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Badaling to Shanhaiguan Hike this summer

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  • Badaling to Shanhaiguan Hike this summer

    Hi friends,
    I am planning to hike the Wall from Badaling to Shanhaiguan. I will spend few months in China before, studying Chinese, and before heading home I want to see the wall. I chose Badalig-Shanhaiguan part because I've read it is the best preserved one and the views are amazing. I will be starting late May, and hope to finish by the end of June.
    Few questions to more experienced Great Wall hikers:
    1. How long do you estmate the hike would take? Supposing I walk around 30km/day. Are there any maps of this part of the wall, with the names of towns/villages I will pass by?
    2. Is it possible to resupply everyday? In the most remote parts of the Wall, how far from civilization will I be?
    3. Any advice on sleeping on the Wall? Should I take a tent if I want to sleep somewhere in the towers, or is sleeping bag enough?
    4. What kind of wheather should I expect in May-June season?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Oh, I meant Badaling, of course!

    Comment


    • #3
      I've hiked almost the whole wall between Badaling and Jiangjunguan which is maybe 10 per cent of what you want to do. Much of the wall between there and Shanhaiguan is similar.

      Based on my experience you should reconsider your plans.

      1. 30km a day is just about impossible. 10-15 is much more realistic and even that is hard going in places.
      2. It will be HOT. Like, 35C+
      3. No maps.
      4. No need for a tent.
      5. Resupply is possible most days but bear in mind that in many cases villages are AT LEAST several kilometers from the wall. So if you need water you can plan on adding a 2-3 km there and 2-3km back trip onto your day's walk.

      Our forum member Chinoook is presently on the section between here and Shanhaiguan - he's been hard at it every day for 3 weeks and has a support team (ie a driver who meets him at access points he has to bash his way down to).

      Wait until he gets back and can offer you some further guidance.
      If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
      Journeys, &c

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      • #4
        Wow, thank you so much! I will definitely contact him.

        Do you know where I can find some detaield maps of this area?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ula View Post
          Do you know where I can find some detaield maps of this area?
          Great Wall Guide for Android

          Maps and Mapping

          A good place to start.

          I'm curious why you picked Badaling for a starting point.
          Bryan

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          • #6
            Thanks Bryan, I will study the maps in detail.
            Why Badaling? Well, I knew I wanted to reach "the end" of the Wall (to be truly a man, in the words of Chairman Mao) and I was deciding between the western end and Shanhaiguan. From what I've read, the Ming dynasty wall is the most complete and well preserved, which allowes for continuous hiking. Also the climate would be more bearable than closer to the desert. Another factor is that I found more maps of this part of the Wall, and of the sections around Beijing.
            So what I wanted to have was a continuous hike (or as continuous as possible) on the Wall, with opportunities to go down to villages and towns to resupply and observe the lives of people. Duration: 2-3 weeks. Badaling was easy to pick.
            However, if you have any other suggestions I would really appreciate if you could share your ideas and tips!

            Comment


            • #7
              I think your plan of hiking to Shanhaiguan is good, assuming you are up for the difficulty and risk. But have a look at the map of the wall in the Beijing area, below. If you start at Badaling, you will be following an early Ming wall to the Jiankou area. This wall is less continuous than it appears on the map. Once you reach Jiankou, you will proceed to the east, missing a lot of the Huairou District wall to the west. An alternative would be to start around Lougquanyu, allowing you to cover more of the Huairou wall. If you only have a few weeks and you really want to have a chance of reaching Shanhaiguan without resorting to road walking, I would start closer to the goal. Like at Huangyaguan or at least Gubeikou. Just some thoughts. Any way would be a great experience, and a real challenge.

              Bryan

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              • #8
                Good point Bryan. It makes a lot more sense to start at Longquanyu. Getting from Badaling eastwards actually is very difficult because - despite what the trace shows - there is essentially no wall there at all. It would take a week probably just to get to Longquanyu from there. For example, the other day it took me & a buddy 90 minutes to climb a hillside (no path) just to reach the wall. The ground distance was under 2km. Obviously progress is faster than that (usually) on the wall, but for long sections between wall stretches you would need to deal with this kind of terrain, or drive around it (and think about how you are going to organise that).

                But you should also know that getting from Qinglongxia to Gubeikou cross country would also take several weeks. The wall is not as continuous along there as the red line makes it look. It can't be emphasised enough how tough the scrub and steep mountainsides are. The same is true for the majority of the red line on the Beijing-East Hebei border. You will definitely need road transport between, say, Heiguancun and Qiangzilu. And south of Qiangzilu the wall is gone again until around Jiangjunguan. You should download the forum trace, if you haven't already, and spend some time carefully examining it.

                Another point of interest is that Mao said 不到长城非好汉 which does not really mean what it's normally translated as: You're not a true man until you've climbed the GW". Unless I am mistaken, it came from the Long March and what it more accurately means is "if we don't reach the Great Wall, we're not good Chinese/men". They were, of course, heading from the south to the north, where the GW lies. Practically no-one, Chinese or foreign, bothers to translate it properly! That's my view of it anyway. I'm not that great at Chinese.
                If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                Journeys, &c

                Comment


                • #9
                  by the way I spoke with Chinoook yesterday at Shanhaiguan and he said they didn't average more than 10km per day out there. They walked from somewhere NE of Beijing along the wall down to Shanhaiguan, 30 days straight.

                  That should give you a good sense of how unrealistic it is to try to get from Beijing itself to Shanhaiguan in anything less than 6-8 weeks.
                  If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                  Journeys, &c

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Bryan and Bianfuxia, thank you so much for your valuable imputs! I will definitely review my plans and start more careful planning.

                    Btw, Bryan, the map you posted, where does it come from? I have problems accessing any maps of the Wall on my computer, I would be really grateful for any advice how I can download them.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ula View Post
                      Btw, Bryan, the map you posted, where does it come from? I have problems accessing any maps of the Wall on my computer, I would be really grateful for any advice how I can download them.
                      It's from Official Great Wall Forum maps

                      Bryan

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                      • #12
                        For the entire walk you need at least 2 month. I would never do it later than May. Just too hot and close to impossible. You by far underestimate the difficulties. It took me two years under much better conditions than yours. I also doubt you will find the way by yourself. At many places.


                        -chinoook
                        chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
                        chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
                        chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

                        The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

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