Elevation: 405 ft
GPS: 24.776, 110.489 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 132,013 total · 1,060/month
Shared By: Ryan Kelly on May 14, 2010 with 3 Suggestions
Admins: Dan Flynn, Nate Ball

Description

The pride and joy of the Guangxi Province is the tourist Mecca of Guilin County. The former capital territory is well known throughout the country for its mountainous setting and has grown into a major travel destination. The heavy reliance on tourism has created something of a cultural bubble where you’ll find a lot more openness to and adoption of western culture than you’ll find in China outside of major cities. This is especially present just outside of Guilin city in the town of YangShuo.

The town of YangShuo sits on the side of the Li River, covered in some 70,000 limestone karsts that line the horizon in any direction you turn. Once a relaxing get away, the town has sprung to life with the growing influx of climbers from around the world. For the good and the bad climbing is growing into a world-class destination in YangShuo, the likes of which rival Krabi in Thailand. Much like Krabi I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before people start complaining about how climbed out the area is and wax poetic about how great it used to be. Might want to get here quick!

Development for climbing began in the 90s when Todd Skinner first put up some bolts on Moon Hill. Additional routes were put up by traveling climbers over the next several years but things didn’t really take off until the next millennium when there was an explosion of new development. Just about any kind of climb can be found here now, from slab to overhang, single or multipitch, beginner romps to 5.15 as of Sharma’s visit in ’09. The potential for new development is almost limitless. There are currently around 400 climbs in the guidebook and more being put up every month. The development thus far mostly centers around Yangshuo, but there’s climbing elsewhere in Guilin if you’re ambitious enough to seek it out.

The climbing is typical Asian limestone. Smooth and white where sheltered from the environment, and spiky and black where the rain hits it. Most of the climbing is sport though there are a few traditional lines.

Getting There

A visa is required. Check the main China page for details.

Yangshuo is probably the easiest reached non-major city in China, for those that don't speak the language. That said, you're not in Kansas anymore.

You have three basic options:
•
  • Fly into Guilin and take a bus to YangShuo (easiest and quickest, also most expensive)
•
  • Fly into Hong Kong and take the train to Guilin (easier than the following, but more expensive)
  • Fly into Guangzhou (if in Asia), an industrial city on the mainland across from HK (cheapest option, also the most adventure). Don't expect anyone to speak English here.

Guangzhou is an industrial city with not much to look at, but it makes for quite an experience to the western traveler, especially if traveling solo. Just getting to the train station is an adventure; buying a ticket even more so. I wouldn't recommend wasting much time here, but if you can get a cheap flight in it's really not all that bad. Pre-arranging your train ticket out will help prevent wasting time here when you could be climbing in YangShuo.

Communication

The primary language is Mandarin Chinese.

Outside of the major cities and tourist traps China can be challenging for the foreigner, even those well-traveled. Don’'t expect the usual tourist signs in English, and multilingual assistance that you get in the rest of Asia. Even writing things down can be difficult at times. Your best bet is to practice up on charades before heading over.

Once you make it into Guilin County things change drastically. The heavy tourism has created a bubble of western culture much like the rest of southeast Asia. Signs are often doubled in English and the language is widely spoken. Getting around is simple so long as you stay in the bubble.

Seasons

YangShuo is subtropical and affected by the East Asian Monsoon pattern. You can get away with climbing year round, but fall is unquestionably optimum with moderate temps and minimal rain. The summers get hot and wet with temps in the 90s and averaging over an inch of rain per day. The winter’s averages are reported in the 40-50s, which isn’t terrible for climbing, but snow is not unheard of. Rain is only an issue if you come during late spring. Yes it could rain any time of the year, but those spells usually only last a half hour or so.

Unlike all of the other information presented about Yangshuo, the best climbing season is NOVEMBER!  Thats 11 years experience.

The prime climbing season chart is completely inaccurate

Accommodation

Unless you have other reasons, stay downtown by the water. Touts will try to get you to take something up-street the second you get off the bus, just keep moving. Decent budget accommodation can be found, with a little work, for $5-10 US, and nicer stuff is certainly abundant. Group bedding is available for a couple of bucks if that’'s more your style.

