Climbing the Great Wall at Huanghuacheng

Sometimes the only choice is to keep going, because turning back might involve death.

Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic for an opening, but that’s how we felt when we first started scrambling up the Great Wall at Huanghuacheng. Our guide had convinced us to visit a less touristy section of the wall, telling us it was the “wild wall” or unrestored and in its original state. Now when you’re talking about something built during the Middle Ages, a few more questions could be asked at this point!

The first thing we noticed was the incredible steepness of the wall. Al suffers from vertigo, so he was not a happy camper. About 20 seconds into the ascent to the first watch tower, Sophie’s water bottle flew past me into oblivion.

In some sections the bricks had broken away, so we were left climbing up the wall using broken chunks as hand holds. It was a little terrifying, especially not knowing whether the descent on the other side would be the same. I kept thinking to myself that we’re committed, because going back down was not an option.

Happily we made it to the third watchtower and back to the restored wall, so there was only steepness that remained as a challenge. Al keeps muttering under his breath even now back at the apartment, “I can’t believe we didn’t die today!”

Huanghuacheng is a beautiful section of the wall, as it runs next to a lake. Part of the wall was bombed by the Japanese during World War II and fell into the lake, making it a popular spot for divers to see the “underwater wall.”

I would still recommend seeing the wall along this section, but make sure you find out exactly what you are in for!

9 Comments on “Climbing the Great Wall at Huanghuacheng

  1. Hi Sophie great handstand?. I miss you both sooo miss. For Sophie and Claire from sam?

  2. Omigoodness Heather, read your first two adventures of your trip and think “wow”. Based on some of your menu items in China, I’m thinking that would be a good place for me to go to lose weight! 🙂 Then the climbing of the Great Wall, I felt like I was reading a novel because I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. I can’t imagine Sophie and Claire doing it too!

  3. Good luck today.
    No more head stands on top of walls—– I hope. It looked amazing.
    Send us a picture of Cute Claire.

  4. Very impressive Guys.
    ‘Good job at climbing the WALL. I liked the Head Stand on top of the wall.
    Love you all.

  5. Hi there, well you did it, did your guide climb the wall with you.? If not, next time he say less travelled , say only if you go too!! Still What a memory. Love the photos..
    I am home finally after long flight delays. Finally we had a big rain storm here.
    Love to all from Trish, Armido and Kia!
    Armido is reading this too. So he says don’t do that again, till next time.!!!!

    • Nope – the guide drove the car around to meet us on the other side!

  6. Love reading about your trip so far, and to think you are only 3 days in! Having a guide sounds like a great idea, although not so sure about scrambling up to the wall. Did you have to “squat” today Heather? As for the dogs in cages the other day, I can only imagine the looks you and Al were passing amongst yourselves while the girls thought they were so cute.

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