How far would you go for a cup of tea?
Would you climb the world’s most terrifying staircase to a tiny tea house perched on a precipice to get there? The tourists who climb Mount Hushan in China would.
If you thought that it couldn’t get more vertigo-inducing than the Preikestolen peak climb in Norway:
Then take a look at the stomach-churningly vertiginous route to the Taoist teashouse via the Heavenly Stairs.
It all starts sedately enough with some steep steps cut into the mountain side, much like the ones you have to tackle at the Moon Mountain in Yangshuo or that you’d find elsewhere in China.
Then it swiftly starts to get more hair-raising as the path meanders past temples and villages before the terrain becomes steadily more vertical and the ground either side of the steeps sheers away, dropping sharply down the scrubby mountainside.
Then walkers have to take a gondola across to the base of the southern peak.
Before steeling their nerves for this: a walkway made of bits of plank and some chains and carabiners, padlocked and hammered into the rock face for you to cling to as you shuffle along, inches from the yawning vastness of the open air.
There are larger landing places to shuffle to if you happen to meet another walker coming the opposite way.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get steeper…it does.
If you can gird your loins for the final climb then this is what greets you at the top, which must surely be one of the best cafe views on earth.Image: http://www.uqpu.net
Would you put your sense of balance to the test on this trail or would all the tea in China not be enough to persuade you to try it?