Elevation: 5,008 ft
GPS: 23.903, 121.079 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 88,710 total · 763/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 include limestone in Shoushan and Guanziling, riverbed bouldering in Tainan and Xiao Wulai, volcanic slabs in Taipei, and a conglomerate pinnacle in Kenting. The centerpiece of Taiwan rock climbing, however, is Long Dong (Dragon Cave in Chinese), with over a mile of wave-battered, sun-baked sea cliffs of very compact quartz-infused stone 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 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.

The early 2000's saw an explosion of activity. Matt Robertson arrived from Yosemite and brought the traditional ethic with him. The plethora of cracks and broken faces at Long Dong were systematically explored, sent, and documented. A team of Germans named Dirk and Edgar were also busy bolting the first multi-pitch sport routes using glue-in bolts. Meanwhile, local hardmen Deng-Rong, Two Teeth, and Jun-Ming began a campaign to bolt every semi-clean section of rock, especially around the Grand Auditorium, First Cave, and Backdoor. This included a retro-bolting of 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. Many classic sport lines were also rebolted using a locally-produced stainless steel bolt design.

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. Because of their small size and distance from the "climber's hub" of Taipei, these areas never garnered the attention that LD has.

Bolting at LD continued until 2007. Afterwards, the sport-oriented mentality continued to prevail, and top-roping parties began to come into vogue. The pioneers slowly began disappearing, and with them the memory of spicy adventure. During this lull, a few "foreigners" accomplished some incredible feats. One was Paul Brouard's variation of Golden Legend, a glistening golden arete in Golden Valley that went at 5.13+. Another was Marcelo Berti Lungo's The Great Roof, which pulled through an off-width crack in the biggest roof of the Grand Auditorium at 5.13-.

In April 2012, Matt released a guidebook documenting 500+ routes of every type, which coincided with an even greater exodus from indoors to out. In May, there was a serious injury as a result of a mechanical bolt breaking in which the leader fell to the ground. In the summer, a campaign was begun to replace all mechanical bolts with 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 were discovered, and several new lines up to 12a were developed. They also downgraded The Great Roof to 12-, 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. They found support among various groups, including a corporate sponsor, that weren't fully on-board with the local rebolting group's way of doing things. They sourced their hardware from the same company that had been making the bolts used in Thailand for years. Meanwhile, the local team determined through pull-testing that 304-grade stainless steel bolts were all suspect, but that 316-grade bolts could be deemed "safe enough". They produced their own titanium bolt design at great expense, absorbed by generous donations from the local climbing community. As two separate groups, and not without some friction, both diligently pursued differing replacement priorities.

As of 2018, most routes have been rebolted with titanium or are considered safe for the time being due to a lack of failure precedent in the locally-produced 316-grade stainless steel bolts.

356 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- 14 VS 4c
 12
Wedding Route
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 9
Moby Dick
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 7
Commissary Crack
Trad
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 9
Surprise Crack
Trad
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 10
Sky Ladder
Sport
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 3
Via del Drago
Trad 2 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 3
Snake Alley
Trad 2 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 7
White-streak Wall 2
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13
 3
Climax
Trad 2 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 6
Redhead
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 11
Fucking Fall
Sport
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 3
Last Wall 5
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 5
Big Drum
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 3
First Corner
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 4
Very Inconvenient
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Wedding Route Long Dong (Drag… > (4) Music Hall
 12
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Trad
Moby Dick Long Dong (Drag… > (4) Music Hall
 9
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Commissary Crack Long Dong (Drag… > (6) First Cave
 7
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Surprise Crack Long Dong (Drag… > (1) School Gate
 9
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Sky Ladder Long Dong (Drag… > (3) Long Lane
 10
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Via del Drago Long Dong (Drag… > (5) Grand Auditorium
 3
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Snake Alley Long Dong (Drag… > (9) Above the Waves
 3
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
White-streak Wall 2 Taipei > Rehai
 7
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Climax Long Dong (Drag… > (9) Above the Waves
 3
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Redhead Long Dong (Drag… > {10} Backdoor
 6
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Fucking Fall Long Dong (Drag… > (4) Music Hall
 11
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Last Wall 5 Taipei > Rehai
 3
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Big Drum Long Dong (Drag… > (4) Music Hall
 5
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
First Corner Long Dong (Drag… > (1) School Gate
 3
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Very Inconvenient Long Dong (Drag… > (8) Golden Valley
 4
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Taiwan »

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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
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
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