LAO CAI – Returning to conquer Ngu Chi Son peak after 7 years, Mr. Cung admired the sea of clouds, the maple forest changing leaves and the flowers blooming on the Hoang Lien range.
Ngu Chi Son is also known as “hand mountain” because the five mountains are shaped like hands pointing towards the sky. The mountain belongs to the Hoang Lien Son pass area, bordering Tam Duong (Lai Chau) and Sa Pa (Lao Cai). Located at an altitude of 2,850 m above sea level, this is the 15th highest peak in Vietnam but is among the top in terms of difficulty among trekking arcs.
Ngu Chi Son is one of the mountain peaks that left many memories for Mr. Nguyen Trong Cung (28 years old, Thai Binh) 7 years ago. Returning to conquer this mountain peak on October 30 – 31 following a friend’s request for support, he was surprised by the change in this trekking arc.
From Sa Pa town (Lao Cai), Mr. Cung’s group traveled about 25 km to reach the foot of Ngu Chi Son mountain.
Because there were two female members in the group, the group chose to move from Lao Cai with an easier route. However, according to Mr. Cung and shared by some porters, the trek from Lai Chau to the top of Ngu Chi Son, although difficult, is more beautiful when going through the primeval forests and along the rocky, undulating, cloudy slopes. year round.
In particular, when traveling along Highway 4D about 1.5 km, at an altitude of about 2,200 m, between two vertical mountain slopes is Cau May waterfall with water flowing all year round. Over the years, the waterfall has carved deep into the rock at the foot of the waterfall, creating a pool of blue water like a mirror reflecting the mountains and forests. This is the place to take beautiful check-in photos amidst the mountains and forests.
From the foot of the mountain, it took Mr. Cung’s group about 5 hours to get to the rest camp and two hours to climb from the rest shack to the top. Having climbed many peaks in the north such as Ta Chi Nhu, Nhiu Co San, Lung Cung, but for Mr. Cung, this is one of the few peaks with nearly equal time to climb and climb down.
Due to the large altitude difference, the vegetation changes clearly on the distance from the foot of the mountain to the top. At the bottom are wide canopy trees such as amaranth (photo) and myrtle. Up high is a forest of dwarf bamboo and rhododendron trees.
Up to an altitude of 2,400 m, where locals call it “windward waist”, visitors can clearly feel the significant change in temperature with dense and heavy fog.
Trees in this area give themselves rough bark to adapt to the year-round frosty climate. Here, visitors can see perennial plants such as yellow tam, doi, gnat, cho chi, many species of herbs, precious medicinal herbs such as Panax notoginseng, dong quai and especially Hoang Lien – a plant associated with The name of the majestic mountain range.
This altitude is also the ideal condition for arboreal species such as moss, orchids, mushrooms, and lingzhi to grow. When you reach the top, you can almost only see seaweed, moss, Sa Pa claw trees and some other small plants.
The trekking road to the top of Ngu Chi Son is a trail between endless rocky mountains, above is a sea of floating clouds, below is a deep abyss.
This season, the maple trees at an altitude of about 2,000 m have begun to change their leaf color. Looming behind the layer of fog are yellow and red colors, dotting the cold, gloomy landscape of the mountains and forests.
In addition to the maple forest changing leaves, there are also many flower species blooming on the Hoang Lien range such as amaranth, amaranth, utricularia paper grass – a type of grass that catches flies as food (photo).
“After nearly 7 years of coming back, this mountain still never ceases to amaze me,” Mr. Cung said.
In Mr. Cung’s memory, Ngu Chi Son 7 years ago was one of the mountain peaks that could not be conquered because of steep cliffs with no place to hold on. At that time, his climbing group had to give up because there was no way to continue.
Currently, people have built paths with wooden ladders across the edges of deep cliffs to facilitate movement. “This is what I admire about the Mong people and left the biggest impression on the trip,” according to Mr. Cung. However, the road is still quite uneven, some sections are rough.
The final point of the journey is the mountain peak at an altitude of 2,800 m. In summer, the average daytime temperature ranges from 14 – 17 degrees Celsius, humidity is over 98%, and at night the temperature sometimes drops to 9 – 10 degrees Celsius. Cold air condenses to create seas of white clouds. erased on top of the mountain, covering almost everything around.
According to Mr. Cung, the last two months of the year are the best time to explore Ngu Chi Son because of the cold weather, calm weather, high humidity, which are ideal conditions to form a sea of clouds.
Because Ngu Chi Son had rain the day before, there was a lot of fog and high humidity. The afternoon was sunny and the next day it was clear when going down the mountain. Therefore, his group was lucky enough to encounter the sea of clouds twice, once in the afternoon when approaching the rest shack and early the next morning on the top of the mountain.
Ngu Chi Son is not too special compared to other peaks but impresses with its 360-degree view. On clear days, standing on the top, as far as the eye can see, you can admire the beauty of the entire scenery of Hoang Lien Son pass, Fansipan peak, Pu Ta Leng peak and many other mountains of the Hoang Lien range.
“Ngu Chi Son is more beautiful than many peaks, but the climbing time is short and there are many slopes, so it is difficult to feel all its beauty in one go. This is also the reason I come back to this place,” Mr. Cung shared.
To trek Ngu Chi Son, visitors should exercise their thigh muscles by climbing stairs. Instead of shoes, visitors should use boots because the path is muddy and the cliffs are slippery. You should wear tight clothing to avoid being bitten. Two things to pay special attention to are not camping on the top of the mountain because of strong winds, starting a fire can cause serious problems, and cleaning up trash before leaving.