Elevation: 8,367 ft
GPS: 27.026, 99.684 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 61,315 total · 841/month
Shared By: Brandon Gottung on Oct 21, 2013 with improvements by Mike Dobie
Admins: Bob Moseley, Dan Flynn, Nate Ball

World class crack climbing on bomber sandstone and a motherlode of sport routes on featured dolomitic sandstone.

Gorgeous sandstone walls rise above the village of Liming, featuring beautiful cracks that beg to be climbed. And with recent exploration, a wealth of high-quality sport climb has been developed on a few different rock types. With over 450 pitches established and a massive wealth of untapped potential, there is no shortage of world-class climbing.

In contrast to the cracks of Indian Creek, the cracks of Liming usually vary in size from jam to jam, piece to piece and actually have difficult crux moves. It's not rare for a single crack to have everything from fingers to off-width. There is everything from hard, clean single pitch routes to adventurous multi-pitch routes that demand the full arsenal of crack techniques. While vegetation climbing is integral to the Li Ming experience, established classics have cleaned up beautifully. Whether you are looking for full-out adventure, punishingly difficult trad or sport lines or casual roadside cragging, Li Ming has the goods.The climbing here is extremely varied. There are many fun routes in the 5.7 to 5.9 range, making Liming a good place to begin a crack climbing career. The majority of established routes are in the 5.10 to 5.11 range, many of which are clean and classic. There are dozens of beautiful 5.12s that demand a diverse skill set - from perfect finger cracks to offwidth roofs, from technical face to sustained dihedrals. And for the crushers out there, Liming has many high-end testpieces offering some of the hardest continuous crack climbing in the world and modern technical lines following discontinuous cracks. There are countless new hard lines waiting for discovery. Some are already cleaned and equipped just looking for a free ascent. And for the climbers that prefer long adventurous routes, there are many top-out routes between 150 and 200 meters with a lifetime of potential yet unexplored.

Beyond the Danxia sandstone, there are additional rock types that have been developed in the area, including a type of dolomitic sandstone and even granite. The new type of sandstone can be compared to the steep sport climbing in La Mojarra, Colombia. A newer mega-crag named El Dorado has been started and could become one of the largest sport climbing walls in China.

Liming is truly unique in its variety of rock types and styles of climbing. Pack the rack and the quickdraws and bring an over-sized crack shoe and a well-sized sport shoe and climb lots of great rock in one of the gems of the globe.

Organization

Crags are generally grouped based on approach and mirror the organization of the Li Ming Rock guidebook.

Lisu Area: Pillars, Pinecrest Buttress, Primitive Buttress, Painted Wall

Pandora: Pandora & Southern Oracle

Dinner Wall: The Cave Area, Cretaceous Area

The Holidays: Space Mountain, Four Seasons

South Valley: The Diamond, Die Sternwarde, The Guardian, Indy Wall, Angel Wall, Bull Crag

Yangshuo Sports Climbers Crag: Censored Wall, Uncensored Wall, Sci-fi wall, Wifi Wall, Turtle Buttress, El Dorado, Goat Rodeo Wall, Rainbow Cove

One Dragon Area: Old Dragon Buttress, The Watchtower

If you want to get an idea of what the place looks like, here's a well made video worth a gander: Li Ming Video

Guidebook

The main developer, Mike Dobie, has meticulously documented Liming development in his guidebook Liming Rock. Don't expect these MP pages to ever compare - more than 450 pitches are featured in the guidebook, with beautiful photographs and clear directions to access Li Ming and all the crags. Li Ming Rock Version 6 is available as of Feb 2017 direct from Mike; contact him at mdobie012@yahoo.com.Sometime in 2019 a Rakkup guide for Liming will be available. Stay tuned. 

Gear

Bring a minimum of doubles from small (00s and/or ballnuts) to fists. There is a lot of wide here, so a #5 is basically mandatory and #6 is also a good idea. If you bring Bigbros, you'll have plenty of opportunity to use them, they generally can seat well in the parallel cracks. A double rack will keep most routes safe and fun, though occasionally, more are needed, rarely more than quads; bring extras of your favorite sizes. A set of nuts, especially offsets, come in handy. Five to ten shoulder-length slings should suffice. Most of the routes were equipped to get up and down with a single 60m line, but a 70m will work better on a handful (including the must-do P2 of The Firewall and many routes in the new Yangshao Sport Climber's Crag).

