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(Physically) hard to visit WHS

 
 
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Author Kbecq
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 8 Apr 2016 14:41 
To start our first message, first of all our compliments for this very nice & useful site!

We have noticed that there are some posts about hard to visit WHS in terms of location, but we are wondering which WHS are the most difficult to reach for a physical point of view? E.g. in terms of location it is easy to visit Mount Kilimanjaro, but it takes some time & a good condition to reach the top. Are there other comparable WHS (other mountains probably but maybe also WHS which require some hiking through rough terrain, ...)?

In other words, which WHS are best to visit when you are still young...

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 9 Apr 2016 02:17 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Hi Kbecq - "Welcome aboard"!
Most sites which seem difficult to reach physically either have boundaries which are not too far from road access if the main purpose is simply to "get inside" or else have air strips which mean one can fly in (if one has the money and inclination).
On the other hand one could make a trip to apparently "easy to acccess" sites very much harder by abandoning the vehicle and walking - hiking the entire Santiago de Compostela route for instance!
I wouldn't accept your apparent premise that only the young can undertake demanding physical exercise - though I must admit that my visits to the summit of Kilimanjaro and to Everest Base Camp back in the mid 1970s are not something I could undertake today!!
Sagarmatha (Everest) Base Camp can be reached by Helicopter but needs a longer trek to get inside the boundary if one flies in to the more normal Lukla.
Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya both have boundaries which are close to road heads - but of course to get to the summits or even to the "heights" is a somewhat bigger trek
Lorenz NP is a very difficult place to get into with (as far as I am aware no roads into it). This site has no "real" reviews (only from "locals") and only 1 claimed visit. But, again, there are I believe airstrips which can be flown into - and maybe sea trips which can get one inside the coastal boundaries.
I see that the only review of Putorana Plateau on this Web site describes a trip involving boat and helicopter
Rwenzori is short of full road access and Els recently undertook a day return walk to get inside the boundary -but she never saw the "snow capped peaks" of the magical "Mountains of the Moon".

There will be a fair number of WHS which really need at least a 1 day hike to "see"/experience/appreciate the OUV of the site. And that is the issue really - just what is necessary in each case to achieve that objective and how "physical" does that have to be? I think most people would agree that one doesn't have to reach the summits of Everest and Kilimanjaro to have experienced their "OUV" but both probably require a several day trek. I suspect that the same is true of many of the Natural WHS - even quite "common" ones like Yellowstone or Ordesa

Author elsslots
Admin
#3 | Posted: 9 Apr 2016 06:35 | Edited by: elsslots 
Come to think of it, we should create a Connection 'No road access'. All these at least include a hike or a boat ride to get in. Boat rides may sound easier than hikes, but getting in and out of a boat at for example Manu National Park (and subsequently discovering the trails of the park) is quite strenuous.

The one that I do not want to repeat at 70 is the gorilla trekking at Bwindi. Accidentally I had chosen 'Nkuringo' as the base from where I would do my trek (lured there by a nice lodge), but that apparently is the hardest among the various Bwindi locations. Rwenzori indeed also was hard, but slightly less than Bwindi (not as steep).

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 9 Apr 2016 06:57 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
Come to think of it, we should create a Connection 'No road access'.

I had thought of suggesting that BUT - what constitutes a "road"?? 2WD, 4WD, the Darian Gap "highway"?? Even Mt Kili has a track for jeeps a fair way up! Okavango has "tracks" in the dry season. How would we determine the accuracy of any proposal? "Not shown on Google Maps"??

Author elsslots
Admin
#5 | Posted: 9 Apr 2016 07:08 
I'd say no roads at all. And excluding Island sites of course.

Author Kbecq
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 9 Apr 2016 09:11 
Solivagant

Thanks Solivagant.

Point taken about the young versus old(er) physical condition - the statement is mainly based on our personal experience :-) (we did a hike to the top of the Teide earlier this year which was much harder than expected / than when we were younger)

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 9 Apr 2016 10:42 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Kbecq:
we did a hike to the top of the Teide earlier this year which was much harder than expected / than when we were younger)

