Monday, May 26, 2014

A Day Climbing in Yangshuo

There are three major climbing developments in China: Getu (though relatively vacant), Dali, and Yangshuo. During my study-abroad I visited Yangshuo for spring break, but in about a week's time there were only a couple rainless hours. Low clouds and rain are not a bad thing in Yangshuo. I was told that many Chinese people actually prefer the clouds for when they glide over the stuccoed mountains, heaven and earth connect, an ancient Chinese painting takes form. This time around I only had a day, and it was for climbing. 
Yangshuo has been called the climbing mecca of Asia. Yangshuo itself is now a developed tourist hub, but smaller than it's parent city Guilin. Both cities reside in Guangxi Province, which borders Vietnam and the South China Sea.  Like much of the food in south central China, sour flavoring is common with some type of rice based product. This area of China is considered subtropical, meaning the humidity can get so thick you feel as if you were swimming through the air. This climate can sap your energy in an hour if you are not used to it. Regardless of the humidity, Yangshuo is probably one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It is unimaginatively beautiful. I will be back again. Yangshuo is a travel must. 

Van from our hostel to the crag

When we arrived it was +80F with around 100% humidity


 Path to the crag. The mountains look like there is a dragon sleeping beneath them

I can't imagine that this roof does anything to keep the wood dry, too humid

She told Gabby that we were going the wrong way. I don't know how Gabby can understand the peasants. Simply magic.

 Approaching Moon Hill and peasants working the fields

 Borrowed paper guidebook. Lost. 

 Yangshuo is filled with sleeping dragons

 The spider that bit Peter Parker

 Time for climbing. In between the crags on Moon Hill there are many caves that have multiple levels making them look like ancient temples or sacrificial lairs

 Gabby destroying the first route of the day

 Libby's belaying dedication is unrivaled

 Me following

Marisa following 

Yangshuo's dense limestone 'hills' make it an ideal climbing destination. About a hundred million years ago this area was all underwater (saltwater), slowly wearing away layers of limestone. After all of the bedrock corroded we were left with this amazing karst topo. Underground currents carved out countless caves into these mountains. 

Not a moment without dripping sweat. Infinite mosquito bites

 More climbing

Water buffalo

Yangshuo definitely has what it takes to be a climbing mecca 

 When most people imagine rural China, or 'China,' I think they are imagining Yangshuo. Even though China's major cities are changing faster than anybody can process, much of the rural areas are still in tact and moving, at tranquil speeds as tradition demands, but moving. I think the old, timeless image of China is preserved in rural Yangshuo. 

 Leaving Moon Hill at dusk


Despite the hundreds of collected mosquito bites, torrential sweat, and extremely stressful traveling I am confident in saying that I would do it all over again. Every moment climbing was worth it. Great company as usual. All in all a great trip. 

If you ever plan on traveling to China, again, Yangshuo is a must. Many travelers rent bikes and ride around the countryside. For as touristy as Yangshuo is, the place gets very rural very quickly (last time I was there I rode bikes). You can ride down the dirt roads and stop to talk with peasants. They will most likely invite you in for tea or something to eat. 

Peace and leave no trace, seriously

Tinted van window filter only in low light :)

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