Monday, July 26, 2010

Climbing karst peaks.

On my second day in Yangshuo, I headed out to the limestone towers surrounding the town to sample what is reputed to be some of the best rock-climbing in Asia. The area has some 250 routes and growing, which is not surprising given the sheer vertical faces on all the hundreds of karst peaks. My guide and I joined a handful of other climbers at the peak they call the Wine Bottle.

I started with a 5.7, and then did a 5.8, 5.9, and two-thirds of a 5.10b, in that order.

My performance was less than graceful. I hadn't climbed outdoors since my newbie days in Australia, and despite improving my overall form, indoor climbing has thoroughly spoiled me when it comes to looking for holds. I spent an inordinate amount of time at Wine Bottle fumbling around, which made me more tired more quickly.

Oh! Fingers! Jelly!

My guide leading the next route.

I lost steam by the 5.9 and the 5.10b was a struggle. It wasn't so much that the holds were difficult, but the moves were physically demanding. There were many spots where I had to just use brute force, which I'm not so good at and try to avoid - not to mention it made me unbelievably sore the next day.

Cursing life on the 10b. I just couldn’t get over that first big ledge. In my defense, my guide took a nap on the ledge before finishing up the route.

Still, despite (nay, because of) these difficulties, I'm already looking for opportunities to go back. Even as I was shamefully hanging on the rope and getting frustrated, the countryside panorama from fifty feet up made even the most impossible overhangs absolutely worth it.

Yaks near the foot of the wall.


justinnhli said...

I like your expression in the third picture.

Rochelle said...

That looks awesome! Also I like the 'prohibit to climb' sign. :P