Well done! We visited the Teide NP last Dec for the second time and on neither visit have I felt that my appreciation of the OUV required a visit to the top! Am I "wrong"?
There are (at least?) 33 WHS whose main "mountain" (some of them are not that "high") is regarded as significant enough for the entire site to be named after it ( See- http://worldheritagesite.org/tags/tag.php?id=951 ).
We have visited around 20 of these sites but have only climbed/been (some provide cable car, rail or even road "assistance") to the "summit" (or as close to the summit as people are allowed to go) of 8 of them (Garajonay, Gebel Barkal, Kili, Kinabalu, Etna, Nemrut, Uluru, Jungfrau.
I have asked my self if
a. In retrospect I would regard a summit visit of those 8 as "essential" for appreciating the OUV.
Garajonay and Etna - No. There are better walks in Garajonay NP and I didn't find the experience of the Etna cable car worth it
Kinabalu - certainly. You really need to go through the vegetation zones and then come out on that bleak rock face to fully appreciate the site. Just seeing e.g Poring Springs and then Kinabalu from a distance isn't enough.
Kilimanjaro - probably. Again - only by going through the very significant vegetation zones and crossing the saddle before climbing the ash cone and seeing the ice (or what is left of it!) in the crater does the bulk and variety of the mountain really come alive
Jungfrau - ok it is by rail but the railway really is an amazing feat and the "shape" of the mountain really needs viewing from the top. It is pricy - but worth doing.
Uluru - a "controversial" one. The "rules" have changed since I was there and climbing is now "discouraged" with the traditional custodians requesting that people do not. On reflection, I don't think that doing the climb really "adds" to an appreciation of the OUV of the site. I managed to fit in both a climb and a walk round the circumference - I would still recommend the latter.
Gebel Barkal - well it is no real issue to clamber up this 85m "pimple" and, unless one was really disabled anyone who has got that close would miss out significantly from not experiencing the view, the remains of the structures on the Uraeus and the sunset
Nemrut - the car park is only c 500 m from the summit and this walk just "has" to be done
b. Would I want to climb any of the others?
A fair number aren't really practicable of course even if I were young/fit enough! So I exclude Everest, Nanga Devi, Huascaran and other mountains requiring climbing skills and even expeditions. Looking through the remainder -
The Chinese Sacred mountains need to be "ascended" - I guess the issue is whether to avail oneself of the cable cars or to climb on foot! It would be interesting to hear the views of others ho have been faced with this choice
Fujisan? Well it "costs" and takes some organising as the numbers allowed to do it are cut back. Perhaps I am getting old and "unadventurous" but I feel I could "miss out" on that one without missing out on the OUV of the site (there are other "cultural" aspects which can be visited regarding the pilgrimage route. If I were Japanese my view would probably be different.
Looking though the others - I can't see any I would feel would be "essential".

Author Kbecq
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 9 Apr 2016 14:15 
Solivagant

You certainly have a point that not all mountains have to climbed to appreciate the OUV. This is again a personal thing where especially Mr. Kbecq feels the urge to climb things (irrespective of the OUV/WHS status) - towers, pyramids, ...

We also visited Garajonay and agree 100% that the climb does not add significant value.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 9 Apr 2016 14:51 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Kbecq:
Mr. Kbecq feels the urge to climb things (irrespective of the OUV/WHS status) - towers, pyramids, ...

Oh I know the feeling ........ see my review photo (just over half way down)!
http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/site.php?id=86

Author echwel
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 10 Apr 2016 08:00 
Maybe the long distance sites like ie. the pilgrimage sites to Santiago fit in? Easy to visit a part of course but doing all its length on foot or bicycle sure is a physical undertaking not suitable for all. Essential? No, not necessarily but you would probably get a better understanding of the site as a whole.

Author clyde
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 10 Apr 2016 08:29 
I'll be doing the Camino Frances from France on foot in a month. Since there is no time limit, I wouldn't exclude anyone, young or old, disabled or not. It would be harder but not impossible. From the several diaries, blogs, notes I've read, disabled, sick, mums with pushchairs, crippled, etc. all found their own way to Santiago de Compostela. Only difficulty is allowing enough time for possible injuries, resting, etc. I'm aiming at 800km in 30 days with resting stops in Atapuerca, Burgos, Leon and Santiago. However, I'll have around 8 extra days leeway just in case of injuries (which I plan to use to visit the other WHS sites in Galicia). The Camino Del Norte would be harder but again doable for anyone who has enough time to spare!

Author vantcj1
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 10 Apr 2016 15:01 
Hello, everyone! I just want to add on two sites, out of my personal experience, and that I think, require a more than one day experience, involving ascents.
The first one is the Cordillera de Talamanca reserves/La Amistad site. Many of the reserves have access roads: paved in Tapantí, unpaved in Hitoy-Cerere, Barbilla, Las Tablas, and two sectors of La Amistad, and no vehicle access roads in the case of Chirripó National Park. Of these, one can have a good idea of the exuberance of the very wet forest in Tapantí, which involves -for my standard- mild walking, and is doable in a one-day-trip from the Central Valley. Hitoy-Cerere are Barbilla show more caribbean ecosystems related and would involve moderate hiking. Las Tablas, for what I have heard, is very exuberant, and adds to the comprehension of the a little drier pacific side of the complex, and is a sanctuary for the Morpho Cypris butterfly. But if I really, really wanted to get an experience of the altitudinal variation in the type of forests (including the big oak forests), and even experience a little bit of the caribbean side, I would try to make the Amistad (especially the Altamira sector) which would involve driving and staying at least one night, to go through the different hikes. Or even better, and in my personal experience, almost life changing, to do the 2100 meter ascent to the refuge in Chirripó National Park (which involves pre-booking), and then to the summit, perhaps visiting the glaciar lakes, the Crestones, Terbi mount, the Valley of the Lions and other attractions from that park. That would be at least a three day trip from the base -at San Gerardo de Rivas- and back. And I think that I would'nt really get a complete appreciation from the OUV of this site without doing so.

