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Hi all, new member here. I plan on hiking the great wall for 60 days for charity!

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  • Hi all, new member here. I plan on hiking the great wall for 60 days for charity!


    Quick introduction. My name name is Ronnie. I'm a 40 year old male from Scotland living in Amsterdam. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis almost 15 years ago and since then have been extremely lucky to live pretty much symptom free.

    Anyway, I want to give something back and I thought tht I could do it by trying to raise money for MS related charity in the name of others who were diagnosed like me but have been less fortunate in terms of their health and physical well being. I'm not going to ask for donations here, but I do want some advice. I want to spend a full 60 days trekking the wall staying on it for as mush as I possibly can. I'd be very interested to hear where best to start, taking into consideration that I want to stick to the Ming dynasty sections of the wall and end at the ocean in Shanghaiguan.

    What will I need? What will I have to prepare for and any advice on the best places to stop to enjoy the local culture around the wall along the way.

    I plan on documenting the trip, so I'm going to fill it with as much as I can take in and hope that it will result in bringing awareness and hopefully some money at the end of it to donate to charity.

    Many thanks in advance!


  • #2
    An admirable goal to be sure. But it's so easy to underestimate what's involved in a long Great Wall trek. Do you want to walk continuously for 60 days and end at Shanhaiguan? That would imply starting somewhere in the Beijing area. But you would be far better off walking selected and well-known parts of the wall between Jiayuguan and Shanhaiguan with ground transportation in between. Either way you will need support, especially if your Chinese isn't very good.


    • #3
      Hi Bryan, I'm not underestimating it. I expect it to be a real challenge. 60 day's continuously would obviously be very tough, I'm planning on taking rest days every few days while stopping off along the way around the wall. And also, having a guide where necessary. I really want to fill as much of the 60 days with the wall though.


      • #4
        OK, if you want a continuous walk without ground transportation, I would just measure back about ten kilometers per walking day from Shanhaiguan and start there. You'll need good maps and a GPS prepared beforehand. But I would consider starting at Jiayuguan and walking several stretches along the entire Ming wall for a week or so each. That would be much more interesting.


        • #5
          I think that might be a better idea! I really appreciate the feedback though


          • #6
            This is a great and brave idea, so please don't consider Bryan's comments or the ones I am about to make to be "raining on your parade".

            But 60 days on the wall is an incredibly challenging undertaking. There was a Kiwi guy who tried it some years back, including as a fund raising activity, and he found it immensely difficult and also didn't raise a lot of money (I don't know why). He did complete a lot of the wall though never posted his trace so it's hard to know how much he actually did.

            We have two forum members, Chinoook, and OutOfNowhere, who have walked the whole wall from west to east and other bits besides. For them, it was an epic challenge and they speak Chinese, in Chinoook's case is also a Wall expert, and were ably supported daily by Chen Huai who has a vehicle. Even those guys took at least 2 months to get from Beijing to Shanhaiguan and they sometimes walked from dawn till dark. It took them 7 years of 2 months per year to knock it over - just the Ming wall along took them a cumulative 8 months. I've walked out in the desert areas with Chinoook and elsewhere with both of them and it was in many ways tougher than anything I've done here in Beijing (which includes some very difficult places most people don't go or know of).

            If you are to seriously consider a long walk along the Great Wall, I think we can only recommend that you devote A LOT of time to planning it. Your planning would ideally include learning some Chinese, at least enough to seek assistance and directions. You will also need to do considerable preparation about the route - in many places the wall isn't continuous any more and it is very difficult to find where it picks up again (which can be tens or hundreds of kilometers from where it ended). You'll need to research transport options between small Chinese towns, identify roads to access villages and paths to access the wall, places to replenish supplies (notably water, which is a trick given how dry northern China is).

            This would be the case even for the kind of trip which Bryan suggests - selected sections - because the vast majority of the wall is far from any part of China where non-Chinese speakers can find easy assistance.

            As for places along the wall where you can enjoy the local culture - anywhere you can find people will be fine for that. Especially out west, but even most parts of the wall around Beijing, it's "raw" China.

            If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
            Journeys, &c


            • #7

              Thanks you for the message. I absolutely am not taking it as raining on my parade. I appreciate the honesty and input. I klnow it's going to be tough which is why I chose it but I may shorten it to 30 days. I'm undecided, but I do have until August to plan it out in terms of the route and where to start.

              Do you have any information on the best places to look for a guide? I wouldn't mind doing it that way as long as its not too expensive, and I also don't want to kill myself doing it so I'm taking it very seriously.


              • #8
                A decent guide will cost a decent amount of money. There is not much between no support and full support. For full support I can make suggestions and this is what I recommend. It is about the difference of a once in a lifetime experience and a bad, maybe really bad walk. For me personally it was the difference between about the most important (beautiful, challenging, enlightening, ...) thing I did in my entire life so far and a bad time.

                Of course anyone can start at any place of the Great Wall and walk consecutively 30 or 60 days. But as explained above this will be very probably an ugly experience. Maybe with long sections without any wall. And with tons of problems (water, accommodation, food, injuries, danger (cliffs!, thunderstorms, cold, ...).

                It is your decision.

                The recommendation to walk selected sections is very good. It would bring variety, beautiful and easy sections as well as more challenging, more of culture and nature and everything. I can give recommendations here easily.

                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)


                • #9
                  Do I read right that you plan to start in August? You should probably reconsider that. In Beijing, it easily reaches 40 in the summer months. Heaven only knows what it hits out in the desert areas. No shade, no water.

                  You should aim to walk either in the March April early May window or the late September, October window (probably the best one given it often rains a bit in Spring, at least around Beijing).

                  Winter can also be done though it's nasty cold (think minus 25 overnight).
                  If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                  Journeys, &c