Rock

     Rock routes in the grades which I’m climbing do not entail the same intensity of commitment, logistical overhead, time, equipment, or holistic expedition management skills as the mountaineering goals which I pursue. Nonetheless it is highly rewarding to redpoint routes near my limit.

     Here is a journal of rock routes I have sent which feel personally meaningful.

August, 2021 – 西天取经 / Pilgrimage to the West, 5.12a
July, 2021 – 凉都烙锅 / Liangdu Baking Pan, 5.11b
July, 2021 – 雨过天晴 / Sunny After Rain, 5.11b
July, 2021 – 白虎 / White Tiger, 5.11a
July, 2021 – E4, 5.11c
July, 2021 – Unnamed, #29, 步步高升, 5.11b
July, 2021 – 掐死你的温柔 / Strangle Your Tenderness, 5.11a
July, 2021 – 环环相扣 / Interlocking, 5.11a
July, 2021 – Waiting for Sophy / 等待苏菲, 5.11d
July, 2021 – Windswept, 5.11a
July, 2021 – Summer School / 七月的学校, 5.11b
July, 2021 – Ten Bee, 5.11a
July, 2021 – 去一边 / Go To The Side, 5.11b
June, 2021 – 鲜衣怒马 / Luxurious Living, 5.11d/12a
June, 2021 – 老玩童 / Old Playboy, 5.11a
June, 2021 – 扶朕起来 / Assist Emperor’s Ascent, 5.11b
June, 2021 – 朕还能爬 / Emperor Can Still Climb, 5.11a
May, 2021 – Blue Glacier / 蓝冰川, 520m/5.12a/A0
May, 2021 – Hallowmas, 5.11b
May, 2021 – Jonny’s Hard 12, 5.11b
May, 2021 – Round About, 5.11a/b
May, 2021 – Scrubadub, 5.11d
April, 2021 – Lock Jaw, 5.11c
April, 2021 – Better Eat Your Wheaties, 5.11b
April, 2021 – 老友鬼鬼 / Old Friend Guigui, 5.11b
March, 2021 – 避雨亭 / Rain Shelter, 5.11c
March, 2021 – 宿醉 / Hangover, 5.11a
December, 2020 – 蘑菇头 / Mushroom Head, 5.11a
December, 2020 – 穿过你的黑发的我的手该放哪儿 / Where Do I Put My Hand After Combing Your Black Hair, 5.11b
December, 2020 – 血草莓 / Blood Strawberry, 5.11a
December, 2020 – 小心竹钉 / Beware Bamboo Roots, 5.11a
December, 2020 – 一个核桃 / Walnut, 5.11a
December, 2020 – Lion’s Prow, 5.11b
November, 2020 – Airwalker, 5.11d
October, 2020 – Hanging in the Balance, 5.11a
October, 2020 – Traveling Alan, 5.11a
August, 2020 – Shigu Courtyard / 石鼓的院子, 5.11c
August, 2020 – Rainbows and Unicorns, 5.11a
November, 2019 – Five Ten Plus, 5.11b/c
November, 2019 – Dammit!, 5.11b
November, 2019 – 纯爷们 / Real Man, 5.11a
June, 2019 – Crispi Feet, 5.11b/c
May, 2019 – Chinese Ladders, 5.11b
April, 2019 – 无所谓 / It Doesn’t Matter, 5.11c
April, 2019 – 掏鸟窝 / Fishing Out The Bird’s Nest, 5.11b
March, 2019 – Little Sheep, 5.11a
March, 2019 – Red Beans and Rice, 5.11a

August, 2021 – 西天取经 / Pilgrimage to the West, 5.12a
Wonderfully varied handholds include an assortment of two-finger pockets, side pulls, slopers, and a single knife blade crimp. Clipping from a stacked two-finger hook might have been the crux for me. Fantastic route. Dushan, LiuPanShui.

July, 2021 – 凉都烙锅 / Liangdu Baking Pan, 5.11b
An awkward, pumpy start and a technical, balance-intensive finish sandwich a hands-free rest. Would definitely be a grade harder without the rest. DuShan, LiuPanShui.

July, 2021 – 雨过天晴 / Sunny After Rain, 5.11b
Balance slab on small crimps and minuscule footholds. Two tricky cruxes, both of which were quite engaging to solve and somewhat tenuous to execute for the send! Niubi Dong, LiuPanShui.

July, 2021 – 白虎 / White Tiger, 5.11a
An aesthetically pleasing route with cool parallel tufas and a juggy finish. Sustained and exposed, begins on a small ledge 20m above the ground. Niubi Dong, LiuPanShui.