The other one would be the Guanacaste Conservation Area. The ease to access the sites is relatively good: paved road in Santa Rosa, gravel roads to Rincón de la Vieja, and Guanacaste NPs, boat to Bolaños island from Salinas Bay. To experience the full range, I would drive to Santa Rosa to know better the dry forest, perhaps visit the historic old mansion (former TWHS), drive to Naranjo beach and try to book a visit to the turtles nesting at Nancite Beach. The northern side of the park, inscribed in 2004, can be also visited by car, though the road is mostly gravel, the beaches are stunning....of course, it wouldn't add that much to the appreciation of the OUV. To visit both the higher parts of the dry forest, the volcanic complexes and getting closer to the caribbean side of the conservation area, one would have to either get a booking on Guanacaste NP, or visit the Rincón de la Vieja NP, especially the Las Pailas sector, which is of free access. The road is more or less acceptable, but to get an idea of the whole OUV, one should stay at least one day more, to get to visit the volcanic features, the waterfalls and maybe get the ascent to Santa María volcano, which has a lush-caribbean influenced vegetation (the 41/2-hour Rincón de la Vieja would be better to appreciate the evolution of forest types, but it's now closed because the volcano is currently erupting).

So, I think that definitely I would try to get a deeper knowledge of some of the components, even if the involved longer and steeper hikes, if the OUV from the site is related to different life zones, or features which can't be easily accesed.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#13 | Posted: 11 Apr 2016 07:22 
Best of luck Clyde on your Camino.

I hope it is as enjoyable for you as it was for me. I was just reminiscing about it the other day, I only did the last 120km, but it was a great experience and I am seriously contemplating when I can go back and doing it properly.

As you have picked up there are a great variety of people doing it, I walked with a lovely retired couple from Oregon or a stretch, and there was a Spanish gentleman who I understood to be in his 90's. It certainly can be strenuous, but mostly it is accessible if it is something you are motivated to do.

Whilst it is mostly a mild climb Skellig Michael does require a fair bit of effort, so more of a challenge than being hard or inaccessible.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 11 Apr 2016 13:46 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
Come to think of it, we should create a Connection 'No road access'.

I have been "investigating" Mt Kilimanjaro!!
Problem 1 is that the UNESCO map for the inscription is virtually useless for determining the boundaries! See download here - http://whc.unesco.org/document/102340
The big question is - are the "Gates" located at the edge of the inscribed area or before it!! .
I can find just TWO routes up the mountain on which one can drive PAST a gate -the Shira Route and the Lemosho Route. But - does driving past these gates take one INTO the inscribed area?
SHIRA ROUTE
This description is the best which I can find in terms of describing the "road" -
"The starting point for the Shira Route is the Londorossi Gate (same as for the Lemosho Route). It is a two to three hour drive to get there.....What follows after the registration at the gate is unusual: you keep driving. The Shira Route is the only Kilimanjaro climb route that you can follow in a car, at least for part of the way on day one. Theoretically you could drive all the way to the Morum Barrier at the foot of the Morum Hill. (Only emergency vehicles are allowed beyond the barrier.)"

LEMOSHO ROUTE
"Getting to Londorossi Gate (2,100 meters) takes approximately 2 hours from Moshi and longer from Arusha. At the gate you will register with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities before getting back into vehicles to be transported to the starting point which is a further 12km from Londorossi. During the wet season the track can be very inaccessible to vehicles and you may need to walk the last few miles to the starting point".

This map shows the locations mentioned
http://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/19.-Lemosho-Route-Map .jpg?c242d9
So - is the green dotted line the boundary of the inscribed area or not??? If it IS then there are no roads inside it OTHER than the one which is only available to emergency vehicles to the Morum Barrier. Note that, on this map ALL the gates are situated some distance from the green dotted line. However the original (and useless) map on the UNESCO site would appear to show e.g the southern Marangu Gate as being at the inscribed boundary which looks somewhat larger than that of the "green dotted line"!!!
What do you think Els - is there a "road" inside the Kilimanjaro inscribed area or isn't there?? There certainly IS if you count the "emergency road" -otherwise it isn't clear.

Author clyde
Partaker
#15 | Posted: 11 Apr 2016 13:54 
meltwaterfalls
Thanks :)

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 (Physically) hard to visit WHS

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