Type: Trad, Aid, 400 ft (121 m), 4 pitches
FA: Ana Pautler, Dan Jerke, and Ryder Stroud
Page Views: 294 total · 8/month
Shared By: RyderS Stroud on Dec 21, 2017
Admins: Dan Flynn, Nate Ball

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Access Issue: Chinese National Park, China borderlands laws Details


Siege of the House Lizards (or just "The Siege") is a great 4-pitch outing with even greater potential as a project to free, possibly going free around 5.12+. This route has it all from sustained, overhanging terrain to weird offwidth to a thuggish roof. Every pitch is wildly different from the last. If you have the desire to free a proud line, go do this route!

NB: P1 was the original start of the first ascent party. Though the first half of the route is enjoyable and steep on good rock, the second half of the pitch (after the small ledge) up to the roof climbs increasingly hollow-sounding flakes and shields of rock. The first ascent team cleaned a good deal of loose rock from the pitch, but starting the route from the Sauramus Variation is highly recommended (see description below).

P1: (Original start; NOT RECOMMENDED): Climb a slabby, black, left-facing corner beneath an orange face capped with a steep shield/corner of rock. Some slippery slab moves and tricky gear early on will bring you to an orange face. The crack will suddenly cut left and flare out. Climb the shield on its left side up some very steep finger locks to gain a small ledge (be wary of a loose rock sitting on the ledge). Traverse right off this ledge in order to switch into the corner on the right side of the flake. tight hands terrain will trend up and right, as you cross the shield back into its left side on a tight fingers crack seam. Climb delicately up the seam to gain some small ledges beneath the roof in an alcove and build the belay here.

Sauramus Variation (5.11+, 30 meters, FA: Ryder Stroud):

A highly recommended start over the original first pitch of The Siege, the Sauramus Variation is a very sustained alternative that features some very cool movement following a discontinuous crack system up the gently overhung face to the left of the original first pitch. If you want a full-value, pumpy, 30-meter pitch, get on this variation!

- To the left of the original start there is a left-leaning, ledgey crack slicing up the black wall. Climb moderate terrain until you are parallel with a hueco-filled crack on your left. Traverse into the crack, as it trends right into a wide, down-facing crack in a bulge and quickly steepens. Turn the first bulge into a second wide pod and follow it to where it suddenly narrows into steep finger locks; the face will turn to bright orange as you make a few pumpy moves to find a marginal jam and transfer left on some hard, exposed moves (crux #1) to another crack. More steep moves will yield a hand-sized pod, where the crack will slice straight up the face. Climb up slightly overhung terrain. Here, make some strenuous, long moves (crux #2) in order to stand and gain a marginal stance in the hueco. Pass a huge, complex pod feature and follow the skinny crack to a heartbreaker series of moves up around the final bulge to underneath the roof. Gain some small ledges beneath the wide roof crack and build your belay where the variation rejoins the regular route. (5.11+, 30m)

P2: From the anchor beneath the overhang, there should be an obvious wide crack to your right. Climb up, place some wide gear, and escape right on the face to gain less-than-vertical terrain. While this option is easier than attacking the roof offwidth straight on, be wary of pendulum fall potential as you pass the roof. Above the roof, follow offwidth terrain trending up and slightly left to where the crack begins to narrow. There are a few hollow-sounding holds around. Tread carefully. Above the constriction, and atop a thumb shaped feature in the crack, build your belay underneath a huge, rounded roof and belay from a semi-hanging stance. (5.10c, ~20 meters)

P3: (CRUX/project) This pitch will be a big challenge to free. From the belay, move off the anchor up and right to traverse beneath the big roof. Tricky moves through the roof will yield an alcove with some hidden good holds beneath a big roof. Get your crux gear (offsets). From here, the roof kicks you out into space and the crack quickly becomes a seam. Make few powerful, long bouldering moves through a very hard, steep sequence to a horizontal. Save your energy and quickly launch into the second crux, starting with a few thin face holds on a black streak of rock. Some difficult moves from the horizontal will yield hard, flaring jams in a sickle-shaped crack. Power through some final steep moves to a rest. The crack will turn vertical one last time up a short corner. Above the crack is a polished slab. Nest some key but marginal gear in a shallow horizontal before committing to the traverse and runout up and left to a series of 3 stacked huecos. Some slippery moves on a few slopers will land you on a small ledge with a shrub beneath the right-leaning offwidth of P4. Belay here. (5.11+, C2; maybe 5.12+ free?)

P4: An awkward, groveling, no-giveaways pitch separates you from glory. Climb up and right in the obvious wide crack to a weird, 6-sized, right-leaning pod. Wiggle through the offwidth to the pod’s exit (avoid wailing on the chockstones deep in the pod). The crack will suddenly turn to tight hands and steepen for a short stretch before a rest. From here, the crack will widen to an offwidth again before opening into a chimney. Plug some gear at the base and commit all the way out, as the chimney is too wide for gear. Enter the chimney and climb up to exit right onto the slab above, finding some gear in some cracks between the boulders on the slab. Easy slab terrain will allow you to run up to the top of the formation where you can belay off a sturdy birch tree. Enjoy the incredible panorama of the Divine Bell, Small Bell, and the expanse of the granite canyon behind you stretching for miles into the Altai Mountains of Mongolia! (5.10+, ~45 meters)

Descent: Walking off is very easy. Top out on the route and turn right from the top. The cliff will descend gently into a gully with a
cool slot separating the Wudu Wall from the upper formation. Gain the gully on either side of the slot and walk downhill (right) back to your packs.


Furthest right route on the Wudu Wall, uphill from 100 YEars of Centipedes. Turn right from the approach trail until you see a black slab with a huge series of flakes above. This is the original start. The crack system just left of it is The Sauramus Variation (the recommended start of the route).


RPs/wires; C3s: single 0-2;
X4s: single .1-.2; Camalots: doubles .3-3 (triples .3-
.75 if doing the Sauramus Variation); offsets: .1/.2,
.2/.3, .3/.4