This article will give you information on how to climb Jade Mountain Taiwan.
Climbing Jade Mountain (also called Yushan-Chinese: 玉山; pinyin: Yùshān ) has become a “must do” for both Taiwanese locals and visitors alike. The Yushan National Park has created a well laid out system or trails, maps, markers, food, lodging, and a permit system to allow more hikers to experience this great hike and peak the highest mountain in east Asia.
Jade Mountain consists of 11 mountain peaks with the highest, the Main Peak standing at 3952 meters. Other peaks include 4 South Peaks, North Peak, North North Peak, West Peak, Front Peak and East Peak. All of these peaks are over 3,000 meters and are part of Taiwan’s 100 mountain list.
Mt. Jade receives its name due to the fact that during the winter season, Jade Peak is often snow capped with thick snow which makes the entire peak shine like stainless jade.
How to Climb Jade Mountain – Step by Step
Some Basic Information on How to Climb Jade Mountain
The first thing to know about how to climb Jade Mountain is that it’s only a moderately difficult trek. It isn’t very steep except for the final ascent. The total elevation climb goes from 2,600 meters at the Tatajia Saddle to 3,952 meters at the peak. The distance is 8.2 kilometers to the Paiyun Lodge and then an additional 1.2 kilometers to the peak. The trail is very well laid, out, mostly gradual, and easy to walk on. This is a major reason why many Taiwanese and visitors are able to make it to the peak regardless of their hiking experience.
How to Climb Jade Mountain:Getting Permits- Park and Police
Hikers need 2 permits to enter and climb any mountain in Yu Shan National Park. One permit is the mountain permit from the Yu Shan National Park office and the other permit is from the local police station. Both checkpoints for each permit are at the entrance to the park at the Tatajia Saddle. It now appears that after you get the Yu Shan National Park permit to climb, they will also give you the police permit in the email notification.
Getting the mountain permit can be tricky. Yu Shan National Park has an English website, and if all goes well, you can apply and get your permit. The site has a step by step description of the process to get the permit. You will need an ARC or passport, emergency information, and proof that you have experience climbing high peaks. This includes uploading a photo and date of your ascent. However, if you go with a group and a guide, you won’t need this proof. Be aware that climbing Jade Mountain has become very popular and getting a weekend booking at the Paiyun Lodge (limits 92) can be hard to get. Better to be part of a group.
Weekdays have fewer applicants.If you have a foreign passport, you may have a better chance of getting a bed. The park sets aside 24 spots for foreign passports from Mondays to Thursdays. You can apply 4 months in advance but decisions are made (by lottery) 30 days beforehand. You can check the website and you will also receive an email to see if you were accepted. Click on the link below for more information on the Jade Permit…
It appears now that hikers who have applied and gotten permits for the national park automatically receive the police permit via email. This saves a lot of hassle for non Chinese speaking visitors.
When you do get this, print out 3 copies to bring with you and you’ll be good to go.
Print 3 copies of each permit-Book your meals at Paiyun Lodge
Once you receive your permit, you can print it out 6 days before your hiking date. Bring 3 copies of each permit with you as you will have to give them to the police and park office at the trail head.
Also, you can book your meals for Paiyun Lodge 1 week before by filing out a form and sending it to the email on the website. If you need a sleeping bag, you can order it at this time as well.
Pictured below, the police and national park checkpoints. Getting a permit is important. There is a record of
your entrance to the park. In addition, there is insurance from the park if you need to be rescued or helicoptered out. If something unfortunate happens and you don’t have a permit, it could mean a big fine and
additional rescue charges.
Can’t get a permit? &…1 or 2 Day Trek Options
If you can’t get a permit yourself, the best way to get up Jade is to go with a organized group. Every city has groups that take Jade trips and usually there is information online or at camping/recreation stores.
Blue Skies Adventures has English speaking guides who can apply for permits and bring hikers up Jade (and other peaks) several times a year.
If you are opting for a 2 day trek up Jade, you will need to apply 30-45 days in advance. This is because you will stay one night in the Paiyun Lodge which has limited bunk space and will prepare food for you. If you don’t have a reservation, you can’t get in.
One day permits are easy to obtain. You only need to apply 7 days or more in advance. It is a long day to the top and back, but very doable. You can’t stay in the Paiyun Lodge with a 1 day permit. 1 day permits also allow trekkers to climb some of the other peaks in Yushan National Park.
