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:
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).
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) in ????. Being super tiny, it wasn't long before people started exploring other crags.
With the construction of the NE Coast Highway in the 1980's, people began looking into the cliffs of the northeast coast, specifically Long Dong. Stories have been told of people climbing here in the 70's and even earlier, 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 the 80's, 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.
However, 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 2011, 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 top priority is removing mechanical bolts, of which there should no longer be any for lead. Dozens remain at anchor points though. And there is still no agreement on basic crag standards for development or climber use.
215 Total Routes
['4 Stars',13],['3 Stars',80],['2 Stars',66],['1 Star',35],['Bomb',1]
Browse More Classics in Taiwan
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Taiwan:
Featured Route For Taiwan
First Corner 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a Asia
: ... : (1) School Gate
An incredibly fun sport climb for any venue, and certainly one of the best here. This climb has a little of everything, overhanging jugs, slapping of aretes, hidden pockets, technical footwork, and if you stay belly to the bolts (harder) even some flaring jams. The grade will depend on how directly you do the route, but will be in the 5.11 range.Climb up past 2 bolts to a technical crux, where a taller climber can clip the third bolt before risking it (be mindful of the rocks behind you). There ...[more] Browse More Classics in International
Latest Regional Forum Messages
|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.|
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?
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|
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.