Taiwan – Twin Peaks Yushan + Xueshan Trek
Twin Peaks Challenge
It is possible to scale 2 or multi-peaks at one go in some destinations, given adequate time and preparation. Our Twin Peaks Challenge put together scaling 2 peaks in one itinerary. These twin peaks are picked where the ground logistic can be easily arranged and the duration of the entire trip does not stretch too long.
Jade Mountain / Yushan
Taiwan has more than 100 mountains exceeding 3000m with the highest being Yushan Main Peak (Jade Mountain) standing at 3952m. Yushan Range and the surrounding mountains are part of Yushan National Park. The national park is Taiwan’s largest, highest and least accessible national park; it is just next to the famous Alishan National Scenic Area in the central mountains of Taiwan. It contains the largest tract of wilderness remaining in Taiwan and is also valued for its pristine forests and faunal diversity, including many endemic species.
Yushan has 5 peaks, namely North, South, East, West and Main, and can be accessed from Tatajia or Dongpu. Most trekkers head for the shorter and quick 2-day trek from Tatajia to the Main Peak and back to Tatajia, skipping the rest of the peaks and Dongpu. For the super fit and fast, it is possible to attempt a 1-day ascend. Then, there are those who opt for a 3-day trek for a more leisurely and comfortable pace, spending an extra night in Paiyun after the summit, and, if time permits, to explore the West Peak.
Snow Mountain / Xueshan
Xueshan (Snow Mountain) is the second highest mountain in Taiwan; it is 66m lower than the more popular Yushan (Jade Mountain). It is also one of the “Hundred Peaks” (百岳) identified by Taiwanese as great mountains of Taiwan. The main peak stands at 3886m. It offers fantastic views of the Shei-Pa National Park and the nearby mountains on clear days. As an icon in Shei-Pa National Park and rather friendly to hikers, Xueshan has attracted many trekkers from all over the world. The peak is located on the boundary of Miaoli and Taichung; it will be easier to reach if from Yilan.
Xueshan is a little lower than Yushan but considered a tougher peak to climb. There are two cabins on the trail. The first, Qika Cabin, is located at the 2.0km mark and the second, 369 Cabin, is at the 7.2km mark. Both cabins are more basic and bare than the newly renovated Paiyun in Yushan. There’s only one trailhead (2140m) where your permits are inspected. Other than the two cabins, Xueshan is known for three prominent spots – the “Crying Hill” at the 4km mark with steep ascent to the ridge; the “Black Forest” where tall alpine trees provide a shield against sun light to the forest; and finally the cirque valley above the treeline that opens to an alpine environment. In May and June, the alpine slopes are covered with red and white flowers. Snow can be seen in the winter months between December and February making the climb harder.
About the Climb
The Yushan and Xueshan Twin Peaks journey will take you from Taipei Taoyuan airport to Dongpu before the start of 2D/1N Yushan trek. After a 1 day rest, you will travel to Wuling region to start the 3D/2N Xueshan trek.
The approach to Yushan is the Tatajia route. From the start point at Tatajia Saddle (2610m) to the Main Peak (3952m) is a total distance of 10.9km. Day 1 of the trek is a 8.5km walk to Paiyun Cabin (3460m). You will spend the night at Paiyun Cabin. At pre-dawn, you will climb 2.4km from the Cabin to the Main Peak to catch the sunrise view. This last 2.4km to the Main Peak is a bit of a scramble on rocks. There may be strong wind, especially at the last stretch, famously known as the wind tunnel. After catching the sunrise, descend to Paiyun Cabin for a quick brunch. After the brunch, pack up and retrace the route back to the start point of the trek at Tatajia Saddle and transfer to Dongpu. The following day, transfer to Wuling farm region to prepare for the Xueshan trek.
There’s only one trailhead to Xueshan. From the trailhead of Xueshan, you will trek 7.2km to 369 Cabin. Before arriving at the 369 Cabin, it is possible to trek to the summit of Xueshan East Peak (if time and weather permit) then trek another 2km to 369 Cabin. The pre-dawn trek from 369 Cabin to the Main Peak is 4km. On the return journey from the Main peak, you will go through the “Black Forest” (黑森林) in daylight. This ancient forest of tall arrow-like firs is stunningly beautiful, especially in winter when snow often covers the forest floor. After the summit, stay another night in 369 Cabin. The following day, retrace the route back to the trailhead and transfer to Taipei.
