Climbing In Yangshuo

Click for Yangshuo, Guilin Forecast

The limestone cliffs of Yangshuo are like few other places in the world. The rock here just screams at you to climb it. When you arrive in Yangshuo, you will be amazed by the amount of beautiful rock right next to the town, visible from the bars and restaurants. It is not until you leave the town center that you begin to understand HOW MUCH rock there is to be climbed here. Sport climbing is the most popular here, but for those of you who want to bring your trad gear, there are plenty of incredible ascents to be had for the adventurous.

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The climbing here is extremely varied. Even within a single climb you can have several types of limestone, with big honkin' jugs, small crimps, finger and hand pockets, slippery slopers and laybacks. Much of the climbing here is in and through cracks, on stalactites, and over tufas, making it a very unusual place to climb. There is also multi-pitch sport and trad climbing available in Yangshuo.

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Yangshuo is a fairly tropical environment, and many people compare the weather and the type of limestone cliffs to that in Thailand. The best time to come to Yangshuo for climbing are in the fall, winter and even the summer, but climbing is very possible year round. In general, August to November are the best months for climbing here (as well as the month of March in the spring), but if you like colder weather climbing, December through February are good ... and for those of you who like warmer weather, May through July. Climbing in the rain is possible in several areas, even in the biggest downpours.

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Currently there is a lot of development happening in Yangshuo. There are more and more routes being developed weekly. Currently, there are a total of 85 routes in 10 areas. The routes are at all levels of climbing, from 5.7 to 5.13d. The lengths of the climbs vary from 10 meters to 40 meters single pitch, but typically lie in the 20 -- 25 meter range. But come with a 60 meter rope so you are not caught short on the longer ones. The multi-pitch climbing goes up to 5 pitches at 120 meters. In many sectors, there are a number of routes at different grades, allowing people of different levels to climb together in the same crag. One of the few complications here is that the areas are graded independently from each other, but consistent with the other routes in the same area. For instance, a 5.11a at Moon Hill may seem harder than a 5.11a at the Wine Bottle. But it will feel like a 5.11a compared to the other climbs in Moon Hill.

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The climbing scene here is very laid back, as is the entire town. It is mostly made up of local Chinese climbers, several of who are quite talented. Some of them speak English, many of them do not, but all are eager to learn. RedWall easily has the biggest bouldering walls in Yangshuo, so most of the locals come here to climb and train. If you are looking for partners, RedWall is the best place to come to, as there are several foreigners here, and LiuTao, RedWall's owner, knows the locals so he can connect you with local climbers that speak English, or with a group of people going out for climbing. If you are traveling for a long time and you do not have much climbing equipment on you, this can be rented from the bar as well.
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For true budget climbers, Yangshuo has one aspect which makes it a paradise for a simple reason. Price. If you eat, drink, and live in budget traveler comfort, it is easy to get by for less than $10 USD a day. If you eat in the comfort of West street, meals will cost more, but there are many cheap, incredibly good local options as well ... and they won't make you sick ... unless you mix too many peppers with too much beer.

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Here is what to expect when coming and climbing in Yangshuo. Detailed arrival information can be found at [arrival info site]. But a brief description of what to expect follows: If you arrive in Hong Kong without a visa, it will typically take you 1 day to obtain a visa with a courier service, if you arrive there before 11:00 or 12:00 in the morning. The following day you can transfer to Shenzhen, and then get an overnight bus direct to Yangshuo, or train to Guilin. Once you have arrived at the Yangshuo bus station, getting to RedWall will take approximately 5 minutes by foot, less if you know where you are going. After a brief check in period, breakfast, sorting through your gear, figuring out what you have forgotten, arguing with your mates about where you want to climb, you are ready to go. It really is that easy.

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The climbing sites are not entirely convenient to get to by foot. You can get to all of the climbing areas by bus, which will cost 2 yuan each way for all of the areas. This is approximately 25 cents, US Dollars. The ride will take about 5 -- 10 minutes, depending on which sector you choose that day. After exiting the bus, you will be completely taken with the land and the mountains, unable to believe you are actually climbing in a place like this. And after a walk of anywhere between 5 -- 30 minutes, depending on the area, it is time to rack up, tie in, and see what the rock has to offer.

The only problem with the buses is that the drivers often do not speak English. Unless your Chinese is very good (trust us -- forget that phrase book at home if you are actually brave enough to try to read out of it -- just point to the Chinese characters which are hopefully written next to the words), this can be a bit of an issue. However, you can really simplify things by obtaining written instructions for all of the climbing sites from the RedWall staff.

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See more about rest days at the [visitors information site]. However, there is a lot to do in Yangshuo on the days when you just cannot climb anymore, no matter how much it hurts your ego. Biking, swimming, hiking, for those of you that want to be active. For those of you who do not, RedWall has a large selection of inexpensive beer to drown out your sorrows of not climbing. Yangshuo also has many restaurants and bars to keep you entertained for a long time. Some of these play movies and music, and all have outdoor patios. Cheap shopping, great local markets, and very friendly locals. Don't be surprised when many of the language students talk to you, and possibly take you out to dinner or even cook for you. It is a great way to meet the Chinese people, learn more about their culture and language, and make a perfect climbing trip. For those of you (like some of us) who came here and fall in love with this place, it is fairly easy to find jobs teaching English to keep you here climbing for many years if you want.

If you have any questions, please refer to the contacts page at [contact page]. We will get back to you with what information we can supply.


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