Why did you leave El Potrero Chico, sell Los Pirules Ranch and relocate to Central Mexico? This is a question I have been asked frequently by fellow climbers (that have shared a rope and many grand adventures with me) while traveling throughout the United States.
Such a question is not easily answered within a few brief sentences. When one cooks a meal for their family and friends and it is remarked how delicious the food tastes and how was it prepared follows the same train of thought. Making the decision to sell such a grandiose property in Northern Mexico and reestablish the guide service was not an easy one to make but when taking all the parts to make the whole it seemed prudent.
Climbers are an interesting bunch to say the least. I read a bumper sticker years ago that read “My best vacation is your worst nightmare”. How true a statement could only be appreciated by a user group that plans every vacation well ahead of time to go to some far away location and exert so much energy that upon returning home we are far more exhausted than when we left.
Rock climbers desire fantastic climbing, beautiful weather, a comfortable place to sleep and large quantities of delicious food. Central Mexico offers all of these accoutrements and so much more.
La Peña de Bernal located East of the city of Queretaro and is Central Mexico’s premier multi pitch climbing destination. Bernal offers everything a climber could want and that much more. At 8,200 feet above sea level and a mere 1,300 miles North of the Equator the weather in Bernal is climbable 365 days a year. Also hugely desirable is La Peña being a monolith it is possible to chase the sun or shade for those who crave either or both. Is multi pitch climbing what you are looking for or is it single pitch sport? La Peña offers plenty of both.
Being the tallest monolith on Earth at 1,400 feet there are climbs up to nine pitches with several easy ways to rappel. If single pitch sport is more attractive there is cragging from 5.5 to 5.13d for the new leader or hardest of seasoned climbers. Peña de Bernal is an exquisite destination for more than just the great climbing. The town is magical as well.
In 2006 Bernal was sanctioned as a “Pueblo Magico” (Magical Town) through the Mexican Department of Tourism. This designation comes with the highest of regard within Mexico. To receive such the town has to have cultural, historic, or an attribute of importance that sets it in a league of its own. Bernal absolutely deserves such a coveted status as the town is unforgettable. The town boasts architecture that dates back to 1642, a rich culture, history, and locals that make any visitor feel welcome. With the Magic Town status comes tourism so plan on spending time walking around visiting the local artisan shops and restaurants.
Even though Bernal is world famous for their Gorditas plan a visit to one of the many sit down restaurants for a four star meal at an extremely reasonable price. Italian, Mexican, and so many more delicious restaurants it is hard to choose where to eat.
When I decided to leave Northern Mexico it was to relocate my guide service to an area with fantastic climbing, stable predictable temperatures and local inhabitants that invite visitors to look forward to exploration within the town that they call home. Bernal, Mexico is just such a place an so much more.
Come and visit this region of Mexico with a seventy meter rope, fifteen quickdraws and a taste for adventure. As the owner of the premiere rock climbing guide service in Mexico you can trust my judgment. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
If you are planning a trip to Bernal and need a guidebook to find your way around there is only one fully comprehensive book for all the information related to climbing available. Rakkup is a great application for anything climbing and they made all the information easily attainable. If you are planning a trip to Central Mexico (anywhere Mexico really) and have any questions or concerns you can email me directly. I would be happy to help in any way I can.
Remember; life is a journey, not a destination. Get out and explore Mexico.
Mexico: Peña de Bernal by Simeon Heimowitz was last modified: March 24th, 2020 by Simeon
Climbing on Koh Tao is generally considered to have started in the early 2000’s with the first climbing shop on the island being Zen Gecko, which closed in 2005. Primarily a bouldering paradise there have been multiple printable guidebooks written since James March’s first guidebook in 2002. Other guidebooks have existed in some form or another from several of the shops on the island with this guidebook being the most comprehensive and a combination of information from many of these sources. In addition, the route developers, new climbers, and experienced Koh Tao veterans have all contributed to making this new guidebook the most complete and accurate of any guide to date.
