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What would you do for a cup of tea?

Tea has risen back up on the popularity charts for a plethora of reasons that really do not need to be named at this timet. What exactly would you do for a top-notch cup of tea, especially in a country where tea is their fluid life force?  For those who are brave at heart, who do not buckle when looking over the edge of a balcony, this tea house promises a breath-taking view while sipping this favorite brew of many. This is not a walk in the park.

According to the website

This specific teahouse is one of the many Taoist temples to be found on each of the five peaks that make up Mt. Huashan. As the original inhabitants practiced asceticism, and didn’t make a habit of traveling, they daily meditation was heavily accented by drinking tea. For this reason, over the years, this temple has turned into a teahouse. When seen on a map, the mountain range forms a sort of flower shape. The temple was built here because each of the five peaks needed to be populated in order to complete the flower.

Mt. Huashan is located in Huayin, a city 120km east of Xi’an in the Shaanxi Province of China. For reference, Xi’an is the location were they unearthed the Terracotta Warriors and the cradle of Chinese culture extending some 3000 years into the past. This particular teahouse is on the South Peak, which has an altitude of 7,087 feet.

Here is a series of photos of the path to this tea house. Mind you, I am an experienced rock climber and would most likely prance along this path like a happy little mountain goat because I love this kind of exposure… but my heart would be pounding along the way.

The journey as described by the photographer (name unknown):


The base of the mountain is called “the Heavenly Stairs.” (Image below)

teahouse huashanbase


Continuing up the Heavenly Stairs. (Image below)

 teahouse continuing


Below you will see “towns” that spring up to support the temples at the peaks. This area is still fairly safe and doesn’t require much caution. (Image below)

 teahouse towns


Now for the exciting part. First you take a gondola ride to the base of the southern peak. (Image below)

 teahouse gondolas


After the gondola drops you off, there is a short distance of path. The path gets tighter and tighter, until the only way to continue is by sections of planks put together to bridge the gaps. (Image below)

 teahouse planks


The railing is a series of chains and carabiners, padlocked to metal stakes that have been hammered into the mountain face. (Michelle here… note no protection at the time these pictures were taken. There is a video below which shows that protection has since been added, meaning wearing a harness attached to a new line via biners and runners.) (Image below)

 teahouse planks people


When meeting someone going the opposite direction, the only possible way to pass is by backing up to the closest landing, then letting the other person pass. (Image below)

 teahouse crossing paths on the planks


I can’t imagine constructing this path. Flags mark which path you’re on. There are several paths, which go to other locations; mostly landings that have larger standing areas. (Image below)

 teahouse paths flags


After moving around the side of the mountain, the mountain begins to slope, so we can stop going around, and start moving in a more direct line to the peak. You can make out steps on the left side of this picture. (Michelle here…. It is difficult to see what the photographer is talking about here. This is more apparent in a video below.) (Image below)

 teahouse steps at end of planks


The final stretch goes straight up the mountain face. Toe holes have been hammered out. (Michelle here…. Now up until this point, I would have been perfectly fine, both with and without protection. But this part of the journey is very intimidating and I would be proceeding with my heart beating in my throat.) (Image below)

 teahouse step holes


Once you make it to the top, there is a long path that saddles the mountain top. This path brings you to the peak. (Image below)

 teahouse steps at the top


And finally, the peak! Atop of this peak is the the southern temple, a teahouse which is probably more revered for its location than its tea. (Image below)

 the teahouse


In this video, you can now see that climbing gear has been added for protection.


In this video, at about the 2:25 mark is where you can see the path literally carved into the rock starting where the planks end.


Now, anyone care to join me for a cup of tea? I wonder if they serve coffee…..


  1. What a gorgeous location! Of course, one look at all the stairs in the first picture and I was done. Killer. On my best day I’m not sure I’d have made it to the top. Sure wouldn’t have done it for a cup of tea. An ice cold soft drink and a snack, yes.

    • The stairs kill me, too. I used to guide backcountry trips for the Sierra Club years ago, but I did canyoneering because I hated large elevation changes. That and canyoneering is more fun. Lots of obstacles, especially the slot canyons in Utah.

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