BETA PHOTO: Overview looking down valley.
CAUTION: Be aware that this information was last updated in June 2005 and may be out of date. I lived in Yunnan from 2000 to mid-2005 and kept the guidebook up to date. After I left, it was posted on the Redpoint Gym website, then removed and is now sold separately to raise money for route hardware. The Redpoint hosts the most concentrated group of climbers in Yunnan and is the place to get the latest information on the local crags – www.climbingkunming.com. Please visit the Redpoint and support them.
Flowing out of the western side of Dian Lake near Kunming, the Tang Lang River (Tang Lang Chuan) snakes west then due north eventually entering the Jinsha (Yangtze) River. About 25 km north of Kunming, just upstream from the Fumin County town, it cuts through a distinct geologic formation creating a narrow canyon bordered by steep limestone ramparts up to 100 m high. The tall escarpment high on the east side of the canyon is known locally as Old Red Rock (Lao Hong Yan), due to the reddish-orange appearance of much of the face. A shrine is built into a cave on the west side of the valley. Know as the River Cave (He Shan Dong), it is well-known locally and attracts small groups of tourists on nice weekends. A footpath starting near the cave entrance accesses the pavilion on top of the cliffs above the cave. It offers great views of the valley and the climbing terrain of Old Red Rock, directly across the canyon. One of the trails that made up the famous transportation network called the Ancient Tea and Horse Path (Cha Ma Gu Dao) passes along the base of Old Red Rock. The Ancient Tea and Horse trails brought tea grown in southern Yunnan into Sichuan and Tibet. The particular variation that runs through Fumin Canyon went from Kunming north to Sichuan. Administratively, this climbing area lies on the Kunming-Fumin county border. An ancient inscription near the southern end of the Old Red Rock escarpment, near Ancient Tea and Horse Path, marks the boundary.
As of mid-2005, 86 routes at fourteen climbing areas had been developed in Fumin Canyon, including ten individual crags adjacent to the Tang Lang River and four faces of the Old Red Rock escarpment that looms high above the river to the east. Fumin is about 200 m lower in elevation than Kunming, meaning it can be hot here on sunny days in late spring, summer, and early fall. The crags are oriented in all directions of the compass, however, so shaded routes can always be found. Likewise, it’s a bit warmer than Kunming in the winter and, if the sun’s out, comfortable climbing can be found all winter.
LAND MANAGEMENT AND ACCESS
The climbing at Fumin is in the countryside away from any major population and tourist centers. Right now there are no management and access issues, but be considerate of the local farmers and goat herders that use the area. For example, crop fields lie at the base of Orange Face; do not trample these fields.
There are two general areas to climb in Fumin Canyon, one high and one low (see BETA PHOTOS). Down low, adjacent to and on both sides of the Tang Lang River, there are ten separate crags on the east and west sides of the valley. Looming high above the river to the east is Old Red Rock, where four separate walls have been developed.
Car is the easiest way to get to Fumin Canyon climbing. Access via public transportation is slightly less convenient than getting to the Western Hills, although it is still really easy once you figure out the routine. We used public transport for years.
PRIVATE VEHICLE OR TAXI
Here are the directions:
Head north on Kun Rui Way through the gritty neighborhoods of northwestern Kunming. Follow the signs to Luchuan on Highway 108, a main transportation route to Sichuan. This highway takes you through a toll booth and a tunnel under the hills along the northern edge of the Kunming basin.
In about 25 km you come to a traffic circle; straight (north) is Luchuan and right (northwest) is Fumin. Head to Fumin, which is reached after 2 km.
Follow the road through downtown Fumin. Take the first left after crossing the bridge over the Tang Lang River.
This paved road goes up the west side of the Tang Lang River. You will reach River Cave after 5 km.
Access to Fumin Canyon climbing using public transportation is actually not difficult and, if you hit it right, doesn’t take that much longer than driving. Here are the steps:
NEW BETA - DECEMBER 2009. Huang Tu Po is no longer the bus station for the Fumin busses. It has moved farther to the northwest. Here is some info from the Kunming Climbing blog at Sohu.com: "There is a new bus station has been put into use. all buses from kunming to fumin will change the start location to the new bus station--kunming northwest bus station. For adjustment of the passenger line, the kunming bus group will set up a speical bus line--NO.8 from panyawan bus station to northwest bus station. The operating time is 6:00am to 8:00pm." Edwin from Australia recently reports that you can also get a mini bus from the old Huang Tu Po station out to the new station.
In Fumin, the bus stop is at the southeastern edge of downtown. Walk 1 km northwest down the main street, cross the river, and take first left (same as directions for private vehicle). Pony carts will be lined up along this street waiting to take passengers upriver. The price is negotiable, but should be less than 5 yuan to River Cave. The quicker way is to hire one of the many three-wheeled motorcycle taxis to take you upriver for about 8 yuan. These taxis can only handle 2-3 people, but are much faster. Sometimes a micro bus will also take you up river for a reasonable price.
To return to Kunming reverse the steps. Catch a pony cart downriver, walk uptown to the bus stop, and take the bus back to Huang Tu Po in Kunming. As at Huang Tu Po, busses leave when they are mostly full, which is about every 30 minutes in the afternoon and evening. The last bus is at 7 PM. If you arrive in town later than that, negotiate a price back to Kunming with one of he many microbuses lined up around the traffic circle near the bus station.
Browse More Classics in Fumin Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Fumin Canyon:
Featured Route For Fumin Canyon
BETA PHOTO: Fumin Canyon overview of lower east side, looking ...
BETA PHOTO: Old Red Rock overview, looking down valley
BETA PHOTO: Access to Eye Cave area.
Disembarking from the Kunming bus in Fumin town, h...
Renee, Kelly, and Doug heading down canyon after a...
Bi Hua, our favorite cart driver.
Villager loading farm goods for market. We learned...
Wandering down valley to meet the carts on a beaut...
Spring rice planting in the Fumin valley.