Going to go on a hike on Great Wall on Saturday.   Sounds touch – so it will be a good baseline to see how I do.  I get can elevation gains and drops and can profile that against EBM trip to figure out how it compares, and also to check my progress over time.

Saturday May 1st, 2010

280RMB per person; Bus leaves from Lido Starbucks at 8:00am; return approx 6:00pm     (Make a reservation.)

Midway through this tough hike the wall doubles back on itself in a sharp switchback, and that’s not the only interesting feature in this section of the Great Wall. We will also see the difference in style of the embrasures produced during original construction by the different villages close by to this section of the wall, and take some steep climbs up and down the swooping stretches of the wall as it climbs and descends steep ridgelines.

Hike information

Distance: 8.5km
Walking time: 4-5 hours
Highest point: 1,200m
Start height: 733m
Finish height: 665m
Total ascent: 1,024m
Total descent: 1,038m
Location: Yanqing District
Travel time: 2 hours each way
Level of difficulty: 4

We’ll begin in a valley at the literal end of the road, and soon start the climbing: a steep scramble over rocks and bricks towards the first tower. After following the wall up further we’ll take a detour along the ridgeline to reach a very skinny and tall tower with no obvious point of entry.

From there we’ll inch down a narrow and dangerous trail, before heading up again along a steep path to continue along the Great Wall.

After more climbing up and down we’ll get to the switchback part of the wall, and continue a little further before stopping for a lunch break at the highest point on the walk. Just behind a nearby hill is a rundown radio tower, accompanied by a tiny hut.

From the lunch spot we’ll continue to follow the wall, making some extended descents and ascents as we head for a more accessible stretch of this section of the Great Wall. Far below we’ll be able to see the road we drove in on. After a steep stair climb we’ll reach a tower that doubles as a shop during peak season – there was no one there last time we visited, but we noticed the signs, a bench, and a sign that read “1 Kuai to use” a shaky ladder which is now the only way to enjoy the view from the top of the tower.

On the east side of the tower is a trail that leads down to a local park and guesthouse; we’ll continue along the wall to the west, taking a few hillside detours around dangerous spots until we reach the trail that will lead us back down to the valley and the bus.