“Now Climbing” gym


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Announcing: Kunming Climbing Gear Rental and Purchasing!

Want to know where to rent climbing ropes, draws and other climbing gear in Kunming? Kunming Rock has you covered.

Climbing Equipment Gear Rental in Kunming

Equipment Rental

If you’re passing through Kunming and want to get onto some of the incredible limestone sport routes, but didn’t bring your full set of gear, we can offer you quality gear to fill in the blanks.

Price per one-day rental:

  • 60m rope: RMB 100
  • Set of 15 quickdraws: 50
  • Harness+chalkbag*: 25
  • Shoes*: 50
  • Helmet*: 20

*We cannot guarantee we will have specific sizes for shoes, harnesses and helmets, but you’re welcome to contact us and tell us your needs. We’ll see what we can do.

Pickup point is nearby Green Lake Park in central Kunming. All rentals require a 200 yuan deposit. Gear that is destroyed or returned with unreasonable wear or damage will result in a commensurate repair/replacement fee based on amount of life remaining. 15% discount for multi-day rentals.

Gear Sourcing

If you don’t read Chinese it can be hard to find quality climbing and outdoor gear in China. If you’re planning to come through Kunming as part of a climbing trip in Yunnan we can help you search locally and online for gear options that might suite your needs, and then we can order it for you and have it waiting for you upon your arrival. We can track down most brands and types of gear, from a replacement rain shell to a full set of cams for hitting the limestone cracks at Liming.

Contact Us

To arrange rental of sourcing, send a message through the Kunming Rock contact form, or call Dan on his Chinese mobile number +86 Seventeen Seventy Eight, Seven Eight, Sixty Six, One Six Nine. You can also use that same phone number to add him on the WeChat mobile messaging app.

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New multi-pitch: Funny looking white guy

Having recently received a pile of new shiny bolts from Kailas, the Kunmingrock team has been quite busy with developing new climbs around Kunming. In the past couple of weeks 3 new routes have gone up at Swallow Cave (between the grades of 5+ and 6b), and then over the long weekend of Qing Ming Jie we bolted a two-pitch climb in Fumin canyon, on Doug’s Wall.

As with many bolting missions, it involved a lot of walking, sweating and cursing. Tom was out in the area the day before scouting out what line to bolt and at the same time he stashed the static line and bolts for me in a bag, under a bush, on the side of the mountain. He also said it was near some red earth…..with some grass. Clear enough. I set off early Saturday morning to make sure I could finish bolting in time for us to still try send it that weekend.

Funny looking white guy

Fumin multi pitch - Funny looking white guy

Fumin multi pitch - Funny looking white guy

Well, it took about 3 hours to find this bush that the bolts and rope were stashed under, then it took another 2 hours to carry about 35kg of gear to the top of the wall and locate the top of the climb we wanted to bolt. I finally got set up, kitted out with all the gear in place on my harness and backpack, established a rappel and lowered myself down the wall. Once over the edge I soon realized I was on the wrong part of the cliff! Had to pull back up the rope, move down the cliff line, reset the rappel anchors and gear up once again. By now I was tired, thirsty and grumpy. But, off I went, over the edge, in the right place this time. I placed located the correct place for the anchors, placed the bolts and then got ready for the rest of the bolting to come.

As I looked around and down the wall I got really excited, the line was going to be a good one! Two long pitches, gradually getting steeper and finishing at the top of the wall on some lovely tufas and overhanging rock. I set off bolting with a smile on my face. I bolting went smoothly; very little cleaning was required (only a few blocks to pull off). I managed to get most of the climb done before my drill batteries died and I had to quit for the day.

The next morning we asked a local farmer if he would charge our drill batteries, and he happily obliged and we chatted with him about his fruit trees while waiting. Tom then set off and bolted the remainder of the route, cleaning off some flakes and blocks and doing a nice job and spacing out the bolts. He was done before lunch, which meant we had an afternoon to open the climb. I had a friend visiting from Shanghai who joined us as a team of 3 to open the climb; given the nice stance at the top of the first pitch we figured it shouldn’t be a problem. With a bit of effort and some grunting, and a touch of sunburn, we got the two pitches open with plenty of daylight to spare.

Pitch 1: 38m, 6C+

Pitch 2: 28m, 7A+

We called the route “Funny Looking White Guy”, because my friend Mark is exactly that!

