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, and to climb interesting multipitch. As such, I’ve decided to maintain a journal here.

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

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 Nails, 5.11a
December 2020 – 一个核桃 / Walnut, 5.11a
December 2020 – Lion’s Prow, 5.11b/c

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
November 2019 – Dammit!, 5.11b
November 2019 – XinChang Slab, 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 / “Stealing the Bird’s Nest”, 5.11b

March 2019 – Little Sheep, 5.11a
March 2019 – Red Beans and Rice, 5.11a

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 Nails, 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/c
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. I grade the route for its demanding endurance; the ease of hangdogging or top-roping compared to leading clean causes some contention. 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
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, 5.11b/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 / 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 – 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).