July, 2021 – E4, 5.11c
An interesting boulder problem on sharp, reachy crimps and terrible feet. I used a clipstick to put my gear up, worked the moves on toprope, and sent on my first lead after several hours of rest. The route is harder than 5.11c for shorter climbers. Niubi Dong, LiuPanShui.

July, 2021 – Unnamed, #29, 步步高升, 5.11b
A beautiful face climb with two crux sections and several good rests. Unique dark-coloured crystals smatter the wall, many of which make for thin footholds and crimps. Don’t grab the tree root! Bubugaosheng, LiuPanShui.

July, 2021 – 掐死你的温柔 / Strangle Your Tenderness, 5.11a
The balance crux felt tough for the grade, but was mitigated somewhat by a decent rest. After a hard fight I sent onsight while hanging my draws. Great route. Niubi Dong, LiuPanShui.

July, 2021 – 环环相扣 / Interlocking, 5.11a
Surprisingly pumpy for a short route. A bouldery crux midway gives the route its grade. Niubi Dong, LiuPanShui.

July, 2021 – Waiting for Sophy / 等待苏菲, 5.11d
An exceptionally interesting route with two difficult cruxes, slippery feet, and a heartbreaking endurance finish. Hangdogging the moves with beta advice from a friend wore me out; I took a huge whip near the top on my first lead attempt, losing my sequence and composure through sheer exhaustion. I went back the next afternoon and managed to send in spite of 36C air temperature and humidity. Leipi Shan, Yangshuo.
Yangshuo Climbing Guidebook: http://climbingyangshuo.com/

July, 2021 – Windswept, 5.11a
Aptly named; a nice breeze made this route more manageable in the humid summer heat. I managed to onsight whilst hanging my draws. The first 4 bolts are shared with a 5.9, but overall it felt fair for the grade, as I struggled somewhat on the slopers. Several good rests. Treasure Cave, Yangshuo.
Yangshuo Climbing Guidebook: http://climbingyangshuo.com/

July, 2021 – Summer School / 七月的学校, 5.11b
Perfect conditions for sending this route: 36C air temperature in the middle of July! Balance climbing with several superb hand and foot jams. A true classic, even though it is horrifically polished. Twin Gates, Yangshuo.
Yangshuo Climbing Guidebook: http://climbingyangshuo.com/

July, 2021 – Ten Bee, 5.11a
The slight overhang makes for an interesting, pumpy climb up dusty slopers interspersed with positive crimps. Brother Cave, Yangshuo.
Yangshuo Climbing Guidebook: http://climbingyangshuo.com/

July, 2021 – 去一边 / Go To The Side, 5.11b
A nice face climb with a distinct crux section. I managed to send on the first try, whilst hanging my draws, albeit with a prior look from the adjacent climbs. I have never before made such significant (and painful) use of a one-finger mono pocket. JiaGu Mountain, Zaozhuang.

June, 2021 – 鲜衣怒马 / Luxurious Living, 5.11d/12a
A real classic with two balancy crux sections, nicely varied holds, several full rests, and an endurance finish. I retreated two bolts off of the anchor in punishing full sun on my flash attempt, then rehearsed the movements at the end of the day as temperatures cooled off. I sent on my first try the next morning. The route has already been downgraded once, from 12b to 12a, but still feels soft to me. Climbing with friends brought loads of stoke, and provided some help with beta. JiaGu Mountain, Zaozhuang.

June, 2021 – 老玩童 / Old Playboy, 5.11a
This route was hard for me to read fresh, devoid of any chalk marks. After failing to onsight and then working out the hard-to-see holds, I cleaned off the gear and redpointed in good style. A nice mix of crimps, hidden jugs, underclings, and pockets. JiaGu Mountain, Zaozhuang.

June, 2021 – 扶朕起来 / Assist Emperor’s Ascent, 5.11b
Sending this sustained endurance route took me many more tries than it felt like it should have, perhaps due to hot and humid weather, perhaps due to mental focus. A bit heady from a broken hold and big fall on the first try, and due to the safe yet slightly sparse bolt placements. Several interesting sequences, and a full hands-free rest in a naturally cool cave. JiaGu Mountain, Zaozhuang.

June, 2021 – 朕还能爬 / Emperor Can Still Climb, 5.11a
An easy and fun start into a thin, interesting crux. Slightly sparse bolting made the route feel a little bit heady. I failed to onsight at the balancey crux move, and sent on the second try. JiaGu Mountain, Zaozhuang.

