Rock

     As I’ve continued to engage with rock climbing via outcome-specific training, multi-day to multi-week trips, and regular excursions to nearby crags, I have also begun to keep closer track of my sport and trad climbing progression. As such, I’ve decided to maintain a journal here.

     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, and to climb interesting multipitch.

     Here is a collection of routes I have sent which feel personally meaningful. At my ability level this entails anything at, or harder than, YDS 5.11a.

November 2020 – Airwalker, 5.11d
October 2020 – Hanging in the Balance, 5.11a
October 2020 – Traveling Alan, 5.11a
August 2020 – LaoPao / 老炮, 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
November 2019 – Dammit!, 5.11b
November 2019 – XinChang Slab, 5.11a
June 2019 – Crispi Feet, 5.11c
May 2019 – Chinese Ladders, 5.11b
April 2019 – 无所谓 / “It Doesn’t Matter”, 5.11c
April 2019 – 掏鸟窝 / “Stealing the Bird’s Nest”, 5.11b
March 2019 – Red Beans and Rice, 5.11a

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. The entire route is overhanging, pumpy, and gloriously exposed, more than living up to its 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 – LaoPao / 老炮, 5.11a
A one-trick-wonder, graded for a single move. Diamond Wall, ShiGu.
ShiGu Topos: http://www.climbshigu.com/climb/topos.html

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
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 – XinChang Slab, 5.11a
High quality granite slab. Nameless route as far as I know, perhaps harder than graded. Balance and technique through the middle. XinChang.

June 2019 – Crispi Feet, 5.11c
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 / TaoNiaoWo / “Stealing 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 – 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, entirely on beta which I figured out by myself. Mika’s Ledge, Lion’s Head (Lin An).