It is possible to trek in Taiwan all year round. However, it is advisable to avoid the typhoon season (July to September). In winter to early spring (late December to March), there is usually ice and snow near the summit, making the climb more challenging. The Yushan National Park is typically closed during and after a typhoon.
The popular trekking seasons are:
- Spring (March-May)
- Autumn (October-November) and
- Winter (December)
Good to have below 3000m trekking experience. You will be trekking for two days on Yushan and 3 days on Xueshan with a 5-6kg backpack load. The trek to Paiyun Cabin and 369 Cabin are moderate to steep slopes with a few narrow sections. The Yushan summit trail has steep narrow rock sections. Snow and ice can be expected during the winter months till early spring. There may be a need to use crampons or snow cleats during the winter months from January to March.
Equipment and Gear
You can wear a light weight thermal top or trekking shirt and trekking pants for the trek to Paiyun Cabin and 369 Cabin . In the evening and for the summit trek, a thermal set, an insulating layer (a fleece jacket and down jacket) and an outer shell jacket are needed. Bring rain gear and waterproof your backpack. A down sleeping bag is also needed and provided.
A recommended packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to learn about the layering system and choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.
- Group size: 8 - 15 people
- Permits need to be applied 4 months in advance. Register by 5 Aug 2017 for 9-16 Dec 2017 trip / 5 Aug 2018 for 8-15 Dec 2018 trip
- The Twin Peaks trip is part of our annual Mountain Climbing Challenges event. To promote mountain climbing and to encourage people to challenge themselves physically and mentally, we have initiated and introduced a few mountain climbing challenges into our calendar each year. These Mountain Climbing Challenges trips are accompanied by a team leader. To read more, click on this link: Mountain Climbing Challenges
- You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Day||Desctiption||Meals||Altitude At Rest Point|
|D1||Arrive in Taipei. Flight arrival before 1pm.|
Transfer to Yilan
|D2||Transfer to Xueshan trail head. Trek to 369 Cabin.||B/L/D||3100m|
|D3||Summit trek - Xueshan Main Peak (3886m). Descend to 369 Cabin||B/L/D||3100m|
|D4||Descend to trail head. Transfer to Yilan||B/L/D||1900m|
|D5||Transfer to Dongpu (Rest day)||B/L/D||1200m|
|D6||Transfer to Tatajia Visitors’ Center (2610m). Trek to Paiyun Cabin.||B/L/D||3402m|
|D7||Summit trek (Yushan Main Peak, 3952m). Descend to Tatajia Visitors’ Center (2610m).Transfer to Taipei||S/B/L||346m|
* Itinerary is dependent on the trekking permit approval. We may make slight adjustment to the itinerary e.g. trek to Yushan first then followed by Xueshan.
- Return airport transfers in Taipei
- All land transfers as in itinerary
- Meals as indicated in itinerary
- Twin/Triple sharing accommodation in city
- Mountain hut - dormitory beds
- Camping equipment: Sleeping bag; snow-cleats (if needed)
- Trek support: Trekking guide (s)
- Permits & Fees: Conservation, National Park fees and permit
- Taiwan insurance on rescue fee by land transfer. Helicopter evacuation is handled by the states.
- 1 x Ace Adventure Expeditions trek leader
- International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
- Visa Fee (if any).
- Single Supplement
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- All tipping
- Personal porters
- Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agent insolvency and trekking up to 4000m)
- Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
- Personal travel & trekking gear – warm clothing, shoes, backpacks etc
- Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
- Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items etc)
- Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
Support from Ace Adventure Expeditions
We provide pre-trip support to prepare you for the climb:
1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Training guideline kit
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)
We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone. Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in Taiwan, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture and are trained in wilderness 1st aid and emergency rescue.
Training: Regardless of your level of fitness and physical conditions, it is advisable to train prior to embarking on a trekking or mountain climbing trip.
Pure cardiovascular fitness is NOT enough.
Focus your training effort in the following areas, assuming that you are in good health and injury-free:
- Climbing conditioning – stairs and load training.
- Cardio training - Jogging/running and interval training like CrossFit or HIIT.
- Strength training for the lower body, shoulder, back and core
- Flexibility training - eg: Yoga and stretching exercises
A good three to four months of training would be a good preparation for this trek.
A recommended training guide specific to the trek or climb will be given to you upon signing up.
Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trek.
Refer to our Training Guide for tips on trekking and mountain climbing training.