Just wanted to share some details from recent trip up the mountain. Did a day trip and it was super easy. The new tram to the west peak makes a day trip incredibly easy. Ideally I would taken more time, stayed on the mtn and hiked all the peaks. But if you don't have the time you don't have the time, Huangshan was truly amazing and well worth the trip.
Was staying downtown Xi'ian by the bell tower. Took the subway to the north train station, cost 4Y and took about 20 mins. Got on the 10:30 train to Huashan. Once there drop my big bag off at the cafe by the train station, think it cost 4Y to keep it there. Also bought my return ticket back to Xi'ian. Then found a green taxi (don't get in the fake ones, the real ones have taxi signs on them) to base of the mountain. Cost 20Y. You might be able to get it cheaper. You could also take the green shuttle for much cheaper I assume. Cab took 8 mins.
Once at the ticket office for the mtn buy a entrance ticket for mtn and a shuttle to the tram you want to go to (I went to West Peak tram). The ticket for the shuttle is one way, you'll need to by another one when you come down from the mtn. We went to the information table and told the person what we wanted and she wrote it down in Chinese and then we took that to the ticket agent which made it super easy. This is also a good time to get a map.
The bus up to the West Peak took about 50 mins. Once there you need to buy a ticket for the tram. The west tram is about twice the price as the north peak one but well worth it if you don't have much time. We ended up at the West Peak around 12:15. The west peak tram is spectacular, a lot more scenic then the North Tram.
From here I did a quick hike to middle peak and did the plank walk. Plank walk was awesome, one of the coolest things I've done and not nearly as scary as it looks. The middle peak you gives you a pretty sweet view of the east peak and Chess-play pavilion.
From here took a pretty leisurely hike down to the north peak. You go through most of the big sites. Made it the tram in under an hour. It's all downhill and pretty mellow. Watching the people dying as they are coming up you feel a little bad that you cheated. Took the tram down, you have to pay for another shuttle bus down to the base of the mountain. Takes about 20 mins. For some reason they don't drop off at the ticket office you started at. Regardless got a cab back to the train station for 20Y. The same green shuttle was there which I assume would take you there for cheaper. Took about 10 mins. Was back at the train station by like 5:10 to make the 5:45 train.
I could have easily done all the peaks and still made it down in time for the last tram. I was with my girlfriend and she's not a big hiker and not super in shape. I'm in decent shape and I feel like I could have easily done the whole mtn using the north tram in a day, just would have needed to get an earlier start. Ideally you would have more time to see the mtn then I did. Also, I went during the off season, if it was super crowded and there were line for the tram/shuttle I imagine the times might be a little different. You might just need to plan a little more. I am not sure the west tram is going to be great for the mtn but in this case it allowed me to do something I wouldn't have otherwise been able to do so I can't really complain.