In late September, we went on a tour called “Conquering the roof of Indochina” held by Lua Viet Tours to climb Mount Fansipan, 3,143 meters above sea level. We met at Hanoi railway station at 8:30 p.m. to catch the train to Lao Cai. That night we could not sleep and the weather was very bad.
At 9 a.m. the next morning, we transferred from Sapa Town to Tram Ton pass, which is at an altitude of 1,900 meters, where we started the climb. Dressed in proper mountaineering gear, we were eager for the journey ahead. On our shoulders were light backpacks with water, cookies and fruit and clothes and we carried the “Truong Son stick”. The local porters took the tents, sleeping bags and food ahead of us.
Fansipan is the highest peak of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, so it is called the “Roof of Indochina” while the local people call it Huasipan, which means large tottering rock. Located in Lao Cai Province in the northwest of Vietnam, 9km southwest of Sapa Town in the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, Fansipan is approved as an eco-tourist spot of Vietnam, with about 2,024 floral varieties, over 700 medical herbs, 66 faunal species, 347 bird species, 102 species of reptile and amphibians. Vietnamese people are proud of Fansipan and consider it the Garden of Eden that God gave to Vietnam.
From afar, magnificent and surrounded by white clouds, Fansipan looks proud and as charming as a mountain girl in waiting. In the cold wind, we passed along the tortuous roads through forests where trees wore moss coats. We smelled the different scents from the moss, grass, cardamoms, wet soil and many kinds of flowers.
On the way, we saw some huge dew-worms, 40 centimeters long and as thick as fingers, and heard frogs and birds. We had staffs for walking but sometimes we had to climb with our hands and feet. At noon, we stopped at a rest-point for lunch. After that, we continued our way upwards and the paths got wetter and more slippery. The beautiful scenery, however made us forget our tiredness. Many kinds of flowers displayed their beauty. The cold wind rustled the groves of bamboo. We reached the top camp at 17:45 p.m. After dinner, we put on extra coats and crept into our sleeping bags. It was raining outside and the strong winds were screaming.
In the morning, we started climbing in the rain. We encouraged each other and went on with a sense of excitement. At 10:45 a.m., we were on the top and feeling happiness all around, we hugged each other tightly and took pictures beside the metal triangular marker written “Fansipan 3,143 m – Roof of Indochina”. Anyone who has conquered the summit of Fansipan or other summits will never forget the happy moment, when we find out that we can scale the height, the difficulties and ourselves. By Nguyen Van My of SGT