Taiwan – Twin Peaks Xueshan + Yushan Trek

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  • Duration: 8 Days
  • Grading: 2B+
DETAILS
REQUIREMENTS
ITINERARY
PRICES & DATES
INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS
TRAVEL INFORMATION
PHOTOS

Xueshan-Yushan Twin Peak Challenge is our first Twin Peaks Challenge. With just an 8-day trip to climb the tallest and 2nd tallest mountains in Taiwan, this Twin Peaks Challenge has remained immensely popular over the years.  The relatively straight forward terrain make climbing the 2 x 3000m peaks together in 1 trip highly attainable, with adequate training and preparation. It  has constantly yielded high success rate.

Both Xueshan and Yushan are part of the “Hundred Peaks” (百岳), identified by Taiwanese as great mountains of Taiwan.

Jade Mountain / Yushan (玉山)

Yushan (Jade Mountain) is located in the central mountains of Taiwan and Taiwan’s largest national park – Yushan National Park. Yushan (Jade Mountain) is part of the impressive Yushan Range and comprises 5 peaks, of which Yushan Main Peak (3952m), is the highest and most prominent peak in Taiwan. The 4 other peaks are Yushan North Peak (3952m), Yushan South Peak (3844m), Yushan East Peak (3869m) and Yushan West Peak (3467m).

Yushan Main Peak, being the tallest in Taiwan and reachable in a 2-day trek, is hence, also the most popular. Many local and foreign trekkers climb it every year. Because of its popularity and a quota of 116 permits daily, the trekking permit, which is by ballot, is rather difficult to secure, especially for the weekends.

Snow Mountain / Xueshan (雪山)

Xueshan (Snow Mountain), the second highest mountain in Taiwan, is 66m lower than Yushan (Jade Mountain). It is part of the Xueshan Range in Shei-Pa National Park. The Xueshan Main Peak (3886m), located on the boundary of Miaoli and Taichung, offers fantastic views of the Shei-Pa National Park and the nearby mountains on clear days. As an icon in Shei-Pa National Park, Xueshan attracts many trekkers. A trekking permit, which is by ballot, is required to climb it. Though, lower than Yushan, Xueshan is tougher to climb but more scenic.

About the Climb

The Xueshan and Yushan Twin Peaks Challenge’s itinerary includes a 3-day Xueshan trek and a 2-day Yushan trek. We aim to climb Xueshan first, followed by Yushan. However, depending on the permit ballot outcome, there are times when Yushan is climbed first.

The Xueshan Main Peak’s trail starts at the ranger station trailhead (2140m) near Wuling Farm in Yilan. The entire trail from trailhead to the peak is 10.9km and, on most part, broad and clear. There are two cabins on the trail. The first cabin, Qika Cabin (2400m) is located at 2km and the second, 369 Cabin (3100m), is at 7.1km from the trailhead. 

We spend 2 nights at 369 Cabin. Day 1 of the trek to 369 Cabin (7-8 hours) starts with a 2km gradual ascent,  through pristine pine forests, to Qika Cabin. Beyond Qika Cabin, the trail opens up to stunning views of Nanhudashan (南湖大山) and the Hehuanshan (合欢山) range. The terrain changes to a long series of tough switchbacks, with the most famous one known as the Crying Slope. Xueshan East Peak is on the way to 369 Cabin. Should time and energy permit, trek to the East Peak summit before arriving at 369 Cabin. The climb from 369 Cabin to the summit (4km/3-4 hours) on day 2 starts close to dawn. The first part passes through a stretch of fir tree forest (Black Forest) to reach a giant hollow. This giant hollow is a glacial cirque formed by retreating ice fields. From the cirque, it is another 1km of uphill trek to the summit, along more switchbacks. After the summit, re-trace the steps back to 369 Cabin. The next day, on day 3, after a good night’s rest at 369 Cabin, descend all the way to the trailhead. 

Our 3-day Xueshan Main Peak Trek caters for more time for the summit trek. It allows for a later start time for the summit should the weather not be ideal. The summit attempt can be delayed to late morning since there is a full day buffer. There is also no rush to descend from the summit to leave 369 Cabin as soon as possible, in order to make the descent to the trailhead before dark. The more leisurely 3-day Xueshan trek also helps conserve energy and provide better acclimatization for the Yushan climb.

