After plans to build a cable car to Vietnam’s highest peak, Fansipan, were announced, climbers are flocking to a mountain next door.
They hope to conquer Bach Moc Luong Tu, the fourth highest mountain in Vietnam at 3,046 meters, before it gets a cable car too.
The peak is one of three in Vietnam, besides Fansipan and the second highest, Pu Ta Leng, to have a steel icon at the top, where every climber poses for commemorative photos.
It is the highest of a mountain range of the same name that lies between Lai Chau and Lao Cai provinces in northwestern Vietnam.
Bach Moc Luong Tu’s rough terrain started attracting adventure-seekers in 2012.
To reach the top, one has to hike through 30 kilometers of forests, hills, forests of giant bamboo trees, and mossy cliffs.
Luong Thu Huong, a climber from Hanoi, told Tuoi Tre newspaper that the high cliffs had put her off many times.
“Other climbers encouraged me and the feeling of standing on the top also pushed me. I reached it.”
Ethnic H’mong boys at Ki Quan San, a village that serves as the base camp. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
Climbers can start at Ki Quan San, a H'mong village around 50 kilometers from Sa Pa in Lao Cai. They can rent bikes or a car to travel from the resort town to the village.
It takes around three days and two nights to reach the top.
Another route is from Den Sung village, which is around 40 kilometers from Lai Chau’s capital town of the same name. This route takes an extra day and night.
Experienced climbers said it is necessary to make detailed plans, get a local guide, book motorbikes, and buy bus tickets to and from Hanoi in advance.
Climbers are recommended to go in a group, train before the trip, and bring warm clothes and an insulated mat to sleep in the cold.
Climbers prepare to set off from Ki Quan San village in Lao Cai. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
The rugged way up. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
A sparkling stream deep in a jungle on the way up the mountain. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
Wild berries. Local guides say the fruits are sweet and juicy. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
Climbers from Lao Cai rest at this place at around 2,100 meters. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
Muoi, a peak around 15 minutes from the camping site, has become a favorite spot for photos among climbers. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
Dawn on Muoi, a breathtaking scene. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
An azalea tree in bloom on the top of Bach Moc, a typically beautiful sight in Vietnam’s northwest mountains. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre