Sunday, December 6, 2015

Yangshuo - Fall 2015

I was really excited about a month of sport climbing after a year of jamming my fingers into cracks. I wasn't that excited about my lack of crimp strength though. To make things worse I had done most of the routes that suited me on previous trips and passed over all the ones I found reachy. So no crimp strength and reachy routes I found hard.

Jack Masel from Perth joined Hong Kong Will and I for the month, strong and fit, straight from the gym. It was obvious from the start of the trip he would be the one throwing down on this trip. Jack had never sent 8b/31 and I knew that Lightning at Lei Pi Shan was one of the best I had ever done so that was the target for him. I mentioned before the trip to him to get really fit and learn to rest on a jug in the gym. The moves by themselves wouldn't be a problem.
Its business time. Forget the pump, remember your sequence and pull down on the crimps!
Jack on Lightning 8b at Lei Pi Shan. Photo: Myself.
After climbing Single Life 8a which is the first half of Lightning 8b, being able to recover on the jug is key to sending the full rig. Here Jack executes the relaxed knee bar rest position perfectly. Photo: Myself.
There was a lot of rain during the trip with the cool dry November conditions never really eventuating so we ended up crag hopping to wherever was dry. Sometimes we went to Lei Pi Shan for Lightning even when it was wet so Jack could work the moves and increase linkage anyway. I started out on a 7c+ called Kill the Boss which gave me a lot of trouble. I really wasn't even moving in the right way for sport climbing. Will had decided to start working one of my routes from a previous trip called Silent Snow (Named and bolted by Duncan Brown) with the intention of linking it into an 8a extension (No Garanty) accessed via Papercut (Another route of mine from a previous trip).  These routes had soaking holds in some sections but we worked them with the intention of sending them when things dried up.
Trying hard on Kill the Boss 7c+, Lei Pi Shan. Photo: Jack Masel.
We also hit up White Mountain and Riverside crags which were drier than most and Jack proved his fitness with a flash of Gin and Tonic 8a. I tried Chinaclimb 8c/b+ which I bolted in 2006 but couldn't hold the small crux crimp due to my appalling crimp strength. This was a move I had done without much trouble at the beginning of the year before my crack climbing binge. Will got to work on Axeman 8a which was one of his trip goals.
We spent one day at Moon Hill and I managed to snap this shot of Will being lowered of Moonwalker 7c.
Other than Jack throwing down on everything up to 8a there wasn't a lot of success going around on the wet routes. Jack and I were staying at my friend Abonds Hotel and Abond had mentioned to me he had his drill and 100 bolts ready to go. I got excited and started talking with Abond about a cave you can see on the way to Lei Pi Shan. We had actually both looked at it in 2012 but hadn't managed to find a way to access it. A scooter mission later on Abonds new Vespa we had found a tunnel under the highway that had blocked our access. The cave is awesome and called Field Cave (rough translation). It had a guy living in it who spoke no Mandarin so no one could talk to him. We gave him a packet of cigarettes to win him over and started bolting.
View from the back of the cave. Photo: Karma.
Spying a line while looking at the pockets which would become the crux of Outcast 7c+/8a.
With Raul Sauco. Photo: Karma.
Lots of real estate to bolt here. Photo: Karma.

The outcast returning home for the day. Photo: Karma.
Time flew by during the trip and before we new it there was only a week to go. The last week was definitely the best with slightly dryer cold conditions and that translated into some successful ascents. Jack cruised Lightning seeming more relieved than excited and I managed to find my way up No Garanty. In the following days we both cruised a bunch of 8as and I managed to get the FA of an awesome route I had bolted in the cave. I named it Outcast after the guy living there. Hong Kong Will fought his way up Axeman as well. Success all around.
Setting up for the crux throw of Outcast at The Field Cave. Photo: Lee Sam Sukmoo.
Catching the crux move on Outcast. The grade is up for debate 7c+/8a.
Photo: Lee Sam Sukmoo.
Now i have made it back to Perth and Cobra Crack is at the forefront of my mind. 6 months of work and training and Ill be back hopefully stronger than before.
Little Bastard 8a. Last day bonus send at White Mountain. Photo: Connor Dickinson.