There is a rest day at Yilan after Xueshan, before heading to Dongpu to prepare for climbing Yushan.

Our Yushan trek is the 2-day trek to the Main Peak via Tatajia.

The Tatajia route is situated next to the famous Alishan National Scenic Area. The total distance from the start point at Tatajia Saddle (2610m) to the Main Peak (3952m) is 10.9km. Day 1 is a steady gradual uphill climb of around 6-8 hours, mainly in pristine pine forests, to Paiyun Lodge (3460m/8.5km). The climb from the lodge to the Main Peak’s summit starts at pre-dawn on day 2. This 2.4km from lodge to the summit involves a bit of a scramble on exposed, narrow and steep rocky terrain at the last stretch. Strong wind is a common occurrence on the summit trail, especially just before the last stretch, famously known as the wind tunnel. Most trekkers arrive at the summit within 2-3 hours, in time to catch the magnificent sunrise. After the sunrise, it is an arduous steep descend to the wind tunnel, before reaching Paiyun Lodge for a quick brunch, pack up and retrace the route back to the start point of the trek at Tatajia Saddle.

Trekking Season

It is possible to trek in Taiwan all year round. However, it is advisable to avoid the typhoon season from July to September. The trails are typically closed during and after a typhoon. Mid-May to June is the Plum Rain season which sees afternoon thunderstorms. In winter to early spring from late December to March, there is usually ice and snow near the summit, making the climb more challenging. Crampons or snow cleats will be required when there is ice and snow.

The popular trekking seasons are:

  • Spring (Apr-May)
  • Autumn (October-November)
  • Winter (early December)

Experience Required

This trek is graded 2B+.

Good to have below 3000m trekking experience. You will be trekking for  3 days on Xueshan and 2 days on Yushan and with a 5-7kg backpack load. At times, when there is a dry spell and water is not available in Xueshan mountain hut, you will be expected to carry drinking water for the trek, which can increase the backpack load to 8-10kg. Though hiring of porters is possible, the cost is high (about S$200/day/porter). Therefore, it is more realistic to train and be prepared to carry your own 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. Permits are only granted to trekkers with trekking experience to 3000m and above for January to March.

Equipment and Gear

You can wear long trekking pants with a quick dry t-shirt or trekking shirt (in spring or autumn) and a light weight thermal top (in winter) for the trek to 369 Cabin and Paiyun Lodge. In the evening and for the summit trek, a thermal set, an insulating layer (such as a fleece jacket and/or a light weight 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 packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page for information on the layering system and how to choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.

DAY DESCRIPTION MEALS
1

Arrive in Taipei. Flight arrival before 1pm. Transfer to Yilan.

Overnight: Yilan hotel (400m)

-/-/D
2

Transfer to Wuling Farm trailhead (2140m). Trek to 369 Cabin.

Overnight: 369 cabin (3100m)

B/L/D
3

Summit Trek-Xueshan Main Peak (3886m). Return to 369 Cabin.

Overnight: 369 cabin (3100m)

B/L/D
4

Descend to trailhead. Transfer to Yilan.

Overnight: Yilan hotel

B/L/D
5

Transfer to Dongpu.

Overnight: Dongpu hotel (1200m)

B/L/D
6

Transfer to Tatajia Visitors’ Center (2400m). Trek to Paiyun Cabin.

Overnight: Paiyun cabin (3402m)

B/L/D
7

Summit trek – Yushan Main Peak (3952m). Descend to trailhead. Transfer to Taipei.

Overnight: Taipei hotel

S/B/L/-
8 Depart Taipei B/-/-
DATES PRICE
5-12 Dec 2020 $1,180.00 (SGD)  / person
4-11 Dec 2021 $1,180.00 (SGD)  / person

Group size: 6 – 16 people

Permits need to be applied 4 months in advance. Register by the following dates:

1 Aug 2020 (5-12 Dec 2020 trip)
2 Aug 2021 (4-11 Dec 2021 trip)

Package prices for less than 6 people:

2 people: $2150 (SGD)  / person
3 people: $1720 (SGD)  / person
4 people: $1420 (SGD)  / person
5 people: $1270 (SGD)  / person

You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg.

