Emeishan – Elephant Bathing Pool Temple to Golden Summit

19 October 2009
Emeishan – Elephant Bathing Pool Temple to Golden Summit

We woke up at 7:30 am to a very cold day. For breakfast we had a
Chinese style chocolate pancake and eggs with tomatoes... we
eventually were able to push are cold bodies into motion and got
starting hiking by 9 am. To ward off the morning rain, we donned
these cheap plastic ponchos we received at the light show in Yangshuo.
The rain reduced to a very light Seattle type rain, so we decided to
take off the rain jackets, as it was much more comfortable without
them. Much to our chagrin, it started raining hard immediately
afterwards, soaking us before we could even think of putting the
ponchos back on. Already wet, we decided to hike on poncho-less
through the thick fog in which you couldn't see more than 10 meters
ahead of you.

After 1:30 hours, we made it to Taizi Ping, where there is a large
parking lot. For those tourists that are less adventurous, you can
take a 2 hour bus up to this point and then catch a cable car up to
the summit. Its very popular to see the summit, so the parking lot
was full of tourists. There is also a plethora of comfortable looking
places to stay here. At this point the temperature had dropped so
dramatically that Julia needed her rain jacket for warmth and I put
back on the plastic poncho.

We found that the first hour and a half hike up from 2070 to 2540
meters was not to bad, however, the last 500 meters from 2540 to 3077
meters was a killer. It was like we had passed through an oxygen
layer, where below there is plenty of oxygen and above the oxygen
levels drop significantly. It took us 1:50 minutes to hike from the
parking lot, up the trail (which was steep at first but thankfully
leveled out as we got higher) to the top. In total it took us 3 hours
20 minutes to hike from Elephant Bathing Pool to the summit. Despite
the short hiking time, we were more exhausted than after our 1st and
2nd day hikes (which were 4 hour 40 minute and 4 hour 20 minutes

When we reached the top we were tired, hungry, wet, and very cold.
The temperature at the top rages from 2 to 7 degrees Celsius (it felt
like being in Tahoe). We wondered around trying to find our hotel,
missing obvious signs written in English due to our state. Eventually
we checked in and notched the heater in our room to full and took a
much needed long hot shower. Feeling much better after a hot shower
and a snickers bar, we went in search of food.

We wandered down the hillside quite unwillingly but found signs
pointing toward a food court (which turned out to be the Golden Summit
Hotel Restaurant). We had chicken with peanuts and sweet and sour pork
and rice with two cokes and tea for 105Y (Entrees were roughly 30-50Y
each). There was a large group of Japanese tourists who were on tour
and also eating at the same hall. It was amazing to see the difference
in Japanese and Chinese tourists. Every single one of them was dressed
appropriately for the cold weather carrying backpacks in contrast to
the Chinese groups where half are wearing rented coats (20Y at the
summit with a 100Y deposit) and the rest in plastic ponchos. Most of
the Japanese were dressed better than us with one couple decked out in
a complete yellow North Face snowsuit combination. They also spoke
very softly. The Chinese waitress were singularly ten times louder
than the group of 30 Japanese speaking around the table combined.

- Scott