Scattered amongst the palms and sandy beaches is textured granite and featured walls waiting for climbers. The first edition of this guidebook brings together 114 established climbs, most within minutes of the road. There are seaside crags with amazing views, mountain top cliffs with climbs on all sides, and an island crag that requires a kayak. All within snorkeling distance of the beaches and some of the better burgers in Thailand.
As Thailand becomes inundated with travelers from all over the world, climbing areas such as Tonsai and Railey are becoming increasingly crowded. This guide opens the possibilities of a new area and a completely different style of climbing than most would experience in Thailand. With excellent weather much of the year it is an ideal destination with the months of October and November having much of the rain, leaving the rest of the year to be sunny and beautiful.
Koh Tao Thailand Rock Climbing by Kelsey Gray was last modified: November 6th, 2019 by Prezwoodz
Staunton State Park is Colorado’s newest state park, and is the legacy of the Staunton family. The original Staunton Ranch was homestead around the turn of the 20th century by Drs. Rachel and Archibald Staunton. Over the years, the 160-acre property grew into 1,720 acres containing much of the pristine wilderness and meadows we enjoy today. Francis H. Staunton, daughter of Archibald and Rachel, preserved and protected the Staunton Ranch throughout her life and gifted the land to the State of Colorado in 1986 with the requirement that the land be, “preserved in perpetuity, for public benefit, as a natural wilderness-type park… typifying Colorado’s most beautiful mountain forest and meadow region.” With subsequent acquisitions of parcels, the park grew to 3,828 acres and opened to the public in May of 2013.
In 2012, the year before the park opened, the Park Manager reached out to a small group of local climbers to help with climbing management and the development of climbing at Staunton. Over the course of 10 months, this group of climbers formulated the park’s Fixed Hardware Review Group (FHRG), climbed and documented over 60 new routes, designed the network of trails around Staunton Rocks, and with the help of volunteers built the climbing access trails. While the members of the FHRG have changed over the years, their relationship with the park has remained solid and their continued work has lead to the development of 190 routes at Staunton.
As the number of routes has grown at Staunton, so has the diversity of the climbing. Throughout the park, you will find everything from long single/multi-pitch slabs to patina covered vertical faces to steep, power-endurance test pieces. There is something for everyone to enjoy at Staunton, and even more to explore!
Staunton State Park Rock Climbing by Dave and Lisa Montgomery was last modified: August 20th, 2019 by dmontgomery
Il a débuté vers le milieu des années 50 au Cap Trinité, la paroi la plus impressionnante le long du fjord. Jean Sylvain, accompagné de grimpeurs de Québec et de Montréal, fut l’instigateur principal des premières tentatives. Une première ascension a été réalisée par une équipe allemande grâce à de l’équipement laissé en paroi par les tentatives de Jean Sylvain et ses compagnons de cordée lors d’une tentative en 1964. Plus tard, Jean Syl- vain, Pierre Vézina et André Robert ont réussi en 1967 une première dans la partie la plus haute de ce mur de 300 mètres, la Directissime. Cette as- cension représentait un exploit formidable et elle a attiré l’intérêt des autres grimpeurs du Québec et d’ailleurs.
Parallèlement à cet exploration dans le Bas
Saguenay, Jean Allard, un grimpeur de la région
de Sherbrooke, réalise en 1962 une première
voie, Les Pionniers, sur le Cran Carré à Sainte-
Rose-du-Nord. D’autres voies ont été ouvertes
plus tard sur une paroi en bordure du village par,
entre autres, Dominic Villeneuve et Florian Girard.
Le Dièdre constitue la voie la plus difficile.
En 1970, François-Xavier Garneau, arrivé de l’Ouest canadien, constate l’énorme potentiel de Chicoutimi et des villes environnantes. Il s’est joint à Gilbert Touzot et André Vallée pour intensifier le développement de l’escalade par l’aménagement de nouvelles parois et l’ouverture de nouvelles voies. Quelques années plus tard, Régis Richard s’est installé à Chicoutimi et ce grimpeur talen- tueux a beaucoup contribué au développement du Club de montagne et de l’escalade au Sague- nay.
Une explosion de nouvelles voies en 1987, sous l’impulsion de Joël Tremblay, Steve Jomphe, Hu- bert Morin, Mario Bilodeau et Sylvain Malche- losse, a conduit à la publication d’un premier livre-guide en 1988 par François-Xavier Garneau.
Une douzaine d’années plus tard, un phénomène remarquable, l’escalade sportive sur plaquettes, s’installe au Saguenay, rendant abordables des parois, considérées jadis, comme inaccessibles. Ce nouveau type d’escalade, issu des murs inté- rieurs, a suscité un réel engouement se traduisant par l’ouverture de nouvelles voies par un nombre croissant de jeunes grimpeurs dont Jacques Filion, Pierre-Y. Plourde, Cornelia Krause, Éric Tremblay et Gilles Simard entre autres. On assiste en même temps à l’ouverture de voies d’escalade artifi- cielles par un groupe restreint de grimpeurs dont Yves Larouche, Yanick Duguay, Denis Boudreau, Jean-Philippe Villemaire, Pierre Raymond et Pa- trice Morin. Une deuxième édition du livre-guide est publiée en 1998 par François-Xavier Garneau et Pierre-Y. Plourde.
À la fin des années quatre-vingt dix, une partie du potentiel de l’arrondissement La Baie apparaît sous l’impulsion d’Éric Lalancette, d’Alain Martin et de Patrice Morin.
L’escalade est demeurée toujours populaire et la nouvelle vague de grimpeurs, les Simon La- brecque, feu Raphaël Gagné, Marc Durepos, Charles Munger, Alain Couture, Simon Létour- neau, Olivier Tremblay, Éric Lemieux, Benoit Chayer et Jean-Philippe Fafard contribuent à leur façon au rayonnement de la région.
La mise à jour actuelle des « Parois du Saguenay », dont la dernière édition remonte à 2007, permet de souligner le dévouement remarquable d’une nouvelle génération de grimpeurs. Les efforts de feu Dominic Morin et de Nicolas Gaudreault ont sérieusement rehaussé le niveau de difficulté des voies dans les arrondissements de Chicoutimi et de Jonquière. La paroi du Parapluie est mainte- nant un incontournable pour les voies de haut ni- veau.
Stéphane Perron a laissé sa carte de visite en
étant l’instigateur de superbes nouvelles voies
multi-longueurs dans la section moins haute du
Cap Trinité vers les années 2010. À cela s’ajoute
les efforts formidables déployés depuis 2013 par
le Club de Montagne du Saguenay (CMS) et la
Fédération Québécoise de la Montagne et de
l’escalade pour développer le Cap à l’Aigle sur
la rive sud du Lac Kénogami. Parmi les multiples
protagonistes, pensons à Jean-Luc Vanacker,
Nicolas Rodrigue, Éric Laflamme, Patrice Morin,
Jean-Philippe Fafard et Dominic Gagnon. Enfin,
et non pas les moindres, Marc Durepos, Cathe-
rine Picard et plein d’autres pour leur incroyable
détermination à développer le potentiel inouï du
Trou du Chaos à l’Anse-Saint-Jean.
ENGLISH BEGINS HERE
It began in the mid fifties in Cap Trinité, the most impressive wall along the fjord. Jean Sylvain, accompanied by climbers from Quebec and Montreal, was the main instigator of the first attempts. A first climb was made by a German team thanks to the equipment left in the wall by the prior attempts of Sylvain and his companions in 1964. Later, Jean Sylvain, Pierre Vézina and André Robert made in 1967 the first of the «Directissime» in the highest part of this 300 meters wall. This climb was a tremendous feat and attracted the interest of other climbers from Quebec and elsewhere.
Alongside this exploration in the Lower Saguenay, Jean Allard, a climber from the Sherbrooke region, made the first ascent of Les Pionniers, in 1962 on the Cran Carré in Sainte-Rose-du-Nord. Other routes were later opened on a wall on the edge of the village by, among others, Dominic Villeneuve and Florian Girard. The dihedral is the most difficult route.
In 1970, François-Xavier Garneau, who arrived from Western Canada, saw the enormous potential of Chicoutimi and the surrounding towns. He joined Gilbert Touzot and André Vallée to intensify the development of climbing by finding new walls and opening new lines. A few years later, Régis Richard moved to Chicoutimi and this talented climber contributed a lot to the development of the Club de Montagne du Saguenay and climbing in Saguenay region.
An explosion of new climbs in 1987, led by Joel Tremblay, Steve Jomphe, Hubert Morin, Mario Bilodeau and Sylvain Malchelosse, led to the publication of a first guide book in 1988 by François-Xavier Garneau.
A dozen years later, the remarkable wave of sport climbing hit the Saguenay region, making blank walls, previously considered unclimbable, a reality. This new type of climbing, originating from indoor walls, has generated a real craze resulting in the opening of new routes by a growing number of young climbers including Jacques Filion, Pierre-Y. Plourde, Cornelia Krause, Eric Tremblay and Gilles Simard among others. At the same time, aid lines were still developed by a small group of talented climbers, including Yves Larouche, Yanick Duguay, Denis Boudreau, Jean-Philippe Villemaire, Pierre Raymond and Patrice Morin. A second edition of the guide-book is published in 1998 by François-Xavier Garneau and Pierre-Y. Plourde.
At the end of the nineties, part of the potential of the La Baie borough arose under the leadership of Éric Lalancette, Alain Martin and Patrice Morin.
Rock climbing has continued to be popular and the new wave of climbers, Simon Labrecque, the late Raphaël Gagné, Marc Durepos, Charles Munger, Alain Couture, Simon Letourneau, Olivier Tremblay, Eric Lemieux, Benoit Chayer and Jean-Philippe Fafard contribute to popularize climbing in the region.
The current update of the «Parois du Saguenay», the last edition of which dates back to 2007, highlights the remarkable dedication of a new generation of climbers. Works by the late Dominic Morin and Nicolas Gaudreault have significantly increased the climbing level of difficulty in the boroughs of Chicoutimi and Jonquière. The «Parapluie» is now considered a must for high level climbing.
Stéphane Perron has left his mark by being the instigator of superb new multi-pitchs in the lower section of Cap Trinité towards the year 2010.
Let’s mention also the tremendous work made since 2013 by le Club de Montagne du Saguenay (CMS) and la Fédération Québecoise de la Montagne et de l’Escalade to develop le Cap à l’Aigle on the south shore of Lake Kénogami. Among the many protagonists, Jean-Luc Vanacker, Nicolas Rodrigue, Eric Laflamme, Patrice Morin, Jean-Philippe Fafard and Dominic Gagnon. Finally, and not least, Marc Durepos, Catherine Picard and many others for their steady determination to develop the incredible potential of le Trou du Chaos in l’Anse-Saint-Jean.
Saguenay Québec Rock Climbing by Pierre-Y Plourde (English follows French) was last modified: July 17th, 2019 by Holzwurm
Nestled in the corner of China’s most southwest province, Yunnan,
is an area of geological and cultural contrasts. The jungles of southeast Asia
meet the Tibetan plateau and the far reaches of Himalayan mountains loom. The
distinct ethnic groups from these varied lands co-habitat in rural villages of
a province where the Southern Silk road and less famous Tea Horse Trail once
passed. The gypsy market that pops up in Liming throughout the month is
reminiscent of the region’s early days of trading… but now the ladies in their
colorful traditional clothes use their smartphones to buy goods in a way more
futuristic than most cities of the west.
For the last decade, climbers have made pilgrimages to the valley
to ascend the towering red sandstone walls protruding from steep, vegetated
hills above a small village. There over 280 routes in 31 different sectors, and
while the area gained its fame for the trad climbing, recent focus has been on
the sport walls. To access most of the climbing, you’ll need to hike 45 minutes
from town up steep terrain, but there are a handful of roadside trad and sport
walls to give your legs some reprieve. The town offers several guest houses and
restaurants serving up delicious stir-fries with local ingredients and cheap
prices, making it a traveling climber’s or dirtbag’s paradise. While winter
temperatures hover around freezing at night, the guest houses provide heated
blankets. Alternatively, spring (March, April May) and fall (late September,
October, November) offer more comfortable temperatures, though occasional rain.
A handful of areas that will also stay dry. Summer (June-early September) is
the monsoon season and it is not recommend to visit.
Routes range from 5.7-5.13+ and while it is helpful to know how to
jam before arriving in Liming, The Great Owl and Charlie the Unicorn are
classic 5.9s that’ll help you learn the essential skills. Scar Face and Wind of
the Valley are favorite 5.10s, and from there, the route quality only
goes up. People have said Back to the Primitive (5.11, A0 8 pitches) is reason
to cross an ocean. While Akum Ra (5.11) is a favorite single pitch. Japanese
Cowboy and Another World are fantastically steep 5.12s and if you’re still
looking for a bigger challenge, Logan Barber’s test pieces Firewall (5.13d) and
Honeycomb Dome (5.13d+) should keep you busy for a while. And that’s just the
If you’re interested in clipping bolts, the Faraway guesthouse
owner provides rides through a valley above the softer sandstone to a
completely different environment of dolomitic sandstone. The rock resembles La
Mojarra in Columbia and 12mm bolts are used in super hard sandstone with horizontal
breaks, corners, pockets, and crimps. The sport areas (El Dorado and Goat
Rodeo) are still cleaning up, but with more traffic, these are bound to be
classic destinations. The walls are just overhung enough to stay dry in the
rain, helping round out the shoulder season options. Golden Eyebrow is a newly
bolted 5.10 classic following a corner, Gold Rush (5.11) has sporty moves
straight outta the gym, Gold, Gold, Everythang Gold (5.12) delivers big
holds at an angle sure to pump you out, and Tibetan Cowboys in a Disco (5.13a)
combines endurance and technique with an angle steep enough to keep you barley
on your toes.
Mike Dobie first visited the area in 2010 and has spent the majority of
the last decade focused on developing new routes in Liming. His original
partner was a Chinese climber named Zhoulei, but countless others have
contributed to the area’s development scrubbing routes, bolting and re-bolting
anchors, building trails, and more recently bolting sport lines. Dobie views
his work as a service project to the climbing community globally. It is an area
of fantastic potential, amazing scenery, and memorable climbing. It is a
journey to get there, but well worth the effort.
As climbers we are now privileged time players who can enjoy these natural jewels. The climbing pioneers who explore the mountains around here shared their mettled spirit, with which they climbed the summits of the region, to the generations who followed them. Now, the new generation is exploring the territory with new eyes, discovering and rediscovering its places and trying to transmit their knowledge to share their spirit of adventure, so that future generations can enjoy the jewels this valley has to offer.
Throughout the years the Columbia Valley was the scene of many clashes, starting with the formation of the valley itself. A titanic battle of the elements created over many years the Columbia River fault that now separates the intriguing Purcells range from the indomitable Rockies mountains. This trench is the scene of spectacular rock formations. On one side the granite; pure, solid and straight pierces the earth’s crust and vibrates in us the names of the “Bubagoos”, “Leaning towers”, “Sally Serana”. While in the East the more friable limestone creates unique silhouettes such as “Goodsir Mountains”, “Rockwall”, “Flow Peak”, “White Tail” ….
