Marathon

The Khardung La Challenge (71.12 km) – the Highest Ultra Marathon in the World! (9 September 2017)

The Importance of Acclimatization – Ladakh Marathon Packages

Unlike other marathons, the Ladakh Marathon requires you to arrive in Leh at least a week in advance to acclimatize for race day. You are running at 3500m above sea level so it is imperative that you’re acclimatized to the high altitude.

One of the best approaches to acclimatization is keep active. Hence, we have packaged with the races, a climb to the highest peak in the Stok Range – Stok Kangri (6153m), a scenic trek in Shang Valley and a tour with sight-seeing in Leh, rafting and visit the famous Pangong Lake before the race day.

Find out more about the Ladakh Marathon and the packages here : Ladakh Marathon

 

What is in store for 2017?!

Our adventure begins tomorrow but the planning starts today.

Time passes by so fast, we will soak into the last quarter of 2016 in just another 2 weeks. Have you wondered if your first half of 2016 had been fruitful ? In a blink of an eye, so fast does time fly.

While it is always nice to relive all those wonderful memories, we don’t forget to look forward.  We have scheduled our popular mountain climbing trips that you can look forward to participate. We have planned three trips specially catered to women-only under the Women On Mountain series, we also have 3000er, 4000er and 5000er scheduled treks that are suitable for both men and women.

To kick start 2017, we planned for a frozen river trek in India, Leh.

We have also scheduled a preview talk on Fri, 23 Sep at Campers’ Corner at 7pm.

chadar-preview-talk

Click the link below to go to other specific destinations.

Anyone looking at “upgrading” their trekking resume by advancing to higher elevation and more challenging treks, we have planned for twin peaks (two peaks in a single trip) challenge accompanied by a trip leader:

Or single peak above 5000m (treks or ice/snow terrain) accompanied by a trip leader:

Some of you may want a little more demanding in technique and skills, these two peaks offer suitable fulfilling challenge:

 

Women on Mountains

We love our men, and enjoy every bit of their companionship when in the outdoors. But (there is always a but) on some occasions, women only activities are appealing. Women understand women, and women together can be very encouraging. We like to see each other doing well and as a group this can prove to be a great advantage when trying to reach a goal.  Women on Mountains aims to provide a platform to encourage women to challenge themselves through mountain climbing, at the same time, to raise awareness and fund for a women’s cause.

Join us on Sun, 16 Oct at SCWO (96 Waterloo Street) from 2pm to 6pm. We have invited our past female participants to share about their extraordinary journey to scale Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Elbrus, and trekking to the Everest Base Camp. To RSVP, email us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg

wom-tea-talk-16-oct-2016

 

If you think that 2016 is moving real fast, then think about 2017, you blink and it will be gone in no time. Plan ahead so that when 2017 comes, you are all ready to embrace it.