Great Wall Hiking Tips
Be aware of your own limitations – acrophobia, heart problems, and diabetes may be cause enough to stay home.
It is very important to have health and accident insurance before taking any Great Wall hiking tour. Be sure to carry insurance information, and emergency contact information with you, on any hike.
Be sure to have a good breakfast at least an hour before starting a strenuous hike.
It is deceivingly hot to walk on the Wall under the sun. Be sure to bring along, and to drink, enough water to keep yourself from becoming dehydrated.
You may consider bringing a first-aid kit in your day pack, in case of emergencies, especially if hiking alone. Items to consider carrying include medication against diarrhea, oral re-hydration powder or tablets, antiseptic cream for minor cuts, waterless hand-soap, liquid against upset stomach, and potentially medication to prevent motion sickness if you have a long bus ride. Another item to consider is insect repellant, depending on the location and the season.
For excursions with a long drive at the beginning or end of the day, you may consider bringing a CD player to enjoy as we travel, but plan on leaving it with the vehicle when we leave (it will be safe), rather than bringing it with you on the trek.
Walk slowly during the first hours to condition your body to trekking. Never run or walk fast.
Because many parts of the Wall are broken and loose, sensible footwear is essential.
Be aware of the danger: in many places, especially on mountain tops, the wall is broken and loose; many parts are not only difficult and strenuous but also
! Be very careful!
Keep a safe distance from the person in front of you while walking up any steep broken wall to avoid being hit by falling stones.
Keep a safe distance from the edge of the wall, or any opening or break in the wall; these areas are the first to become loose or broken, and therefore may not be safe. Be sure to obey any warning signs that are posted.
If you need to use a rope bridge, don't run, jump, shake, or push.
Don't lean against the wall to rest without first verifying that it is still secure, and that its stones have not become loosened.
Preserve the Wall – think green! Leave nothing except your footprints, take nothing except photographs and garbage.
In summer, rain showers and/or thunderstorms are quite common while hiking on the Wall. Be sure to power-off your mobile phone in any bad weather - using a cell phone in an electrical storm can be fatal!!!
Although our leaders have 2-way radios with them on many hikes, there is limited coverage in some areas. Because some parts of the Wall are really rough, participants must behave as a team, helping each other where appropriate.
Don’t wander off on your own – stay with the group.
There are local people selling bottled water and even Coca Cola along some sections of the Wall. They generally charge four or five yuan for each container, so you are recommended to drink water already-provided, or to carry your own.
In any areas which are very touristy, y
ou are likely to be followed by vendors who want to sell you books, post cards, and other souvenirs. You must firmly say “No!” to them right away, otherwise you will be followed for the whole walk. And be careful not to say “I’ll buy on the way back” – they remember your face and will expect you to keep your promise!