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Routes in Primitive Buttress

Back to the Primitive T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A0
Boving Reflection T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Easter Island T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Jumanji T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Lollipop T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Lost World, The T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Làjiāo T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Raven (MeiYouLe variation), The T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Raven, The T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Saving Face T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Seed to a Tree T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Through the Looking Glass T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Truffula Tree T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Truffula Tree (the Lorax variation) T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Type: Trad, Aid, 600 ft, 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Mike Dobie. Various FFAs.
Page Views: 869 total · 16/month
Shared By: Brandon Gottung on Oct 21, 2013
Admins: Bob Moseley, Dan Flynn, Nate Ball

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Mega classic. This one alone is worth the trip to Li Ming.

Eight highly varied, quality and challenging pitches get you to the top of primitive area buttress. Rock is of phenomenal quality; the lichen, soil and vegetation give the climb an adventurous character. All belays, besides the first and the last (which are trees) are equipped with bolts and the descent is a beautiful walk-off.

P1: 15 m. Access pitch. Three options: an easy 5th class romp up P1 of Trainwreck, Lollipop - a fun 5.8 or Saving Face - 5.9. Lollipop is the standard start, a right facing corner with about 5 meters of clean cracks to a leftward traverse then up dirtier rock to a slung tree.

P2: 20 m. 5.11+. From the tree move belay left to the base of a slot that becomes a gorgeous discontinuous finger crack. Phenomenal.

P3: 18 m. 5.10. Awesome off-fingers roof that becomes perfect hands through another roof.

P4: 30 m. 5.10+. Climb broken rock through the pod, pull the wide roof and power through the sustained offwidth to a short hand crack finishing with a big move left.

P5: 32 m. 5.11-. Amazing! Up and out of the leaning chimney then along a balencey, arching finger crack with slabby feet.

P6: 10m. 5.9 A0. Short pitch with aid on 2 bolts goes up and left.

P7: 28 m. 5.10+. Burly! Wild physical moves off belay then up the huge flake. Move left to a short hand crack to comfortable ledge.

P8: 25 m. 5.9. Turtles in Space. Improbable finale to a classic adventure.

Walk-off: From the top of the wall, contour around to the right to the top of the ridge. Keep trending right staying above the steep slope and dense vegetation to a well-worn trail that descends down the spearhead gully. Stay on the trail down to the boardwalk. Expect a one hour descent.


(1).1-.2, (2).3-#5. A #6 could substitute for the second #5.


RyderS Stroud
Dali, Yunnan Province, China
RyderS Stroud   Dali, Yunnan Province, China
Some mo' info.

Pitches: 8
Grade: III (the approach is rather easy given the stairs for half the approach).
Length: ~200m

THE multipitch of Liming, and perhaps one of the best multipitch trad routes in Asia. Back to the Primitive is a good dose of hard adventure climbing up one of the most iconic formations in the park. If you are making the trip across the Pacific for rock climbing, this MUST be on your to-do list! Get an early start and be ready for an über time!

Approach: Head out of town away from the front entrance of the park along the main road out of Liming village. Continue 10-15 minutes (if walking) until you see a stone scenic turnout with a sign reading "Anqini Scenic Lookout" (Chinese 安七尼). From there, cross the river on a built-up trail and up the staircase towards the park's via ferrata. After about 10-15 minutes going up the staircase, you will pass a huge slabby boulder on you left; the "Split Boulder" (a boulder with an obvious OW boulder problem) will be in the bushes on your right. A faint climbers trail will exit the staircase on the left. Follow this dirt trail until you are directly beneath the Pillars/Primitive formation. The trail will then fork at the base (there is also a fork lower down that traverses some conglomerate rock. This is NOT the fork.). Cut left at the fork and jog slightly uphill for 1 minute. The trail will then split again: left will head to the Pinecrest buttress routes, and right (also uphill) will take you to the base of Back to the Primitive. You are looking for a slightly sandy corner with two big trees at its top. This is P1 (Lollipop).

The route:

P1 (Lollipop variation): 5.8, ~18m: One of the variations alongside Train Wreck and Saving Face as the start of the route. Climb the fairly dirty corner (to the right of the offwidth crack marking the start of For Hammer) to where the corner splits in two at the large pine tree. Place some gear and take the left corner (right is flaring and hard). Follow this corner and trend slightly right to reach a big ledge and a slung tree belay.