May, 2021 – Blue Glacier / 蓝冰川, 520m/5.12a/A0
Blue Glacier is China’s longest sport route, covering 520m over 19 pitches of golden granite slab. We climbed the route over two days, with an overnight bivvy on the ledge above pitch 4. We aided on all pitches where we failed to onsight. Eggplant Mountain, Dayu (Xi’An).

Blue Glacier / 蓝冰川 / Day Two / Drone Footage From Summit (by: _mr_hu_)

May, 2021 – Hallowmas, 5.11b
A high quality route up steep slab and into a ceiling, finished off with a pumpy, overhanging face. My send was intensified by uncomfortably hot and humid weather. Big Wall, ShiGouDong (ShaoXing).

May, 2021 – Jonny’s Hard 12, 5.11b
This route is a sustained, crimpy face climb which tops out onto low angle slab. I took a good fall while lunging for a high hand on my onsight attempt, and subsequently sent the route on my second try. Lower 40, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

May, 2021 – Round About, 5.11a/b
An interesting five bolt traverse leading into a short face. The route’s crux is in the traverse, and feels quite hard for the grade. Lower 40, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

May, 2021 – Scrubadub, 5.11d
A short friction slab featuring a delicate crux sequence on thin crimps, bad feet, and a sloping pinch. I wore off a lot of skin the day prior to getting on Scrubadub, and subsequently split four of my fingertips bloody whilst working the crux. After cleaning and taping up I was able to send, albeit with a lot of blood left on the sharp handholds! Lower 40, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

April, 2021 – Lock Jaw, 5.11c
Sustained crimps the entire way, with not a single jug to be found. The high feet, superb friction, tiny handholds, and a technical crux sequence make for a true classic of a route. Failed the onsight and then top roped once on day one, sent the route on my first try the next morning. Lower 40, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

April, 2021 – Better Eat Your Wheaties, 5.11b
The first 4 meters of this route are its crux, and entail an awkward runout characterized by a sharp, two-finger pocket. Solving the sequence took me several tries, and was heady due to the ground fall potential. Lower 40, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

April, 2021 – 老友鬼鬼 / Old Friend Guigui, 5.11b
The route is graded for a short, but painfully thin, sequence of awkward crimps conveniently sandwiched between hands-free rests. Miao Nan Yu, Zaozhuang.

March, 2021 – 避雨亭 / Rain Shelter, 5.11c
A burly limestone route ascending an awkward crack system sparsely salted with poor footholds. Working on the route with friends was a fun exercise in optimizing the sequence of movement. I used two hangdog climbs to sort out beta, and then redpointed on my first lead attempt. Miao Nan Yu, Zaozhuang.

March, 2021 – 宿醉 / Hangover, 5.11a
A steep limestone face climb with a thin technical crux. The route is a measure of balance, efficient movement, and finger strength on account of its relentless crimping. Miao Nan Yu, Zaozhuang.

December, 2020 – 蘑菇头 / Mushroom Head, 5.11a
A short 15m route ascending dusty tufa formations. I first-try flashed with verbal beta for the final moves. Finishing this route marked my fifth successful YDS 5.11- redpoint over five days at Shigu, one per day. Ritan, Shigu.
Shigu Topos: http://www.climbshigu.com/climb/topos.html

December, 2020 – 穿过你的黑发的我的手该放哪儿 / Where Do I Put My Hand After Combing Your Black Hair, 5.11b
High quality rock with a confusing finish. The last few meters alongside the final bolt can be climbed to the left into a tufa, or to the right up a face – both variations involve a significant reach to clip the bolt and anchor. Redpointed on my second try. Rainbow Wall, Shigu.
Shigu Topos: http://www.climbshigu.com/climb/topos.html

December, 2020 – 血草莓 / Blood Strawberry, 5.11a
A fine 20m route requiring several traverses back and forth across a steep face. Managed to onsight with a somewhat desperate finish. Ritan, Shigu.
Shigu Topos: http://www.climbshigu.com/climb/topos.html

December, 2020 – 小心竹钉 / Beware Bamboo Roots, 5.11a
Sharp crimping and balance intensive footwork create technical cruxes throughout the lower half. The ‘elephant trunk’ tufa along the upper route makes for a change of pace and varied climbing. Rainbow Wall, Shigu.
Shigu Topos: http://www.climbshigu.com/climb/topos.html

December, 2020 – 一个核桃 / Walnut, 5.11a
A pumpy face climb on pockets and rails presents the main difficulties before an interesting finish through pronounced tufa formations. Sending on the first try was a promising start to my second Shigu trip. Diamond Wall, Shigu.
Shigu Topos: http://www.climbshigu.com/climb/topos.html

