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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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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Swallow cave topos

Swallow cave is fast proving to be the home of hard climbing in Kunming. Routes are still being bolted and plenty of projects are scattered about. These routes will surely all prove to be classics, they are long, steep and unforgiving, the perfect combination for a hard climb! That said, there are also a number of climbs in the lower grades, so there is fun to be had by all. The lower red wall is also being developed, this provides some amazing face climbing. Below the red face, the boulders are waiting to be climbed….

This crag is very difficult to photograph properly, so the tops might not do justice to the length or steepness of the climbs.

Swallow cave – The Pit

Swallow cave The Pit topo

Swallow cave – Batty area

Swallow cave - Batty area topo

Swallow cave – Hot spot area

Swallow cave - hot spot topo

 


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Gashfest 2013 – We were there

The Gash - Kunming climbing

The legend of Gashfest 2013 is quickly turning into myth, and the rumour mill has spun so many yarns now that few people really have any idea what went on at all. The climbing community has been buzzing with stories of hard new routes, first ascents, a deep underground cave of perfect hard white limestone with endless route possibilities….

None of which is true.

gashfest

gashfest

It basically a total failure. We didn’t bolt any new routes, we didn’t climb anything worth mentioning, we more or less spent the whole time trying to get warm round a smoky fire of green eucalyptus stumps.  Jim and Angie spent the two entire days speaking in Australian accents, and the only thing I could do in retaliation was dive into their tent into the middle of the night and fart as much as possible.

Saturday it snowed really heavily, all afternoon, into the evening and through the night. We got a bit drunk and barbecued some meat and then went to bed. Sunday basically consisted of taking down the tents, and the quickdraws, and stamping our feet to avoid frostbite. We ate all the food, walked down to the village and played charades while we waited for the bus.

Make sure you join us for the next Gashfest so that we don’t have such a shit time!

gashfest


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