Karst Country – How Can These Be Mountains?

We got our first look at the karst limestone from the brand spanking new 737-800 we flew into Guilin on from Hangzhou. Weird looking bumps popping up out of the ground in irregular rows. On our way to Yangshuo from Ping’an, we followed them all the way from Guilin.


They call this stuff egg-carton topography, and for good reason. All these rocks look like the bottom of an egg carton, in some places almost as regular as the placement of a dozen eggs in a box. They defy any definition I’ve ever learned of mountains. Big, steep pyramids of rock, rising out of a flat plain. Some of them are weirdly eroded at the top. All of them are covered in vegetation. I think I could have grasped what they were about if they were in the desert and bare of trees, but these things have trees all over!

Proof that they aren’t mountains, but are something else is that they attract climbers in great numbers.


A final note on these weird things: When I researched the geology to discover how the eroded, I learned that these peaks erode from the bottom. But instead of falling over, they just keep getting taller. . .


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