Note – you should be able to rappel off with a 70m rope in 2 rappels, if you have a 60m rope or are unsure if your 70m will get you down, you can do the lowering off in 3 rappels by lowering to the set of anchors about 10m down and left of the first stance. Given the steep nature of pitch 2, you will need to use some quick-draws to keep you close to the rock and prevent you swinging out into open space when lowering to the first stance (the second person can then clean, while the first person holds the end of the rope to pull him into the stance). Knot the ends of your rope!!

Fumin multi pitch - Funny looking white guy

Fumin multi pitch - Funny looking white guy


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Climbing spots around Kunming – captured by the Dali bar drone

The guys from Dali bar brought their drone along on a few trips around Kunming and got some pretty cool footage of the climbing spots around Kunming! Special thanks to Kailas for recently donating a lovely big box of bolts for us to keep on developing Kunming’s climbing with.

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Pregnancy and Honey wall topos (Xiao Mo Yu area)

For directions on how to get to the Pregnancy wall and Honey wall crags, please see the directions for how to get to Xiao Mo Yu village, and then take these directions from there.

Pregnancy and honey wall topo, Kunmingrock

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Sending Genevieve

Now that “Genevieve” was finally bolted, I needed a rest day after all the bolting and hiking to the mountain top, so I lazed about the next day, went for a short run, cruised about on the bike and generally tried to relax my tired hands. It turns out one rest day wasn’t enough. Tom and I set off nice and early the next day to climb. I attacked pitch 1 with some nerves, as I was excited to open this wall. But by a third of the way through the first pitch my hands were already cramping, then my pec started. I pushed on but had to rest before the end of the pitch. So I came down and Tom went up and opened this pitch in good style, it is a long, 35m, slightly overhanging line, which goes at about 6c+. This meant pitch 2 was now mine to try, I managed to open this pitch, only about 6b+. Tom joined at the second stance and we were now getting excited, despite the hand cramps. Tom’s turn, pitch 3, the long parallel tufas. These gave us a good run for our money. Tom managed to get the draws in, but this pitch was far from open. I gave it an attempt, made some progress, that is, right up to the crux….I tried and tried, but was just losing skin on my finger tips and not progressing. I really wanted to at least figure out how to do this section, so that when we returned to try again, we would know what to do. After much cursing, I figured out a good sequence, using some less than ideal crimps, but they worked, so did my fingers, and I got through. We descended and went home, worn out.

Sending Genevieve

Another rest day was needed. This meant we only had 1 day to send the climb before our holiday ended. Nothing like a bit of pressure to get things done. We returned before sunrise the next day, everything obscured by a thick mist. I set off on pitch 1, managed to send it, Tom joined me at the stance. He set off on pitch 2, fell at the anchors when I hold broke. I shot up it and we found ourselves back at pitch 3. Tom was hurting, his skin was worn out, not in a good space to be sending the crux pitch, so I geared up for it. I knew I only had enough skin on my fingers for 1 good attempt, but I took some strong painkillers before climbing, hoping that this might dull the pain in my finger tips and allow for a second go, should I make any mistakes.

Fortunately it didn’t come down to this, I climbed it well, made it through the crux, not without a fight though, and nervously cruised the finishing sequence, worrying about a hold breaking and ruining my attempt. I happily clipped the anchors and belayed Tom up to join me. We gave this pitch a grade of 7b, time will tell what it settles at. I offered to climb the next pitch, Tom didn’t argue. This pitch proved to be an amazing piece of climbing, pulling through a small roof, standing on tufas with open air below, great stuff, at about 6c. The final pitch now waited. Tom’s turn, I was expecting nothing more than 6c, hoping for less because we were both pretty damn tired by this point. Tom went up about 3 bolts and it became very clear that my predicted grade was a bit off. He tried various sequences but wasn’t progressing. He came down to the stance and we were both a little quiet. Worried that after all the excitement and work, we wouldn’t get to finish this climb.

I tried to put on a brave face and positive attitude, I think Tom saw though it. We had some whisky with us, so we each had a shot or two and I geared up. Tom said something about it being a time for someone with more experience, someone who really wants the climb, can grit through the hard sections, dig deep. It was a general statement, not necessarily referring to me or him in particular. His words rang true. I fought my way up that pitch like I have never fought for a climb before. Maybe the whisky helped. It was relentless and not obvious, it just kept throwing cruxes at me when I wanted rests. But in the end, after about 30 minutes of sweating and whimpering I clipped the final anchors. Such an amazing feeling. I graded it 7a+, but have no idea what it might really be. Tom dragged himself up, topped out and slugged back the whisky like it was water. Our final bit of excitement was to launch an “AP BOOM!” off the top of the mountain, basically a little stick of dynamite. Our friends climbing in an adjacent valley had no doubt what the explosion signified as they were climbing a multi-pitch of their own.

