Well, I have 2 more months in China before I peace out to Spain and then off to Costa Rica for a long and much needed Caz’duh’su family reunion. My father is doing great things down there: Getting his Sustainable hotel going, an organic dairy farm, a renewable energy summer camp, etc. We’ll be making an outdoor bouldering wall, so lot’s to look forward to in Central America. I plan on spending 1 1/2 months there before heading back on some wildly new adventure – Climbing, climbing, climbing!
Will I come back to China for climbing? ABSOLUTELY.
China is one of the best climbing places in the world. It has SO many perks: Most affordable country to travel in, quite possibly the largest underdeveloped area in terms of climbing in the world, central to Asia, with bad-ass areas like Yangshuo, Qingdao, Getu, Leye, etc. There are climbing areas popping up left and right in China. By the time you read this, there will probably be another dozen climbing areas! Hard to tell anymore. Climbing is EXPLODING here.
And it’s so easy to develop areas; grab a drill, ask for free bolts from various spots here in China, and off you go! Yesterday I finished bolting a line at a new crag outside of Yangshuo. It’s looking like a good, and serious climb! Can’t wait to send.
Bolting with the Yangshuo guidebook legend: Tyson Wallace has been a great treat. Nothing like learning from the best! I did over-tighten a bolt and ended up snapping the bolt and having to remove it, but it was all part of the experience. That day was madness: 15 bolts later and 20km of pedaling a basically flat tire, we found ourselves back in Yangshuo. It is hot in S. China in the summer! ouch.
Look guys, I’m a big boy bolting, wearing big boy shoes! Running on the side is a great way to cross fit for climbing. Only aerobic exercise will burn fat!
Notice in the picture above how the master of traveling wears a fanny-pack. This is absolutely crucial if you don’t wanna end up having a bad day. It’s so easy to loose shit on these little buses, exchanging bills every second, etc. Plus, how trendy can you get right?!
Yangshuo is still the largest climbing area in China, with more and more lines being established on a weekly basis. In the newest guide book there are over 30 climbing areas, but in the time that I’ve been here, I’ve only managed to visit about half of them.
Bellow is google earth snap shot image of some of the crags that I have been to. If you find yourself trying to climb in Yangshuo, it could be very helpful to use this photo as a map for getting around. Google earth is a sweet program!
The crazy thing about Yangshuo, is how much development is still to be had. If you look at the image above, you’ll see that many of the best crags are right off the road; the rest of the areas are visible from these main roads. If you wander just 5 minutes off a main thoroughfare, you’ll see just how much potential is left in the area.
My favorite climbing spots in Yangshuo:
1- White Mountain
3- Moon Hill
5- Dragon City
7- The Goat
8- Swiss Cheese
9- Spear Head
10- Chicken Cave
My Favorite Climbs:
1- Lightning (13d)
2- Axeman (13b)
3- Over the Moon (12c)
4- Karate a Muerte en Remolinos (13c/d)
5- Gin and Tonic (13b)
6- White Devil (12d)
7- Hotel Yangshuo (12b)
8- Deusch Baguette (13a)
9- One Love (13a)
10- Todd Skinner Route (12b)
*** All the routes in Yangshuo are as good as can be!
————10 TIPS FOR CLIMBING IN YANGSHUO————
1) Get a bicycle: Make sure you have a big lock. If you are planning on staying here only for a short time, then rent a bike and make sure you rent if for the duration of your stay. You can negotiate a price… it should be 10RMB/Day or less – depending on how long you are renting for.
2) Buy the climbing guidebook: It’s 120RMB ($20). It’ll save you a lot of time, and energy. Trust me! Right now the guidebook is in it’s 3rd edition (the yellow cover).
3) Rent an apartment. If you are traveling on a budget, then you should definitely rent a room. Visit the Rusty Bolt (bar in Yangshuo), Black Rock Shop, or Climber’s Inn, and ask if they know anyone with an available room. They will hook you up. Definitely ask if there is an available room at TonTon’s house. This apartment has western bathrooms, HUGE living room, very reasonably priced (~$60/month). I lived in the same apartment basically and it made my trip!
4) Eat chinese food on the hospital road, or get street noodles… Many restaurants are overpriced. Ask some of the locals where they eat. Also, there are a number of grocery stores and markets that you should know about… the 99 store is near McDonalds (underground) and has lots of good priced food. BEWARE OF BUYING FRUIT ON THE STREET. THEY WILLLLLLL RIP YOU OFF. There are some great spots to buy fruit about 1block from the gas station (also very good street buffet choices near there).
5) Bargain, bargain, bargain! Everything in China can be bargained for, so keep that in mind.
6) Take the bus to climb. If you want to go climbing at Leipishan, Moon Hill, Banyan Tree, or any of the crags along that road, you can get a small bus that leaves every 15 minutes from the bus station. Just ask for the bust to GaoTien (town near Leipishan). The bus runs all day until about 7pm. After 6:30pm the price goes from 3RMB to 5RMB. So, beware of losing 0.75 cents! Ouch right! hah.
7) Find partners at the Rusty Bolt: Apparently climbers love to drink beer. Go figure! Actually, that’s not a joke; I read an article that one of my buddies posted on his blog about how drinking a beer after working out or exercising can actually be healthy for you. Yesterday I went bouldering indoor (Insight Adventures has a wall that they let people climb on for free here in town) and put this thesis to the test. After doing a super gnarly workout with like mono-pocket front levers and stuff, I drank a beer. It felt awesome. Experimental success!
8) Bring a water filter. I don’t trust the water in China. I’ve always been a conspiracy theorist, ehm… a ‘truth seeker’ so I strongly contest the purity of Yangshuo’s drinking water. Anyways…. most places have water filters, but just in case, bring your own.
9) Guys, watch out for Chinese girls! Millions of domestic tourists come to Yangshuo looking for foreign men. You have been warned!
10) Blind massages for 40RMB! Go find the blind massage parlor near the gas station in town – 4 blocks down HuaShan Rd. It’s amazing.