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Taiwan 


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Location: 23.1606, 120.6738 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Nate Ball, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: ccchien1973 on May 28, 2009
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One Way Ticket, 5.11a, on the Clocktower, Long Don...

Description 

Taiwan is an island in the East China Sea 110 miles off the coast of Mainland China and astride the Tropic of Cancer. The island is roughly one-third the size of Tennessee, with a population of 23 million people. The primary language is Mandarin Chinese, with Taiwanese and Hakkanese dialects also used.

Unlike most Pacific islands which are volcanic, Taiwan is tectonic in origin, and its central mountain range is loaded with wilderness peaks up to 13,000 feet. The highest peak, Yushan, is 3,952m and features an impressive-looking north face with various alpine challenges.

Rock climbing areas in Taiwan including Guanzhiling (limestone sport climbing in Chiayi County), bouldering in and around Taroko Gorge National Park (on the east coast), Dapaoyan (good volcanic cragging on small cliffs at Yangmingshan, a mountain park on the north side of Taipei city), and riverbed bouldering areas in the mountains of Hsinchu and Miaoli counties. The centerpiece of Taiwan rock climbing, however, is Long Dong (“dragon’s cave” in Chinese), with over a mile of wave-battered, sun-baked sea cliffs of very compact Silin sandstone on the beautifully rugged northeast coast of the island.

For more information - gym locations, outdoor walls, other crags, gear shops, etc. - checkout this website:
Taiwan Rocks


Getting There 

Fly to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) from anywhere in the world. If you’re already in Asia, Taipei is one hour from Hong Kong, two hours from Shanghai or Manila, and about three from Bangkok or Tokyo. Visitors from many countries are, as of 2009, granted free landing visa upon arrival (30 days for U.S. citizens).


History 

Climbing legacy can be traced back to the Japanese occupation of Taiwan in the late 19th century. Somebody climbed Yushan during a survey and claimed a first ascent. Many of the other big peaks were scaled...

Rock climbing, as a separate discipline from mountaineering, began at DaPaoYan (Big Cannon Cliff) probably in the early 80's. Being super tiny, it wasn't long before people started exploring other crags.

With the construction of the #2 Highway in the mid-80's, people began looking into the cliffs of the northeast coast, specifically Long Dong. Stories have been told of people climbing here before this time, but this is completely undocumented and only verified by accounts of people who knew people who talked about it back in the day. After the lifting of martial law in 1987, people were a lot more willing to explore, and the most obvious lines fell in quick succession.

By the 90's, many local and international climbers - and often these two classifications are inseparable - had made Long Dong into a legitimate destination crag. Yum-Yum, Jeff Wang, Ta-Chi Wang, Laurence Huen, Two Teeth, Paul Foster, Milk, and many others were crushing some routes that are seriously proud even by today's standards. Many bolts had been placed, and a guidebook came out in 1998. Over 100 routes were documented. Long Dong was still way behind the times, but those who climbed it didn't seem to want to catch up, enjoying LD's own unique and remote character.

Matt Robertson arrived in the early 2000's from Yosemite, and brought the ethic with him. The plethora of cracks and broken faces were systematically explored, sent, and documented. The traditional mantra was voiced just in time to conflict with a huge effort by Deng Rong (in 2004-5) to bolt every (semi)clean cliff between School Gate and the Basement. Glue-in bolts were placed everywhere, including along Commissary Crack, which stirred up a major controversy between the old school ethics and the desire to open up new routes and make LD more accessible. In the end, a standard was set to never repeat this, and Matt released a guidebook documenting 101 of LD's most classic traditional lines.

At some point around this time, a few other crags were developed. Sean Wang produced a guidebook for a tiny limestone area in Guanziling. A few routes were bolted in Kaohsiung too. For obvious reason, these areas never saw the attention that Long Dong has.

Despite the efforts of Matt and others, the sport-oriented mentality continued to prevail. Although no more routes were bolted, gym climbers and classes began to congregate on every decent weekend. The pioneers slowly began disappearing, and with them the memory of spicy adventure. In 2012, Matt released a guidebook documenting 500+ routes of every type, which caused an even greater exodus from indoors to out. There was also a serious injury as a result of a mechanical bolt breaking causing the leader to fall to the ground. In 2012, an effort was begun to rebolt all of the pre-2005 bolted routes with glue-ins, regardless of whether they could be or had been done on gear, furthering an already contentious precedent.

