The daytime was short and it was getting dark, we did not have much time to have a break. We almost drank up all of our two bottles of water and all the food and fruit. It would be a big problem if we got stuck there; it was in the middle of nowhere, and there was nobody around to ask for help.
It will take too long and be too dangerous for us to go back the way we climbed, so the only option was to get to Arrow's Eye as soon as possible. If we got back too late we also had the risk of missing the last bus going back to Dandong city, where we were staying in a hotel. We were tired, hungry and had run out of water, but could not afford to take a break so we speeded up.
There were more steep cliffs to climb; we passed tight and precipitous stairs, which is called Bu Bu Jin in Chinese and then came to the Tiger Mouth cliff. Around here, we saw three Chinese guys climbing as well, we soon passed them, but later we saw them going back the way we climbed. We could not believe it, are they going to climb back that Old Cow's Back again? My goodness! I could not believe they were doing it.
After that we saw a road marking pointing toward Arrow's Eye and we felt much relieved. It is told that in Tang Dynasty a general shoot out his arrow towards this mountain, and opened up a hole. That's where the name is came from. We took some pictures, as we were told by a tourist on the way that you cannot say that you have climbed the Phoenix Mountain, if you have not climbed to Arrow's Eye. It is the second highest cliff within the Phoenix Mountain.
Climbing to Arrow's Eye really needed determination, courage, braveness and good attitude to climb many cliffs, rocks, steep and narrow stairs to reach here. I definitely have to say, the Phoenix Mountain is not suitable for everyone to climb, it is dangerous and adventurous with many risks involved. As you have read above, there are many people who gave up climbing along the way, but we made it! Yeah!!!
It was getting darker, and we had a last bus to catch, we started to walk down the mountain in a hurry. Even though we wanted to continue the rest of the mountain climbing journey, it was too late; as it is very dangerous to climb the mountains when it is dark, there is no lighting along the way. You'd be better to come back the next day.
The coming down path was on the shady side and therefore it was still covered with snow. As it was slippery, we had to be extra cautious, but it was so much faster and easier than climbing the bumpy and breath taking stairs. There is a small stream beside the path, but it still covered in snow and ice. When we arrived in the main road in the middle of the mountain, we took a taxi and were dropped off outside the gate. Soon the last bus arrived, it was the bus we took to go there in the morning. The driver, his assistant and ourselves were all amazed, what perfect timing!
In May 1996, I climbed Tai Shan (Tai Mountain, one of the five most famous mountains in China) in Shandong province. My sister, a friend and I arrived there in the evening and we climbed it over night without sleeping. The mountain has paths and is quite easy to climb and is not as dangerous as the phoenix mountain that you have to climb the steep rock stairs and cliffs. It was not too far away from the town Qu Fu, where Confucius was born and lived. We visited his tomb, which is one of the famous tourist attractions in China as he is regarded as the ancestor of the Chinese. We also visited surrounding cities and towns including Jinan city.
It was very special experience for my husband and m to climb the Phoenix Mountain, and while it was breath taking and nerve racking we also observed the amazing beauty of the mountain. I am sure it would look more spectacular if you visit it in late spring, summer and autumn, but we still enjoyed it. During the winter time, it becomes absolutely bare, due to snow and icy conditions.
If you want to climb any mountains, please make sure you wear comfortable clothes and
shoes (no high heels please), and make sure you bring water, food and some money as well. You will always become hungry when you are climbing the mountain, and you need to keep up your energy. A rucksack is very convenient to carry things around. Normally, the temperature in the mountains is much lower than in the cities, and therefore it is wise to bring warmer clothes in case you catch cold.