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Suggested Page Improvements to Western Hills (Xi Shan)

Sergey Kozlovtsev
May 5, 2018
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Update: As of 2018 old routes on Western Hills appear to no longer be available. Longmen and the cave area are a big tourist attraction. Climbing around the cave has been closed off. There are some routes facing the city, the lake and the highway directly under the cable car. They can be hiked up to from under the overpass. Lots of thorny bushes, recommend pants. Lots of car noise from the highway.

NOTES: Be aware that this information was last updated in June 2005 and may be out of date. I lived in Yunnan from 2000 to mid-2005 and kept the guidebook up to date. After I left, it was posted on the Redpoint Gym website, which is no longer active, and later sold separately to raise money for route hardware.

Western Hills Access Caution: The Western Hills Forest Park Management Office administers the Western Hills as a scenic area. Climbing has been banned at various times by park management authorities, largely for liability reasons. This includes the last time that I know of in 2004-2005, when it was actually being enforced. I do not if that is still the case. This changes from year to year, so it may be open now (or not enforced).


The Western Hills (Xi Shan) are a range of mountains spread across a 40 km-long wedge of parkland on the western side of Dian Lake (Dian Chi). They are also known as the Green Peacock Mountains or the Sleeping Beauty Hills, a reference to their undulating contours, thought to resemble a reclining woman with tresses of hair flowing into the sea. Dian Lake sits in a graben, a structural basin created by subsidence of the earth between two faults. The fault on the western side of the lake created a 4 km-long escarpment of high-angle limestone. The limestone formed as massive, consistent layers with 100 to 300 m-tall cliffs exposed high above the lake. Carved into the northern end of this escarpment is Dragon Gate (Long Men), a group of shrines, tunnels, and stairways that take tourists to an airy lookout halfway up the escarpment. Smaller cliffs are also exposed in various locations on the lower slopes near the shore of Dian Lake.

There are 2 main climbing areas developed in the Western Hills, so far. The biggest is the Western Hills Escarpment itself, which lies about 200 m in elevation above Lake Dian. A second, much smaller area consists of two crags close to the lakeshore near Dragon Gate Village (Long Men Cun).

There are many bouldering traverses beneath roofs at the north end of the Western Hills Escarpment. All are protected from rain and are a good way to finish the summer day when chased off the cliff early by a monsoonal downpour.