Ascent of Lantau Peak on 2015-08-06

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Thursday, August 6, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Lantau Peak
    Location:Hong Kong
    Elevation:3064 ft / 933 m

Ascent Trip Report

Climbed during a 10hr layover at HKG airport. I climb from the NW (Po Lin Monastery) and descend the southeast ridge, making a traverse.

No visa needed for uk/eu residents although one is needed for some nationalities. Arrived in HKG T1 mid morning, some minor repacking then very short walk following signs to T2, to Left Baggage which is on level 3 in orange corridor near the road. 14 Hkd per hour for my one hold bag: I guessed 4 hours which was very nearly correct but payment is on collection based on actual time; they gave me the 3 minutes overrun without charging an extra hour. Total cost about 5 Gbp

Then with just a day pack, short walk to taxi rank. Plenty of urban taxis waiting but the Lantau taxis rank was empty: had to phone the number on the sign. I share a taxi with a flight attendant who is heading home, so a longer route but saves a little cost: would be about 200 Hkd direct to Ngong Ping (Po Lin Monastery) which is the northwest trailhead.

Cheapest way to Monastery is bus from airport to Tung Ching terminus then change for Ngong Ping (Po Lin Monastery) bus. There's also a cable car but this can involve a long wait I'm told; not sure it was even operating when I was there.

Arriving at Po Lin Monastery, I just walk straight ahead into the site (no entry fee) towards the obvious higher mountain (not the lower one to the left): there are intermittent signs for Lantau Peak. Trail to the peak (signposted) starts at an imposing arch (as per photo on SummitPost) and takes a fairly direct steep line, initially fairly level but mostly consisting of steep steps.

Weather hot (30C) and sunny with very little breeze. I'd had hardly any sleep on the flight from the UK and find it quite tough, taking a few short breaks, about an hour to the summit. Route reaches a ridge a little before the summit, with suddenly a nice view of the south coast and surrounding small islands.

Summit has a damaged cylindrical trig pillar (not a standard design: maybe the Ordnance Survey had no involvement around here) and a couple of bolt type markers. A small stone built roofed shelter offers nice respite from the sun. A few large butterflies: several looking like White Admiral; some impressive large black Swallowtails. Fine views, of neighbouring peak and other islands; birds eye view of the airport, which was built in 1998 at the time of the handover from UK to China.

A local hiker is starting down the south east ridge and says there is a twice hourly bus service from where it reaches the road. I decide to follow him down: more steps, a few short uphills. Bus stop right at the point where the trail reaches the road. This turns out to be easier than getting a taxi back from the monastery, also a lot cheaper.

Note (1) although it's a proper bus stop, you have to flag the bus down - it nearly drove past me. (2) have to tender exact change - I paid Hkd 10 for a Hkd 6 fare (but still only 1 Gbp which is less than I would pay in UK for a short bus ride) - luckily I have some small denomination notes. I imagine someone on the bus would have helped out with change if needed.

I take the bus to the Tung Ching terminus. After a few minutes in the hot sun looking for the airport bus I give in and take one of the waiting taxis, a short 45 Hkg ride. Back at T2, I pick up my bag 4h03 after I'd left it.

I'm told I was lucky with weather: it's often rainy, and had been up until a couple of days before my arrival. The forecast checked before leaving home correctly predicted fair weather.

I'm back at the airport in plenty of time for my 8pm flight to Papua New Guinea which is the main focus of this August trip. The next peak will hopefully be Mt Boising in about a week's time.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail

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