Saturday, 9 May 2009

Stinkyhead mountain - 臭頭山 (and others)

Pingxi 坪溪 is rapidly becoming my favourite place for hiking. This is the third time that I've been hiking in this area and each time has been great. The mountains that surround Pingxi just look awesome and are fantastic to climb. There are really craggy peaks and huge ridges that just drop for hundreds of metres.

For this trip we decided to revisit a couple of peaks we'd been to before, Xiaozishan 孝子山 and Cimushan 慈母山, and then continue onto to two new ones Zhongyangshan 中央山 and the oddly named, Stinkyhead mountain 臭頭山.

The trail starts off in the village itself. Follow the 106 eastwards and look out for a sign on the right. There are actually 2 places marked and we started at the second one next to the road but it makes no difference. The other signpost leads up to a car park and so for anyone driving a car that one would be a better starting point.

We climbed up Xiaozishan 孝子山 first. As you head up from the car park, the trail starts directly in front. For Xiaozishan, head up and then to the left. It is really well signposted. The rocks here have had stairs carved into them and it is really quite easy to climb, though a good head for heights is needed towards the top. From the peak looking westwards you can see Cimushan 慈母山 and Cimufeng 慈母峰.

We climbed down Xiaozishan and headed up Cimufeng. Again stairs have been carved into the rock. From here we got great views of Xiaozishan.

At the peak of Cimufeng we headed down direcly towards Cimushan but instead of climbing it at the bottom, we followed the signs for Zhongyangshan. Along the way we passed a cliff wall with lots of large and small pocks in it where stones had fallen out. Just after the wall it got a little bit complicated. There are numerous trails and not all of them are signposted. Keep you eyes open for tags! And try to follow the signs.

The trail leading to Zhongyangshan is mostly forested and very quiet. We only met one person on this section, in stark contrast to Xiaozishan and Cimushan which are very busy.

Just before the peak there is a fantastic section of ropes going up a vertical cliff face. It was great fun hauling ourselves up here! At first sight it didn't look at all easy to climb but there are plenty of footholes and ropes to grab at.

At the top of the rope we turned left to get to the peak. It's difficult to tell from the photographs but in front of the peak is a straight 100m drop. From here we got some awesome views of Pingxi so we stopped, had something to eat and enjoyed the scenery.

Next was Stinkyhead mountain. On the way down from Zhongyangshan we caught a glimpses of some of the ridges. Just sheer drops and an amazing sight. Stinkyhead mountain itself doesn't really have any views so we just cracked on after reaching it.

Our original plan from here was to head back towards Pingxi but on the way down we spotted a sign for some grasslands 草原. Feeling curious, we followed the path to a small open area and from there we turned left and continued. Suddenly in front of us the jungle gave way to large expanse of grassland and a small farm house. It's a really beautiful sight and I'd definitely like to head back there to explore it some more in the future.

After that, we headed back towards Pingxi, passing the turn off for Fengtoujian and the old abandoned mines on the way.

More pictures here

A Chinese account can be found here - (中文版)


Water and the like can be bought in Pingxi.
Some maps for the area are available here, here and here.
I drove but it is possible to take the bus from Muzha, number 16.


  1. Great post, Stu. I've been following you and Neil on your adventures. Obsessions are great when others get to benefit from it! :-)

    By the way, I really like what you've done with your site.

  2. Thanks Carrie. Yeah, the weather's been so nice recently I seem to out and about every weekend.

  3. It looks great Stu. I miss those hikes in Taiwan. I'm coming back to TW for a few weeks in July so we should it'd bo cool to do a day hike with you guys!

  4. I still think you should consider the name "smelly head mountain" has a better ring to it.

  5. You know that rope section before the summit?
    I took 7 girls there, all laughing and giggling like crazy along the way... until they reached the ropes :D

  6. Having the Google maps in the post puts the icing on the cake. Really helps if I ever get around to making a trip.

    Thanks again.

  7. Cheers Peter. Glad they're useful to you! Yeah, Ed, that rope section was a surprise to us too. I'd seen pictures of it before going there but hadn't realised it was a sheer cliff! Good fun