Great Wall named top dangerous location

By Yang Wanli (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-06 08:10
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Beijing's hiking community had a mixed reaction to news that one of its favorite spots was being viewed as dangerous and could be off limits.

A report released by the Bluesky rescue team on Tuesday reveals that a section of the Great Wall is the most dangerous outdoor recreation site in Beijing.

It states that the Jiankou section of the wall in Huairou district saw the most outdoor accidents in 2010, followed by Haituo Mountain in Yanqing county and Jiulong Mountain in Mentougou district.

The report said six accidents were reported for the Jiankou section of the wall during the year. Three were reported from Haituo Mountain.

American Tyler Cotton said the natural beauty of the area and the few people who go there make it worth the risk.

"I know people can be a bit cavalier about where they hike and if you choose to go to a dangerous spot, you should know what you're doing," he said.

Great Wall named top dangerous location

People should carefully plan their trips and travel in groups if possible to minimize the danger, he added.

Hong Gao, a hiking guide with 90 Percent Travel, which takes hikers to un-restored sections of the wall, said a professional guide will also minimize any risks.

"It's a calculated risk, for people who are well trained or who have a professional guide, it's achievable," he said. "But for amateur hikers, I wouldn't advise going there."

Zhang Ye, 34, who has visited Jiankou several times, said the report will not dampen his passion for the outdoors.

"We know the danger of mountaineering but that is definitely the charm of the sport," he said.

There were 26 reported outdoor accidents in 2010, involving 99 people. One person died and six were injured. One of the people who was injured last year was a hiker from South Korea who broke a leg while climbing along a section of the un-restored Great Wall.

"Most accidents happened during the autumn and winter. A lack of adequate preparations was the main reason," said Yuan Shan, the leader of the Bluesky rescue team, which is a branch of the Beijing Red Cross.

The report said the rescue team spent an average of five hours on each incident.

According to Beijing Evening News, the Huairou tourism bureau posted guards to try to stop travelers from entering dangerous sections of the wall but could not stop everyone.

Officials from the bureau said Jiankou is a cultural relic that cannot be repaired.

The Beijing Tourism Administration has erected more than 100 poles to help lost hikers to find their way back down or raise the alarm.

Todd Balazovic contributed to this story.

China Daily

(China Daily 01/06/2011)