Which brings us to the present. The first (and sometimes second) generation of bolts have been mostly removed, and titanium has begun to replace steel as the material of choice. Crag maintenance is overseen by an organized though insular group, whose future plans are uncertain...


Climbing Season


232 Total Routes


['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',89],['2 Stars',74],['1 Star',36],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',13],['5.7',14],['5.8',29],['5.9',35],['5.10',88],['5.11',45],['5.12',5],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Taiwan:
Wedding Route   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Sport, 85'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (4) Music Hall
Commissary Crack   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 180'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (6) First Cave
Surprise Crack   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 70'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (1) School Gate
Phantom Fright   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 90'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : {10} Backdoor
Dragon's Back   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 50'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (8) Golden Valley
V-Groove   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 50'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (1) School Gate
Sky Ladder   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 85'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (3) Long Lane
Warm-up Route   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 35'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (1) School Gate
Heping   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 50'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (3) Long Lane
79 Finals/F'ing Fall   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 50'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (4) Music Hall
Redhead   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 80'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : {10} Backdoor
Inconceivable   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 80'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (3) Long Lane
Big Drum   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 50'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (4) Music Hall
Finger Crack   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 50'   Long Dong (Dragon Cave) : (4) Music Hall
Browse More Classics in Taiwan

Featured Route For Taiwan
route topo

Moby Dick 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  Asia : Taiwan : ... : (4) Music Hall
Start up the minor alcove, trending towards a large obvious ledge up about 20 feet and to the right. Make sure to sling early protection as this route meanders a lot. Simply follow the path of least resistance. Climbing doesn't get serious for a good 30 feet, but a slight overhang sneaks up on you before the second ledge (good #2/3 placement). At the second ledge you will see an old anchor. Don't use it. Sling obvious gear on the leftward traverse and step up onto the big ledge with grassy...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Taiwan Slideshow Add Photo
Peihua Wu on Cunning Linguist, 5.10d, at the Cathouse, Long Dong, Taiwan.
Peihua Wu on Cunning Linguist, 5.10d, at the Catho...
(Mar 2005) On Yushan south ridge, the greatest alpine scene in Taiwan
(Mar 2005) On Yushan south ridge, the greatest alp...
View of Long Dong, Taiwan from the south.
View of Long Dong, Taiwan from the south.
Yushan, the highest mountain in Taiwan, sees a lot of alpine climbing opportunities in very good alpine seasons
Yushan, the highest mountain in Taiwan, sees a lot...
View of Long Dong, Taiwan looking south.
View of Long Dong, Taiwan looking south.
Comments on Taiwan Add Comment
Show which comments
By Matt Robertson
May 28, 2009

Long Dong currently has around 500 routes on high quality sandstone up to 70 meters high, including sport routes (5.5 to 5.14a), trad up to 5.12c, and bouldering. The area is on the Northeast Coast of Taiwan about 45 minutes from central Taipei City, and also offers great swimming and diving, hiking, amazing seafood and friendly Taiwanese culture.

By Ta-Chi Wang
May 29, 2009

To get a first look about this fabulous area and its quality of climbing, see 'Rock Climbing in Taiwan', by Matt Robertson: www.climbstone.com/

Hope some of my Taiwanese friends will start to put here their own photos and comments of their favorite routes at Dragon Cave.

By Jay W.
From: Longmont, CO
Feb 22, 2012

I'm thinking of moving to Taipei in a few months. Can anyone recommend a good climbing gym in the city, preferably one that offers lead climbing options?

By Danger
From: Taipei City
Mar 4, 2012

Yeah, there's quite a few gyms and outdoor walls in Taipei depending on where you live.

Matt's site is still the best info about Long Dong, but for everything else about Taiwan Rock climbing & bouldering from Gyms to walls to Climbing gear shops, check out my newly launched site TaiwanRocks.net

By Bruce Lin
Sep 19, 2013

Does anyone know if Long Dong is closed because of the recent video of the house sized boulder almost crushing that car from a couple weeks ago?

By Nate Ball
Administrator
From: Taipei, TW
Sep 20, 2013

Long Dong is accessible, and was never actually closed. The boulder has been cleared and the highway re-opened. No more detours.