Sep 20, 2008

The Great Wall of China

If I never see another stair in my life... it will still be too many. The Great Wall of China at Badaling was easily, step-for-step, every bit as hard as any of the high passes on the Grand Teton's crest trail. It was brutal! the roads went straight up in parts and they would only put stairs once they past a 45 degree or so climb! it was just unreal.
The wall was just like you'd imagine- long, immense, crennelated, winding, awesome.

I took the bus all by myself to BaDaLing. (finding the bus station and the right bus in broken chinese was an adventure in itself). It was like an hour long ride and pretty comfortable actually. Way better than many I rode in Argentina. The views of the mountains were amazing! I never really thought about China having such totally amazing mountain ranges.
It was foggy when I got there in the morning. But it cleared up quickly and got way HOT. I was sweating buckets! People thought I was sick, none of them were sweating near as bad as I was!

There were guard towers ever two arrow shots apart so it was defendable at any point and occasionally there was a fortress like the one below.

This was the highest point on the BaDaLing Wall. By this point I looked like a sweaty pig- and it only got worse as the day went on, much much worse.

the downhills were almost worse than the uphills

This one's for Janae...

For your sakes I just collaged a bunch too. In this set you'll see a portion of the wall that they didn't build because... if you could spiderman across that cliff- you could easily climb the wall. You'll also notice a green tunnel looking thing going up the mountain. That was a little bumper-car thing you could ride up. Wish i'd seen that before I climbed the 10 trillion stairs on my own. Later I found a tram that went up too- unbelievable.

Incredible views. even in the morning haze.

in this collage you'll see me with a big group of chinese kids. I was just takin my lunch break on an abandoned part of the wall just eating an apple and reading my book when these kids came by. They were so excited to see an American they all wanted to take a picture with me. It was pretty fun. Everyone is so friendly.

More stunning views of China's mountains and the wall that criss-crosses them.

In this collage there's a picture of a war machine the mongols would use to get over the wall. And there's a picture of me blasting the camera with a Hadouken- I was supposed to be in the air for the picture, but the guy took the picture too late. also I got a picture of the wall where they haven't restored it, it's still in pretty darn good shape, but many of the crenellations have been broken

This was great. And did I mention they had random bear pits full of hungry bears? People were chucking food at them and the bears were roaring so loud I could hear them clear up on the mountain.

Crazy chinese tick I saw on the wall...

The climbs were seriously like a roller coaster! Way up and then way down. It was so steep in many places that people were literally crawling up hands and knees and when they had to go down they turned around and went backwards crawling!

Near the ends the wall was very empty of tourists too. You had to walk a long way though!

The whole trip was super long. It took me 7 hours to hike the whole length and back (with a long relaxing lunch reading a book)

A view of about a third of the wall I walked...

Epic steepness...

From near the top...


  1. How is it that my legs are so sore after watching that video? You are one tough dude. I am happy to be able to catch Kevin when he takes off down the street. Thats about the scope of my mountain climbing.