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78-year-old conquers Taiwan's highest peak in 11 hours

Checking mountain off bucket list, Chen Yung-tsai eyes next high-altitude adventure

Chen Yung-tsai (left), Chen Tzu-yin take photo at summit of Yushan Main Peak.

Chen Yung-tsai (left), Chen Tzu-yin take photo at summit of Yushan Main Peak. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A 78-year-old man recently conquered Taiwan’s highest summit — Yushan Main Peak — reaching the altitude of nearly 4,000 meters after 11 hours.

Chen Yung-tsai (陳永財), joined by his 51-year-old son Chen Tzu-yin (陳自寅), finished the trail, which totals 21.8 kilometers, and reached Yushan Main Peak within 11 hours on Oct. 7.

Speaking with reporters on Monday (Oct. 19), the 78-year-old said he was very glad to have successfully taken on the challenge with his son, adding that he looks forward to summiting Quilai Main Peak — generally considered more challenging than Yushan Main Peak — next time.

The father and son set out from Changhua County at midnight and began climbing from the trailhead at 6 a.m., ascending 1,350 m to reach the summit around noon. They arrived back at their starting point at 4:50 p.m.

Chen said summiting Yushan Main Peak has always been on his bucket list. He has continued to maintain regular workouts since retiring in his 60s and often joins his son and daughter on hiking trips.

The younger Chen said he and his father had for years mulled climbing Yushan but that they were forced to put the plan on hold when his father’s health declined. After Chen Yung-tsai recovered this year, he resumed exercising and undertook some easier trails with his son, including those in Hehuanshan.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, the trail between the Tataka trailhead to Yushan Main Peak is open daily from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m, and advance registration is required. Due to safety considerations, hikers wishing to take on the trail are asked to turn back if they fail to reach Paiyun Lodge, which is about a four-hour walk from the trailhead, by 10 a.m.

The trail is usually closed from January to March due to snow.