About Us
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Three dimensions
*Three dimensions
Three dimensions

The current Mountaineering School courses are based on three main elements, categorized as: mountaineering (internal), exploration (external) and trails (environment), and the development of these; providing diverse course for training people of outstanding talent in the outdoors from the three main aspects of “improving mountaineering ethics and skills”, “internal exploration and inciting hidden potential” and “ecology and providing a friendly environment”. “Improving mountaineering ethics and skills” includes mountaineering, search and rescue, snow training, guiding and international expeditions; “internal exploration and stimulating hidden potential” includes taking risks, animal tracking, night observation and nature exploration; “ecology and providing a friendly environment” includes trail maintenance and partnerships.

Three dimensions
Mountaineering Exploring Trail

Taiwan is an island with many mountains; the mountainous regions cover two thirds of the island’s surface. Due to dramatic socio-economic improvements in the last half-century and the opening of international travel, alpine activity in Taiwan has flourished and the number of people involved in mountaineering activities has increased markedly. This has also been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the occurrences of mountaineering accidents and the destruction of nature. The environment of the forests and mountains is Taiwan’s most important green corridor, it maintains an intact biological habitat, and provides opportunities for aesthetics and philosophical discussion; through these tangible experiences and abstract ideas, humans can discover the mystery and power of the universe. The three great aims of the national parks, of conservation, recreation and research, promote the operation of each aspect of management; promoting the concept of caring for and protecting the alpine environment, holding relevant mountaineering activities and practical training, and teaching the promotion of proper, safe mountaineering skills and proficiency are all School objectives and covered in its course. The main current tasks are improving mountaineering ethics and skills, promoting mountaineering safety and disseminating correct natural environmental protection thinking and knowledge.

Taiwan’s mountaineering organizations can be roughly divided into student organizations and social mountaineering organizations. Generally speaking, most of the mountaineering education courses for student mountain organizations are annual beginner, intermediate and advanced guide group training; the social mountaineering organizations use their mountaineering activities throughout the year as training. Both of these lack a holistic course programme; in situations where systematic mountaineering education is lacking, there is often a lack of teaching and handing down proper knowledge and skills, which adds to the danger in the mountains.

From beginning to end, mountaineering education is crucial to mountaineer proficiency and mountaineer safety. In terms of environmental ethics and mountaineering equipment, knowledge and skills, the main destroyer of the mountain and forest environment in Taiwan unfortunately comes from policy and inappropriate conduct by mountaineers. However, mountaineering education developed by people mainly consists of skills-training courses, and “there is a shortage of risk management and environmental ethics courses.” In order to promote the sound development of national mountaineering activities, we need to implement mountain safety education: teaching mountaineers the proper concepts of mountain safety and the idea of effective implementation of ecological conservation. The School promotes mountain safety by starting with environmental ethics and mountaineer proficiency, arranging its courses for sequential learning of mountaineering knowledge, skills and training. Its long-term objective and holistic perspective is to extend its mountaineering activities internationally, using an international expedition as the ultimate training goal. All the current courses are designed around the two main ideas of risk management and environmental ethics, to improve the existing lack in mountaineering education.

The educational issues arising from mountaineering activities can be said to be partly environmental education and partly life education. Regardless of if you are a mountaineer or a manager, in the private or public sector, you must have a deep understanding that these together constitute the guardians of the mountains and forests, the beautiful boundary between mountaineering education and environmental education.

There are many surprises and mysteries in every nook and cranny of nature, especially in this highly urbanized modern society. People have an excitement and longing inside of them to experience nature. In all likelihood, there are beautiful fragments of nature inside everyone; in the temple of forest and mountain, layers of sunshine and shadow fall upon the human body; along the way, we appreciate the clusters of wild flowers in all kinds of poses, or find lovely little creatures in unobtrusive clumps of grass; we grow tired of walking and rest on piles of fallen leaves, using the dense canopy of the treetops as a respite from the heat; a cool breeze caresses our bodies’ perspiration; the beauty of these small rests interwoven with the hike to feel the tranquility of nature. Or perhaps we can imagine ourselves paddling a canoe on fresh water near a steep precipice(Qingshui Cliff) into the sea; we catch a glimpse of the surprise and delight of the Portuguese sailors discovering Formosa 400 years ago. The dazzling sight of the first sunlight reflected on the precipice gives us a real sense of its magnitude and our insignificance.

