Monthly Archives: December 2008

One country, lots of systems

It feels hard to write about chinese sport climbing back in Scotland fully ensconsed in a family christmas but here goes. I finished work in Hong kong drank too many beers and ate too much food before hopping the border north into china. I jumped on a sleeper bus and was soon standing in the main street of Yangshou. It was 4 am. I wondered up and down the street in the dark until a kind fellow on a motor bike agreed to drive me closer to where i wanted to be for a mere 20rmb (2 pounds). Everything was closed. At this point I decided to sleep on a bridge in west street (where the climbers hang out) till dawn. This turned out to be pretty cold as i had forgotten to bring any trousers but it seemed the logical solution. That day after agreeing with myself (around 7 am just before the sun rose) that it would be a bad idea to do any climbing having not really slept i promptly went climbing. The first day was a bit of a shock as I was not really ready for the redpoint/projecting sport climbing mentality but i dragged myself up some beautiful climbs. The rest of my 9 days saw me teaming up with a variety of climbers including eben farnworth (who some of you should know). Eben and I went and climbed some good old fashioned trad and even managed to claim a first ascent of a big unclimbed (and obvious) crack line (2 pitch 5.10a (HVS 5a) Chinese Very Severe) Trad limestone in Yangshou is definitely more of an adventurous experience than an aesthetic one though it is a lot of fun to trundle massive blocks to scare the nearby sport climbers. Unfortunately the drill we hauled for the belays ran out of juice after one bolt but at least it backed up my belay that was crumbling everytime i shifted body position…… Essentially it was great to be out in a beautiful place, eat cheap food and escape hong kong. I am now back in scotland enjoying the family life. Trad Climbing ? (racked up and ready to go)

Why do i always have to lead these pitches? the final big wide crack.

Its a hard life but someone has to do it. The Li(?) river at sunset with some of the many towers

The first belay ledge with an excess of gear.

Drilling my first ever bolt with ebens shady chinese drill
Eben climbing above my high quailty belay…. you can see the quality of the rock below and to the right of the blue piece of gear…

No. It really is a hard life

Access, Yangshou style

Eben cruising up the 5.10b cracks of the birdman
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One silent clap

“they respond to one silent clap” the teacher told my colleague as he stood in front of some very noisy children. Adam looked at the teacher blankly and he said it again. “they respond to one silent clap..” Adam took a moment and then said slowly “one silent clap?” the students instantly all clapped put their fingers to their lips and all said “shhhh” before standing in silence staring at adam. Adam smiled. Last week was with singapore international school and my last week of work for a long time. Actually it was only a three day program in hong kong with one day of prep, a quick program and one last chance for me to make some money. The season has as ever flown by with me spending the first week desperately playing catch up, remembering hong kong and what happens where. Since then its been go go go, the usual for hong kong and Asia pacific adventure. Most programs this season have been in hong with my one small program on the tibetan plateau and even some corporate work (the pirates!!) for APA’s sister company Paradigm consultants international. Having only taken a few days off in the last couple of months I am now looking forward to some time to relax and head to china on monday to go climbing in yangshou. After that it will be back to Scotland for christmas with the family followed by Hogmanay with my friends. Hopefully see some of you at various points. The photos are from the prep day for the last program with an evenings climbing at tung lungs “technical wall” followed by some program photosGeordie belaying in the dusk as the waves crash behind.”Bon and Geordie “just one more climb!!!” actually 2 more for geordie as he had to go get the quick draws back off the route i couldnt get up! (fighting in the dark with 4 head torches on him)DT takes a swing off the top of “small roof” with emma belaying A student coming across the tyrolean at dead mans cove with the waves crashing below

Bon makes breakfast before the students turn up on day 1
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