A striking panoramic view often serves as the ultimate reward for hikers after a demanding ascent. However, for those visiting Tianyu Mountain in Zhejiang province, the journey to the summit has become remarkably easier, thanks to the recent installation of escalators. While Chinese state media hails this move as a resounding success, online discourse presents a divided perspective.
Critics argue that the inclusion of escalators erases the essence of a mountain climb. Some ponder whether it can still be considered a genuine mountain-climbing experience. Comments on Chinese social platform Weibo reflect these sentiments, with users questioning the purpose of scaling the mountain if it lacks the joy of a challenging climb. Concerns are also raised about escalators’ impact on the location’s natural beauty.
The discussion surrounding the escalators has given rise to trending terms on Weibo, with “painless mountain climbing” gaining widespread attention. Advocates of the installation argue that it offers an opportunity for individuals with health issues, particularly those with knee problems, to enjoy the climb without physical challenges.
Supporters highlight that paths for traditional hikers remain intact, emphasizing that the option to pursue a conventional mountain climb is still available.
Escalators are seen as a solution to congestion issues by some. One worker stated that the primary aim of installing the escalator was to address traffic problems associated with climbing the mountain. Initially, the idea of a cableway was considered; however, escalators were deemed safer and more efficient due to their limited transportation capacity and safety concerns.
These escalators, inaugurated last year for $2.2 million, span 350 meters and require a fee of 30 yuan ($6.50) for usage. They have significantly reduced the time needed to reach the summit from 50 minutes to just 10. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that visitors must still engage in some climbing to reach the mountain’s peak.
While introducing escalators in famous tourist attractions is not uncommon, it has sparked a lively debate over the balance between accessibility and preserving the authenticity of a mountain climb experience.