Bring athletic tape, especially if you are new to crack climbing, to protect your precious skin since you won't be able to buy it in Liming. The rock is very coarse; handjams can grind finger tips thin, making a skin salve highly recommended.

If you are looking to do first ascents, bring some long 12mm (1/2 inch) bolts. Stainless steel would be ideal, but as the climate is mostly dry, plated-steel should have a long life. A hand-drill works very well - 8 minutes or so for a 12mm hole 10cm deep. Low quality hammers, brushes, and gloves can be purchased for cheap in Li Ming. Pins and beaks aren't necessary from my experience. Wide gear (Big Bros, Valley Giant) is nice to have, there are lots of unclimbed offwidths. Tat is not necessary - climbers have left a large pile of old ropes upstairs at the Faraway - a valuable community resource. Be sure to bring fatty rap rings and old biners. Nut tools are very useful for cleaning out cracks; other useful tools like little hoes and saws can be purchased in Li Ming.

Getting There

For international access, flying into Kunming is best. Otherwise cheap trains link up all major Chinese cities; and now with air-travel prices falling, cheap flights can be found. From Kunming take plane, train or bus to Lijiang; round trip flights can be found super cheap and trains run for $15-25 one way. In Kuming, if going from the airport to the train station or vice-versa, bus 919-C connects them for $2, it takes less than an hour early morning and late at night but over an hour during daytime traffic.

Lijiang has three buses stations. You need the one on Changshui Rd (长水路) just west of Minzhu Rd (民主路) for the minivan-buses to Li Ming.
Show this picture to any taxi driver, they'll know where it is. It costs less than 10 yuan.
From the Lijiang train station, bus #18 can be taken to the second to last stop, leaving a 100 meter walk west to the bus station.

Regular buses run from Lijiang to Li Ming for 40 yuan. Oftentimes you have to switch buses in Zhongxing (种兴). Shigu (石鼓), a recently unearthed limestone crag with large multipitch potential is along the road to Zhongxing. From Zhongxing, regular buses run the 25 kilometers to Liming.

If you're looking for a good adventure and traveling light, hitchhiking in China is extremely effective and fascinating.

Money

Be sure to bring all the Chinese Yuan you think you will need to Li Ming, as the closest ATM and currency exchange is in Lijiang. Most climbers can budget 80 - 100¥ per day ($12-16 US$); 60 RMB would be an absolute minimum. Here's the average cost of the necessities per person: accommodation 20-30¥, breakfast 10¥, fruit and snacks for a day 5-15¥, dinner 15-30¥.

Seasonality

In short, the climbing season is October through June with ideal conditions mid-October through November then again late February until mid-May.

Liming has a semi-arid climate characterized by summer monsoons. The rainy season generally runs from June through early October. By mid-October, blue-skies and stable dry weather dominate. Fall rain events typically consist of a period of 2 to 5 days of cloudy weather with occasional light rain, which doesn't interfere with climbing too much. Fall tempertures generally fluctuate between 0 - 5 °C at night and 15 - 25 °C during the day. Evaporative cooling makes dawn exceptionally cold, but the high elevation sun quickly warms the valley. In winter, climbing is limited to south facing cliffs, making mid-December through January a less-than-ideal yet managable time for climbing. By the Chinese New Year, the higher angle of the sun increases direct sunlight and warms the valley. I've heard March described as the best month for climbing with warmer nighttime temperatures and more clouds than in fall, making it easier to climb any aspect, though periodic rains may necessitate rest days. By late May, humidity and precipitation ramp up and by mid-June, monsoons end the climbing season.

