Ethan and Keller climb some of the best and hardest lines in Yangshuo, China. After months of preparation and anticipation, Ethan Pringle and I are finally in China. Two flights, three buses, a taxi ride, and 50 total hours of travel have brought us to the foot of these extra-terrestrial limestone towers.
China is a world apart. Dog is a specialty here. Dinner costs less than a dollar. A scooter is a four-person vehicle. Not all toilets are "Western" toilets. Traffic laws are informal suggestions. The climbing is limitless and inspiring.
Our mission for the next four weeks is to send some of most classic and difficult lines in the area (there are over 10 5.14s ) as well as several hard projects that were bolted but not completed by Chris Sharma in 2008.
Yesterday we headed out to Le Pei Shan, one of the three main hard walls in the area. Ethan and I both red pointed a classic route called Lightning (supposedly China's first 5.14a) and then Ethan flashed Thunder, a harder, more dynamic 5.14a just to the left. For some footage from the day, check out a video we made.
We've also hit up Moon Hill and White Mountain. More on those crags later,
The trip hasn't been without drama. On one of our first days out here, Ethan decided to rent a bike and ride to the crag. We agreed to meet at White Mountain in 20 minutes, and he peddled away from the hotel with his 40 pound pack on his back. After waiting at the crag for an hour, we figured that maybe Ethan had gotten lost. After two hours, we were starting to think he got kidnapped.
Four and half hours later, Ethan finally rode up to the crag, disoriented, dehydrated, and pissed. Apparently after taking one wrong turn in a rural part of China where no one speaks any English, Ethan had gotten completely lost, accosted by farmers selling trinkets, and watched a dog get run over by a truck... Overall, the day was a climbing "fail", but a cultural appreciation "win".
We're out here to climb and send new routes, but also to soak up a culture that is almost diametrically opposed to what we're used to in the US. Some of these differences are so stark that it's sort of difficult for us as Americans to make sense of what we're seeing or reading. We'll leave you with a few examples.