Nineteen out of Taiwan’s much-coveted Top 100 Peaks, including the second highest one, Mt. Xue (or “Xueshan”), lie within the boundaries of Shei-Pa National Park (SPNP). The stabilized October weather signals the arrival of autumn, a season marked by kaleidoscopic slopes, with less frequent afternoon thunder showers and cold fronts moving southward from the Asian continent. As Mother Nature’s makeup artists (maple, Taiwan Mountain Ash, etc.) turn red against the stunning sunset, a sea of clouds or mist-shrouded hills, the magnificent mountains are ready to impress nature lovers.
Citing safety as the top priority for activities in mountain areas, which are accident-prone due to treacherous roads or weather conditions, the Shei-Pa National Park (SPNP) Headquarters advises visitors to brace for autumn’s roller-coaster temperatures (which could plummet in the nighttime and early morning) with their guides closely monitoring and evaluating the impact of potential typhoons. Those who plan to visit SPNP’s Conservation Area shall apply for legitimate access to both SPNP and the destination mountain; they are also required to be prepared in terms of the itinerary, fitness, equipment, food and emergencies. Besides hiring experienced and reputed mountain guides, they should ascend the slopes slowly for better high-altitude adaptation, which is the key to preventing mountain sickness.
Meanwhile, outdoor activity participants are warned against disturbing wildlife, particularly bees or wasps, which are rather active in autumn and, when offended, might attack human beings in self-defense. Stay calm and cautiously maneuver around an approaching bee/wasp without agitating or swatting at it. Cover the head, neck and hands with a jacket. If accidentally stung by a bee/wasp, use ice packs to relieve the swelling or pain. To prevent the venom from flowing further down the blood vessels, remove the bee stinger cautiously; do not squeeze with a bare hand. Immediately seek medical attention even if there are no obvious symptoms.
In mid-November, the SPNP Headquarters will launch “National Symposium on Climbing and Mountaineering 2014” at the Wenshui Visitor Center in Dahu Township, Miaoli County, where experts are expected to address various topics, from mountaineering management and safety obligations, climber’s training and mountain guides, mountain pavement maintenance and safety facilities, mountain environment and outdoor education, and backpacking meals and lightweight gear, to the globalization of Taiwanese mountain tourism, in the hope of encouraging public-private partnerships to re-examine Taiwan’s mountaineering management practices, and to make improvements accordingly. The symposium also prepares hands-on experiences and exhibitions concerning rock-climbing, crampons, slacklining, gear/clothing and lightweight meals, giving the general public an improved understanding of mountaineering equipment and skills. This highly educational symposium awaits your participation!