La vallée de la Columbia fût le lieux de bien des affrontements, à
commencer par la formation de la vallée elle-même. Un combat titanesque des
éléments à créer au cours de longues années la faille de la rivière Columbia
qui sépare maintenant l’intrigante chaîne de montagnes des Purcells de
l’indomptables chaînes des Rocheuses. Cette tranchée est le théâtre de
formations rocheuses spectaculaires. D’un côté le granite; pure, solide et
droit perce l’écorce terrestre et fait vibrer en nous les noms de «Bubagoos»,
«Leaning towers», «Sally Serana». Tandis qu’à l’Est le calcaire plus friable
crée des silhouettes uniques telle que les «monts Goodsir», le «Rockwall»,
«Flow peak», «White Tail», etc.
En tant que grimpeurs nous sommes maintenant de
privilégiés acteurs du temps qui pouvons
jouir de ces bijoux naturels. Les pionniers de l’escalade qui sont passés par ici
ont su partager leur esprit fougueux avec lequel ils ont gravit les sommets de
la région aux générations qui les suivirent. Maintenant, la nouvelle génération
explore avec un nouvel œil le territoire, elle découvre et redécouvre ses
endroits et tente de transmettre leur savoir pour partager leur esprit
d’aventure, afin que les générations futures puissent profiter des joyaux que
cette vallée a à offrir.
Columbia Valley Rock Climbing by Bruno-Pierre Couture was last modified: April 9th, 2019 by BPC
The Parc de la Matawinie is a beautiful wildness area with great hiking trails, lakes and superb views. Sainte Émélie-de l’Énergie is the gateway to this beautiful playground. If climbing is your fix, you are in luck. There are lots of undeveloped areas if you’re ready for a little bushwhacking. But if you want ready to climb routes well then you won’t be held lacking.
Proximus is the typical roadside crag with little to no approach. Just park and walk for less than one min and choose your climb. Most climbs here are bolt protected sport climbs, but you’ll find a few easier trad lines if that’s more to your taste. The angle varies from polished slabs to overhanging faces and arêtes. The climbs are quite technical and thought provoking. It’s just a great place to try hard.
Sérénité is simply unique. The climbing here is great. It’s definitively one of my favourite cliffs in the Montreal area. Two distinctly different climbing styles will greet you here. First off is 25m of overhanging face with lots of features. Pump and technique is the challenge here. Climbs will have you redlining for the anchors. The second style is more of a face-slab style. But unlike most featureless friction slabs, you’ll be greeted to a variety of slopey step-like holds. Creative positioning and mantling will get you through some cruxes but good footwork and balance are the key. And if that’s not enough, bring your fishing rod and walk up to the lake to try and catch you lake trout that only the patient will catch.
Have fun and enjoy.
Socrate Badeau on New York New-York 5.10 (Sérénité)
Simon Brunette on Dupond 5.10 & Louise Quattrocchi on Bazoka Joe 5.10 (Sérénité)
Rohan Badeau swinging on Toquerre 5.8 (Proximus)
hiking Sérénité with kids
hiking Parc de la Matawinie with friends
Evan Stassinos on Chipless 5.12 (Proximus)
Delphine & Megan on Puissance Turbo 5.7 (Proximus)
David Savoie taking a rare breather on Bachibouzouk 5.13a (Sérénité)
Brune Demers-Giroux on the FA of Bazoka Joe 5.10 (Sérénité)
Buy Rumney here and save money versus purchasing from within our app via Apple or Google. It’s exactly the same guidebook, but offered at a lower price on rakkup.com.
James Otey on Tsunami 5.12c/d
Rumney is the premier sport climbing venue in the Northeast. Located at the southwestern corner of the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, the crags are scattered across the south-facing slopes of Rattlesnake Mountain. With a wide selection of all-bolted routes from 5.2 to 5.15, there are challenges for climbers of any ability.
