Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yangshuo 2012 Part 1

Its great to be back in Asia. Europe seemed to build up on me this year and I wasn't quite able to relax. I am not exactly sure of the reasoning but it has something to do with spending alot of time at fully developed crags without a sense of adventure and the constant fear of having your things stolen. In Asia everything is generally so random and hectic in that you have no choice but to sit back and go with the flow.This combined with the fast development of climbing in the region creates a sense of adventure missing in France and Spain. Before entering the China mainland I spent a week in Macau hanging out with Jing-Yun who successfully quit her dayjob to follow her dreams and became an acrobat in a huge production called House of Dancing Water at the City of Dreams. The show is incredible and watching it was a great way to spend my 30th birthday! Yes I am officially old.
Jing being Jing on top of Moon Hill, Yangshuo Photo: Innalee.
A few days later with visa in hand I crossed the border to Zuhai and hopped on a nightbus back for a reunion with Yangshuo. Yangshuo has grown dramatically since 2006 but still retains its charm. I have spent a lot of time catching up with friends, catching up with my dumpling intake, and massaging away a years worth of knots in my back. I have been here a month now and feel like so much has happened. I projected a famous route called 'Lightning' at my favourite crag here called 'Lei Pi Shan' which translates to 'Thunder and Lightning Mountain'. It was Chinas first 32 although has now been rightly downgraded to 31. It took me four days and I was on a super high after climbing it. To its left is a line called 'Thunder' which is 32 but not my style at all. It has massive reaches between moderate holds so I lost interest after two goes. There is a way to traverse off the true line of the route and skip the main crux but if I couldnt do the main line I wasnt going to do it at all. Besides my attention had moved elsewhere.
Half way up Lightning 31 Photo: Abond.
A local friend of mine 'Abond' who I met in 2006 has done really well in the last few years setting up a guesthouse, climbing up to grade 34 and getting sponsorship from Adidas and Black Diamond. Another company, Kailas, which I hadnt heard of before, had given him a haulbag full of bolts for the development of the area. After catching up with Abond he allowed me access to his drill and seemingly unlimited bolts! This was fortunate as my eye had turned to the epic central line of Lei Pi Shan (just to the left of Thunder), a 40m wave of limestone steepest at the top. I spent a day bolting the line and removing any loose rock and found a great route ending with an amazing compression boulder problem! I haven't done it yet and it may end up being my focus for the rest of the trip.

The Yangshuo climbing festival also came and went and was a blast. Two days of climbing outdoors during the day and a boulder competition in the evenings. We had an awesome crew of people from all over the world including old friends Vince and Helen from the Blue Mountains who both managed to win the boulder competition. I performed well despite the intense weekend of climbing and managed 5th in a strong field of competitors. Yangshuo is getting cold now and not quite as dry as I would have hoped. Down jackets are a must! Climbers are coming and going but there is a dedicated crew here for the whole season which will end mid to late December. Hopefully thats enough time for my project!
I can see Macau from here! On top of Moon Hill. Photo: Me
Flag! On top of Moon Hill. Photo: Innalee.

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