Another spectacular spring day in Shanghai today and Marcos and I headed out early, 7:20 train, for a day at the Ling Shan crag outside of Hangzhou. We met up with some local climbers and had a great day sport climbing. Photo shows Marcos on a short, crimpy 5.13a.
I managed to link the first 6 draws on the 5.12d a few times but kept getting shut down by the next big move. I need a few more days on it. I am amazed how much better I've climbed it since flailing and grabbing draws two weeks ago. Easily the hardest thing I've ever been on. Marcos redpointed a 5.13a, then got spanked big time on a gnarly 5.13b that features two fist-wide tufas on a 15 degree overhanging headwall that looks super desperate. No feet, no rests. I don't think anyone has sent it yet.
Liu Changzhong is due down in the next few weeks and there is this 13b as well as an unclimbed 13d waiting for him. This Hangzhou stuff is starting to feel like fun. We will have to find some new walls in the area and put up more stuff, especially at my grade: 5.10+.
Let me know if you are in Shanghai and needing to get out climbing; Hangzhou makes a great day trip!
Intrigue comes to Yangshuo. Ex-Climber's brother has bought the lease to the land at the base of Wine Bottle and maybe also part of White Mountain. He plans to put up some tourist type climbs and a rope traverse to the forest floor below and sell it to non-climber tourists. QQ has done the same thing with Golden Cat Cave. Even more worrying is farmers around White Mountain have been asking climbers for money and recently used ladders to chop bolts from routes. Police were called in recently when violence was threatened but the police simply told the climbers to leave.
I guess you could have to call this move 'enterprising' and I hope they can make enough money to buy a house and a Mercedes Benz. This being China, the land of desperate entrepreneurs, it had to happen sooner or later. It's the next act in an ongoing saga of trying to make money off climbing.
The size of the 'guided climbing' pie is not big enough to feed all the local climbing shops and any effort to increase the size of the pie should benefit everyone. On the other hand, if the pie does not increase measurably and this just serves to re-allocate the existing pieces, then we could be in for a full-scale guiding war. If the farmers are thinking 'Gravy Train', no one is going to eat very much.
And this just after it looked like the Yangshuo Climbing Association was getting its act together as a representative body for the interests of all climbers (or was it just in the interest of a few climbing shops?).
The logical next step is to turn climbing into a cash cow to pay for the house, car, vacations abroad, the whole Peiking Duck! With a little ingenuity, maybe some underhanded dealing and a lot of pluck, they could control all climbing access.
Dirt-bags vs Deng Xiaoping and getting rich is 'glorious'. More in a few days once I'm in Yangshuo and can better judge just where this all might be going.