Chloe Leberge on Yer Anus 5.9
But it is more than the bolts that make Rumney so special. Each of the cliffs has a distinctive feel, making it seem like many different areas in one. The predominant rock type –schist – demands a skillfull blend of power and technique. A scenic setting above the Baker River, a great swimming hole, and stable access all contribute to the area’s popularity.
This is the fifth guidebook to Rumney, and the area has undergone incredible changes over that time. Gone are the days of having the crags to yourself –and of free parking. The Forest Service has used the fees to upgrade the parking lots, construct toilet facilities, and improve trails accessing the cliffs. By paying the parking fee and obeying all closures, climbers can demonstrate that we are a responsible user group, and ensure future access for all of us.
Kevin Ogden on Whip Tide 5.12b.
Climbers have helped to make Rumney what it is today. In 1993, access to the crags was posted by a private landowner. The Access Fund and the Rumney Climber’s Association (RCA) bought the land, and then sold it to the Forest Service. Most recently, the RCA has purchased the last privately owned area of cliffs – the Northwest Crags – through their “final frontier” initiative. A new parking lot has been constructed at the Buffalo Pit, and a new trail was built in order to provide additional access to the Northwest Crags. Please consider joining both the Access Fund and the Rumney Climber’s Association in order to help preserve the crags that we love so much.
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Drone footage of the Painted Corridor, Photo: Rock Abond
If you’ve ever wondered what China or other parts of the Far East look like, now’s your chance. Yangshuo is one of the most unbelievably hip places on this planet. It’s a microcosm of everything you ever wanted in life. You know how there are those tiny locations nestled into the threadwork of each countries daily life labeled an ‘escape’, well Yangshuo is one of them. Life is pleasant here. Everyone walks around with a smile and are content with life. It’s a place removed from big city drama, allows cultures to cross, and welcomes every idea under the sun.
Traditional cormorant fishing culture, Photo: Anotherdayattheoffice.com
For starters, Yangshuo is located amidst the most amazing and fantastic scenery you will ever lay eyes upon. Plentiful 200m tall green towers rise abruptly in every direction starting immediately outside your hotel balcony continuing past your wildest fantasies. And when there aren’t any towers, you’ll find farmer villages surrounded by lush rice paddies and crazy amounts of interconnected trails with swimming holes and hidden caves. The best way to enjoy it all is by grabbing a bicycle and heading out to discover a surreal world where ancient lifestyles mingle with contemporary pursuits.
Overlooking Yangshuo Town, Photo: David Kaszlikowski
Heading back into town, you might be turned-off by the blistering pace of China’s population and their go-get-it attitude, but then you’ll realize what’s ahead of you is more interesting than the tranquil nature 5 minutes at your back. The town of Yangshuo offers a different perspective of China’s rich history more than any other tourist destination. As said before, it’s used as an escape from the real world, a weekend holiday get-away. The upbeat metropolitan tourists have forced Yangshuo to host an array of first-world amenities rivaled by few and far between. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the comfort.
Approach to The Egg, Photo: Ursa Kenk
So as you can see, Yangshuo is a tale of two towns. One with unrivaled natural beauty and a downhome local scene, ahhhh…the climbing, local people, and landscape are simply amazing. Then the second, an upbeat take-it-as-it-comes metropolitan escapade, with either a romantic calmness or wild eccentric nightlife. Yangshuo is an incredibly rare treasure to find on this planet, and its calling for you to experience it. Bring your smiles, climbing shoes, and adventurous soul, all to let yourself get lost in the splendor of everything that is China.
The only way to discuss rock climbing in Yangshuo is to start with the complete experience. Sure, you can travel here purely for the climbing, but after a few days you’ll realize there is so much more. Yangshuo is stocked full of the most interesting international climbers you will meet anywhere, and when intertwined with such a huge diversity of climbing styles it has evolved into the epitome of a world-class rock climbing destination.
