Watching the Hong Kong frost tourists


Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong’s tallest peak (photo credit)

Ice on Hong Kong mountaintops is not an urban legend. This weekend temperatures in Hong Kong plunged to freezing and real ice was spotted in abundance at Hong Kong’s higher elevations.

Wishing to see such an unusual sight for themselves, ‘frost tourists’ were out in full force on Sunday causing traffic jams on mountain roads and creating a lot of extra work for emergency services.

Rather than brave the elements to see the ice myself, I decided to pull out a telescope and watch the action on Hong Kong’s tallest peak, Tai Mo Shan, from the comfort of my balcony.

I least I think I did.

I also might have fallen asleep under a pile of blankets on my sofa while a bad movie about mountain climbing was on TV. It might have been called The Eiger Sanction (1975) staring Clint Eastwood and George Kennedy.

Anyway, this is a picture of me on my balcony Sunday afternoon with my telescope (Yes, I bear an uncanny resemblance to George Kennedy):


I invited a few friends over to ‘watch the mountain’ and I swear I remember the following conversation:

Friend: “Is your balcony always so crowded?”

Me: “Only when there’s frost in Hong Kong. Then the Tai Mo Shan birds start flocking in.”

Friend: “Tai Mo Shan birds?”

Me: “Yeah, jet setters, assorted Eurotrash, come here to watch the Hong Kong frost tourists. If they’re lucky, they get to see a man die on the mountain.”

Friend: “That’s grim.”

Me: “So’s Tai Mo Shan at zero degrees. Have a look through the telescope.”

Tai Mo Shan Sanction

 Friend: “Christ, those are black ice conditions in Hong Kong! They’re falling like flies! They’ll never make it off the mountain!”

Me: “Yep. Go get me another Olympia beer, will you? We’re gonna be here awhile.”

(Credits: The top photo is a screen shot from The Eiger Sanction. The bottom photo, in its original, un-cropped form, was by Will Cho and was taken on Tai Mo Shan on 24 January. The dialogue has been liberally adapted from The Eiger Sanction.)



6 responses to “Watching the Hong Kong frost tourists

  1. Years ago in the Netherlands, we used to get snow, but there were no hills for sledging. Soooooo, we kids would hunt down whichever dad had a tow bar on his car and having cajoled him, hooked up a convoy of sledges. The lucky dad would crawl round the neighbourhood very slowly with up to 20 village kids in tow. No idea if it’s still allowed in 2016! I like the icy Hong Kong death slide hill though. Have you tried it?

    • I would have tried it, had I been able to get up to it safely. It was a total traffic jam and I would have just made things worse. Lots of people actually had to be taken to hospital for hypothermia!

  2. Brilliant Jen! Only you could do justice to the frost tourists by working in the legendary George Kennedy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s