December, 2020 – Lion’s Prow, 5.11b
A long, aesthetically direct 13-bolt route. The first crux involves flipping a small ceiling and clipping bolt 1. After the ceiling the line is relatively straightforward to bolt 7 but intensely sustained and pumpy thereafter, which makes for a testpiece of endurance. The Prow, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

November, 2020 – Airwalker, 5.11d
The finest sport route I have climbed to date. Airwalker begins 20m off of the ground, well above the canopy of the bamboo forest below. Overhanging and pumpy the entire way, the gloriously exposed technical cruxes more than live up to the route’s name. The belay anchor is accessed either via a sketchy slab traverse, or from transition off of adjacent routes. I sent on my fifth try. Mika’s Ledge, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

October, 2020 – Hanging in the Balance, 5.11a
Superb route on crimpy Limestone. Technical cruxes and some reachy movements. The last pitch of this Yangshuo trip, I spent about an hour and a half in the early morning projecting it on my own. The Egg Northeast Face, Yangshuo.
Yangshuo Climbing Guidebook: http://climbingyangshuo.com/

October, 2020 – Traveling Alan, 5.11a
34m of high quality Yangshuo Limestone. Starts up a crimpy face with a distinct crux, finishes through a pumpy, overhanging ceiling with a few tricky clips. Redpointed on my own beta in two leads. Swiss Chocolate, Yangshuo.
Yangshuo Climbing Guidebook: http://climbingyangshuo.com/

August, 2020 – Shigu Courtyard / 石鼓的院子, 5.11c
Absolute classic. The best route I have climbed at Shigu. Four hangdogs, four leads over three days for the redpoint. The tufa-riddled roof climbing is wonderfully powerful, and the crux is the ceiling pull – as it should be. The Cave, Shigu.
Shigu Topos: http://www.climbshigu.com/climb/topos.html

August, 2020 – Rainbows and Unicorns, 5.11a
A fun, varied Limestone route with steep face climbing, a single technical move, and a small ceiling. Two burns to send. Rainbow Wall, Shigu.
Shigu Topos: http://www.climbshigu.com/climb/topos.html

November, 2019 – Five Ten Plus, 5.11b/c
A long route with two distinct cruxes. I blew a flash on this route by whipping while clipping the anchor, but sent it on the second try. Having beta handed over on a silver platter made this climb more fun, and much faster, than working it alone! Come Along Crag, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

November, 2019 – Dammit!, 5.11b
A short, technical slab route. Solving the sequence puzzle with friends was a delight. Lower 40 Right Side, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

November, 2019 – 纯爷们 / Real Man, 5.11a
High quality granite slab. Balance and technique through the middle. Main Cliff, ShiGouDong (ShaoXing).

June, 2019 – Crispi Feet, 5.11b/c
A long route on superb rock. The first crux is right off of the ground, and the second crux is up near the top, right in the middle of a sustained system of crimps. This route was impactful for me, as it was one of the first pitches that I systematically projected. Midlands, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

May, 2019 – Chinese Ladders, 5.11b
A Lion’s Head test piece at its grade. Short but intensely crimpy, with a definite crux move in the middle. Finding beta which worked for me was like solving a kinesthetic puzzle. Crazy Corner, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

April, 2019 – 无所谓 / It Doesn’t Matter, 5.11c
Requiring fine balance and focus, this short route is technical, crimpy, and sequential. Couldn’t have sent it had I not been working it with a much stronger partner, who gave me all the beta. Purple Mountain, Nanjing.

April, 2019 – 掏鸟窝 / Fishing Out The Bird’s Nest, 5.11b
The classic route at Nanjing’s Purple Mountain crag. A big heel hook and powerful movement sequence to pull the ceiling. This route immediately caught my eye on my first visit to Purple Mountain, even though I was a beginner at the time. Sending it for the first time almost two years later was enormously satisfying. Purple Mountain, Nanjing.

March, 2019 – Little Sheep, 5.11a
A short, burly, pumpy route with several good rests and interesting movements. Paid my dues by whipping while trying to clip the anchor rings before finally getting the send. Crazy Corner, Lion’s Head (Lin An).

March, 2019 – Red Beans and Rice, 5.11a
A delightful route, perhaps my favorite at the Lion’s Head crag. Delicate slab on thin hands at the start, powerful movement up a slightly overhung chimney for the rest of the route. My first 11a redpoint, entirely on beta which I figured out by myself. Mika’s Ledge, Lion’s Head (Lin An).