Amid hundreds of other curious people, we too, walked up the new Ha Ling/Miners Peak Trail. The start is well marked and the sign reading “No Bicylces” is being replaced. After the first two standard zigs came a preview of what was to come: the first appearance of rock steps. Zig 4 impressed with its yeti steps gouged out of slabs with a chain on the side, and the blasting of a long line of slabs to create a walkway. I seem to remember crossing these same slabs on a bridge of flimsy branches!
On meeting some friends two corners up they told us we hadn’t seen anything yet. So after enjoying the fabulous viewpoint just above the halfway point, we continued on the long traverse to treeline where the rock steps multiplied greatly. Gasps of awe from people in front of us signalled our arrival at the first set of wooden cable steps (sometimes called cable ladders), this one nearly 100 steps high and catering to both up and down traffic. Some call it the stairway to heaven as it leads to the scree slopes below the summit. Above are two shorter sections of cable steps. Interestingly, some larger dogs were having problems getting the hang of them. As for me, I felt like I was walking up an out of service elevator.
A final section with more rock steps led to the saddle, or near enough. (En route an unsigned scree trail headed off right to the saddle proper and Miners Peak.) After the maintained trail ended at a sign, most people were carrying on to Ha Ling’s summit using a multitude of trails, some more scrambly than others, We took the trail farthest left which is always the easiest. New to the summit area was a ring of signs at every possible entry point telling people to not throw rocks over the edge onto the climbers. I found it a bit unnerving that two neophytes were sitting on the crumbling edge with their legs dangling over the precipice. Maybe we need another sign: “Do NOT sit on the edge. It’s the surest way to Heaven.”
In conclusion the newly aligned trail is now utterly safe for all people and their dogs and, even a cat. No doubt some people will feel uncomfortable with all these man-made “improvements.” So lets get some comments, both for and against them. There are many repercussions from having a super safe trail and not just from the aesthetics point of view.. But whatever you think of it, chalk it up as another K country first.