At about this time Corlie texted to ask if I liked the Genevieve if we had a girl, I mentioned this to Tom and we simultaneously decided this would be a great name for the climbSending Genevieve.

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Bolting Genevieve

It all started with the big plans for Tom and I to bolt a huge sinkhole out in the hills beyond the Getu Arch. We were well equipped, I had shipped my motorbike ahead of us, to be collected in a nearby town and driven through, giving us easy access to the sinkhole and allowing for the carting of gear back and forth through the hills. We had about 200m of static line, more than 100 bolts, drills, bits, all sorts of gear to help with the bolting and weeks of pent up energy! Once arriving in Getu it soon became clear that the sinkhole was to be put off for a while longer, road closures, massive rains, flooded rivers and generally bad conditions for missioning into large pits convinced us to look elsewhere.

Bolting Genevieve

I spotted a large orange face in a nearby valley, with easy access and dry rock, I couldn’t believe nobody had developed this wall yet. I set off slightly possessed (Tom hadn’t arrived in Getu yet), hacking paths, carting gear (along with a few trusty “Sherpa friends” – Vanessa and Douw) to the top of the mountain, bolting rap anchors, stashing food and water, getting everything set up and ready for bolting. It was not without some trepidation that I slowly lowered onto the face, with the trees blowing in the wind far below me, to set the anchors for the climb. I pulled off a few microwave size blocks and watched them free-fall for an eternity before exploding into the valley below. This was a little exciting, and a little nerve wracking. Once I’d set the anchors I got into the swing of things, it is quite a free feeling being all alone on a big wall, swinging about, cleaning of loose rock, placing bolts, choosing the line to climb.

Envisioning the path that the climb will ultimately follow is probably the hardest part of opening a route like this, that is if we ignore all the sweaty hours of carting gear back and forth. I had spied out the line using a pair of binoculars and made mental notes of stances, features to aim for and features to avoid. In the end this proved a good method and the line moved almost straight up the wall. The first session of bolting was slow, mistakes were made which meant I had to jug up and fetch things, come back down, rap further down to check the line, jug up again, place a bolt. This cost me a lot of time and resulted in me being rather tired before I had even finished the first pitch (that is, the first pitch of bolting, which would be the last pitch of climbing).

Bolting Genevieve

But in the end the pitch was finished, I made a stance, had a snack, stashed some gear, set the static lines and prepared for the next pitch. This went smoothly until I ran out of bolts. I’d left a bag of bolts at the top! More jugging, more sweat, more cursing. Now my batteries were flat. The drill batteries, not my personal life batteries, though these were nearing empty as well. I decided to rap off the wall in one long rappel. This way I could see the line as I descended. I have since read that it is not recommended to do rappels of more than 30m at a time using the gear I had, off I set on a rap of more than 3 times that. It got a bit scary as the devices heated up and my sweat started to steam as it dripped onto the devices. I slowed down, spat on the devices, and blew on them constantly. At least the slow descent let me get a good look at the wall as I went past. Eventually I made it down, tired and a little demotivated as so much of the wall remained to be bolted. I happily cruised through the farm lands on my motorbike and got back to the guesthouse. A quick coffee got me perked up and I decided to charge my drill batteries and shoot out to complete 1 more pitch before dark. A bold plan as I was very tired, but it paid off, I completed the first pitch from the ground, fed many a mosquito and headed off home as the sun was setting.

Up at sunrise the next day, hiked back up to the top of the mountain to rap in, as this was likely easier than jugging up 100m of rope. This time round I was quite efficient, and set to it with fresh energy. I completed a couple more pitches, including a pitch with a stunning roof section that made me really excited to try the climb, and another pitch following 3 long parallel tufas, which proved to be the crux of the climb. I came down at lunch, with only one pitch left, the second pitch off the ground. Tom had now arrived and was keen to contribute, so I happily let him go up and bolt this pitch, which he did in good style, with only the odd “Tom placement” here and there…Now it was done, bolting and cleaning complete, all that was left was to climb it!

