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Mirko's Great Wall diary


Well-known member
Hi there, i decided to make a dedicated thread to share my experiences, and of course pictures, of my hiking activity.

Here i will also share more background information.
Mostly it will be up to date info but maybe i will also post some older hikes insights.

Hope you will enjoy it!



Well-known member

After the let down last week, with the aftermath of a lot of rain, this weekend, we were blessed again with great spring/summer weather(in china this time is already considered to be summer)
Friday the officials asked people to stay home during the weekend and avoid touristic areas and areas with lots of people.
Well the areas i go do not have any people usually, so we set off.
We had the highway to ourselves, nearly, especially the farther away from the city we got.
This weekend i wanted to do some scouting again, an area that lies between two sections that i have done before.

When we arrived we were greeted directly by "red bands", people who volunteer or get paid to sit somewhere the whole day and keep people away from the great wall.
The reason being most of the time fire protection, this fire protection season lasts longer each year, now they extended it till the end of may.
Of course it doesnt help to tell them that we dont smoke and dont even have fire with us.

So we were sent away from the first entry point. Of we went to the second option that i scouted on google earth.
Surprise, red bands, Same story.

From far away i could already see people sitting at the third option. So my friend(last picture with 120mm APO wide open) and i went into the next path available, which sent us into a very bushy dry river bed, long story short, we reached the Great Wall after around two hours, a very big setback for my plan.

After some food we left into the direction i intended to go and we passed some really beautiful decaying towers.
Interestingly in this area there is very little actually Great Wall. Its mostly dirt paths that connect one tower to another.

Because of the two hour setback and the remaining visible path to still walk on, i knew this wouldnt end well. We hit a big massive rock, You can see it behind the tower in the second to last image.
I actually had a gps track, that showed an alternative route down, but when checking it out, the path hardly showed up, so i decided we need to finish the whole thing, at least cover the big rock.

Oh man what a ride, i was already getting weak and we had to climb to the very top, with some VERY delicate steep areas to cover, more than once i was thinking about turning around, but the tricky parts we covered would have been even more tricky going down rather than up. So i had to pull through.
Arriving on the top i had the maybe most stunning view ever. I could see so many different sections of the great wall i have been too, from high above, it was amazing! The good weather and visibility helped alot.

Continueing on the the path then was relatively easy, but we had to find a way down as it was simply getting too late.
I found a path and we just followed it, even though we didnt have gps track,

It then took us another one and a half hours to reach the next village.
It was getting dark already and i could make good use of my newly bought LED head light from nitecore(nitecore isnt sponsoring this post!)
After we reached the village we contacted the driver and let him know where we are, 10 minutes later we sat in the car and enjoyed again a car free highway and a record breaking time to get back home.

Wow this was a long first story, i guess the next ones will be more compact, as i dont have to explain everything anew.

Hope you enjoy it

And if you want to comment something do it, especially photo critique is welcome,



ps. the last image of my friend is actually on the top of this big rock, after we done it!

Well-known member
Love the photos and the backstory is excellent! :):):)

I am quite impressed with your diligence and passion for hiking the Great Wall. That is some amazing and difficult terrain. Wow!
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Well-known member
Thx Dave,

things are easier when you love something! At the moment i really feel i couldnt live without hiking on the Great Wall, if they would ban us completely from entering it, i am out of beijing and china. nothing else keeps me here.
The whole work week is just a drag and the bright light is the weekend with a day on the wall.

P. Chong

Well-known member
Nice! Thanks for sharing, I took some pictures with ye ole Hasselblad back in the day at Mutianyu…will go look them up in my archive discs and post some to accompany yours. Which part of the Great Wall are these taken?


Well-known member
Nice! Thanks for sharing, I took some pictures with ye ole Hasselblad back in the day at Mutianyu…will go look them up in my archive discs and post some to accompany yours. Which part of the Great Wall are these taken?
Those were taken in a region west of the gubeikou great wall.

No offence but i would like to keep this thread as a wild great wall hiking diary, mutianyu is touristic spot with the great wall restaurated(which i hate haha), i look forward to see your impressions in the general MF images thread though!


Well-known member can you tell us a bit more about the nitecore (whom, I understand, isn't sponsoring this thread) headlamp?
all i will say, i am pretty happy with nitecore products so far, and this is not suppose to be a gear review thread :)


Well-known member
So lets do the first throw back of this thread.

This is our so called river hike, its located in the changping district of beijing, thats west of the center axis of beijing.

The images are from 2012, and they have a special meaning to me as they are especially important as a documentation. As this section has been disgraced by an effort to "restaurate" the great wall, under the pretence to protect it. It was actually a big scandal in the mid 2010 years, as large portions of the great wall have been restaurated, but in a half assed way (sorry for the term)

In some areas people reported they would be able to ride a bike now on the great wall, it had nothing to do with what the great wall actually looked like.
In my, harsh, opinion i would say the UNESCO should take away the status of world heritage for this scandal.

Luckily they only restaurated half of this part of the great wall, and the special thing about this hike is also its name giving, the last part of the hike is being done walking back through a gorge and partially through a river bed.

Its not a very long hike and very popular in summer to walk through the river at the end....and have the option of a shower to cool down

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Well-known member
Hi drevil, in your last post the photo's aren't showing for me. Is your host site down or do you need to set permissions to allow general viewing? All but one (the fifth) of your second post show fine.