Meet the man who’s climbed every peak and visited every island in Hong Kong

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    Hong Kong (CNN) – Surrounded by photos, maps and other documents, 45-year-old photographer Simon Van Chi-chung is planning his next great Hong Kong adventure.

    This is not a weekend. He is going to climb every peak in Hong Kong – in one trip.

    It won’t even be his first attempt. He tried several times in the last two decades.

    There is not a single definitive list stating the exact number of peaks in Hong Kong. Therefore Wan has drafted his own route based on his research from various sources as well as official Hong Kong topography maps.

    Informal sources claim that there are between 121 and 161 peaks over 300 meters spread over more than a dozen groups of mountain ranges. By Van’s count, there are 148 mountains to the summit.
    He In 2003 during his first attempt to visit them all. But on the ninth day, he was fighting a sprained ankle from the 522-meter-long Needle Hill – an injury he sustained for the second day – and called him Friend, a medical doctor, to come to him and treat him.

    But her condition did not improve, her ankle pain was increasing during hiking and camp days.

    “I was young and arrogant, wanted to prove that I could do everything and hurt myself,” Van tells GranthshalaTravel.

    Artist and photographer Simon Van Chi-chung is now planning his next great Hong Kong adventure.

    Maggie Wong / CNN

    But an encounter with a fellow hitchhiker – a big man he had met earlier that morning – gave him a new perspective. As both acquaintances made it to the summit, they saw that there were rolling hills in front.

    “It’s day 9 uncle ‘gasp when he heard about my mission to climb the peaks of Hong Kong,” recalls Wan.

    “He Gave me a slice of his bread and said, ‘Young man, you need me more than this.’ He Grabbed an orange from his bag and repeated, ‘You need it more.’ It was such a simple gesture. But I stopped being kind to myself. I let go of my ego and realized that I am surrounded by mountains. “

    With a heavy heart and swollen ankle, he decided to stop on the trip. Van went home to nurse his leg for three weeks, then a few weeks later ended up climbing the remaining 148 peaks on his list.

    It was one of his most memorable encounters and one of the reasons he was dedicated to the natural world of Hong Kong.

    “On the hills, people are more likely to talk and connect,” says Vann.

    “You won’t have that experience in the city. Nature makes people feel comfortable and safe.”

    ‘Hong Kong is a city hidden within the jungle’

    Simon Van climbed every hill and island in Hong Kong

    Van loves working with the film. He In 2003, he used a panorama camera for his campaign.

    Simon Van Chi-Chung

    In addition to its 148 hills, Hong Kong is also home to over 100 islands made up of more than 250 individual islands. Wan claims to be one of the few people, each of whom has stated that he always wants to be an adventurer.

    “I was researching to fulfill my childhood dream – to climb Mount Everest. But as I dug deeper, I realized how commercialized Mountain Everest had become. It was an optional high-end journey. The attraction was there. It was not from Mount Everest. My childhood dream, “Vann says during an interview in his studio, Photographers.

    After years of studying in the UK, Wan realizes that he does not know Hong Kong’s landscape well.

    An idea struck him: “Why not explore every single hill in my own backyard? And why not do it all at once?”

    With a wife bag and a film camera, Van began a series of “campaigns”. He repeated the trip in 2013, ten years after his first trek through the Hong Kong mountains in 2003.

    Simon Van climbed every hill and island in Hong Kong

    Instead of setting up a tent, Wan slept in a wife’s bag during his quests to get to the Hong Kong peaks.

    Simon Van Chi-Chung

    But this time, he was under a tight schedule so he opted to tackle only those peaks that were at least 300 meters long.

    Trekking 26 to 30 kilometers or 11 to 12 hours per day, he reached 134 peaks in 19 days, camping in various parts of Hong Kong on the way.

    He The works of these journeys are titled “Post Urbanization.”

    Then, in 2015, he traveled to the uninhabited islands in 11 days, traveling by canoe. He says, “These were ‘hills’, which I could not climb.

    “These days, you know about that place before boarding a plane – you’ve booked a hotel, seen a photo online, or even what restaurant to book before going out of your house. These trips In, I’ve been to places. I’ve never seen and never heard of villages. You won’t find more information about some places online.

    “It turns out, I don’t need to travel to Mount Everest or any foreign country to find the excitement and joy of discovery and adventure.”

    Simon Van climbed every hill and island in Hong Kong

    “On the hills, people are more likely to talk and connect,” says Vann.

    Simon Van Chi-Chung

    For most Hong Kong, unfamiliar mountains and island names roll Wan’s tongue as he recounts anecdotes from his travels.

    He He says he learned the history of Ape Chou, a rugged island in the northeastern part of Hong Kong, which had found Wan sleeping one morning at the pier during an informal tour from successive retired villagers.

    He Visited the Memorial Plate for Quentin Roosevelt II, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt on Basalt Island, where Roosevelt was killed in a plane crash in 1948. It is a part of the city’s history that is not written in many textbooks.

    “It may be an old saying, but the nature of Hong Kong is unique for its convenience,” Wan says. “No matter where you are, there’s always a hill behind you. You don’t have to plan anything or ask for a day off. You can just go to lunch.

    “People say that there is a lot of forest within Hong Kong. I say it’s the other way – Hong Kong is a city hidden within the forest.”

    Wan has provided great advice for those wishing to begin exploring the wild places of Hong Kong.

    “Whether you’re a waterfall climber or a leisurely walker, there’s a route for you,” he says enthusiastically. “Most of the hiking trails are well paved with signs and facilities along the way – so it really is for everyone.”

    A stone away from the popular Victoria Peak (or Peak), it offers a quick taste of Hong Kong’s natural beauty but is right next to a vibrant business center.

    Simon Van climbed every hill and island in Hong Kong

    Mount High West is only a stone’s throw from the popular tourist destination Peak.

    Simon Van Chi-Chung

    Meanwhile, towards Hong Kong’s Kowloon, Lion Rock Hill offers “an unbeatable view of Kowloon”, with trails suitable for all types of hikers.

    Nature as an emotional stage

    Capturing the beauty of Hong Kong’s natural side is more than just a photo assignment for Wan. It is an outlet for him to express his feelings.

    Going through a painful divorce in 2011, he says he used to raise a different mountain every day and cannot see his two-year-old son.

    Van said, “I can take a picture of where he is?” “Maybe he can see my way at that time. Then, we will be looking at each other. I have made a copy of the trip at the Heritage Museum and I am keeping a copy here for my son, so he will give me Know that I never supported her. “

    During his island-trip trip in Hong Kong in 2013, along with a 2013 hike, he used a Holga – a made-in-Hong Kong film camera with limited functionality.

    Simon Van climbed every hill and island in Hong Kong

    Van used a Hong Kong-designed Holga camera in some of his travels.

    Simon Van Chi-Chung

    “I knew before my visits that the Holga camera would not produce ideal results,” Wan explains.

    “But I wanted to use the camera as a metaphor for myself. I want to persevere and I won’t change as an artist. At the same time, I accept that the environment is something I can’t control Could, so I had to let it go. Go. “

    Wan’s next Hong Kong hill expedition will take place this summer.

    “I hate Hong Kong’s summer – it’s moist and warm and emitted with a typhoon. But I want to make the trip as challenging and memorable as possible, so I will remember deeply how unique the heat of Hong Kong is.”

    “Some people are devastated when they need to release their feelings. I go to the mountains during my ups and downs. I feel like I don’t mind. I love my house – I This land is a great choice. So I am devoted to it. Project. I think I spend my life if I can. ”


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