Inclusions
  • Return airport transfers in Taipei (non-deductible if not utilised)
  • All land transfers as in itinerary (non-deductible if not utilised)
  • Meals as in itinerary
  • Boiled drinking water during trek
  • Accommodation:  Local 3-star hotels in Taipei, Yilan and Dongpu (twin/triple sharing). Non-heated mixed dormitory in 369 & Paiyun mountain cabins
  • Trekking gear: Sleeping bag and 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 state
Exclusions
  • International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Visa fee (if any)
  • Single supplement
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • All tipping
  • Climbing certificate
  • Personal porters
  • Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agency insolvency and trekking up to 4000m)
  • Personal expenses like shopping, laundry, etc.
  • Personal travel & trekking gear
  • Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items, etc.)
  • Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
  • Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
Pre-trip Support

1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Complimentary group training sessions
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)

Local Support

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.

Visa

Holders of ordinary passports issued by the following countries do not need a visa to enter Taiwan as long as their trip does not last longer than the visa-free period listed below.

Duration

Countries

90 days

Andorra, Australia* (effective till December 31, 2020), Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Eswatini*, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras*, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan*, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Island*, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, North Macedonia*(effective till March 31, 2025), Norway, Palau, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tuvalu*, the United Kingdom, the United States of America*,and Vatican City State.

30 days

Singapore, Malaysia, Belize*, Dominican Republic, Nauru*, St. Kitts and Nevis*, St. Lucia*, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

14 days

Brunei, Thailand and Philippines (to 31 July 2020)

For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit http://www.boca.gov.tw.

Money

Moneychangers do not proliferate in Taiwan like they do elsewhere. Hotels will change money for their guests, but banks are the most common option. For conveniences, change your currency at your local moneychangers (if the rates are relatively reasonable) or at the airport, when you arrive in Taiwan. ATMs are widely available at banks and convenience stores using the Plus and Cirrus networks, but may be subjected to daily or per transaction withdrawal limits.

Credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels, major retail outlets and mid-range to top-end restaurants/cafes. Small local retail or food stalls, like those in the night markets are highly unlikely to take credit cards.

Electricity

In Taiwan the standard voltage is 110 V. The standard frequency is 60 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of Type A which has two flat parallel pins or Type B which has two flat parallel pins and a round grounding pin.

Language

The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin. Mandarin is the language of instruction in Taiwan’s schools, and most radio and TV programs are broadcast in the official language as well.

Aside from Mandarin, 70% of the population who are ethnic Hoklo speak the Hokkien dialect of Min Nan (Southern Min) Chinese as their mother tongue. The aboriginal Taiwanese have their own languages too. Some elderly Taiwanese speak Japanese, learned in school during the Japanese occupation (1895-1945).

While majority of Taiwanese speak both their mother tongue and Mandarin fluently, most of them are unable to speak nor understand the English language, except some in the tourism industry or high-end hotels and restaurants.

Drinking Water

Water and ice served in restaurants are usually filtered tap water, which is generally safe. Water fountains in Taiwan always incorporate filters, and they can be found in practically every lodge or hotel as well as (for e.g.) larger museums and Taipei MRT stations. You can refill and reuse your bottles at these fountains. If you cannot find one or have a sensitive stomach and have no alternative to boiled water, buying bottled water is the best option. Never drink directly from the tap.

Tipping

Tipping is generally not practiced in Taiwan. Tipping in hotels is also not expected, with the bellman or porter being the exception. You should plan on tipping the hotel porter US$1 per bag and perhaps a little more at a higher end hotel. Full service restaurants typically impose a service charge and that is usually considered to be sufficient. Tipping is also not expected in taxis and drivers would usually return your change to the last dollar.

 

Travel Safety Advice

With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrests, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.

As with traveling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.

It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.

For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/eregisterportal/common/preLoginEregisterView.action.

 

Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.

 

Travel Immunization Advice

There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter Taiwan. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:

Hepatitis A

Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.

Hepatitis B

Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.

Rabies

 

Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.

Tetanus

 

Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.

Typhoid Fever

Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Influenza

A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.

For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.

For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:

Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx.