The Quads is the collective name for a group of high mountains adjacent to Snow Mountain. They enjoy views over to Snow Mountain and the spectacular Dabajian Mountain. The so-called Wuling Quads – four giant mountains in the area – Taishan, Pintian, Chryou and Kalayeh – all over 3000 metres and Pintian rises over 3,500m. Below I describe our ascent of The Quads in late 2015, having just climbed nearby Snow Mountain (see Snow Mountain).
Just as our ascent of Snow Mountain, we had a series of tough zigzags to ascend out of the valley, gentle at first as they climb up towards the Taoshan Waterfall, which we could see clearly in the distance. Soon though we were deep in the forest and climbing slowly and steadily up into the clouds in an arduous set of tight zigzags and to the junction where we knew we would find the path towards our first peak.
The first peak, Chryou, was a relatively short and easy scramble up a boulder scree slope, though still hard after such a long climb up out of the valley. The trail contours over rough terrain as it meanders from peak to peak, often requiring rope to ascend and descend the steeper sections. We then stayed at the remote, small cabin at Xinda. This was proper mountain hut territory, with only minimal facilities but, importantly, with a good water supply. Unfortunately we were back up in the cloud and with chilly rain. The next day we set off in the damp clouds to Pintian Shan. At 3524 metres, it is the highest of the Quads and required a steep descent (and subsequent ascent on the return) down ropes to reach it. Once down the ropes, there is a steepish clamber up to the peak itself.
Our final peak was Taoshan, which sits just above the nearby mountain hut. A torturous, but beautiful tail took us along the ridgeline took us past stunning Hemlock forests and steep crags.
The route is difficult, though clear. With some gaps in the clouds, we could see back down towards Wuling when we were not focused on clambering up and down ropes.
Here, on our last peak, we were blessed with sunshine and a glorious view back down to Wuling Farm. And then the long, winding descent all the way back into the valley and our last night back in the comfort of the Wuling National Hotel.