Where to Stay the Night Before-Dongpu Lodge
Now that you know the basics on getting started on how to hike Jade Mountain, we can get into the fun part.
It is recommended you start your hike at the Tatajia Saddle early morning. Weather can change in the afternoon as fog or rain showers can roll in. Morning in the Taiwan mountains is always best.
Along route 18 up to the Tatajia Saddle are many guesthouses catering to the Alishan visitors. You can stay there .The closest place to stay in the Dongpu Lodge which is just below the entrance to the hike. Dongpu Lodge is a bunk house with 3 rooms of barracks and a bathroom. They provide bedding. You can also order dinner and breakfast there. Call in advance to book once you have your permits. Google Map of Dongpu Lodge.
If you stay at Dongpu Lodge, you can get an early start.
Tatajia Saddle to Paiyun Lodge- Starting the Climb
Another important aspect of knowing how to climb Jade Mountain is organizing your night before and start time.
Hikers will be up before dawn and ready to go at the Tatajia Saddle. The Tatajia Saddle is on Route 18 which is the road that takes you past Alishan. Route 18 begins right off the exit on National Highway 3. The Tatajia entrance is about 20 minutes farther up the mountain past Alishan. There is plenty of parking and bathroom facilities to prep for your hike. Some groups will arrive here in the middle of the night, set up tents in the parking lot, and then get up at sunrise to enter the park.
The road starts out as pavement and leads up to the permit checkpoints. (See above.) Give your permits to the police station and then the park station. If you are super early and the officers are not awake, you can leave your permits in the post box in front.
Walk or Shuttle to Trailhead
From the police and park station, there is a 1.8 km paved walk to the actual trailhead. Most people these days opt to take a van shuttle there and back. It costs 100NT. They start the shuttle at 7am and the last one is 5:00pm from the trailhead back. Taking the shuttle is definitely easier on the knees and legs, especially on the way out. If you are too early or too late, you have no choice but to walk the road.
However, the road has pretty views , a beautiful old tree, and restrooms. Signage is ample and clear.
Hiking the trail to Paiyun Lodge
Once arriving at the trailhead, hikers can take some nice photos of the Yushan Mountain range and begin the 8.2 kilometer trek to Paiyun Lodge where most will stay the night. The walk usually takes hikers 5-8 hours depending on the weather and your fitness.
On clear days, the views are stunning and it’s no wonder why everyone wants to hike here. The trail starts with a semi-steep switch back, but once at the top, it becomes a gradual climb.
Pictured below, a rest stop for Dr. Monroe who fell off the ridge many years ago and died. A water less bathroom which smells terrible.
The trail to the lodge is well maintained and easy to follow. It slowly rises up to 3,400m through lovely forest. Keep your eye out for small mammals like the marmot.
Paiyun Lodge-1 Night Stay
Once you have reached Paiyun Lodge, hopefully mid afternoon, you can relax your legs, take a nap, and have a meal. Food is prepared for the evening at set times. Hikers are given a bunk assignment. There are bathrooms to freshen up as well.
Be aware here of altitude sickness. It happens to hikers. Headaches, vomiting, nausea are the signs. Drink water and rest. If things get very serious, vomiting usually is, it is best to head down in the morning and abort the peak attempt.
Hikers will go to bed quite early because most will be up at 2:00 am to start the final 2 hour ascent to the peak. This will give most people ample time to see the sunrise on a clear day.
The Final Ascent To the Peak of Jade Mountain- Head Lamps Needed
If you want to see the sunrise, it’s well worth it, you need to leave Paiyun no later than 2:30am. It will be cold and dark, so hikers need to use their head lamps to navigate up the treacherous and narrow path. The path is cut into the side of the mountain so it sometimes resembles loose shale. There are usually many people so you may have to wait or let others pass by.
This portion of the hike is 1.5km and could take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your fitness.
As Paiyun Lodge is usually full every night (100 people), you won’t be hiking alone. So just follow the line of head lamps up. Again, leaving early is the best to get ahead of the crowds.
Final Approach- Bring Gloves
The final 50 meters are very steep. You will need gloves to hold onto metal chains and pull yourself up. It is the most daunting part of the hike, however, the peak is only minutes away. It could be windy, foggy or rainy. Warmth is important here. Keep those fingers warm.
On the Peak
Once at the peak, enjoy the view and fresh air. There is a stone marker where everyone poses to show their evidence of the ascent.
Congratulations, you made it!!! East Asia’s highest peak. I hope this article has given you some information on how to climb Jade Mountain.