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Published: January 9th 2019
Things didn't quite go to plan. The plan was to go onto the mountain at Wunian temple and head up close to the Golden Summit to see the sunrise. Unfortunately we ended up going the wrong way and took the scenic route. I'm pleased we did as the hike up to Xianfeng temple was hard work but breathtakingly beautiful. The ice formations on the trees were like something from another world and we also got to see some of the wild Tibetan Macaques that live on the mountain. The ice made it very hard going and crampons are essential to prevent slipping and injuring oneself. It was 4.30 pm when we got to Xianfeng temple and I couldn't go on anymore as my legs were like jelly. We stayed in the monastery and also ate their too. The room was basic but we had electric blankets to warm the beds. The food was simple vegetarian fare and the toilets were clean.
After a difficult night's sleep, the beds were hard and my feet were a little cold, we were awoken at 6 am by the monks playing drums, banging cymbals and chanting their mantras. After a simple
breakfast of steamed bread, boiled eggs and rice porridge it was off to the Golden summit. It was a very hard and exhausting climb up to Elephant Pool temple with the pathway disappearing in parts due to rock falls but again the ice on the trees and vegetation were spectacular. We met very few hikers going the other way but we did meet some young Tibetan monks who all wanted to have their picture taken with me. They were cool guys all with fashionable sunglasses, hats and iPhones, but how they managed to walk through the freezing cold and ice in their robes baffles me. They told us they were from a Buddhist school in Aba, western Sichuan.
We finally made it to the Elephant Pool temple but due to lack of time and energy we were unable to hike up to the Golden Summit so we took the cable car. It would have been a real shame to have done all that walking without reaching the summit. How different at the top in bright sunshine with freezing cold winds. The view over the cloud sea was something to behold.
It has been an amazing couple of days hiking
up this venerated mountain and for most of it we haven't seen a soul. I'm sure in the warmer months it is difficult to move for people.
Enjoy the photos
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