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Why travelling 20km takes an hour (or more)

We often wonder at the variety of ways in which our journeys to the local crags go from a straight forward drive to a bit of a mission. I guess if you factor all of the variables into the equation it is not at all surprising that the 15 – 20km journeys often takes about an hour (or sometimes more).

Variable one:

Development is much more important than free flowing traffic. Therefore the road going through the village is not really a road it is a public space to be used for construction work…

village road excitements

Variable two:

Saving money on construction costs is very important. So, in order to save money the nails securing the solar panelled lamp posts into the ground is only 15cm long…

village road excitement3

village road excitement

Variable three:

It is very important to stay entertained whilst driving. So to make sure that people don’t get bored of the tedious task of driving with a car full of passengers, the rear view mirrors are fitted with DVD screens so that the driver can watch movies while he drives.

village road escitements 4

Variable four:

Livestock always has the right of way…

village road

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Riding the willy stick

About a year ago I was referred by a close friend to a certain page on climbingtrash.com detailing the uses and abuses of a willy stick, and a ridiculous idea was born, to copy what we had seen on the page and try it out for ourselves. Jim and Peter brought some decent size bamboo back from a secret location, and me and Peter started kitting it out with slings, and a rubber foot to prevent the dreaded windscreen wiper.
After the initial excitement, and taking the willy stick all over Kunming and the surrounding villages to try it out, it got neglected and abandoned and the rubber foot got stolen. Then one day it was unexpectedly brought out of the damp corner it had rolled into…

Riding the willy stick

Riding the willy stick

The Willy Stick is a simple method of bolting on lead, without having to climb the route while you bolt, or use hooks, however in my experience a combination of techniques was necessary. In the examples given on the website, the rock was at a slightly different angle to what we ended up experimenting on and so I ended up sat on top of the stick, wedged into the roof, shuffling out and slithering about in a general tangle of ropes and bolting gear and sweat, much to peter’s amusement and corlie’s apparent concern.

I couldn’t complain, I had forgotten half my stuff, and still wanted to bolt, and even offered to use the stick. When the going gets tough, bust out the willy stick.

I managed to place two bolts in this way, in about an hour, or more. It felt eternal – time crystallizing into a moment of infinity each time the stick creaked or the rock it was sitting on crumbled. All I know is that the willy stick will be back, soon, and hopefully I will be on belay next time.

– Tom Wright

Riding the willy stick

Riding the willy stick

Riding the willy stick

Riding the willy stick

Riding the willy stick

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Into the bowels of the earth

The idea for this adventure was born many months ago when we heard about a big sinkhole out in the karst mountains beyond Getu. Getu has become our favorite place in China, it is remote, quiet, and very laid back. You stand more chance of being run over by a duck or a buffalo on the only road through the village than by a motorcar. It is also home to some of the world’s most interesting and exciting climbing.

Now that I have been out there so many times, I am more open to exploring the area than only being consumed by the need to climb everything in the area. One of the main features for Getu is a large river disappearing into an enormous arched cave in the side of a mountain. The cave is about 100m high, it’s pretty big. In the past, Nadine and I swam into this cave and went in for about 45 minutes before getting a little nervous, swimming down this river through an enormous cavern in the pitch dark, so we swam back out. But the seed was sown. The river had to come out somewhere…?

Getu sinkhole 1

I started asking around and started exploring the hills beyond Getu. I’d heard that there was a section of this underground river that had collapsed, forming an enormous sinkhole. But to find it proved quite difficult. Try to understand how remote some of these places are. To access the villages you follow single track paths through the hills, no roads, no electricity, most of the people don’t even speak Chinese. Living off the land as they have for hundreds of generations. The locals in these types of places also get nervous speaking to foreigners, albeit in a broken version of local dialects and Mandarin. Everyone denied any knowledge of such a big sinkhole. Eventually, while exploring a big cave somewhere in the hills, we met an old man who said he had grown up in this particular cave, until the reformists had burnt his house down and taken him away (at the age of 9) to live somewhere more civilized. That was about 65 years ago. He showed us where he used to sleep, where his mother would cook. He still maintained the small alter in the back of this cave to make offerings to his ancestors. He also mentioned something about a sky hole!

After many sweaty hours of trudging small paths, renting motorbikes off farmers to race around the hills and questioning locals we were onto to something. The old guy pointed out a path nearby, which we followed. Cresting a steep hill a lovely green valley opened up in front of us with a big cliff at the end of it, the cliff turned out to be the back wall of a very large hole in the ground. Maybe 150m across and about 120m deep. You could hear a river crashing below. We had finally found it. We were also out of time and in need of some proper gear to get down there. Another trip was already being planned.

