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Areas in Taiwan

Dabajianshan 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 4 / 4
Guanziling 0 / 15 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Kaohsiung 1 / 54 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 56
Kenting National Park 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Long Dong (Dragon Cave) 147 / 91 / 11 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 243
Taipei 0 / 23 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 23
Teapot Mtn 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Yushan 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 3 / 6 / 6
Zhenshan 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
Elevation: 5,008 ft
GPS: 23.903, 121.079 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 59,039 total, 567/month
Shared By: ccchien1973 on May 28, 2009
Admins: Nate Ball

Preface

There is a lot more climbing around Taiwan that hasn't garnered the attention it deserves. None of it is world-class, but if you're here for any amount of time and you're into adventure, then check out this guide: Taiwan Rock Climbing

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 slightly larger than the state of Maryland, 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 2015, granted free landing visa upon arrival (90 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 probably in the mid-late 70'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, of which I've only heard accounts from 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. LD was still way behind the times, but those who climbed it didn't seem to want to catch up, enjoying their own unique and remote destination.

What little technical mountaineering there is to do in Taiwan was established by this time as well. Though likely climbed earlier, these were the first documented alpine climbs. Raymond Chen lead expeditions to Dabajianshan in Sheipa National Park and put up several bold multi-pitch routes on the tall, crumbling faces of the iconic mountain. Milk was part of a team that climbed the north face of Yushan, which is of similar quality. A few bold ice enthusiasts found prime conditions - a very narrow window of opportunity in Taiwan - and climbed some couloir routes nearby. The south ridge, an "easy" though extremely exposed kilometer-long traverse, was also established. In 1997, a group went up the south face of Zhenshan, an isolated 800m face above a river valley. They endured two typhoons and a 20km walk-out during their 20-day epic.

Matt Robertson arrived in the early 2000's from Yosemite, and brought the ethic with him. The plethora of cracks and broken faces at Long Dong were systematically explored, sent, and documented. The traditional mantra was voiced just in time to conflict with a huge effort by Deng Rong, Two Teeth, and Jun Ming to grid-bolt every semi-clean cliff. 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, which was visited by Yuji Hirayama. A few routes were bolted in Kaohsiung too. Perhaps because of their distance from the "climber's hub" of Taipei, these areas have still yet to garner the attention that LD has.

Bolting at LD continued until 2007. Afterwards, the sport-oriented mentality continued to prevail, and floods of top-ropers began to congregate on every decent weekend. The pioneers slowly began disappearing, and with them the memory of spicy adventure. During this lull, a few "foreigners" stepped in and put up the area's two hardest routes. The first was Paul Brouard's Golden Legend, 5.13+ sport, a glistening golden arete that branched off an older climb and up the overhanging headwall. The second was Marcelo Berti Lungo's The Great Roof, 5.13- trad, which pulled through an off-width crack in the biggest roof of the Grand Auditorium.

In April 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 in which the leader fell to the ground. In the summer of 2012, a campaign was begun to replace all mechanical bolts with stainless steel glue-ins. This included several routes listed as trad in the 2012 book, furthering an already contentious precedent.

In October 2013, Alex Honnold sent an unfinished bolted project at the Backdoor and named it Sorry Jeremy, downgrading it from 5.14- to 5.13-. Shortly thereafter, the local hardman Jeremy Hong redpointed the hardest sport climb in the First Cave, calling it Long March, his second attempt at establishing a 5.14.

In the winter and spring of 2015, Ryan Keenan, Garrreth Bird, and others "re"-discovered a section of the Grand Auditorium that had recently-bolted anchors but no recorded climbs. Some old gear and tat was discovered, and several new lines up to 12a were developed. They also downgraded the Great Roof to 12b, suggesting it could be climbed at the lower grade due to better jamming technique. At the same time, many new sport lines quietly went up in the jungle of Shoushan Nature Park in Kaohsiung.

In the summer of 2015, both anchors bolts on a popular route at Music Hall failed simultaneously while a climber was being lowered. Although the first generation of bolts had been mostly removed, it was now clear that the second had advanced SCC as well. Titanium had replaced steel as the material of choice, and the local team announced a plan to begin pull-testing suspect anchors and then start rebolting.

In early 2016, a strong and well-known couple named QX and Kelly, who run an international guiding service, got involved with the rebolting drama. With help from others, they began replacing traditional anchors on popular routes with Titan Climbing bolts, which triggered a reaction from the local team. Pull-testing began in earnest and found many stainless steel bolts of different types in all areas to be compromised by SCC. Along with this came an announcement that the team was in the process of acquiring locally-made titanium bolts and asked for donations. Things quieted down again for awhile as the team raised a bunch more money and pursued their in-house testing and QX raised support for his own cause. By November, QX had done a bunch more rebolting, and the two groups came to an informal agreement to work together. Finally, the crag is on its way towards a safer and more sustainable future...

In 2017, a few more anchors were bolted for traditional routes in Backdoor and Golden Valley areas.

351 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Taiwan

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Wedding Route
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Commissary Crack
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Moby Dick
Trad
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Surprise Crack
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Sky Ladder
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Via del Drago
Trad 2 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Snake Alley
Trad 2 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b X
Xin Nian Kuai Le!
Sport
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Redhead
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Fucking Fall
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Arupa
Sport
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Last Wall 5
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Big Drum
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
First Corner
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Very Inconvenient
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Wedding Route Long Dong (Dragon… > (4) Music Hall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Commissary Crack Long Dong (Dragon… > (6) First Cave 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Moby Dick Long Dong (Dragon… > (4) Music Hall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Surprise Crack Long Dong (Dragon… > (1) School Gate 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Sky Ladder Long Dong (Dragon… > (3) Long Lane 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Via del Drago Long Dong (Dragon… > (5) Grand Auditorium 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Snake Alley Long Dong (Dragon… > (9) Above the Waves 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Xin Nian Kuai Le! Kaohsiung > Qijin Island 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b X Sport
Redhead Long Dong (Dragon… > {10} Backdoor 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Fucking Fall Long Dong (Dragon… > (4) Music Hall 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Arupa Long Dong (Dragon… > (5) Grand Auditorium 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Last Wall 5 Taipei > Rehai 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Big Drum Long Dong (Dragon… > (4) Music Hall 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
First Corner Long Dong (Dragon… > (1) School Gate 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Very Inconvenient Long Dong (Dragon… > (8) Golden Valley 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Taiwan »

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Nate Ball
Portland, OR
Nate Ball   Portland, OR  
Long Dong is accessible, and was never actually closed. The boulder has been cleared and the highway re-opened. No more detours. Sep 20, 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? Sep 19, 2013
Danger
Taipei City
Danger   Taipei City
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 Mar 4, 2012
Jay W.
Longmont, CO
Jay W.   Longmont, CO
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? Feb 22, 2012
To get a first look about this fabulous area and its quality of climbing, see 'Rock Climbing in Taiwan', by Matt Robertson: 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. May 29, 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. May 28, 2009

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