Food, Water, Shelter

Li Ming can provide all the food needed to fuel an army of climbers. A vegan diet is simple in Li Ming as long as you don't mind occasional animal-based broth. For meat-eaters, pork is the main option. Breakfasts of noodle, rice or mungbean curd with optional egg cost a dollar or two; yoghurt is also available, but no oats. Snacks, drinks and fruits in wide variety is simple for the crag. Dinners are most often eaten communally sharing many different plates of food - lots of fresh produce and un-refrigerated meats available with rice. Non-severe food poisoning can happen but frequency seems to be falling.

Bring a water bottle that you feel comfortable pouring boiling water into. That's the cheapest easiest way to get drinking water. Otherwise treat it or buy bottles at the shops. Tea and hot water are widely available. You can hunt down Yunnan grown coffee in Lijiang but are better off bringing it along if you drink coffee. Nescafe, however, is sold at all the shops in Li Ming. Protein drink powders mix very well with the walnut milk and date-flavored milk, making for great energy for the crag.

The main two places climbers stay at is the Faraway Hotel and Tourist Services dorm rooms. Faraway charges 20-30 RMB for dorm beds and 60-100 RMB for rooms. The youth hostel beds are 20 RMB. Fancier pricier options are also available.

Faraway Inn can help organize rides to the distant crags like Centered Crags, Guardian, El Dorado and Rainbow Cove. It's also possible to rent a motorcycle, contact Mike at mdobie012@yahoo.com for details.

Geology

The rock of Li Ming consists of the Danxia formation, a sandstone and conglomerate rock with a striking red color. For a sandstone, the rock is generally quite hard (slightly stronger than Wingate sandstone of Indian Creek), consisting of a fine grained quartz and feldspar sand. A discerning eye will notice the yellow and orange strips that color the cliffs, these are likely clay inclusions and generally have little effect of the integrity of the rock, however, the worst rock of Li Ming is generally pale in color. As I understand, the rocks of Li Ming are lacustrine deposits from the Cretaceous age. A recent (geologically speaking) uplift and jointing event, resulting from the Himalayan mountain building, exposed the beautiful cliffs that define the Li Ming area and further glacial activity carved the deep narrow valleys. At the higher elevations there is a more compact type of sandstone that appears to have Some calcium carbonate in it. It tends to be more pocketed and stratified than the Danxia layer. There are small portions of granite and limestone in the area as well, a recent interest of new development.

113 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Liming (黎明) Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Liming (黎明)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 22
The Great Owl
Trad
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a A0
 20
Soul's Awakening (half)
Trad, Aid 4 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 23
Scarface II
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 11
Japanese Pixelated Genitals
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 11
Clam Digger
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 23
Wind of the Valley
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 11
Throw Your Legs Around My Should…
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 20
Faraway Corner
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 12
Clam Digger "Direct"
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A0
 14
Back to the Primitive
Trad, Aid 8 pitches
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 12
Akhum-Rah
Trad
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 7
Ding Dong's Crack
Trad
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 7
The Funky Dan
Trad
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 5
Japanese Cowboy
Trad
5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a
 5
The Firewall (aka: Flying Buttr…
Trad 3 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Great Owl Lisu Area > Pinecrest Buttress
 22
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Soul's Awakening (half) Dinner Wall > Cretaceous area
 20
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a A0 Trad, Aid 4 pitches
Scarface II Lisu Area > Pinecrest Buttress
 23
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Japanese Pixelated Genitals Yangshuo Sports… > Uncensored Wall
 11
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Clam Digger Lisu Area > Pillars area
 11
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Wind of the Valley Dinner Wall > Cretaceous area
 23
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Throw Your Legs Around My S… Yangshuo Sports… > Censored Wall
 11
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Faraway Corner Lisu Area > Pillars area
 20
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Clam Digger "Direct" Lisu Area > Pillars area
 12
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Back to the Primitive Lisu Area > Primitive Buttress
 14
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A0 Trad, Aid 8 pitches
Akhum-Rah S Valley > Guardian
 12
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
Ding Dong's Crack Dinner Wall > Cave area
 7
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Trad
The Funky Dan Lisu Area > Pillars area
 7
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Trad
Japanese Cowboy Dinner Wall > Cave area
 5
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Trad
The Firewall (aka: Flying… Dinner Wall > Cretaceous area
 5
5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a Trad 3 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Liming (黎明) »

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