Danger at the Great Wall

Let’s face it. The Great Wall can be downright dangerous. This was one of my biggest surprises on my first-ever visit to the Great Wall. Photos rarely adequately depict how dangerous it really is. That’s why these are some of my favorite photos from my most recent trip to China. I think they convey how steep and dangerous the Great Wall can be, especially when viewed together.

These photos are taken from the center of the first slope of the east side of Wangquanyu (40°27'12.5"N 116°27'27.60"E).

Looking down

Looking across towards Moshikou

Looking up

There's a trail to the south of the pass that goes up the mountain and joins the Great Wall, allowing you to avoid this dangerous first section. But the location shown isn't impossible to free climb, so of course I just had to to it. Very carefully.

The Great Wall can be a dangerous place. If you're planning a visit to the Great Wall, you would be wise to prepare yourself to guard against dangers and minimize your chance of injury. Here are some suggestions.

– Know your limits and stay well within them. Always retain a significant reserve when it comes to strength, stamina, balance, etc.
– Take your time. Don't be in a hurry.
– Carry plenty of water and drink it regularly. If you find yourself rationing water, you did not bring enough.
– Don't hike and definitely don't use cell phones or other electronic equipment during times of thunderstorms. Pay attention to the weather forecasts and the weather itself in summer months and do not go out if thunderstorms are expected.
– Don't multitask. If you want to take a photo, drink some water, use your binoculars, check your GPS, etc., stop walking and make sure you are in a safe position first.
– Don't hike alone in remote areas.
– Wear appropriate footwear.
– Hiking poles can help you to keep your balance.
– Protect yourself from the sun using protective clothing, hats, sunscreen, etc.
– Read and respect signs that are posted along the wall.
– Be aware that cell phones often won't work on the Great Wall, even in the Beijing area.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The Great Wall Forum and its members are not responsible for your safety. Use your own judgment.