If you've come here from YouTube, welcome! It's funny how life goes. At one point I was working on this website every day to try and make it into something that could sustain my life. That dream was shattered when I broke up with my previous girlfriend, who features heavily throughout the site. These days I'm following a different path.
No words can describe the feeling of overcoming the windstorm we faced better than the film we made. Suffice to say it was the greatest challenge I've faced on a mountaintop to date. The fog, wind, altitude and our heavy backpacks were a potent cocktail.
The views on Cangshan are sublime. There are characteristic zones that you pass through at different elevations which keep the hike full of excitement and magic. Nothing beats the feeling of looking down at Dali and Cangshan, 2400m below. it's quite a drop.
Winter conditions on the mountain are remarkable and I would love to have the experience and knowledge to come back in the heart of winter one day and see what wonders await. I'm sure it's a land not witnessed by many.
Cycling or Taxi from Dali Ancient Town is the best option. There are flights or trains to Dali. Then bus 8 runs to the old town.
Good map reading skills are required for this hike. Weather can change quickly (as evidenced in film!) and low cloud is common on the mountain.
A rough guide is as follows...
The trailhead is found at the end of the road at a small temple. Just past the temple to the right is a small path leading to a river that must be crossed. The trail proper begins from here.
Don't make the mistake of following the river too far. You need to break off from the trail to the right and head into the forest.
The forest paths are winding and criss-crossing in nature. Keep track of your compass bearings.
Eventually the forest recedes a little and views begin opening up. You'll reach an abandoned quarry at around 3200m elevation and then enter bamboo thickets.
The path through the bamboo is overgrown and rugged, but navigation is straightfoward. Just follow the trail.
The trail leads up into an old growth cloud forest and a few lakes. You can choose to camp before you reach the forest or push on higher. There are plenty of campsites around the lakes but it's quite exposed.
Day two: The path becomes much more rocky and there are a couple of steep sections to push through till the first summit.
Once on the ridge, navigation is easy but it's difficult to keep track of which ridges are which due to the insufficient detail on the map.
Keep on till either the TV tower or the cablecar plateau.
If you choose to descend from the TV Tower, the path is simple - just keep track of the turn offs.
If you push on, I think the way must be very clear near the cablecar as it's very developed.
You can get the cablecar down if it's running (Stops between 4:30-5:30 depending on season (as of 2020) or there is a direct route down from near the cablecar.
If you're planning to make your way to Malong Peak then you'll require another overnight camp near the plateau because of cablecar logistics/descent. There aren't camping option on the ridge, so you would have to descend to lower ground to camp if you don't make it to the cablecar area in time.