Moon Hill, Photo: Henn Photography
Yangshuo rock is stupendous. The karst topography present in South China offers an experience like no other; areas in Thailand Laos and Vietnam can’t compete with the plethora of rock nor the subtle variations found in the rock of Yangshuo. Each of the 50+ crags are located on different towers resulting in every climbing sector having different atmosphere, scenery, and approaches. Furthermore, none of the crags are similar to each other with regards to sun exposure, weather protection, or rock features. Once you experience it, you’ll easily understand why Yangshuo’s rock caters to everyone’s preferred climbing style…even limestone cracks!
Moon Hill, Photo: Henn Photography
As mentioned, there is something for everyone. Routes range in difficulty from 5.5/4 to 5.14d/9a with plenty of high-end Open Projects. There is steep pumpy terrain, technical edgy face climbs, and 3D body torqueing routes. You can pull on tufas until your heart’s content or tip-toe crimp your way to heaven. Everything is possible in Yangshuo including, multi-pitches, deep-water soloing, traditional routes, and limitless development potential. These are the main reasons why Yangshuo has been repeatedly featured in climbing films as well as magazines and continues to attract professional climbers from around the globe.
Yangshuo is one of the best climbing locations in the world. Yes, the rock diversity plays a major role in this designation, but when mixed with friendly welcoming people, a plethora of opposite sex eye-candy, comfortable and familiar living amenities, and easy access to international travel hubs, it’s difficult to find another location with such appeal. After you’ve been here for a while, you may never want to leave. The amount of psych emanating from your crag mates is unrivaled anywhere. You’ll push past individual mental limitations and find undiscovered motivation to attain your next high-point. Give Yangshuo the chance to show you what is possible in this world. It could be the next place you call home!
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Climber on The Morning After, 5.8.
Mount Rigaud is a little hill on the outskirts of Montreal city. The hill has a small ski hill that is quite popular with area locals and beginners. But what attracts climbers to Mount Rigaud isn’t the skiing! It’s the great little crag that sits on the top of the hill.
People have been climbing at Rigaud since the early 1970’s. The rock has a few cracks, but most of the climbing was done on top-rope. Actually, quite a few lines that are considered sport climbs today were done on trad gear in their heyday. Some of these were even done using pitons before nuts became common. But, it wasn’t until the early 1990’s that Geoff Creighton put up some of the first sport climbs of the area. These climbs were a catalyst for what to Rigaud would be a transformation.
Jerome St-Michel on What About Bob, 5.12a.
Sport climbing is now the norm for Mount Rigaud. With just shy of 100 climbs most of these short sport climbs, it’s not a surprise that Mount Rigaud is very popular today. Almost everyone climbs here in their first years. Most come back to grab the harder climbs or just for a bit of afternoon cragging. Now, thanks to the local climbers with support from the FQME, the older and dangerous hardware has been changed to today’s standard. And many more dangerous climbs have been made safer. Climbing at Rigaud is unique for the area. The rock is sharp. Holds are going to vary from monster jugs to small positive crimps with the assortment of sloping flats that you’re never sure if your hands won’t slip off. When the weather gets warm and humid it can feel slippery!
Olivier Lavoie on 40 Foot Smurf, 5.8.
You’ll have to bring out a complete arsenal of techniques to climb here. Angles vary from slabs to slightly overhanging with climbs sometimes having small roofs to pass. Harder climbs can be powerful and thin. A good reach is a plus at Rigaud and very rarely is endurance a factor. But you’ll often need good footwork and route reading skills. Onsighting is difficult if you are climbing at your limit. But, if you can do the moves, you can do the climb!
Peter Gernassnig on his climb Samson, 5.11b.
Close proximity to the city, easy access to the top of the cliffs and an abundance of easy to moderate climbs, these are all factors that make climbing at Mount Rigaud so popular. Add to that the great view of the Ottawa River valley, it’s easy to understand why people climb here.