The National Park Mountaineering School “Exploration” course is designed around the concept of environmental education, based on LNT (Leave No Trace), complemented by exploration education, through outdoor experiences that make people feel nature more deeply, and produce a concern for the earth. When those people experience and explore the freeing pleasure of that moment in the wilderness, they interfere with the creatures and the non-living environment around them. How can we wander through nature without causing complications for the creatures and non-living things around us? The true work of environmental education and LNT is for students to practice leaving no trace in the wilderness (LNT); the concept will become part of the students’ life; the practice makes each student into a citizen responsible for the environment, and minimizes potential threat to the environment. Small-group activities are characteristic of exploration education; the participants face challenges, such as physical stamina and social challenges in these high-level exploration activities and novel experiences; sharing, exchanging and supporting their thoughts with their peers brings about transformation in their thinking and raises their sense of self. Ultimately, all they experience and feel will improve their social behavior. The two concepts of building mutual support and exploring the world outside together also explore the small universe within.

In the future, we may offer experiential classes such as ocean kayaking, tree climbing, cycling, hiking and youth camps. Active outdoor experiences always give people something to look forward to and be excited about; however, we must approach them with care to consider if there are any visible or hidden risks; therefore the exploration course also incorporates “outdoor risk assessment and management”, “first aid”, etc. Through the theory and work on the course, people can plan for outdoor activities beforehand and manage risks, avert crises, and minimize the potential for risk. This exploration course will give everyone a different outlook and growth.

Roads in the Taroko Gorge National Park environment are undoubtedly the most important means of getting to the scenic attractions in the Central-Cross Island Highway park area. The most important issue in living, traveling and any kind of movement on this land is building and traveling on roads built on the rock. The roads have evolved with time; the historical tradition of the road builders dates from indigenous people’s hunting paths, the Old Cross-Hehuan Mountain Road and the roads for gold extraction and power generation from the period of Japanese occupation to the construction of the Cross-Island Highway and hiking in the Republic of China era; in each era, different communities have entered, appeared, met and cooperated on these roads; down to the present-day Taroko National Park trail volunteers working by hand.

The National Park Mountaineering School “Trails” course is in accordance with the 2010 “Alpine Environment Maintenance Volunteer Center Established Training Plan” to implement the national park vision of multi-faceted integration and the three goals of future development: “conservation, experience and partnership.” As the main axis of the concept of the plan is in the objective of a “sustainable environment”, maintenance and management of the trails made by hand is done in a way that the paths themselves are a manifestation of nature and culture; environmental monitoring is also carried out along the trails to reach the conservation objectives. At the “sustainable society” level, volunteer manpower, such as members of the public or from companies, is brought in to maintain the trails and to implement the “strengthening of regional operations and the power and responsibilities of partnership.” In the “sustainable economy” aspect, we are trialing a method of linking to society with ecotourism vacations for trail volunteers, giving training in skills such as construction methods for the trail community and guiding activities, to provide a service for a full, diverse, onsite, environmentally friendly experience, and forming closer partnerships between national parks and indigenous residents.

The Alpine Environment Maintenance Volunteer Centre (Trail Volunteer Centre) was designed and established as part of the Mountaineering School; this year (2010), to promote our focus, one of its objectives is to train trail volunteers in trail maintenance skills and to give mountaineers organic opportunities for feedback on the trails; its other objective is to try to develop integrated mountaineering skills for application in the design of an advanced trail volunteer training course. Consequently, the trail course has a beginner level and an advanced level from the beginning; both levels of the course include theoretical and conceptual classes in the classroom as well as applied practice classes outdoors. The beginner level classes in the classroom emphasize basic knowledge and concepts, including: analysis of common problems on trails in Taiwan, the concept of volunteer trail work in Taiwan, construction method examples, as well as international precedents for environmentally friendly path construction, such as trail volunteer experiences on the Appalachian Trail in the United States. The advanced level classes are for trail volunteers aspiring to long term participation in trail maintenance and planning; the content emphasizes technical progress in trail construction methods and practical experience as well as diverse training and reinforcement. The course content includes: examining precedents in alpine trail building, constructing rope-and-basket river crossings, proficiency training for the operation of machinery such as winch transportation, risk management, mountain safety and emergency rescue, as well as surveys of general plant and animal resources for long term trail monitoring, and diverse classes integrated with the surrounding community such as permaculture design of sustainable operation. In future, we will face research and development plans for ecotourism and working holiday community empowerment programmes, the establishment of mechanisms for protecting and managing Taiwan’s mountain and forest resources corresponds to the protection of the natural environmental resources of trails, and the establishment of models of cooperation between the public and private sectors.

  • National Park Mountaineering School‧No.4, Tianxiang, Xiulin Township, Hualien County 972, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
  • National Park Mountaineering School Headquarters TEL:886-38691190‧FAX:886-3-8691190
  • View Date:2018/03/13
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