Mount Hua is one of the "Five Sacred Mountains" of China.
Mount Hua is located in the Shaanxi Province, about 100 kilometres east of the city of Xi'an, near the city Huayin. Hua was historically the location of several influential Taoist temples, and was known as a centre for the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts.
Minibuses that go direct to the town just north of the mountain regularly leave from near the Xi'an main train station. The Hua Shan train station is about 25 km to the east of the mountain. A cable car to near the North Peak is available from the east entrance to the area. Thousands of steps have been cut into the rock in order to facilitate ascending and descending.
Pilgrims tie red ribbons to the trees outside of the taoist temple. Recently-married locals will climb to the summits to add a lock the chains to symbolize their everlasting love. A similar practice is done on the Great Wall.
Rumours of deadliness
Rumours of the south peak being the most dangerous hiking trail on earth seem to have risen from a story put on the web page of a person called Rick Archer with the title "The Deadly Huashan Hiking Trail". The author claims it was written by an American couple who visited the trail in 2003.
The origin of the story is not known and is assumed by many Hua Shan visitors to be purely fictional. The spread and popularity of the story was aided by many videos showing the most dangerous parts of the trail.
In 2008 the website author was faced with criticism on the authenticity of the story, who in turn answered: "I wrote absolutely everything based on accounts I found on the Internet (some of which gave contradictory information)." "At the time, I never expected this particular page would be an Internet darling for thousands of Huashan fans.".
Thus, the story bears similarities to the KiddofSpeed story which rose big attention on the net until it was revealed to be fantasy, except for the fact that Rick Archer hasn't tried to benefit financially from the story on his site.
Nevertheless, it should be noted, that even though Hua Shan stairs are a popular tourist attraction and safety equipment is provided and obligatory, the trail is still risky due to strong winds, changing weather conditions and the physical condition required to pass some parts of the trail.