[Photo Blog] Letting it Go in Hong Kong’s Winter Wonderland -Part 1

24 January 2016, one of the coldest January days in Hong Kong, few friends and myself headed up to the Lantau Peak via the North Heaven Gate. On nice sunny day, this route is not for the fainthearted, but on the day like that it presented extra challenges that we didn’t quite expected.

This is part 1 of the story with lots of pretty pictures. In part 2, there will be some of the videos  that I took with my GoPro.


 

In the morning, we met up at Tung Chung MTR with all of us were decked out with serious hardcore winter clothing readied for the big chill.

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Starbucks was our saviour. We met up in the cafe near the station to get some warm drinks.

Not long we headed into the hills, we saw icicles forming on trees. That was about 100m from the sea level. Seeing icicles forming on palm trees and banana trees were the weirdest experience ever.

I swear Princess Elsa just tuned up one day and said hello to Hong Kong. The icicles on the trees probably served as pretty good warning signs as to what we were going to expect. But being a bunch of not-so-normal people, we didn’t think too much about it. Who on earth would go out there in these kind of conditions?

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Icicles forming on trees. Is that really Hong Kong?

 

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Someone suggested this was the entry point to the North Heaven Gate. Yes, seriously, one of us thought it was a good idea to stream trek up to the top. As a sensible bunch on this rare occasion, we decided to take another route. Otherwise we would really be knocking on the heaven’s gate!

The Climb to the North Heaven Gate

After looking at different options, we decided to take the normal route, which involved climbing and scrambling up to the top with our hands and feet.

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Now that’s the way to the North Heaven Gate. A slippery start, but manageable.
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This is something that any self-proclaim sane person would do on a Sunday.
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The crew took a selfie on top of a rock half way up the mountain. The climb was reasonable so far, but after this thing  got a bit more hardcore than our usual hike.

Saying Hello to Princess Elsa

So after the short break on the rock, we headed off to higher grounds, where we were exposed to stronger wind, sometimes horizontal hails and freezing rains too. At this point we saw icicles growing on the sides of the rocks and all the plants were coated with thick layers of ice as the direct result of freezing rain.

This was something that I would never imagine to be seeing in Hong Kong. It was truly a winter wonderland.

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The happy campers enjoyed the climb to the top

 

Summiting Lantau Peak

After some scrambling and lovely singing (or shall I say shouting) of Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman, we reached the very top of the Lantau Peak, which was literately covered in ice. Of course we took some picture

Final push to the summit – we just kept on going like mountain goats 

At the top temperature dropped to -5 deg C. With strong wind and freezing rain, it felt much colder than that.

We reached the top and this was what the emergency wind shelter at the top looked like. It was covered in inches of ice. Even our kits had a layer of ice on them.

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A few brave ones braced the wind and took a photo at the top to prove we had done it. Others were hiding in the shelter…

Have you been on a hike like that? What was your experience?

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