Visited Taiwan specifically and only to climb of Yushan (Jade Mountain), having also done Mt Fuji and Kinanbalu this year. Itinerary:
1. Arrive Taipei late Saturday, pick up hire car from terminal 2 and stay in local motel.
2. Sunday, leisurely drive over to the large free car park at base of the service road (no access for private cars), then wander up to the police station near tourist information centre to get police permit stamped. Hang around at the car park for rest of day. I slept in the car, but some bivvy, and there is also a bunk house.
* 3:00am Bottom car park 2600m
* 3:45am Tataka Saddle trail head
* 7:00am Paiyun Lodge 3400m, 12.6km (Permits checked)
* 7:20am Left lodge
* 9:10am Yushan Main Peak (玉山主峰), 3,952 m, 15.5km, 3952m
* 9:40am Left summit
* 10:30am Lodge
* 10:45am Left Lodge
* 1:00pm Tataka Saddle Trail head, got bus for last 3km to car park (100 TWD)
Drove to hotel at Sun Moon Lake
4. Tuesday, back to airport
Can prepare both permits online, and at no cost. Had first application turned down (mountain full, not many foreigners allowed at the weekend). You apply for the National Park Permit here….
The police permit part is done automatically I think (or maybe you have to click something) and was emailed to me a few weeks before travelling.
Note that you can only apply for the Park permit 2 months in advance, and you can only print it within 5 days of the date of the climb.
I climbed solo, and this was not a problem for the permit. It would have been more fun to climb in Jan or Feb under more wintery conditions, but not sure if allowed without more bureaucracy.
Snow and ice from Paiyun Lodge onward. Took crampons, and used them but only on the way down. You can do without as there are chains on all the steep parts, but it makes it safer and more relaxing if the ice is extensive. I climbed in December, which is the best month for clear skies and good visibility. Following link, weather at summit:
The one day permit process isn't actually that difficult, you just have to fill out an online form & attach a picture of yourself on top of another 3,000m mountain. It's free, and you receive the permit quickly and can then print it off in any 7-Eleven. To get to the trailhead I rented a scooter in Chiayi and rode up. You need to get to the park HQ/ranger station to register the day before your hike where you get your actual permit that you may have to show to rangers higher up on your summit day. There is a hostel in Tatajia (Dong Pu Lodge) very close to the Park HQ. Beautiful mountain with stunning views. A little bit of snow & ice on the final summit approach, but I did the hike in trainers. Taiwan is a beautiful country with really friendly people, one of my favourites out of all I've visited.
Hiked five separate times between 2010 and 2012.
Twice hiked over two days from the Tataja trailhead with an overnight at the Yuanfong camping area. One of these was a 'completest' hike bagging the front, north, south, west, east, and main peaks (前峰, 北峰, 南峰, 西峰, 東峰, 主峰) plus Dongxiaonan Shan (東小南山) over three days.
Three times climbed in one day, up and down. From Tataja trailhead to the summit and back is rigorous and excellent exercise. My best time from the beginning of the service road below the trailhead to the top was 3:56.
Yushan is not a difficult hike by any standard, and follows a very well groomed class 1 / class 2 trail to the summit. Some very mild scrambling is involved near the peak.
Taiwan boasts an abundance of excellent hiking terrain. Yushan always draws the most attention due to its being the highpoint, but I strongly recommend that anyone visiting Taiwan for hiking investigate more interesting, challenging, and scenic alternative to Yushan such as Nanhuda Shan (南湖大山), Chilai Shan (奇萊山), or Xue Shan (雪山). Feel free to PM me if you would like a link to my website, which has numerous trip reports and details.
I Started at the Tataka Saddle around 8am. I arrived at Paiyun Hut around 11am. At the hut, the police and mountain officials verify the permits carefully. The police tried to dissuade me from climbing due to extremely dangerous conditions. I was told that there was over a foot of ice. I did have to sign a paper and even notarize it with a fingerprint before they would finally allow me to continue the climb. Apparently a local climber died on March 7 or March 8.
Above the hut, there was light snow cover. The trees and shrubs were coated with ice but it was quickly melting due to the comfortable temperatures. The visibility was very bad but the route was obviously marked, mainly with chains that made a wonderful hand railing. The small signs which ticked off the distance every 0.5 kilometer, starting at the road, continued all the way to the summit. I returned to the hut 2 hours after heading off, then hurriedly made it back down to the road. My partner and I were back in Taipei for dinner.
Climbed with group from BTCO in Taipei. Beautiful mountain, easy climb. Paiyun hut uncomfortable but friendly. Perfect weather, stunning sunrise at dawn with Yushan's shadow in teh western sky. Line after line of mountains on all sides and seas of cloud. Truly fantastic - not even the shrieking Koreans could spoil the moment.