Climbing in China

Originally published at DominoChinese.com in October 2020

In recent years, adventure activities and extreme sports have become increasingly popular across China. Alongside diving, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, skateboarding and mountain biking, climbing is proving a big hit with Chinese looking for an adrenaline fix.

There are over 500 indoor climbing walls in cities across China, and government departments are encouraging all major cities to develop indoor climbing facilities. Each year there are dozens of climbing events and competitions attracting both national and international climbers, and although the exact number of climbers in China is unknown, there is believed to be as many as 100,000 individuals who climb regularly.

China’s indoor climbing walls range from small boulder walls located in regular sports centers, to huge air conditioned spaces with walls up to 21 meters in height. Indoor climbing walls provide the perfect place to learn the basics of climbing in a safe, convenient location, while under an instructor’s guidance.

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Climbing Gyms

Many climbing gyms have clubs which organise climbing trips to nearby crags, giving members the opportunity to put their skills to the test on rock surfaces. If you are in China and want to go climbing, then joining a climbing club is a great way to meet fellow climbers and learn about local climbing locations. 

China’s vast geographical diversity includes some truly incredibly climbing locations, some of which could even rival the world’s greatest climbing sites in the US (such as Yosemite National Park) and Europe (such as Fontainebleau in France).

China’s General Administration of Sports, is supporting the development and growth of climbing in China and it is currently working to expand the number of outdoor climbing locations to 100 throughout the country. 

The government in Beijing has recognized that climbing is an effective and sustainable way to develop isolated rural communities, many of which would remain unvisited were it not for the climbing community’s desire to seek out isolated cliffs and crags. As such, the central government has pledged to develop more rural towns to cater for specialist sports, and China’s climbing community is helping discover and develop new locations. 

One of the first state-supported climbing locations is the ‘Rock Climbing Village’ of Sanjia, in rural Mashan County in Guangxi. The climbing village now attracts climbers all year round and is helping boost tourism and reduce poverty in the area.

Yangshuo

Currently, there are over 50 climbing locations across China, the most popular of which are

  • – White River Valley, Beijing
  • Yangshuo, Guilin
  • Fumin, Kunming
  • – Laoshan Mountain, Qingdao 
  • – White Cloud Mountain, Guangzhou 

Yangshuo County near Guilin

Arguably the most popular rock climbing destination in China, climbers of all levels can find exciting climbs in Yangshuo with over 40 different crags and 500 different climbs. It is little surprise this beautiful area is attracting climbers from around the world to challenge themselves on this region’s unique rock formations.

As Andrew Hedesh, explains in his book, ‘Yangshuo Rock – A China Climbing Guide’

“Yangshuo is the most popular international rock climbing destination within China…. The local karst topography offers a lifetime of crags unique in rock formations, atmosphere and scenery. Potential development is limitless and only bound by imagination.”

Miyun Baihe Valley (White River Valley), Beijing

White River Valley is 100km from Beijing (1 hour 30 minutes) and in recent years has become a popular place for people from Beijing wishing to escape the city. Furthermore, the region’s awe inspiring scenery has attracted many filmmakers.

White River Valley is also considered one of the best rock climbing sites in China. The crags located around Jiangjiafen Village(蒋家坟村) are the most popular. This area has been developed for 8 years to offer some great climbing experiences and there are now more than one hundred routes open to climbers.

‘Nice granite, more than 10 crags and well over 100 routes, different grades. Also some boulders and multipitches and during winter, ice-climbing. After a hard day on the routes you can go for a resfreshing swim in the river! Climbers’ guesthouse’s cheapest option is only 15 RMB/bed and awesome food. A bit difficult to find if you don’t speak Chinese.’ Kata R, 27 Crags 

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Laoshan Mountain in Qingdao 

Qingdao is a bustling port city with beautiful sandy beaches located on the Yellow Sea. The mountains which look down over the city and the coast provide some awesome climbing experiences, 

‘Granite boulders and cliffs along the sea make Qingdao, China an excellent rock climbing destination. A couple mountains in the city ensure convenient day cragging and the Laoshan scenic area to the east offers multi-pitch and a greater selection of sport climbing. That’s not to mention boulders all over the area, from mountain tops to seaside spots. Qingdao a.k.a. Tsingtao holds a total of 300+ boulder problems, 200+ sport climbing routes, and 30+ traditional routes’

ClimbScout.Com

Qingdao is also famous as the home of one of China’s very best beers, Tsingtao, there is a beer museum in the city and a raucous Beer Festival each year. 

Qingdao is one location that should be on every climber’s bucket list!

Baiyun Mountain (White Cloud Mountain) in Guangzhou

Guangzhou is one of China mega-cities, but it is also home to a beautifully scenic spot with great climbing. 

White Cloud Mountain was given its name as a result of the airy clouds which frequently circle the mountains, and from this scenic spot you can see almost all of Guangzhou city.

Not only famous for its beautiful scenic panorama, White Cloud Mountain also has three granite rock peaks which host a total of eighteen bolted climbing routes. The routes are more suitable for skilled climbers rather than climbing beginners. 

As the only climbing site in Guangzhou City, the White Cloud Mountain can be very popular with climbers at weekends.

Fumin in Kunming 

Fumin, in Yunnan province, is located 70km north of Kunming. It is one of the most beautiful areas of China, with incredible scenery and a balanced climate, making it a popular destination for families, campers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Climbers visiting this area flock to Fumin Canyon, which has a distinct geologic formation. A long narrow canyon is bordered by steep limestone ramparts of a reddish-orange appearance which are 100m high in some areas. 

High on the east side of the canyon is a tall escarpment known as Old Red Rock, which offers some of the best climbing. There are four separate walls here, on which there are numerous routes ideal for intermediate level climbers.

‘Another crag in the Fumin area is The Gash, a new wall that is being developed, so far we have put in about 12 climbs, but there is room for close to 100, this is going to be a great climbing area when we are done, easy access, comfortable camping at the crag, climbs of all grades, lengths (up to 40m) and styles (except roof climbing) and beautiful views of the surrounding hills’

If you have any other suggestions for climbers visiting China, please do leave a comment below.

Happy climbing!

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