Into the bowels of the earth

It’s only appropriate that my partner in crime, Ryan, was visiting from Australia when I wanted to get out to the sky hole for round two. So we set about arranging gear, static line ropes, jumars (ascenders), drills, bolts, prussiks, maillons, hammers…. I am rather experienced in going up cliff faces this size, not down, but we would learn fast. We even arranged a car for our time in Getu, hoping we could drive in to the sky hole area using some back roads we’d scouted previously. This turned out to be a disaster, early on into us driving these roads, a day before the planned event, our car ended up in a ditch, the roads were bad. Our car well and truly stuck, no amount of jacking and digging, cursing or whisky was getting it out. Eventually we had amassed about 15 village men and we all picked the car up out of the ditch and placed it back on the road. Driving in was not going to happen.

Into the bowels of the earth

D-day was approaching, the bags were packed, and weighed a ton, the idea of walking out there was a bit much and the drive plan had been aborted, so we resorted to plan B, arrange for some farmers to drive us as far as they could on their motorbikes and then we would walk the rest of the way. All was set for the next day. However, what would an adventure be without a good hangover. In celebration of some good climbing we had done Ryan and I finished off a bottle of single malt, Ryan taking the lions share, for which he paid the price the next day. Hungover, sweaty, but excited we set off. The journey out there went something like this: by foot-by boat-by foot-by motorbike-by foot. The hangovers started to dissipate as we walked down the green valley towards the sky hole. We got a blast of nice cool air as we approached the forest that lined the rim of the hole, cooling us as we scrambled down the first few meters to find a suitable rocky outcrop to bolt some rappel anchors. We had 130m of rope with us, and 20 bolts, hoping this would get us to the ground and not leave us dangling.

We scrambled about the steep rim of the pit looking for reliable rock to bolt some anchors to get things started, eventually I sunk a few bolts, set up the gear and tossed the rope down the bushy cliff face. I opted to go first, thinking it the polite thing to do as I was the one who had placed the bolts, all that stood between us and the rushing river 120m below. It started off fine but soon problems began to show. The rappel device was getting hot, as my sweat soaked the rope near my waist you could here it sizzling on the device, then I had to maneuver back and forth finding the right line, this meant that the rope above rubbed over loose scree, and rocks started to rain down on me, it was all feeling a little wrong. I stopped my descent at about 40m and bolted another set of anchors, allowing my rappel device to cool off, relieving the tension from the rope and setting new attachment points to stop the rain of rock from above. Long story short, two more anchors were bolted, many more rocks fell, a lot of sweating and swearing took place but we got to the bottom.

It was really amazing down below, so big was the hole that there was a forest in there, huge cliffs all around. My imagination started, I was going to be opening climbs on these huge cliffs, I was already half down the river exploring the inside of this mountain by raft, my hammock was up between the trees, food stashed, we were going to be staying a while….big plans for this hidden playground.

Into the bowels of the earth

Into the bowels of the earth

Unfortunately reality kicked in, after exploring a bit we had to move. We had 120m of ascending to get through, with the same issue of rocks crashing down us. As I was getting ready to start the “jumaring” process to take me to the top something made me look down. I’m pleased I did, there was a pit viper (ironically named) silently watching my ankle! Weaving back and forth. These are scary snakes, aggressive and very venomous. I naturally avoided the creature but it reminded of just how isolated we were. Not just in the bottom of this pit, but in terms of nearest access to medical help. We would’ve been properly stuck if that snake had struck. On the bright side, it would’ve meant not having to go through the process of jumaring 120m! A truly taxing exercise, considering the gear we were using to ascend the line was found in the mountains around Cape Town about 9 years ago and was looking a little corroded to say the least.

Into the bowels of the earth

After more sweating, dodging rocks (some very exciting microwave oven sized rocks came crashing overhead), stopping, starting, sweating some more and crying inside we made it to the top. Now to prepare for our return, we need a 100m slackline to span the top of the sinkhole, this will be an epic highline, we need a light weight inflatable raft to see just where this river leads through the mountain, and we need a big bag of bolts so we can get the climbs developed and set some crazy looking lines above this river flowing through the bowels of the earth. Exciting times.
– Peter Mortimer

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