The best place to stay is the aptly named “Climber's Inn”. It is clean and reasonably-priced. The former location was located in a loud part of town, but the new location is quiet but still allows great access to the city and climbing. The manager Lily is extremely welcoming and helpful! Her English is great. You can rent motor scooters at this hostel as well for transportation to the crag. Book it ahead of time though as it is popular. 
booking.com/hotel/cn/yang-s…

Check the comments for more suggestions.

Climbing Needs

There were at least 5 climbing shops when I was there with everything from supplies, to info, guide services, or just someone to chat with. New stores are popping up constantly trying to get some of the pie, so some are a lot better than others. To give credit to those who helped established climbing in YangShuo be sure to check out China Climb (in the Lizard Lounge restaurant) where you can get a good selection of gear and they have a bouldering cave; Karst Café – great pizza and Echo and Eben were very friendly; Spiderman Climbing – across from Karst, and Black Rock Climbing.

Guidebooks

There is a guidebook that can be purchased pretty much anywhere in town for around $17 USD. It covers all of the major areas which totals over 500 routes. If you'’re a savvy climber and there for more than a quick stop you’'ll no doubt meet other climbers that know of the non-publicized crags in the greater Guilin area.

Food

Budget breakfast of local noodles with tasty extras, a marinated boiled egg, a cup of thick(ish) soy milk, and a deep-fried bread stick for 14RMB at 老味道桂林麵粉, on Diecui Rd, across from the big banyan tree between Furong and Rongyin St.

Budget dinner of choose-your-own veggies and/or meat at the intersection of Rongyin St and Chengzhong Rd for 12-15RMB.

Otherwise, there is food of every variety and price category. There are multiple grocery stores on Guihua St and fruit vendors on Diecui Rd.

Other Activities

There's the usual assortment of tourist activities around town, and no shortage of tourist shops to gladly give you a hand and lighten your pocket. If you have the time I would also pad an extra day getting there or leaving to have a look around the city of Guilin, it's worth a day of your time.

Bikes can be rented throughout town for a few bucks and are a great way to access any of the climbs. They are also ideal for rest days spent peddling around the countryside.

Two short hikes in particular are also worthwhile. One climbs up the viewpoint right in Yangshuo park. Enter from Diecui Rd then walk to back and left side of the park to find the stairs that ascend the cliff side. Try to ignore the garbage, and hopefully you'll get a decent view. Across Pantao Rd from here is a winding alley that leads up to more stairs that climb up to the "TV Tower". It can be hard to find the entrance through the maze of back streets, but even exploring these can be fun. This hike is much longer but can still be done in under an hour one-way. There is a shady dude taking money at the top, but apparently this is semi-legit (felt so wrong). It should only be 5 RMB per person.

Liu Sanjie, aka the Impressions Light Show. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the mind behind the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, the light show delivers in true Chinese 'over the top' style. Set in a cove of the Li river and backed by towering limestone karsts, over 600 performers act out an intriguing tale of… well, I have no idea what the story was about, but they dance around and there’s a lot of cool lights and stuff.

242 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at YangShuo

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 23
Rooster Booster
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 23
Happy New Year
Sport 5 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 11
Carbonic Acid Trip
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 6
Lawnmower Man
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 15
The Traveling Alan
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 3
Scary Mary
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 7
Dragonfly
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 7
Proud Sky
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 10
Yangshuo Hotel
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 15
The Phoenix
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 10
Singularity
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 8
Over the Moon
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 9
White Devil
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 3
Tsing Tao Beer
Sport
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
 3
Single Life
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Rooster Booster Egg > N Face
 23
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Happy New Year Panda's Thumb 拇指峰
 23
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport 5 pitches
Carbonic Acid Trip Wine Bottle
 11
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Lawnmower Man Square Mountain > Treasure Cave
 6
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
The Traveling Alan Swiss Cheese
 15
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Scary Mary Chicken Cave
 3
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Dragonfly Riverside
 7
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Proud Sky Moon Hill
 7
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Yangshuo Hotel White Mountain
 10
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
The Phoenix White Mountain
 15
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Singularity Lei Pi Shan
 10
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Over the Moon Moon Hill
 8
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
White Devil White Mountain
 9
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
Tsing Tao Beer White Mountain
 3
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
Single Life Lei Pi Shan
 3
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in YangShuo »

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