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Pa Ku San, Mother Mountain in the clouds

Pa Ku San Mountain in Lao Cai Province has primitive forests covered in moss, forests full of maple trees and their colourful leaves, cliffs that startle with their steepness and, at times, all this is covered in a sea of mist.

VietNamNet Bridge – Pa Ku San Mountain in Lao Cai Province has primitive forests covered in moss, forests full of maple trees and their colourful leaves, cliffs that startle with their steepness and, at times, all this is covered in a sea of mist.

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Through the mist: We reached the climax of our feelings. — VNS Photos Tuan Ngoc


I kept wondering about the mountain when I saw it during a trekking up Lao Than and Nhiu Co San mountains last year. The mountain has high cliffs jutting from a sea of white cloud between Lao Than and Nhiu Co San mountains. 

As the cold air of winter overwhelmed the North, the image of the mountain appeared again and again in my mind, so I decided to conquer it. I searched the net hoping to find some information on the mountain. And I got some.

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Primitive: The higher we climbed, the deeper we got into primitive forest and its stunning trees and plants. 


The mountain is located near Nhiu Co San Village in Sang Ma Sao Commune in Lao Cai Province. Locals call it Nhiu Co San Mother Mountain. Nhiu Co San Village hosts two mountains: Nhiu Co San Father Mountain (2,965m) and Nhiu Co San Mother Mountain (2,665m), which is also called Pa Ku San Mountain or Bufallo Horn Mountain.

A map published by Viet Nam People’s Military says Pa Ku San Mountain stands 2,665m, but, apart from this, I could find no information about trekking up the mountain. It seemed that no one had climbed that peak.

Then I met Duc Le, a veteran mountain climber who inspires others. With a warm heart, he shared his experience trekking up that mountain three years ago. He introduced me to a guide, A Phu, a frank Mong man, whose house was right at the foot of the mountain. A Phu welcomed our team.

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Top of the world: Mount Pa Ku San has the features of high mountains throughout Vietnam.


A Phu welcomed us in a drizzling rain at 8 degrees Celsius. A Phu was surprised at my intention of climbing the mountain, saying he had not guided anyone for a long time.

He said he first explored the mountain with friends from the village.

He said there was no path. "We herded the buffaloes up the mountain. The buffaloes created a path, and we followed.”

Our team followed him while chatting. We passed the first steep hill without any difficulties. We cut plants to clear the path so that we could move easier.

We then started to go deep into primitive forest. We were all stunned at the maple forest with its bright red and gold leaves. The whole scene was so mysterious.

The higher we climbed up, the deeper we got into the primitive forest and the more we were stunned by local trees and plants.

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Fruit salad: We were all stunned with the colours of the maple forest as autumn neared. 


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Stimulating: I have never had so many different feelings as I did with this mountain.


We climbed over slippery steeps, passed along chasms with lots of flowers on one side and deep abysses on the other. We reached the climax of our feelings and felt in control.

I have to admit that I never had so many different feelings as I did on that mountain.

I would like to thank A Phu, our guide, his friends who helped as porters, all my friends for accompanying me and more than anyone else, thank Mother Nature for creating such wonderful scenery.

If you want to find a unique experience away from urban pollution ....to lose yourself in a natural native landscape…Pa Ku San is a place you should not miss. 

By Tuan Ngoc

Source: VNS

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