High-line above Getu sinkhole

In July 2016 a big mission to set up a high-line across the Getu sinkhole started…

Sponsored by Dali bar and Kailas, filmed by Stephan Wellauer, Colin Flahive and Kris Ariel.

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The Lonely Sherpa

(First published on the Dali bar blog 2016)

The Lonely Sherpa

The idea of putting up a climb on this wall started about 8 months ago, on my first visit to the Shigu valley. It is a big, beautiful wall, shadowing all those who pass through the valley below. I made many subsequent trips to Shigu, staying at our friend’s guesthouse – The Stonedrum House, and bolting a number of single pitch climbs, but always this wall tempted me. Finally, with a 2-week break over Christmas, I decided the time was right. And with some support from Dali Bar and Stonedrum House developing this wall became possible.

One of the hardest parts of the process was to choose the right line up the face. I was tempted by a bold line through the middle of the wall, which would go through a big tufa-filled roof right at the top, but feared that the climb might be really difficult and therefore limit the number of people who could enjoy the route. We had been hoping for an easy/moderate line as the first route up this wall. So we looked to the left where there are some interesting red corners and decided that this is where the line should go. The route would start up a long section of face and then feed into the higher of the red corners, under a small roof and up a break in the wall to the top. No problem, 4 maybe 5 pitches. Not quite. Pretty soon the wall earned it’s name, The Deception Wall, as it turned out to be a lot bigger (and harder) than expected, about 160m and 8 pitches in total.

The next day I hiked up to the top of the cliff with a couple of visiting Aussie climbers, Laelia and Bec, and scouted out the access points. I had tried to convince the Aussies how fun it would be to help me carry the gear up the mountain the next day. They politely didn’t respond to the hint. Hence the name of the climb, I hiked up a total of 6 times to the mountaintop, carrying loads of gear each time. The bolting went smoothly, I got the first 5 pitches in pretty quickly, cleaning big blocks off where necessary, rapping down and scoping out where the most interesting features were, or where the natural line of the climb went. After one of these sessions Laelie expressed some interest in helping out. She’s an experienced climber, but predominantly a boulderer with no experience in developing sport climbs, but I figured it would be nice to share the process with someone who was so psyched to join. I’d fixed some static lines for her to jug up and sent her off to bolt the first 2 pitches from the ground, which she did in great style, cleaning and bolting as she went. Perhaps a few bolts could have been closer together, and a few extra flakes hammered off, especially as her pitches turned out to be the crux pitches.

With all the bolts in Laelia and I set off to try the climb and found that the first couple pitches still needed some work. So I decided to rappel in from the top (another walk up the mountain) and check the entire route. I moved a bolt near the top that I was unhappy with, managed to clean a few more lose holds, and then spent some time to figure out what to do with pitch 2. At the time pitch 2 was about 45m long and felt to be about 7c, which was inconsistent with the grading of the rest of the climb. I decided to add an anchor and split the pitch into 2 separate pitches, which turned out to be a great idea in the end.

Finally, after all the work, it was time to send the route. We made an early start, walking through fields of icicles in the early winter’s morning. The first two pitches went easily, nice moves and no problems. I set off to open the third pitch, and too my surprise found that the wall had sprung a leak overnight. Weird, but out of no where the wall was leaking water right down through the first crux of pitch 3, at the most run-out crimpy part of the climb! I nervously set off, cursed my way through the wet part and managed to open the pitch. Now the pressure was off as this was the crux pitch for the route. After lots of amazing climbing and munching on Dali Bars all the way up, we topped out around 4 pm to some much deserved whisky and a cheesecake that I had stashed under a rock. Luckily it was so cold the cheesecake was still fresh!

The pitches are graded as follow: P1 7a, P2 6b+, P3 7a+, P4 6b, P5 6c, P6 6b+, P7 6c, P8 6a+. The longest pitch is 33m (P3), so be careful if you choose to rappel down. You’ll need about 17 quickdraws, take a few long ones. Don’t try link P7 and P8, the rope drag is terrible.

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New multi-pitch: Funny looking white guy

Published 2015

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.

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!!




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Sending Genevieve

Published 2014

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.

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 name Genevieve if we had a girl, I mentioned this to Tom and we simultaneously decided this would be a great name for the climb.

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Bolting Genevieve

Published 2014

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.

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).

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)

Published 2014

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…

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…

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.

Variable four:

Livestock always has the right of way…



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Riding the willy stick

Published 2014

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…

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








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Into the bowels of the earth

Published 2014

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…?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Liming Crack Climbing – The Great Leveller

Published 2014

Last weekend some of us from Kunming headed up to Liming in Northern Yunnan.It was my first time up there, and I was curious to see what had  been going on up there, see if the rumors were true. We wanted to go and see what this liming crack climbing was all about. Turns out there’s more to it than we though, and 5.9 felt a bit like 5.13.

LaoJunShan National park belongs to the LiJiang Prefecture, but so far seems fairly unspoiled when compared to the base for mass tourism that LiJiang has become. The park entry fee is steep, at 100 kuai a go, but the ticket gets you into one of the more beautiful corners of Yunnan, and you can stay as long as you like.

There are a number of hotels in the village, of Liming, mostly quite cheap (60 kuai for a double room or 20 in a bunk) and plenty of restaurants too. It’s far enough north that you can get yak butter tea, and it gets cold at night, even when it’s warm during the day. The village sits at 2100 metres, and has both LaoJunShan and YuLong snow mountains in close proximity, but it’s crack climbing, rather than mountaineering, that the area is getting famous for.

According to the brochure ‘The Danxia landform was created by the thousands of years geological forces to bring the red sandstone out 2000m. The protected area covering over 350 square km.’

Basically more sandstone than you could climb in a lifetime. The potential here is overwhelming. There are short routes, long routes, really long routes and boulders all waiting to be explored.

Leading the foray so far in terms of exploration is Mike Dobie, an American who makes Liming his home for the best part of the climbing season. With some support from Black Diamond, Mike has developed about a hundred routes so far, equipping each pitch with anchors for lowering off, belaying, or rappelling where necessary.  Many of the routes have been climbed using gear to aid through hard sections of climbing, meaning that there are loads of open projects waiting for a ‘free’ first ascent. However, before you rush out to send all of these ‘easy’ unclimbed routes you may want to know that the type of climbing in liming is a rather specific technique, that non yanks may have not encountered a great deal of. We’re talking about cracks. (please skip next paragraph if you are some kind of Yosemite veteran who climbs 5.12 cracks with a finger up your bum)

Crack climbing is different to other climbings I have previously encountered. Rather than pulling on holds, it involves stuffing whichever part of your body gives the best fit into the crack, hanging some weight on it, and then shuffling as far as possible before squeezing the next hand fist arm foot or knee into the next bit of crack and repeating the process. Pulling won’t help, in fact it might make you fall off. It sounds awkward, and it is. However as the cracks punish you and you slither down the rock face, be not discouraged. We found that even after a weekend climbing, and less than twenty pitches between us, the subtleties of movement were beginning to reveal themselves.

By the end of the third day climbing, our arms were covered in scabs, and feet in constant pain, and even though my last climb of the weekend was an absolute dogshow, I walked down back to the village feeling elated. The fresh mountain air in Liming, the beautiful sandstone peaks, the friendly locals and the yak butter tea had left a warm pleasant feeling inside of me, or maybe I just ate too much of the twice cooked pork.
– Tom Wright

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Gashfest 2013 – We were there


Published 2013

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.

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!

-Tom Wright 


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