P2 (crux pitch): 5.11d, ~20m: From the belay, walk right (extend the belay) about 8 feet and start up a narrow corner. Follow the crack as it thins into the corner. The crack will restart in the face above as a right-leaning, skinny finger crack. Rail through some powerful finger locks to find some "thank-god" holds and continue up the crack to a two-bolt belay alcove on your left.

P3: 5.10+, ~20m: Exit the belay from the right and pull into a small roof and arete feature. Pull the roof (exposed, awesome position!) to a right-leaning hands to fist-sized crack that will run up into a big yellow pod/alcove feature. The belay bolts will be on your left.

P4: 5.11, ~30m: Move up the long pod/alcove feature from the belay. Check your comfy ledge rest stances for loose rock and do not knock it down on your belayer. Continue up easy terrain until you reach a steep crack the leads up into a roof. Turn the roof on wide but fairly secure jams to gain the wide crack above. From here, the crack will widen to #5 and larger. Start offwidthing up the top half of the crack and exit left when you hit the roof. Follow a short hand crack feature around a bulge and up to the belay on a sloping ledge beneath a gaping crack (bolts).

P5: 5.11, ~35m: The pitch the puts you 'in the mountain.' Climb off the belay trending right into a massive crack. You are literally climbing inside the mountain. Though the first 15m are unprotected, it is virtually impossible to fall if you stuff your body in the crack. Gain a ledge above the wide stuff and traverse right, following the ever-thinning crack. Continue up this crack to some cruxy, exposed finger locks and belay on bolts on a small ledge with a small pine tree growing on it. This pitch is full-value adventure climbing, for sure.

P6: 5.9 A0, ~12m: A short aid pitch that could go free if the bolted section gets scrubbed. From the pine tree ledge belay, follow a right-trending, right-facing corner to where the crack disappears. Here you will find two bolts. Aid through (still not easy) to regain a few crack moves and another belay ledge. Belay on bolts just beneath a wide flake.

P7: 5.11-, ~30m: Some will complain this pitch is a wee bit sandbagged. Go straight off the ledge and into the gaping flake above. Do not blow the opening moves to avoid giving your belayer an 'ass-hat.' Insecure liebacking and the occassional desperate wide jam will bring you to a rest beneath a sightly overhung crack corner. Continue up the crack until the flake continues again and forces you out of the crack. Turn the last flake feature to gain easier terrain and a short hand crack feature. Follow the hand crack up and and left into a small v-slot to a bolted belay beneath the final pitch.

P8 (Turtles in Space!): 5.10a, PG-13, ~35m: The glory pitch of this climb is world-class for top-outs. You climb on the iconic tortoise shell formations that make Liming a famous national park above hundreds of meters of air down to the valley floor! From the belay. Step left around the rounded arete, following the cleanest line. Follow discontinuous flared cracks and pods to a few focused moves up the slabs--don't forget to enjoy the exposure! A few more slopey slab moves will put you on lower-angle terrain. Follow the cleanest, cruiser terrain to the top of the wall and belay from a tree and take in the amazing panorama of the valley and Laojunshan mountain!

Descent (Spearhead Gully): Make sure you do this with plenty of daylight. From the top out on the cliff, follow a faint climbers trail into the bushes to the climber's right. Follow it uphill until you join a fairly well-worn path that traverses the crest of the sandstone formation. Be careful, it is easy to follow one of the many native trails that crisscross the tops of the cliffs. If you traverse too low, just avoid dropping down too early and continue traversing until you meet the trail The cave that has the boardwalk inside should be firmly at your 3-o'clock position before you start looking for the descent trail. Follow this trail into a gully marked with a big spearhead-looking block ahead of you and a tall, (very) black wall on your left. Follow the faint trail (increasingly foliage-covered) to its bottom and traverse on trails until you link up with the boardwalk staircase. Follow the staircase back down to the road.

Gear Recommendations:
- One 00 TCU
- Double TCUs from 0-1 (or equivalent X4s)
- Doubles from .3-5, triple 2
- Eight to Ten 60cm runners (alpine)
- Two double length slings or cordelettes for the belay anchors. Apr 19, 2015

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