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Ascent of Tai Mo Shan on 2017-09-17

Climber: Douglas Harris

Date:Sunday, September 17, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Tai Mo Shan
    Location:Hong Kong
    Elevation:3140 ft / 957 m

Ascent Trip Report

Here is advice on how to climb the mountain if you have an 8-12 hour layover in Hong Kong while travelling somewhere else in Asia. Normally I don't write TRs, but figured that this insight could be useful for someone else on a tight timeline.

My plane from KL landed in Hong Kong at 12:30 AM in the dead of night. The "left baggage" dropoff station is in Terminal 2 and closes at exactly 1:30 AM; I just barely made it there in time. The price is 12 $HK per hour. I took a taxi to the trailhead off of Twisk Road. Make sure you have the peakbagger app on your mobile device because the taxi driver will have no idea where to stop. They will think that you are totally insane. The price was 300 $Hk (38 bucks american). Make sure that you also have the GPS tracks downloaded because the path is a bit tricky if you go at night. Eventually I joined up with the road that I could have been driven up if I were in more of a rush to summit. This road winds its way to the locked gate of the military installation. It is possible to follow previous trip reports if you want to get a slight bit closer to the true peak... but that would be wrong.

I made it down to Twisk Road a bit after 4 AM and there were no taxis or buses at that hour. Go at any other hour and it should be easy to jump on a bus. Instead I walked the ~6 km down to Tsuen Wan and had a leisurely Dim Sum that began at 6:30 AM. Unfortunately vegetarian options are EXTREMELY limited and most people in the restaurant struggled to speak culinary Mandarin. No chance of understanding a word of Cantonese for me! The airport train is easy to figure out from the station in Tsuen Wan, even for a whitey. I arrived at my gate 3 hours before the scheduled departure to Chicago.

CONCLUSIONS:
1) It is definitely possible to do the peak during an 8-12 hour layover. Even a 7 hour time slot might be adequate if you get dropped off a bit higher and you are not as slow and fat as this TR writer.
2) Going at night is a good way to do the summit
3) Don't get too scared by the wild pigs that roam the forest at night
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